Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Digital Stories for Mother's Day

I love having the kiddos do digital stories. I like that it's a different way to incorporate technology and I like that the kids learn there is more than one way to publish a story. I use a program called Pixie which is probably outdated-I'm sure there are some more newfangled choices out there, however I really like this program and feel like it's fairly easy for the kids to navigate.

They type the text on their page, draw an illustration or use the stickers. They can change colors, add a background-many of them really play with it before they decide what they want. I asked them to write about their moms. Then we record their voices reading what they wrote and they choose a background music. Pixie puts it all together in a Quicktime movie. And voila! :)

I wanted them to go beyond just "I love my mom" and "my mom loves me" but tell me something that I didn't know about them before. We are going to unveil them at our Mother's Day Tea on Friday and I hope the moms like them. It definitely took a lot of effort to get 26 of them done!

Here are a few examples:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

GT Frames about Moms

The fact that we can do frames now pretty independently is a huge achievement in my book! We take 4 different concepts from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity and write about each based on a theme. Mother's Day is coming up, so we did moms. I asked them to come up with Unanswered Questions (I wonder....), Rules (what is always true about moms), the Big Idea (why do we have moms) and Multiple Perspectives (if I were a mom....). They came up with some good answers!

I wonder if moms were popular a long time agao.
It's always true that moms take care of their children.
Moms are always impossible.
If I were mom I would give fresh air.

I wonder if moms are ever mean.
It's always true that moms ?
Moms are serious.
If I were a mom I would spank my kids.

Why does my mom need a phone?
It's always true that moms take care of their kids.
Moms are here because if we didn't have a mom or a dad how would we live?
If I were a mom I would be like my mom.

I wonder about her.
Moms always say "clean your room"
Mom are there to clean.
If I were a mom I'd make dinner.

I wonder if moms have secrets (love that!)
It's always true that moms spank
Moms are here because they take care of you.
If I were a mom I'd have a headache because of my kids.

I wonder if all moms have a baby.
It's always true that moms take care of their babies.
Moms are fancy.
If I were a mom I'd take care of my children.

I wonder if moms always like to cook.
It is always true that moms have a hard job being a mom.
Moms are not nice all the time.
If I were a mom I would try to be nice to my children.

I wonder moms are wonderful great moms for kids.
It is always true that moms are protecting kids.
Moms are good and sweet.
If I were a mom I would be nice.

Moms are always pretty to their kids.

Do moms have eyes in the back of their head?
Moms always love you.
The purpose of moms is to take care of you.
If I were a mom I would take care of my babies.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Our Current Chapter Book-Out of My Mind

I love participating in teacher groups on Facebook and following other educators on Twitter. One downside to it is there are times when I read or participate in conversations that make my blood boil. For example, I was following a chat by an author that I actually very much admire. They were talking about "rules" for reading kids chapter books. The protagonist should only be 2 years older than your students-according to the experts. A teacher asked if the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper was appropriate for 3rd Graders. Well, I replied that I am actually reading it right now to my gifted Kinders. You would have thought I said I don't believe in TPT or something by the response! I was told that was inappropriate. That there's no way these kids could understand that book. It actually made me wonder if any of them had actually read the story.

Well, I respectfully disagree. I very much think they understand this book. One of my students even has a cousin with cerebral palsy-they have been able to really connect with that theme. If you haven't read the book, it's told from the perspective of a little girl growing up with cerebral palsy. She can't walk or talk but is very intelligent and ends up trying out for the school quiz team. What I really like about the story is the ending is not the typical happy ending you expect reading it. She faces some serious discrimination. I would not recommend it for a child this age to read themselves, but certainly a chapter a day read by me and guidance in answering any questions or explaining anything they don't understand--I think it's completely appropriate.

I asked my students to think from the perspective of the main character, Melody. I can tell from their answers that they understand completely!

If I were Melody and did not have the talking device, I would do the tornado a lot of times.

I would be the strongest girl in the world and say words know what means and how to inspire to be a superstar.

I would think about my family and be the smartest girl in the world. I will not let my family down forever.

I would be sad that I do not have a voice and I want to so so so so so so so much. I wnat to be the queen of smart.

I would wish I could talk without the computer.

I would stare at my teacher.

It would be better in Heaven so I can see God.

It would be boring. I can't want or talk by myself.

My life would be terrible. You know why? Because someone has to help, that's why.

I know if you put yourself out there sometimes there will be pushback for your ideas. Especially if you are like me and sometimes have crazy ideas! :)  But I have no question that I made the right choice for my kiddos.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

If I Were the Earth....

Multiple Perspectives is something we focus a lot on in our class. It's a difficult concept for many of them because as you know the world revolves around them! :) It's hard for the students to put themselves in other people's shoes because often before they enter my class it's something they haven't been asked to do before.

So in honor of Earth Day and our activities about helping the Earth, I asked them to write from the perspective of Mother Earth-what would she say, see, hear, think about, wish for, etc.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cinquain in the Membrane

I am trying to introduce m,y kiddos to a bunch of different kinds of poems. Haiku was hard for them. But some of them really did a good job with the cinquain. We looked at examples of some and wrote one as a whole group. They got to choose their own topic and many were able to follow the guidelines. Here's what they came up with:

Miss Trayers
pretty, nice
working, printing, reading
I like having her for my Kindergarten teacher.

hot, orange
warming, burning, moving
It makes me warm.

Hip Hop
Awesome, better
dancing, beating, making noise
I'm a great dancer

(Her brother)
Playful, quiet
Playing, dancing, sleeping
He makes me sad

pretty, tall
move, lay down, dance
fancy have very different textures

fashion sassy
pop, rock, fun
Cute funny, love fashion shows

Gray, tough
Barking, eating, playing
I feel grateful

Brown, big
Protecting, helping, growing
Place to put stuff

Colorful, pretty
testing, reading, coloring
I feel happy sad

Funny, quiet
strong, ?, gracious
Sad of that sister seas

Shiny, gold
Shining, exciting, dazzling
It makes me feel greedy

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Secretary's Day

We wanted to do something creative for our school secretary, however the creative juices were just not flowing. So we did an old standby. It is interesting to look back at them and see how trends have changed-the last one she was dancing the Harlem Shake and I don't think the term "selfie" had been invented yet!

What I do is have the kids name things in whole group so we can make a list of 10 things that a secretary does when no one else is looking. I assigned writers to copy that text and illustrators to illustrate and then all the students signed the bottom of the paper. Here's what they came up with this year: 

Comic Strip Writing

I know newspaper comics are kind of old-fashioned, but I still like to read them! I can remember my parents reading the Sunday paper as a kid and them setting aside the comics for me-because that was the only part I was interested in reading. :) 

I recommend one square comics to start like Family Circle, Marmaduke or if you want to use ones with multiple squares-Peanuts or Garfield work well. I take the print off the comic and ask the kids to write their own little speech bubbles to describe what is happening. I think this is a fantastic activity for making inferences. It's also an easy activity to add to writing workstations after you introduce it and they get some practice.

This was our first attempt:

Time to go. Why?