Saturday, September 27, 2014

Heart vs. Brain

My favorite concept from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity is Ethics (yes, I know it makes me a total GT nerd that I have a 'favorite' icon :). I love teaching it because my little ones come in with no sense of how to have an opinion. When you ask a question, they look to you to see what answer you want them to say. They say what they think they are supposed to say. It takes quite a few discussions of me playing devil's advocate to realize there is no right or wrong answer. Also, often the justification they make for their argument is "because". Every day I ask them a question and have them turn to their partner and discuss it--they are getting better at it!

So we are reading the Wizard of Oz. And in that story the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow have a debate of their own. They argue what is more important having a heart or a brain? So I asked my kiddos to answer the same question:

Love the detail of the hearts inside...even the dog! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Making Connections Through Literature

I think a lot about how to better make connections with my students. I have a very large class--26 Kindergarteners. When I pick them up in the morning, the first thing they want to do is share something with me, especially after a weekend. I usually don't take the time that I should to listen to each of them, we do have morning work to do and reminders to make about folders, etc. I read somewhere the other day, probably a Twitter post, that you should take 2 minutes to have an actual conversation with each student every day. I really, really try to do just that.
I also try to incorporate their interests into our lessons and the books I choose for their read-alouds. One thing I like to do every year is to share with them the first books I ever learned to read. My sister and I both started reading at about 2 1/2 years old (I credit Sesame Street for that-my mom says that I would cry if I couldn't watch it the twice a day it was on, even if it was a rerun!). The first book I ever read by myself was:
I actually found a used copy of it-thank goodness for Amazon and their booksellers!  
         The 2nd book I ever read by myself was this one. Notice a theme.....
And then Jonathan Bloom's Room was one my mom said I liked to read over and over again.
It's so funny to share them with my kiddos because they do not think of you as a real person! You have a mom!?! Does she make you lunch?
They crack me up. But I want them to know I was once in their shoes and reading books like they are reading. Someday maybe they will even share books we read together with their children!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our First Big Idea Writing

So one of the concepts of Depth and Complexity that we introduce is Big Idea. That's a tough one for my young kiddos because they really don't think in big ideas yet. I can read a story and say "what is the author trying to teach us?" and I just hear crickets. They just think in details right now.

I read them (or actually played them the story: ) :

Which is about a little boy talking to older people about what memories are. Now I think "memory" is a pretty big idea! And the characters define it in many different ways.

Here's how my kiddos defined it:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Making the World Beautiful....

It does not seem like we have been in school for a month already! I feel like time is flying by so fast.

But anyway, one of our reading response activities this week was for the book:

This is one of my favorite books. In it, Miss Rumphius makes 3 promises to herself: she will see the world, live by the sea and make the world a more beautiful place. Not bad goals to have!

So I asked the kids to think creatively, what would they do to make the world more beautiful. This is what they came up with. I do like that they are starting to give me more of a variety of answers now. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Creative Family Trees

Family trees are a tough concept for little ones. When we do projects making a family tree, the products all look the same. We talked about why a family "tree" and how it probably had to do with the families always branching out. Well, I ask them to come up with a different format for a family "tree". This is what they came up with:

Family Snowflakes

Family Flower