Saturday, January 15, 2022

Rules and the Pigeon

One of my favorite ways to apply Rules from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity is to read a series of books about one character and then determine what "rules" apply. What is always true about this character? It's challenging for the students because often they will say something from the last story we read-but I am looking for something that is ALWAYS true.

We are working on persuasive text and so we read the books from Mo Willems' Pigeon series this week. We discussed his traits then I asked the students to write about what the Rules fro the Pigeon were.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Inventing a New Holiday

If you know me at all you know that I am a big fan of using activities that will help our students learn to invent something new. 

In social studies one of our objectives has to do with holidays. How do we celebrate? Why do we celebrate? So to end that unit we make a map showing everything the holidays have in common. Do they have a certain color we associate with it? What kind of activities do we do to celebrate?

Then the students work in groups to invent their own holiday. I have to be very clear that I'm not talking about Christmas or Valentine's Day-they have to come up with something new. This is challenging for them.

Here's what my students came up with this year:

Emoji Day

Kids Day\

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Persuasive Text

We have been working on the genre of persuasive text. I read books like these:

And then I asked the students to write their own. Some made good arguments, some said I was beautiful. :) 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Novelty in the Classroom

We spend about 7 hours a day in our classrooms. Routine is very important not only so we can make sure everyone is following the same schedule but also to help with SEL strategies of keeping predictibility in our day. 

However, it also helps to change things up from time to time just to keep things interesting. My dog is very smart. He gets bored easily with his toys. But if I link two toys together-look a new toy! He LOVES that. I think it's the same with our students. 

Ways I believe we can use novelty in the classroom:

1) Rearrange the classroom periodically. Let the students change seats. With the world of Covid we have to be strategic about this. We do it before going on breaks so they aren't sitting in someone else's germs.

2) Room Transformations-if we are learning about bats I buy black tablecloths at the dollar store and cover their desks to make caves. When we learn about the "qu" digraph we decorate for a wedding so q and u can get married.

3) Incorporating fun critical thinking activities like optical illusions or riddles.

4) Games! My students love to play Four Corners with their sight words or sight word snowball fight where the words are written on a paper and we throw them at each other for a minute and then read our words.

5) Different supplies-even just giving kids troll pens or colored printer paper can make an activity more exciting.

More than ever right now we need to make things as engaging as possible. Only 5 months left to get the students where they need to be.

What kinds of activity do you do to shake things up?