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Monday, April 5, 2021

Think Like a Zoologist-Language of the Disciplines

We are learning about how animals can adapt and about their characteristics in science this week. We learned all about what zoologists do and the vocabulary that goes along with that job. The students then designed a zoo enclosure for the animal of their choice taking into consideration the characteristics of that animal.

Doing projects in a hybrid environment has been challenging. If everyone was in class we might use different media-but for now they responded on the digital program that we use-Pear Deck.















Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Making The World A Better Place

I LOVE this classic story:


If you are not familiar with it the protagonist has 3 goals in life: visit faraway lands, live in a house by the sea and to make the world a better place. It is actually based on a real person and the author herself had a similar life. I relate to her in some ways because she did not decide to have a family, instead choosing a different path.

I asked my students to write about what they would do to make the world a better place. My heart just grew with their answers.














Saturday, March 20, 2021

Books To Discuss Accepting Differences

One of the reasons I LOVE teaching the young kiddos is that they look at a person and see inside them. If you treat them right they will love you no matter what you look like or what your beliefs are. They look at you and see your soul.

One year I taught a student in a wheelchair and another parent told me this story. Her daughter, I will call her Emily, invited Julia over to play. When Julia's mom called Emily's mom to arrange it she said this is awkward but do you have a lot of steps into your house because my husband will not be there to help lift the wheelchair. Emily's mom was stunned in the 1,000 conversations Emily had with her about her BFF she never once mentioned that she was in a wheelchair. It did not matter to her at all.

But we know that as most kids get older things change. I want to read them as many stories as I can about kids overcoming those differences so they don't become a problem later on. Here are some of my favorites:


This is a great series that I have been using for SEL practice this year.

Just because your friend speaks a different language doesn't mean you have to exclude them.


This a beautiful story of a little girl who talks about Asian traditions as she compares her eyes to those of her family.


Also a great short you can find on YouTube. A little girl's father tries his best to be the hairdresser while mom is in the hospital.


I have often overheard students making comments about what their friends bring for lunch. This story is about two friends who bring very different lunches-we always taste hummus ourselves when I read this story,


The picture book version that I actually like better than the original book. Talks about how we are all different and how great differences are.


A little girl is so proud of her sister's blue hijab.

It's important to expose students to a variety of traditions and cultures. My hope is that my students will never be the one to mock someone else for their appearance or beliefs, or worse yet hate them because of those differences.


















Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Digital Frayer Model


I use Frayer Models all the time. My favorite part is that if you can give non-examples of something you know what that word means. Now, with hybrid learning it gets a little harder. But thank goodness for Pear Deck. My students were able to write them even from home.










Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Changing the Details in Fairy Tales

I have always been a fan of fractured fairy tales. I enjoy finding different versions of the common stories. We read several versions of the 3 Little Pigs:







After reading several versions, I asked my students to write their own using any characters and setting they wanted. I was so impressed with their stories and their creativity!





















Monday, March 8, 2021

Rules for Dr. Seuss Books

I know there is controversy this year regarding Dr. Seuss books and I believe rightfully so. If you want to read an articulate argument I loved Terri's blog post on the subject. My feeling is that as we know better, we do better and if there are books that do not fit in with the requirements for racial equality today-then they shouldn't be published.  Here is her blog post: https://engagetheirminds.com/2021/03/05/can-an-anti-racist-still-love-dr-seuss/


However, my school required Dr. Seuss for our Read Across America choice so I did read some of his stories to my students. We discussed the Rules (from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity)-what is always true about his books. Here is what they came up with:





"always having fluency"









Then we applied those Rules to imagine that Dr. Seuss wrote one of their favorites-Wedgie and Gizmo.