Friday, November 20, 2020

#sorrynotsorry poems

Following our district curriculum, we are doing a poetry unit for 3 weeks. We have written all different kinds of poems.

I came across this book a few years ago:

These poems are based on the note William Carlos Williams left his wife. He apparently ate the plums she was saving and left a note saying "I'm sorry, they were so delicious and so sweet". The original #sorrynotsorry.

I had my students write their own versions of these poems.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Mom Cinquains

Continuing with our Poetry Unit the students wrote cinquains for their moms.  We used the common cinquain format-noun, 2 adjectives, 3 verbs, 4 word phrase about feelings, different noun. This was a great review for them on the parts of speech as well!

I am sharing the Pear Deck responses:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Writing Poems with My 1st Graders

I LOVE using poetry with my students. We analyze real poems by poets like Frost, Langston Hughes and Shel Silverstein. Each week we read the same poem daily and then the students add it to their poetry journals on Fridays. We review the vocabulary and literary devices the poet used. Poetry is often very succinct in its word choice and rife with great vocabulary words. This week I asked my students to write their own poems about any topic of their choice. I was very impressed !

Leaves fall donw like a waterfal and it is warm and I feel cozy and fall makes me feel happy.
It makes me feel happy.

                                                   A little stream of consciousness. :) 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

You Are Not Alone

So I usually just post activities, books that I use in the classroom but I felt a need to write this post today. 2020 has been a crazy year to say the least. I am active on social media and daily read posts from teachers who are not okay. They are stretched thin and have to deal with feeling ineffective every day. There are so many TikToks of teachers just crying on their lunch breaks it really is heartbreaking. Every time I see a post telling teachers to remember self-care I want to scream! When?! I don't even have time to read anymore. :(

In our district we are still doing a hybrid model. Half my students attend face-to-face and half attend virtually. I am expected to teach all those students the same way at the same time. It has been a challenging adjustment. I spend about 3 hours every evening and about 7 hours on the weekend planning-creating content to include my virtual learners, contacting families to answer questions, grading the work submitted and creating assessments. I create my entire day's lessons in a Pear Deck so my virtual kids can also check for understanding throughout the day. 

Then this past week we were required to administer what we call "Snapshot Tests". These are tests that the whole district gives so they can compare your class to other classess around the community. We had to again do this in person and virtually-reading, math and even writing (the rubric said to look for capitals and punctuation-they were typing responses, they are not skilled in making captials on the keyboard. *sigh* ). My 1st Graders had to login, click 4 different buttons to submit. We are also doing high frequency word testing at the same time.

It has been a week! Then yesterday I received feedback from admin's walkthroughs and it was literally a checklist of 12 things-I only got like 2 checks. I don't have enough anchor charts and sentence stems posted. I don't have enough student work posted. My word wall is not caught up with the vocabulary we are teaching. *sigh*  I am not an emotional person but I cried on the drive home on Friday. I just feel like I am doing so much and it's still not enough.

Now please don't just dismiss this as someone complaining. It's not. I started a Sunshine Committee at my school (which is going to be a 2 person committee because I couldn't get anyone else to sign up) and I am planning morale booster activities. My point is if you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, not good enough--you are not alone. If you are an administrator please, please take it easy on your staff right now. What you should be asking them is how can I support you? What do you need from us? Not you are not doing enough. This is not sustainable. We will not survive at this pace if there is no support.

Thank you for listening and I wish you calm, support and encouragement as we navigate these waters. Our students need us.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Culturally Sensitive Native American Units

I have always been fascinated by Native American Culture. I've actually considered looking into teaching on a reservation someday.

I have to say that I am just appalled by some of the units and activities people buy, sell and complete this time of year.  We have to be more sensitive in what we choose to use with our students.

My favorite go-to is literature. Here are some books I recommend:

Higher level activities: Compare the different kinds of homes the various tribes built. Design your own home using materials from nature.

Storytelling-how has it changed over time

Patterns-in Native American music and art

New uses for mud.