Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Promoting Curiosity

I was really struck by the sentiment of this article:

Basically, they are saying that instead of maybe asking your child what they learned at school today (I have taught a lot of staff kids over the years and cringe when the answer to that question is "nothing"...what!). Asking what good questions did you ask today?

I am a huge proponent of fostering curiosity in my munchkins. Sometimes it throws off my groove when we are in the middle of a lesson in punctuation and someone asks "do fish drink water". But it is something that I model for them and want them to share. I still remember in the beginning of the year, we were doing a calendar lesson and one of my students asked "how did they invent calendars--who decided this month is September?". That's a really good question for a 5-year old!

Some ways to model it are really common sense. Praising the questions, asking questions yourself. I don't know if fish drink water, we'll look up the answer to that one this afternoon! I've posted before about the Wonder Wall I have in the classroom. Students can post questions that they have on sticky notes and we do pull some of those to look up on Fridays.

I also make it part of my oral language activities daily to have them ask questions about a photograph. What do we still not know? Or when we read a story-there are often questions that are left unanswered? I wonder if Goldilocks ever broke into someone's house again? I wonder if the 3 Bears started locking their doors? :)

Anyway, I liked the concept of it and am going to share it with my parents this week--I thought I'd share it with y'all too! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pasta of a Different Color

I love the idea of making mosaics. I think it's particularly challenging for kids to "see" a picture in their minds and then create it using pieces. We used colored pasta to make a picture and then the kids told the story of what inspired them. Before we did this we read the story Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by dePaola, that's where the sunsets came from I think.

If you don't know how to color pasta, it's super easy! You just put the shells in a ziploc bag with a few drops of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring. Shake, shake, shake. Let them dry (you might want to make sure they separate...sometimes they tend to stick together a little bit). And voila! :)

My favorite--she's very artistic.

This one is God.

It actually kind of looks like the student! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

When Good Lessons Go Bad

Let me preface this story by saying I've done this in years past and it actually came out really cool. It's been one of my favorite projects to do throughout the year. 

We talked a lot in class about what Thanksgiving means, the original story of the tradition as well as counting your blessings. I gave the kids disposable cameras and asked them to take 3 pictures at home of things they are thankful for. I had bought 4 cameras, I have 26 kids. We started at the very beginning of November, it should have been plenty of time for each student to take pics. I really thought this was going to be a neat project. Oh, how the stars sometimes do not align! One camera came back with all 32 pictures taken on it by one student. One camera was lost altogether. The pictures that I did get developed were mostly grainy, too bright (like someone used a flash) or pictures of a polar bear in an ice storm. Four of my students were able to do this project with their pics.

Oh well, we adapt. Instead the ones who had no pictures come out drew their own. They made pictures of what they are thankful for and were supposed to write why, however you know how holiday excitement affects munchkins-they just want to be finished. I really wanted a meaningful response--not just toys and playstations and PSP's...but what do you have that some children in the world don't have. What are you thankful for?

I love that she was thankful for her bed.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Poems

My group this year started the year really as emergent writers. Many didn't know their letters and sounds, the ones who did, still didn't have the confidence with them to sound out their words to write. I feel like we've come a long way already! We tried our hand at writing poems. The format I asked them to use was adjective/noun and then a sentence to describe how they feel about the holiday. We made them into a class book (the kids were overjoyed to be authors) so we could share them with our parents.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Disguises

I left this project for my sub to do with the kids last week. I wanted the kids to make turkey puppets, but to disguise their turkey. The substitute went to my neighbor teacher and asked her if she had a turkey worksheet that the kids could color. My friend told her that I would probably want the munchkins to create their own turkey using construction paper--they know me so well! So they made their disguised turkeys. I love when they come up with such different answers.

My favorite one!

Love this one too!

Hmmm, not sure that's a better disguise. :)

I don't know if you can read it...the student disguised it as herself.

We did just visit the zoo......