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Friday, January 22, 2021

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Poem

We read a poem every week. I read it to them on Monday and we discuss vocabulary and analyze the meaning of the poem. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we read the poem together-discussing the rhythms, etc. On Friday they summarize and illustrate the poem.

We use silly poems like that of Jack Prelutsky or Shel Silverstein. We use seriuos poems by Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. This week we read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Here are observations from my online kids:













 

And my in class kiddos:













Saturday, January 16, 2021

Our Country Projects

My students LOVE learning about geography. They will randomly read the maps in the classroom and ask questions-is there really a country called Turkey? Does the Easter bunny live on Easter Island? So consistently since the beginning of the year, every Friday we take a virtual field trip and learn about a new place. 

So when our curriculum said to teach informational text I thought it was a perfect opportunity to do a little project and let them apply what they learned. They chose a country and then wrote an outline. From that outline they made an illustration (with labels-a text feature of informational text) and then wrote their final papers. I was so pleased with the outcome. (My virtual kids did it using Pear Deck).
















Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Snowman Civil Rights

With everyone going on in our world today I believe it is more important than ever to have those tough conversations when it comes to diversity and equality. I have read many social media posts over the past few days about people who teach young kiddos and they do not believe our students are capable of understanding these concepts or participating in these discussions. In my humble opinion, that is wrong. We need to start as early as we can laying the foundation with our students. And here is proof that they get it and can apply what they have learned.

I am not a teach about Dr. King only the week before the holiday type of person. We have read numerous books about figures in social justice (I looped with my group so this is my 2nd year with them). Today we discussed what civil rights were and why it is important that we all are treated equally. We watched a Brainpop video that included pictures from the past and from protests happening presently.

My students were asked to take that knowledge and apply it to what rights a snowperson would fight for. Snowman civil rights-what would their posters looks like?


We did not specifically talk about the posters from the news-this student knew that already.



She said she thought the snowman deserved life in the snow.

We need to make this stop. If we don't make this stop we are going to be mean persons but if we do everything we could be good people.


We should not be mean to people because it can be harder, even you can get hurt . We should not hit people we should treat them as a good person.


Not exactly a "civil right" but she said it was what she would like to have a right. :) 


I don't like that.


He drew a segregated school. 



I have always believed in introducing my students to diverse characters and conversations about current events. But now more than ever I think this is so important. Even with our young ones.




Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Community Service Projects

Community service is a very important thing I believe we should be modeling for our students. My 1st graders think the world revolves around them so using the concept of empathy I like to conciously teach them about things they can do to help their community. Now of course the pandemic has limited what we can do this year. We can't collect food or socks for the homeless like we usually do. But my students have a talent for making things that are cute. 

We made cards for all the nurses that I know must be so overwhelmed today. 







These were from my virtual students using Pear Deck, my in class kiddos made some too. We are going to put them in the mail to local hospitals and hopefully brighten someone's day.




Sunday, January 3, 2021

Creating a Community

We have been studying maps in our Social Studies lessons. I asked my students to create their own communities. To name them, what landmarks and locations would be included. I challenge my students every day to be creative and unique in their ideas-activities like this make me so happy. Lots of different ideas. I don't have pics of the inclass ones but here are some from my at home virtual students.










Chick fil-a, Starbucks and Cheetos-the important things. :) 

An example of another way to assess what students know. Ask them to create, to invent.










Saturday, January 2, 2021

Unanswered Questions

This is one of the concepts from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity that really confuses my students. My young kiddos aren't used to thinking in questions. I mean, think about it-how often are they really asked to question anything? I read once an idea: instead of posting objectives and I can statements-we post questions about what it is we are learning. Many students need practice in asking good questions.

In our daily routine we look at a photograph and ask questions about it. What don't we know.


In the beginning they ask basic questions: is that a tornado? What is that? But as we model examples of good questions, their questions get better too: is this Texas? Did anyone get hurt? I wonder what you are supposed to do if a tornado like that is coming toward you?

We also use it when finish a unit on something. What is something we still don't know about rainbows? Or after a story-we talk a lot about author's purpose but some books like The Giving Tree for example, I wonder what Silverstein's intentions were in writing it-did he want to show unconditional love or an example of selfishness? What happened to characters after we leave them? I wonder what happened to Wilbur from Charlotte's Web? I wonder what happened to Templeton?

I've seen teachers use this as just asking questions-but that's not quite right. Unanswered questions are ones we cannot simply Google the answers to-we don't know the answer, the challenge is in coming up with the questions.`









Thursday, December 31, 2020

Classroom Resolutions

Well this has definitely been a year! We started virtually for the first month of school and then parents had the choice of whether to send their students to school or keep them home learning virtually. My class was split exactly in half. I learned a LOT this year. I feel like sometimes we get obstacles in our life to challenge us and make us better teachers.

Reflecting on this year so far, there are many things I will carry on in my practice even when we are fully face-to-face.

1) SEL-we start our day every day with a read-aloud relating to SEL skills-empathy, managing emotions, managing anger, friendship skills. My district put this into our schedule in the beginning and I can feel a difference in my students and the community we have been allowed to develop. If you have a membership to Kindle Unlimited there are so many options there.

2) Virtual field trips:


Not a great picture, I know but the stars represent everywhere we have visited so far. Every Friday we learn about a different country-we virtually visited:  France, China, Chile, Australia, New York, Disneyland, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Brazil, India and the students read Easter Island on the map and requested a visit there. My favorite part is that I even learn new things about these places.

3) Pear Deck-I know I have posted about Pear Deck before but it has just been a lifesaver for me this year. I prepare my whole day's lessons-reading, math, writing, science and social studies in the Google slides. I can add a part where students can write/type a response. It has been a great way for me to easily get grades this year.  We project it on the Smartboard for students in class at the same time my students at home are following along. Students in class reponsd on dry erase boards, students at home on the Pear Deck. I LOVE it and will continue to use it in the future.







I resolve to continue to do these things moving forward. Choosing my One Word for this year (a word you will develop your year around) was difficult this year. I feel like there are a lot of things I could have chosen. But my word is "THRIVE". We will not just survive the school year but we will thrive. 

What are some of your classroom resolutions this year?