Sunday, December 31, 2017

My #OneWord Resolution for This Year

I had trouble coming up with my word for this year. I try not to repeat words from the past and there are lots of things I could work on. Lots of words that would help me become a better person. But today it just came to me: Warrior. Warrior is my word for this year.

I am going to be a warrior when it comes to my health.

 I am not going to sit at home reading articles about the current political atmosphere and just sit on my couch getting mad-I'm going to go out and volunteer, make calls and drive people to the polls, to fight for our democracy. 

At school, I am going to fight my fear and continue to try to present and share my ideas. Stand up for what is best for my students and not be scared to implement new ideas.

I will be a warrior!

Do you do One Word Resolutions? What is your word for this year?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

My Passion Project This Year-Graphic Novel Club

I've been doing student book clubs after school for a long time. With my new principal's support I started a new club this year. I called it Comics Club and we are reading graphic novels. I love that this genre is very readable-even for our reluctant readers. I also like that there are so many girls who are brave and strong as protagonists as well.

So we meet every week, we discuss what we are reading and they check out books to read. We watched video clips with authors talking about the process of writing this genre and have even been communicating with an author. Our final goal is to do our own Comic-Con where the students will write their own stories, dress up like their main character and present a summary of their book to our school family audience.

It has just been AMAZING to watch these students who came in the first day unable to think of a single idea to write about blossom into writers! Most of the students are LEP and are not even entirely comfortable speaking and writing in English but they are doing it! Teachers are telling me that students who never wanted to read are reading these books under their desks.

I am so thankful to be at a school where ideas (even outside the box ideas are supported).

Here are some of my favorite graphic novel titles:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Inventing a New Winter Olympic Sport

My kiddos are Texans. Up until a few weeks ago they had never in their lifetime seen snow. We did get about a 1/2 inch one day this year. It started at 3 am and by 8 am was gone. They did get a taste of what life is like where they can play in the snow though! Lots of parents woke their kids up early to go play in it before school. :)

So we looked at pictures of winter sports and learned the vocabulary-skiing, skating, snowboarding, etc. We watched videos of figure skaters (every time they did an exciting lift or spin they cried out "ooooooh"). And I asked them to create a new sport for the winter Olympics.

Here's what they came up with --not bad for a bunch of Texans, I think! :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Is It Better to Give or Receive

So our chapter book this month is Junie B. Jones. In the story she is having a dilemma because when she goes to the PTO store she is supposed to buy something for a classmate but she really wants to buy something for herself.

I asked my students to think about whether it was better to give or receive gifts. Whenever we do these activities-I want them to choose a side and to defend it. I'm very careful not to make judgments about their answers. The "right" answer for these activities is whatever they believe. I did think it was interesting so many chose "get presents" knowing that their teacher probably wanted them to say the opposite. :) 

(by the way, we have made a lot of progress this year in learning our letters and sounds and sounding out our words-this time of year I just ran out of patience to send them back and encourage them to do it. :)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Perspective of an Ugly Christmas Sweater

It's funny where you can find inspiration. I did a presentation recently at our PLC's on strategies to incorporate Kaplan's Depth and Complexity. My administrators had to sit through all those sessions. One of my favorite admins-our Assistant Principal, was talking about a student's Christmas sweater and she said that would be a neat activity-perspective of a sweater. So my students wrote about the perspective of an ugly Christmas sweater. 

We tried it on regular paper like we normally do however it was too hard for them to discriminate between the different prompts I was asking them to do. So I made a template for them. They wrote how the sweater would feel, what it would see and what it would wish for. Then they decorated their ugly sweaters. 

She said her sweater had blood on it to make it ugly. :)