Thursday, December 31, 2020

Classroom Resolutions

Well this has definitely been a year! We started virtually for the first month of school and then parents had the choice of whether to send their students to school or keep them home learning virtually. My class was split exactly in half. I learned a LOT this year. I feel like sometimes we get obstacles in our life to challenge us and make us better teachers.

Reflecting on this year so far, there are many things I will carry on in my practice even when we are fully face-to-face.

1) SEL-we start our day every day with a read-aloud relating to SEL skills-empathy, managing emotions, managing anger, friendship skills. My district put this into our schedule in the beginning and I can feel a difference in my students and the community we have been allowed to develop. If you have a membership to Kindle Unlimited there are so many options there.

2) Virtual field trips:

Not a great picture, I know but the stars represent everywhere we have visited so far. Every Friday we learn about a different country-we virtually visited:  France, China, Chile, Australia, New York, Disneyland, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Brazil, India and the students read Easter Island on the map and requested a visit there. My favorite part is that I even learn new things about these places.

3) Pear Deck-I know I have posted about Pear Deck before but it has just been a lifesaver for me this year. I prepare my whole day's lessons-reading, math, writing, science and social studies in the Google slides. I can add a part where students can write/type a response. It has been a great way for me to easily get grades this year.  We project it on the Smartboard for students in class at the same time my students at home are following along. Students in class reponsd on dry erase boards, students at home on the Pear Deck. I LOVE it and will continue to use it in the future.

I resolve to continue to do these things moving forward. Choosing my One Word for this year (a word you will develop your year around) was difficult this year. I feel like there are a lot of things I could have chosen. But my word is "THRIVE". We will not just survive the school year but we will thrive. 

What are some of your classroom resolutions this year?

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Teaching Creativity

It is something contested by scientists-can creativity be taught or is it just something we are born with. I believe the former and I will tell you why. Teaching in early childhood, often students enter our classrooms not knowing what it means to be creative. They try to answer questions with what they think the adults want to hear. From day 1 (my first vocabulary words for them are creative and unique)--creativity is something I encourage.

When we do activities they are open -ended. I'm not a cut-out-all-the-pieces-and-the-kids-glue-it-together kind of teacher. I give them the materials and their products come from their vision. Skies don't have to be blue and grass doesn't have to be green in my class.

Another thing I do is an activity where I give students a task. Often I give them letters of the alphabet, split them up into groups and ask them to come up with: animals that begin with the letter s or foods that begin with specific letters. The goal of this activity is that they only get a point if their group came up with an idea no one else thought of. The most creative. So the automatic animal that begins with s for 1st Graders is of course, snake. But the lesson is to dig a little bit deeper. This applies to their work as well. You don't have to write the first thing that pops into your head-try to think of something no one has thought of.

We are in a unique situation this year. I looped with my students from Kinder to 1st. So I have had the opportunity to see them grow in this area. Yesterday we did an activity where I gave them a word and they had to say what came next. So for example: hot __________________. Now we just did a unit with the hot chocolate theme so I knew some would say that but some dug a little deeper. Then a student said Hot Cheetos and we talked about how hot can also mean spicy. How we can think about the different things words can mean.




I was a proud teacher yesterday hearing all the creative responses. At one point every student said something different for an answer. I truly believe creativity can be taught if we take the time to encourage it in our classrooms.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Multiple Perspectives for Winter

I LOVE using multiple perspectives with young kids because I truly believe it helps develop in them the concept of empathy. Young kids believe the world revolves around them and that their experiences are the only ones that matter. These activities help broaden their horizons.

Here in Texas my kiddos have not seen snow first hand-we are learning about it though. I asked them to imagine being a snowflake. What would that feel like? What would you wish for? What would you see? Here is what my virtual students wrote in their Pear Decks: