Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Graduation Advice

This time of year there are lots of great clips from keynote speakers at graduation ceremonies with inspiring messages that often end up as memes. We watched a few and then read this book that I am officially in LOVE with:

I was afraid the boys would balk at the title because even when we put on a JustDance Kids video and it's all girls they sit down and refuse to do it. But no one said anything. Her advice for girls is spot on as great advice for anyone. "Never lose your sense of wonder" or "sometimes you just gotta stop and dance". "Find people you, find people unlike you".  "Listen to your brave side".

Then I asked the students to write their own advice for the world. 


You should always be yourself.
You should never listen to strangers.

You should always be friends.
You should never be a bully.

You should always be nice.
You should never hit anyone.

You should never cuss.
You should always have fun.

You should always tell your teacher to help you count.
You should never kiss someone from your class.

You should always be good.
You should never be bad.

You should always be playing.
You should never steal.

You should always be respectful.
You should never be rude.

You should always be unique.
You should always be creative.

You should always be thankful.
You should never be rude.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Immigration Debate with Kindergartners

The news for the past few days has just made me so sad. I am not afraid to publicly say that I disagree with the way immigration policies are being enforced by the current administration. Children getting lost in the system, the terrible conditions where they are being held. Repealing DACA and giving ICE the authority to do whatever it takes. I wanted to have my students debate whether or not we should allow immigrants into our country. Many of their families are from Mexico and it's something that may actually affect them in their daily lives.

But they are 5 and 6 year olds-so how to introduce this topic delicately. I read them this story:

It's the story of a little boy who is fleeing El Salvador and making the journey on foot and by bus to come to America where his mother is. They don't specifically say he is entering the country illegally, however that is the implication. The story focuses on his shoes and how they get him through this journey.

Then I asked my students to think about ethics-should we let immigrants into America. I made sure to remain completely neutral and assure them that whatever their opinion was-there was no wrong answer.

No because then Donald Trump will get mad and I will love it.
Not the biggest fan of our President. :) 

No because it might be a stranger.

Yes because I don't want them to die.

Yes because they need to speak to you.

Yes because we should help them.

Yes because they will be nice to us.

Yes, because they are excited.

Yes because they need water to survive.

Yes because we are good people and they are nice and careful.

Yes because it is helpful.

Yes because they have no country to live in.

Yes because maybe they lost their family.

I truly hope these kiddos grow up and seek roles in government. I think their hearts are in the right place.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wild Robot Books

The Wild Robot was on a book club list this year and I fell in love with the story. It's about a robot who mistakenly ends up on an island and must learn how to adapt to survive. She ends up adopting a gosling which endears her somewhat to the other island creatures. Peter Brown has since written another story in the saga-The Wild Robot Escapes. I don't want to give too much away if you haven't read it, but Roz the robot's adventures continue.

My students have just fallen in love with Roz and these stories. They would ask me every day-can we read Roz? Even though it took us from March until today to finish the sequel, we did finish it before the school year ended.

I asked my students to write about ethical questions that were brought up through the story. So I thought I'd make today's assignment a little lighter. If Peter Brown wrote another in this what would be a trilogy-what should it be about? What should the title be?

Here's what they came up with:

I blame all the Hollywood sequels for this one! :)

If you are looking for a chapter book with both adventure and heart-check out these titles. I think your students would LOVE them as much as mine did.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Unicorn Theme

I believe it's important to tap into the interests of your students. Not only because it will engage them more in learning, but they can learn new things in the realm of their passions. I have several girls who are obsessed with unicorns. No matter what we write about, they bring it back to unicorns. They ask questions all the time about them. So when I was deciding on our themes for these last few weeks, I decided to choose a unicorn theme. There are a surprising number of books on the subject:

Introduces them to words like "frolic" and "prance". Can't go wrong with a Little Golden Book. :)

One of my all-time favorite stories. Our protagonist orders a unicorn and is a little disappointed in what she receives. But they make it work. Sometimes you get the pet you need, not the pet you want.

Thelma was an ordinary unicorn until a mishap turned her into a famous icon. However, she learns fame comes at a price. Great story to talk about problem/resolution in writing.

Yeah, apparently unicorns are a lot of work!

A parody of Good Night Moon. After I read this story to my students, I asked them to write other parodies of stories they knew using "unicorn" instead of the original character. We talked about what other details would change if you changed that one thing.

Love this illustration-kind of a goth Fern too. :)

My kids love the story Ninja Baby. :)

Unicorn Sleeping Beauty (I love the z's to show she is sleeping).

Instead of the Wild Robot.