Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Making Bubble Maps More Rigorous

Bubble maps are a great way to have students describe a character. I don't give them templates because I want them to come up with as many as they are capable of coming up with-naturally differentiated. After they write their adjectives I have them choose one and write about the evidence for that in the story. It's easy to say a character is brave-but why? It generates great discussions. We described Swift from A Wolf Called Wander and one of my students asked can you be brave and scared at the same time? 

Here are some examples; 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A Wolf Called Wander

I participate in a district-wide reading program. A list is put together that is mostly Bluebonnet Nominee's and each year I have the wonderful opportunity to read a number of new titles.

This book was on last year's list:

My students love stories about animals and this one is a great example of a first person narrative. Based on the true journey of a real wolf in Oregon who left his pack and traveled alone over 1,000 miles. This story is one of resilience, determination and the importance of packs. There are parts that I skipped-even though we have learned about the food chain, they didn't like the detailed summaries of deer being killed by the wolves. But it's a story that resonated with my little wolf-obsessed students. They begged to hear the story every day and couldn't wait to find out what happened to our protagonist.

The activities that accompanied the chapters read daily had to do with cause and effect, talking about the difference in hearing the wolf's perspective and the arc of the character development.

There was also this great video from the author explaining her motivation and process:

And this site with other resources. We discovered a real wolf sanctuary only about an hour away. I'm hoping to write a grant so we can take a field trip.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

ABC's of Retirement

Our beloved nurse is retiring this year and we wanted to do something meaningful to let her know how much she would be missed. We created the ABC's of retirement-the students illustrated something she could do for fun with each letter of the alphabet. We did a few letters per day and used Pear Deck for the kiddos to illustrate their ideas. Some letters were harder than others and I didn't want all zebras for Z, etc. I wanted them to be creative. I think it came out really cute. Here are a few of their designs:

concentrate with zen

watch a beautiful wave

Friday, May 21, 2021


We did a unit on informational text and I decided to have the students write autobiographies. We did rough drafts-it was hard for them to write several slides about the same topic. I was so impressed with the details in their illustrations and how creative they were in the facts they included. We used Pear Deck (of course) and this was a multi-step, multi-day project. Some of them lost steam at the end but many really shined with this activity!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Digital Projects for Mother's Day

With Mother's Day right around the corner, my students wanted to do something special for them. We drew and wrote on several slides in Pear Deck. I screenshotted those and put them in a powerpoint to create a video for our moms. (If anyone knows a better way to do that, please let me know-I played with several different programs but nothing was exactly what I wanted).

Here are some of my favorite slides:

She is a warrior.

as caring as a heart

Her title

I am grateful for your.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Teacher Survey for Young Kiddos

I survey my parents and students often. I feel like this is important to guide our instruction. What do they feel like is working and what needs to be tweaked. The problem is when you work with young kids they LOVE everything! It's very hard to get an honest answer from them about what is not working. So instead we do a writing activity with targeted questions:

What does your teacher like? ---So if their answers are a student's name or behavior that is a problem for me. 

What does your teacher not like?--Again, they usually name behaviors but I can tell how positive our classroom environment is by what those behaviors are.

My teacher always says....?  If these are negative things then I know I'm not working hard enough to develop our classroom culture.

My teacher believes....?   This one confused some of my students. They were like "Jesus"? But when I explained I think they came up with some interesting answers.

I don't make a big deal about not eating meat but I have 2 vegetarians in our class so if someone starts giving them a hard time, I jump in with guess what-that's me too.

Always says: "I am trying to listen to other people"-this refers to our hybrid class right now. Trying to hear the kids at home when the kids in class are talking.

Love that she knows I like her! :)
Does not like: playing with sticks (this refers to our recess rules)
Always says: don't be noisy
Believes: unicorns are not real

Likes teaching
Always says: I'm a boogerbear (that's what I affectionately call them)

likes: when everybody gets done
always says: go to the Pear Deck