Wednesday, January 16, 2019

If Martin Luther King Was Alive Today

I strive to give my students different ways to show what they are learning. We have been learning all about MLK's contributions to our society. I asked my students to pretend he never got shot-that he was alive today. What would he say? What would he do?

Here are their responses:

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Monday, January 14, 2019

I Have a Dream, from the Perspective of Title 1 Students

We have been learning all about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. We watched the footage of his favorite " I Have a Dream" speech. I asked my students to write about what they dream would change in the world. Their answers are just heartbreaking to me. These are 5 year olds growing up in poverty with all the issues that come along with that. We recently had a shooting here where a little girl was killed as the assailants shot into her mom's car. One of my students wanted to write "I have a dream that babies do not get shot". Oh my goodness, I think my heart broke in two.

for people to be good.

people take care of the trees.

people don't kill people.

animals be safe.

the world is beautiful

everyone can sit in the front.

everyone had a family

no one get shot

that things would be fair

people stop killing each other

don't build a wall

people stop fighting

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Using Photographs to Teach Current Events

Growing up I had no interest in history or politics. I am ashamed to say that the first time I voted, I had no idea what the difference was between a Republican and a Democrat. I just voted the opposite of my parents. :) 

I think today with the 24 hour news cycle plus all the stories shared on social media, our students are much more aware of things going on in the world. A well-rounded education should include these stories. In our class we focus on current events at least once a week and we do this often by using photographs. Let me preface this by saying, I think it's really important for us as educators to keep our opinions on events to ourselves. The students are forming their own opinions and I never criticize how they might feel about an issue.

 Photographs-- I get my photos from MSNBC's This Week in Pictures site.   They cull photos from different newspapers around the world. Political events, human interest stories, pictures depicting different cultures are all featured. I have a huge powerpoint of these photos uploaded to Dropbox-if you e-mail me, I'd be glad to share the link.

Here are some ways I use them (I'm presenting on the topic for a district conference so it was easiest for me just to do screenshots of my ideas):

I ask the students to write what the people might be saying or thinking in speech bubbles. Sometimes we label it with a title or caption. Here is an example of one we did this week.

These students are going to have a lot of problems to solve in society when they grow up . Let's give them a foundation in what is happening around the world so they will be prepared to do just that!

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Open Ended Penguins

I am a big believer in authentic work. I want their work to reflect their own ideas. Students need to be given opportunities to practice the creativity skills we are teaching them.

Now often times I have students who say they can't do it. I encourage them to try and do their best. I let them know that as the famous quote goes-art is knowing which mistakes to keep. It doesn't have to be perfect.

We are starting a unit on penguins this week. We read a story about penguins and why they have the characteristics that they do. Why they have webbed feet, why they are black and white.

I asked the students to use construction paper and make their own penguin. 


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Monday, December 31, 2018

My Favorite Reads of 2018

I feel like this year went by both really fast and super slow. I follow politics and so often I would read a story and it felt like that had happened months ago but it was only a week. I can't believe however, that it's already 2019!

I wanted to share some of my favorite reads from this year.

Children's Books:

The protagonist in this story gets upset and different animals react differently. Some want him/her to get angry and scream. Some to cry. But the rabbit just listened.  A great lesson for students about how they can deal with friends who are upset.

I love reading books and learning about stories from history that I was unaware of. Reckless was a horse who helped us win a battle. My favorite part is when he figures out who the cook is and sticks his nose in that tent every morning begging for breakfast.

Jim Key was a leader in the movement to protect animals from cruelty and neglect. He had a horse who could add, identify presidents and to spell. Just an incredible story!

I LOVE finding wordless books-but especially ones that the students can relate to.

I expected this story to touch my heart, I didn't expect it to also be about discovering reading. The author uses events that shaped her life to write about how dreams in America can come true. Her library card gave her the freedom to learn English for free.

We teach about writing about small moments. This author takes the seemingly unimportant idea of a haircut and elevates it to a life experience. Giving a boy confidence, seeing powerful men also getting a haircut in the same barbershop. A truly beautiful story.

I have actually seen the Statue of Liberty and I didn't know her feet indicate motion. A great story that tells how the statue came to be and what it stands for.

Chapter books for kids:

Winslow is a donkey that no one thought would survive. A boy decides he will nurse him back to heath. At the same time there is a parallel story about the boy's brother who is a soldier serving overseas. An easy read, great for teaching empathy.

I love this story as a read-aloud! Wedgie is a Corgi who believes he's the superhero protector of the family. Gizmo is a guinea pig who wants to take over the world. It's funny and the author captures the voices of these animals perfectly!

A great read-aloud for older primary students. It's all about how sometimes the universe works in our favor and it seems like fate has a hand in our destinies. Kelly is the first Filipino-American to win the Newberry Award!

Middle grade/YA/grownup reads:

This book reminded me a lot of Esperanza Rising, but it was set in the Middle East. Amal is forced to work as a servant for a powerful family. It's about standing up for what you believe and being brave when you have to be.

I don't usually read books over 400 pages. I just don't have a good attention span. It takes me a long time to read. So I'm pretty proud of myself for getting through this one. An epic story about the life of a boy who loses his mother in a museum explosion and ends up with one of the paintings. He meets many characters as he tries to survive. I can't wait to see the movie they make from it.

I was really intrigued at the concept of this book. A man finds things that have been lost and his life goal is to return them to the proper owner. I thought this was a really beautiful story about our purpose in life.

We used this book as our first fiction staff book club read. A mystery that also has cultural relevance.

I read a lot of mysteries. I wanted to shake the main character of this story a few times in the choices she makes-I mean has she never seen an episode of Law and Order?! But it was an interesting premise. A couple vacationing find a bag of money in the water-do they keep it? Will the people who lost it come looking for them? A real page-turner.

This memoir really stuck with me. Tara was born into a family with very different views of the world. Her father was always prepared for the apocalypse and had his own interpretation of religion and its principles. They "homeschooled" the children but there was no actual schooling involved-they just worked a very dangerous job for their father.

This story was pretty bleak and depressing but I think it needed to be told. Based on true events-a little girl gets dared to steal something at Woolworth's, she takes a 5 cent composition book. A man sees her and tells her that he works for the FBI and now he has to do what he says. Her family looked for her for years. I googled her story after I finished reading it. It just stuck with me. Every choice we make in life can change our destinies.

What were your favorite reads of 2018?

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