Sunday, November 27, 2016

New Uses for Feathers

One of my favorite activities to help promote creativity and thinking outside the box is to come up with new uses for everyday things. I introduce this with a pencil-we can write with it, draw with it--yes, but what else can we use it for? I use it to upsweep my hair, I can use it to open a soda can. Then I ask the students to do this with various objects throughout the year. If you try this, please do not get discouraged if they don't seem to catch on the first few times. If you do it consistency, I promise, you will have outside the box thinkers by the end of the year.

So in going with our Native American theme-we did feathers. This is what they came up with:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Grit and Jump Ropes

I know-grit is one of those concepts like mindset that tends to get overused by educators and even sometimes in the wrong way.

I think this is a really good description of what it is if you are not familiar:

 I do believe that grit is one of those things children today are not necessarily being encouraged to develop. I had a friend whose little one would get frustrated learning how to tie shoes, so they  invested in all Velcro for him. A kid can't get to the next level on a video game and they are just given a new video game. They play Little League T-ball and can't hit the ball for the life of them, so they join another sport team. I actually had a parent tell me once (in front of the child)--"math is just not her thing".

So I make it a point to encourage the kids to take risks and keep trying even if it's challenging. I want them to never give up on learning how to do something-who knows what might lead to a future passion. One activity we do I stole from's Hour of Code resources where the students try to build the biggest tower with gumdrops and toothpicks. It is definitely something that proves difficult for them and the point of the lesson is to keep trying and not to give up.

Fast forward to last week. We went on the "big" playground (instead of our little Pre-K/K playground) because there were classes out during our time. When we got out there someone had left a jump rope. Another student and I swung that jump rope about 1,000 times giving everyone the opportunity to try it. I wouldn't say anyone was really good at it-some could get over the rope-our class record was 3 times. When we came inside I showed them a video of something that has always been awe-inspiring to me--Double Dutch. One of the students said "we should try that". And my response, as I always try to make it be was "sure". So I ordered a bunch jump ropes from Amazon and a book of jump rope rhymes and we have been working on our jump rope skills ever since.

Now some students absolutely gave up right away and went back to racing around the playground, something they are very good at already. But a few of them were determined to get better at it. I even found myself going back and watching more tutorials so I could figure out how we could get better at it.

Will you see us on the Double Dutch circuit this year? Probably not. But I think we are learning something in the fact that we are continuing to try. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our First Poems

We try to do a class book each month that I can make copies of and send home to our families. I see the growth in our little writers every day, but I think this way they can share in seeing the writing skills of our students grow. For this month we did our first poems! The students made a title, wrote adjective/food 3 x's and then summed up their feelings about the holiday with an ending sentence. I love to see them begin to make that connection between the sounds and the letters. Many of my students started Day One without knowing their letters and sounds at all--so the fact that many of them now know those sounds and can apply that knowledge to write is something I am definitely thankful for!

A Very Happy Thanksgiving
Soft rolls
good turkey
tasty corn
At my house everyone comes to eat.

Soft bread
Delicious Meat
Hot potatoes
Thanksgiving is fun.

Delicious turkey
yummy carrots
cut lettuce
My family eats.

creamy corn
good smelling gravy
very good chicken
I am very happy.

Super Fun Day
amazing lasagna
awesome turkey
cool mashed potatoes
My family always eats a lot.

Turkey Sanwich
real chicken
fire hot dogs
soupy sopitas
It is a party.

Happy Thanksgiving
good mashed potatoes
yummy broccoli
delicious bacon
I feel happy to eat with my family.

Turkey Day
good turkey
gravy mashed potatoes
tasty lasagna
On Thanksgiving I feel happy.

comfy meat
good pizza
healthy bananas
My family plays with me.

soft apple
hard chicken
red strawberries
My family passes out pies.

Lovely Day
delicious turkey
yummy peas
hard watermelon
We are having a lovely day.

Happy Thanksgiving
fried chicken
french fries
perfect turkey
I will have fun with my family.

Good Turkey
big carrots
soft potatoes
pumpkin spice
My family looks happy.

Happy Day
gooey cranberries
juicy turkey
yellow corn
My family is fun.

juicy turkey
good coffee
hot spaghetti
It makes me happy.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thankful Projects

We all have a lot to be thankful for! We talk about gratitude year-round and even have our Gratitude Journals that we use weekly, but this was a way for us to put our thankfulness together in a project. We did a rough draft to begin with where I asked the kiddos to draw pictures of 6 things they were thankful for. Then they got to put their thoughts together on a poster board using markers! We talked about how everyone is thankful for their family and their friends. I wanted them to go deeper and think about things they were thankful for that maybe they didn't think about every day. I was impressed by some of their answers!

I am thankful for dog, friend, turkey, house, heart and doors. :)

I am thankful for barrettes, flag, construction workers, food, bees and cats.

I am thankful for milk, air, supply baskets, animals, food, school.

I am thankful for foods, Baby Jesus, love, caring for others, airplanes and clean houses.

I am thankful for books, school, supplies, journals, cross, friends. 

I am thankful for God, a girl, a boy, a person and my brother.

I am thankful for angels, dog, house, beach, watermelon and carrots.

I am thankful for helping mom, helping dad, my brother, myself, sharing and pizza.

I am thankful for books, cats, flowers, snacks and a dolly.

I am thankful for Miss Trayers, school, friends, horse, rainbow and pony.

I am thankful for a boat, clouds, flowers, friends, leaves and food.

I am thankful for turtles, God, Dad, journals, chicken and school.

I am thankful for dogs, beds, Mom, me, Dad and my sister.

Can I just say how proud I am that journals made the list a few times! Usually they roll their eyes when I say get journals out. :) I also think it's neat some of them are just thankful for themselves, I think that displays some confidence right there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Unit on Homes

So as an intro to Native American homes, I do a unit on homes around the world. We talk about homes on water, homes on wheels, we even read about animal homes. I asked the students to use Language of the Disciplines, to think like an architect and create the ideal home for themselves. I didn't require them to write this time because I thought it would be too much for them to sound out complete sentences right now, but I did record them in SeeSaw for their parents talking about why they designed the homes they did. I LOVE the detail they included-I think we may have some budding architects in our midst! :)