Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Multiple Perspectives

I actually think this is one of the easiest standards of Depth and Complexity to teach...unless of course, you are teaching to little ones who see the world as it revolves around them! :) If you do lessons on it often enough, however, they will get the hang of it. We have already written this year from the perspective of everything from a barn to a pumpkin.

After finishing our first chapter read-aloud The Wizard of Oz, I was looking for a project for them to complete as kind of a culmination to our activities. I had them choose one character, make a likeness using a wire hanger and construction paper, then write about the adventure from that character's perspective. The favorite choice of the kids was Toto, of course, he did have a different perspective from everyone else being so close to the ground most of the time. I ask them to put themselves in that character's shoes--what do you see, hear, feel, what do you dream about? They did a pretty good job coming up with some unique viewpoints.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recreating Old Sayings

My students aren't very familiar with a lot of sayings -"two wrongs don't make a right", "the early bird catches the worm". As a different kind of writing assignment I gave them the beginnings of some of these old adages and asked them to finish them. They had: A rolling stone...., A bird in the hand...., and A stich in time..... I thought several of them had very creative responses. I was very surprised one of them actually referred to the rock band The Rolling Stones--thank goodness for the rock video games! :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Donorschoose Site

For those of you who are teachers, Donorschoose is an excellent resource for materials for your classroom. An incredible painless process of writing a proposal then shopping for supplies.

If you get a minute, will you vote for our project on Limeades for Learning? We're starting late in the game, but have about 20 days to get as many votes as possible. You can vote once a day until the end of September. I love doing art projects with the students to foster creativity, however, the supplies can get expensive. I found these really cool blank hardcover books at Lakeshore so they can become their own authors. I really wanted them to write autobiographies this year-but for 23 students it just really adds up. So if you have a minute drop us a vote-my kids would really appreciate it! :) Gracias!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Justifying An Opinion

Also a hard thing for young children to do. How often do we hear "because" as a response to why a child believes a certain way? Another project spinning off the Wizard of Oz; in the story the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow debate the importance of needing a brain or a heart. Both make intriguing arguments. I asked the students to choose a side and then justify their opinion-to give a reason for that belief. This is the first time we have done anything like this, so they will get better, but I thought it was a pretty good first attempt-we may have some future lawyers in this bunch!

Creative Family Trees

We have been working on a Family Unit and I wanted the students to do an exercise purely for the sake of creativity. I wanted them to invent a new way to track a family, instead of a family tree, something else to use. I emphasized to them that no two papers should look the same, that everyone should have an original idea. We saw family treehouses, family pools, family flowers. Here are a few more examples:

Monday, September 6, 2010


So I thought this would be a really challenging concept for my young kiddos. But actually they picked it up quite easily. I never realized these little ones live in a world that's very clearly divided into black and white. I introduced the icon to them and we have been reading the book The Wizard of Oz. I put out the question "what is right or wrong that Dorothy's house killed the Wicked Witch of the East? The class was pretty much divided, so I had them partner with someone who had an opposing viewpoint and discuss their side. I went over the tips for making a good argument (which I'm sure their parents will love me for! :) - not just to say-"it's right because it's right" but to describe why they believe it's right. They talked for a few minutes and then came back and shared their ideas. We went over a few more scenarios that were a little easier for them-you see someone drop $5 - do you give it back, and of course, these innocent little angels would always give it back! You see another student getting bullied, do you do something or just walk away?

It's something we'll continue to revisit throughout the year but it always amazes me how we underestimate what young children can really grasp. They really are capable of understanding some pretty big concepts!