Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kissing Hand Responses

I read my students that classic story The Kissing Hand. I asked them to think from the perspective of a parent and write what they would do to ease their child's anxieties on the first day of school. Here's what they came up with:

my mom would give me a high-five that would stay on my hand

give a picture of me and his mom

I would trade my brain with his brain

I would hug my little girl

give my favorite crayon

A teacher's favorite way to handle it:"I would really fast go" ! :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kindness Ripples

I had just placed what I promised myself to be my last Amazon order for the month, when I came across Barb's post and decided this was a book I had to use with my kids this year: . I have looped with a group before and although there are many great things about having the same kids, one drawback is how comfortable they are with each other. They start squabbling a lot--like siblings. So I knew I wanted to start the year with lots of community-building activities.

We read the story and we watched this video:

 an idea inspired from Terri over at Engage Their Minds (again!) :

Now if I'm being perfectly honest, the end-product did not match what I had envisioned in my head. However, I do think they got the point. The funniest part was, I read the story aloud and had maybe 2 pages left when the fire drill went off. Most of the kids who were complaining were bothered by the loud noise, the heat--my kids, they were complaining because "we were about to get to the best part!". Gotta love 'em.

Well, after the story and discussion, the students used yarn to simulate ripples and wrote between each one something kind that can spur on another kindness. Here are a few of their end results:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Word Squeeze

I love words! I always have. You know on Inside the Actor's Studio when he asks celebrities what their favorite word is: I would never be able to choose just one. I think the words people use can tell a lot about them. The message I wanted to get across to my students was-choose your words wisely.

I showed my students this video-also a suggestion from Terri over at Engage Their Minds (can you tell I find a lot of great resources to inspire me over there!) : . I loved their reaction-they did the same thing I did-they kept asking "what did she write?!". Completely engaged!

I got this idea from another blogger:

I had the kids work in groups to squeeze all the toothpaste out of their tubes and then try to put it back in with toothpicks. That obviously doesn't work-but man, they were trying! :) Then we came back and talked about how once you say words to someone, you can't take them back-it's out there. If you say something mean that may stay in someone's memory for a long time--maybe even forever.

I think they had fun and ended up making a good connection at the same time. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Elmer Portraits

So first day back and we survived! :) I decided I really like looping. It took me forever to come up with lesson plans because I can't use any of my usual books/activities--the kiddos have already done them. But the trade-off is that they came in today already knowing my routines and expectations. We just jumped right into our activities!

I started off with the story of Elmer 

which I think is kind of a funny one. I know it's a classic and I understand what the point is supposed to be, but it doesn't end like the usual "unique" character stories. Maybe it's just me. Anyway, instead of having the kids decorate a little Elmer, I had them make a "patchwork" self-portrait-so they would look like Elmer. They also wrote about why they are one-of-a-kind! Here's what they came up with:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Classroom Library

I always try to create a cozy little space for my library-but the arrangement of my new classroom didn't allow me too many options this year. I'm going to enlist the kiddos in sorting out the book bins and coming up with ideas of categories. Fingers crossed the tent withstands arrival on the first day! What do you think--are they ready for some literary adventures?!

Our kiddos come back Monday--I'm going to try and keep this in mind.

I have some really exciting activities planned this week-especially thrilled about the classroom community ones. Will be glad to have student work pics to post again-you know I will share how it goes! 

Good luck to all of you who are going back and congrats to those who have survived their 1st few weeks! I was tired just sitting through professional development-5 days straight for the kiddos and me is going to be hard work! :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Higher-Level Questions for Back-to-School Read-Alouds

I think it's important to ask questions from all levels of Bloom's. My first year teaching, I went through a bunch of my books and wrote high-level questions inside the first page so when I read them to the kiddos, I'd be ready to challenge them. Higher-level questions are so important! I can tell you first-hand, when those students arrive in Kinder, no one has ever asked them to think that deeply. It takes a lot of practice to develop that skill. So if you try it and just hear crickets whenever you ask a question, don't give up. If you ask them, that thinking will come! :)

I wanted to give you guys some ideas of questions to ask for some back-to-school reads. I posted more of them here :    

1. What job do you think David might have when he grows up/what kind of person would he be?
2. How do you think the other children felt when David was displaying that behavior?
3. If you were a friend of David's, how do you think you could defend that behavior?
4. What do you think causes a child to act like David did?
5. Can you design a classroom that might be better suited for a student whose antics resemble David's?
6. If you were David's teacher, how would you handle the situation?
7. Why do you think this author wrote this story?

1. Why do you think the principal wanted there to be so much school?
2. How could students learn more without extending the number the days they come to school?
3. Would you like to have a principal like this?
4. Do you know anyone like this principal?
5. Was it right or wrong to make the students come to school extra days?
6. What would be the benefits of a program like that?
7. Do you think this principal would ever try anything like this again?
8. What are some ways a student could be successful going to school every day?

1. Why do you think Chester didn't want to leave his mom?
2. Why do you think parents also get upset on the first day of school?
3. What other things could his mother have done to make his day easier?
4. What do you think will happen when Chester goes to school next year?
5. Was Chester right to be so worried?
6. What memory do you think Chester will have about school when he grows up?
7. If you were Chester's hand, how would you feel?
8. Do you think if all moms used this strategy, no one would be worried to come to school?

1. Why do you think the author wrote this story?
2. What is another way Elmer could have reacted to his friends laughing at him?
3. Was Elmer right to try and hide his appearance?
4. Why do you think his friends laughed at him?
5. What things make you unique that your friends might not understand?
6. Do you think Elmer still feels self-conscious about his appearance? What could he do to help alleviate that feeling?

1. Why do you think all the letters wanted to go up the coconut tree?
2. Why did they want to go back up again after they fell down?
3. How do you think the coconut tree feels?
4. What are some other places you think the letters would like to play?
5. What is the relationship between the letters?
6. How do you think the author came up with the idea for this story?
7. Why did their parents come running?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Room Update

So I made a LOT of progress this week in my room.

If you recall-this is what I started with-so everything's not where I want it to be, but it's definitely an improvement! :) I ordered a castle tent that I can't wait to put up, but I think I may wait until after we cover the rules.

We had our Meet-and-Greet tonight, which is a bit easier when you already know many of your parents. It is nice to hear parents are happy to see their child's name on your roster! :) I made these, which of course, are all over Pinterest.

Also put parents and children to work right away-an information sheet for parents (I can't wait to read them!). There were 3 other questions, but it did cut off.

And a scavenger hunt for the kiddos.

A very looonngggg day not helped by the fact that we are having issues with our air conditioning at school. Not good in 100 degree Texas heat-but we'll deal, we always do! :)