Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Would You Want to Have a Robot for a Mother?

The chapter book I am reading as our read-aloud right now is the Wild Robot.

It's a story about a robot who gets stranded on an island and has to learn how to survive. She inadvertently knocks over a nest and saves the one viable egg which hatches into a gosling. Along with learning how to survive, she is also learning how to be a good mother.

" you can never be the perfect mother just do the best that you can".

So I asked my students to make an argument-would they like to have a robot for a mother? I mean a robot mother wouldn't even need sleep-there might be advantages. :) 

Here's what they came up with: 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I Have a Dream.....

We watched Martin Luther King's famous I Have a Dream speech and I asked my students to write about what their "dream" for the world was. What do they wish they could change-they are, after all, our future.

Here's what they came up with-I think it will help restore your faith in humanity. :)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Teaching Young Kiddos About Civil Rights

My Kinder students have a tough time wrapping their heads around a world where segregation was the law. When I introduce Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks they listen, completely engaged to these stories. They watch his Ï Have a Dream" speech with amazement-he talked in front of that many people? Is that really his voice?

I find that it's easiest to introduce new concepts through literature. I wanted to share with you some of the books I shared with my students this past week.

Still my all-time favorite book about MLK. It's a beautiful story and if you have access to Discovery Education (United Streaming) they have a great version of this with background music and everything.

I knew of the Sit-In as a form a protest but did not know the details of how that method started. It began with 4 very brave college students and became a movement that changed the laws of service in this country. A very child-friendly re-telling of that part of our history.

This book is a little long for the young ones but I think an important story. Silvia Mendez and her family sued for the right to allow Hispanic children to go to school with everyone else.

A recap of people who stood up for what is right told in a rhyming verse.

I love the way the author captures not only the spirit of the bold, courageous rebel Rosa Parks but also the fact that she was just an ordinary woman going about her ordinary day before she became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. There is a part where the author talks about Emmett Till and his murder-I do skip over that paragraph with the little ones.

What books do you use to introduce this all-important topic to your students?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

If Dr. Martin Luther King Were Alive Today

I have to admit, I can have some pretty random thoughts sometimes. I often turn my "what if's" into writing prompts for my students. I was driving home recently thinking about something that is happening in the political world and just started wondering if things would be different if MLK was never assassinated. This past year has certainly seen people standing up and protesting in a way that I think Martin would be proud of. I just wish we had a voice like his right now-one that people couldn't just dismiss.

Anyway, we are learning about him this week and about civil rights so I asked my students to think about the answer to that question. What would MLK say, feel do if he were alive today:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Class Reunions

So I'm not even sure how the idea popped into my head. But this Winter Break I decided to do a little mini-reunion for my students that I still keep in contact with. I started at a new school this year and the hardest part of doing that was not getting to see my former students growing up anymore. They used to come visit me during school events-my Meet-the Teacher Night would be very crowded with past families stopping by to say "hello". I facilitated several clubs on campus that they would attend. And of course, I would see them in the hallways, in the cafeteria.

I figured out I have about 15 friends on Facebook who are parents of former students. I wanted to invite them to something, but what? Ideally we could meet up at the park-the kids would have something to do and we could catch up. But with the latest arctic blast I couldn't be sure the weather would be conducive. We could do it at the library, however I felt like we'd make too much noise. I decided to send out an invitation to meet me at Barnes and Noble. I would be in the Children's Section, come by and say hi. Being honest, I literally created an event on Facebook about 10 times before I ended up sending it out. I called my sister (who is a parent) twice to ask "is this a stupid idea?". Finally I pushed send.

6 families came and I have to say it was just soul-nourishing to catch up with them. To hear them talk about their new teachers and what they have been learning. To swap book recommendations with each other. I hope to do it again this summer.

One of the most important things we do is develop relationships with our students. If they know we care about them they will care about what we are teaching. I am so thankful I get to see them grow up beyond just what they do in Kindergarten!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Favorite Books This Year

I facilitate for our student book clubs on campus. My favorite part is finding new stories to share with my students.

My favorite new picture book discoveries this year:

This is a great story for celebrating a growth mindset! Alan is known for scaring the creatures in the forest but he loses his effect when they find out he has false teeth. But he sticks with it and finds another use for his talents.

I have always been a fan of Basquiat's work. This is a poignant description of the events and people who inspired him to become an artist.

We all want to make a difference. This is the story of a woman who really did. She is responsible for planting more than thousands of trees in the San Diego area-trees that are still there growing today.

A boy makes a promise to study and help save big cats and he follows through with that goal. A truly beautiful story.

I made bean soup with the kids as outlined in this story. They loved learning about the different ingredients and of course, tasting the finished product. :) This is a great book for teaching literary devices as well.

A hilarious story about the famous Rock, Paper, Scissors and their need to be VICTORIOUS!

Chapter Books:

I thought this was a really cute story. The dragon gets a new owner and isn't sure about how to train her. :) Great for perspective.

I freely admit I had to read the last few chapters through tears. This story is touching and speaks to how we deal with grief. It's very well-written. 

I really enjoyed this story. Stef is embarrassed by their new family member-the taco truck her father drives to make a living. She comes to appreciate how her family followed through on their dreams however.

My favorite this year! Roz the robot wakes up on an island and doesn't know how she got there. She learns from the animals how to survive in the wilderness. This story is about community, about helping others. I can't wait to share it with my students.