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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Heart vs. Brain

My favorite concept from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity is Ethics (yes, I know it makes me a total GT nerd that I have a 'favorite' icon :). I love teaching it because my little ones come in with no sense of how to have an opinion. When you ask a question, they look to you to see what answer you want them to say. They say what they think they are supposed to say. It takes quite a few discussions of me playing devil's advocate to realize there is no right or wrong answer. Also, often the justification they make for their argument is "because". Every day I ask them a question and have them turn to their partner and discuss it--they are getting better at it!

So we are reading the Wizard of Oz. And in that story the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow have a debate of their own. They argue what is more important having a heart or a brain? So I asked my kiddos to answer the same question:





Love the detail of the hearts inside...even the dog! :)














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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Making Connections Through Literature

I think a lot about how to better make connections with my students. I have a very large class--26 Kindergarteners. When I pick them up in the morning, the first thing they want to do is share something with me, especially after a weekend. I usually don't take the time that I should to listen to each of them, we do have morning work to do and reminders to make about folders, etc. I read somewhere the other day, probably a Twitter post, that you should take 2 minutes to have an actual conversation with each student every day. I really, really try to do just that.
 
I also try to incorporate their interests into our lessons and the books I choose for their read-alouds. One thing I like to do every year is to share with them the first books I ever learned to read. My sister and I both started reading at about 2 1/2 years old (I credit Sesame Street for that-my mom says that I would cry if I couldn't watch it the twice a day it was on, even if it was a rerun!). The first book I ever read by myself was:
 
 
I actually found a used copy of it-thank goodness for Amazon and their booksellers!  
 
 
         The 2nd book I ever read by myself was this one. Notice a theme.....
 
And then Jonathan Bloom's Room was one my mom said I liked to read over and over again.
 
It's so funny to share them with my kiddos because they do not think of you as a real person! You have a mom!?! Does she make you lunch?
 
They crack me up. But I want them to know I was once in their shoes and reading books like they are reading. Someday maybe they will even share books we read together with their children!
 

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our First Big Idea Writing

So one of the concepts of Depth and Complexity that we introduce is Big Idea. That's a tough one for my young kiddos because they really don't think in big ideas yet. I can read a story and say "what is the author trying to teach us?" and I just hear crickets. They just think in details right now.

I read them (or actually played them the story: http://www.storylineonline.net/ ) :


Which is about a little boy talking to older people about what memories are. Now I think "memory" is a pretty big idea! And the characters define it in many different ways.

Here's how my kiddos defined it:

















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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Making the World Beautiful....

It does not seem like we have been in school for a month already! I feel like time is flying by so fast.

But anyway, one of our reading response activities this week was for the book:



This is one of my favorite books. In it, Miss Rumphius makes 3 promises to herself: she will see the world, live by the sea and make the world a more beautiful place. Not bad goals to have!

So I asked the kids to think creatively, what would they do to make the world more beautiful. This is what they came up with. I do like that they are starting to give me more of a variety of answers now. :)





















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Monday, September 15, 2014

Creative Family Trees

Family trees are a tough concept for little ones. When we do projects making a family tree, the products all look the same. We talked about why a family "tree" and how it probably had to do with the families always branching out. Well, I ask them to come up with a different format for a family "tree". This is what they came up with:









Family Snowflakes

Family Flower





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