Saturday, September 29, 2012

If I Were Blue Dog....

I have always been a fan of Blue Dog. Someone gave me a calendar of the paintings years ago and something about it just struck me. A painter named George Rodrigue paints her into his paintings. She's based on a dog he had for many years and it's become kind of a tribute to her. I think he captures that curious look many dogs have, but there's still a little bit of sadness.

Anyway, I read my students the book:

This book includes a lot of vocabulary on different colors the kids probably don't already know-lavender, magenta, etc. And there are some riddles-what color do you paint Blue Dog when she's fishing?--Salmon, of course!

 But what I love about it is the message-that artists can make anything any color they want to. Often I think kids are used to someone telling them what color to use, where to color it. They will often ask "what color do I use?" and my response always is "you're the artist". We make a distinction between when we are doing art and doing something like science-in science, we have to observe and record what's there. But as an artist, your imagination decides your palette. I'm really trying to encourage creativity from them.

We tied it into multiple perspectives, so I asked them to write about how Blue Dog feels:

Can you tell he's GT?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brain or Heart?

So if you read this blog, you know I'm a big proponent of reading to kids above their grade level. I started out the year with the Wizard of Oz this year. The scarecrow and the Tin Woodman have a very deep conversation at one point about what is more important-the brain so you can think or the heart so you can love? Bringing in our ethics concepts, I asked the kids to make an argument either way-brain or heart, what's more important and the big question, why?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yoga Workstation

I knew I wanted to incorporate yoga into my workstations this year, but I had no idea how much of a hit it would be. There's an ABC's of Yoga book and poster that I bought off of Amazon and the students use it to call out letters to their partner and their partner does the corresponding movement. They just love it! It might just be that they are allowed to take off their shoes to do it :), but it's even more popular than the computer station-so that says a lot. The next step will be having them blend words by forming the different letters-their partner can sound out what the word is they are spelling. Movement and reading practice-can't beat that! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

One of the Many Reasons I Love My Job....

As the culminating event of our unit on bears, we had a Teddy Bear Picnic today. The kids were allowed to bring in stuffed bears and we took them outside in the sunshine for our read-aloud and little snack. We came back in started getting ready for lunch. After dropping my students off in the cafeteria, I came back to the classroom to this sight:

How can you not smile at that? They are just so cute sometimes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why Leaves Change Color?

Before I teach them the scientific reason for the change, I ask them to come up with a creative reason why leaves change color. In the past I've gotten answers like: fairies paint the leaves, they wanted to copy rainbows. This is what my munchkins came up with this year, I love how different all their trees are:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Leaf Ethics

I had 177 pictures of student work on my camera-can you tell I don't have time to blog during the week! 

I introduced to them the concept from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity of Ethics this week. It's a biggie! I try to instill in them the ability to not only form an opinion of whether something is right/wrong, but also be able to defend with why they believe that way. In this activity they were asked whether it was right or wrong for leaves to fall off the trees. This is what they came up with :