Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What was that?

A few things happened yesterday, that I need to record. 

The first was the incident of the toot. A second grade boy yesterday got up to blow his nose, while we were in morning meeting. During morning meeting, we all sit in a large circle that includes everyone so that we can conduct any business for the day. On his way back to his seat next to me in the circle, he ripped a large fart, right behind my head. Let me tell you, it didn't smell all that good either. I look at the student and asked "Really, dude? Did you have to do that right behind my head?" He didn't have a response, he just shrugged his shoulders and sat down. I started to giggle and he did too! 

A little later that day, we were able to go visit the VA Home which is down the street a little ways from our school. My students go and play bingo with the residents. Well on this particular day, one of my students got a bingo. He was so excited he jumped up, tipped his chair back and yelled "Miss W., Miss W., Miss W." Instead of the most common yell of Bingo! You just have to love his enthusiasm. I think the best part of that trip, was delivering our Valentine's to the Veterans that were playing that day. The smiles lit up the room. I honestly don't know who was smiling more my students or the residents at the home. 

Yesterday, was one of those really great days!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pep Talk from Kid President!

Do I need to say more? This video has gone viral and within days this young man has taken the country by storm. 

This young man has inspired me to try and experiment with my students at school. (My students have a dream for our community, our country to become better. Well, according to Kid President, we need to act now.) So here are my actions to help my classroom recognize their own dreams and to begin to change the world for better.

Step 1.  Show video
Step 2.  Show video one more time.
Step 3.  As the powerful question, "What are you going to do to make the world more awesome?"
Step 4.  Write them down and put them on display. 
Step 5.  Have students make an action plan. 
Step 6.  Implement action plan. 
Step 7.  Celebrate. 

I hope this will inspire and empower my students to understand that they can make a difference starting today and not "when I am older." Change can happen today, right this second. 

So it is time for us to get up and do something! Stop being boring. 

So I ask you what are you going to do to make the world more awesome today?

She's all about the fun....

A parent tracked me down at the end of the day... and instantly my thoughts streamed to what happened throughout the day to make sure they were approaching in a non-threatening, pointing fingers kind of way. If you are a teacher, I know you know what I mean. Teachers, out of habit of constantly self-reflecting, we tend to read into minor details and we know anything we say or do in class will get repeated at home (the good, the bad, and the ugly.) Luckily for me it was the good!

The parent comes into the classroom and begins by saying I don't know if I should tell you this but...

(At this point, I am so intrigued that of course I need to know what was said, and what incriminating evidence was shared at home that would warrant the parent coming to see me.) 

So the parent precedes to tell me how her daughter came home singing a song one of the other students shared during our closing crew circle. I need to mention this is song I wish they wouldn't ever sing and deserved a reprimand behind the scenes. (Closing crew is a time to share, remember about our day and to be just plain silly sometimes, it helps us become closer.) Apparently, her daughter was singing the song, over and over again at the top of her lungs. Finally, it started to get on the nerves of her family and her mom asked "where did you learn that song?"
      Student A responded nonchalantly,  "I learned it at school during closing crew." 
      "Oh, was Miss W. ok with that song? Did she say anything to the student who was singing it?"
      "No! Mom, Miss W. is all about the fun! She wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings."

I am so grateful that this parent shared this story with me. It was just a tad bit embarrassing, but it made my day to have one of my students know that school should be fun and most of all, I would never purposefully be mean to anyone. Sometimes as a teacher, you have to correct behavior and you always wonder how students are taking the corrections. Apparently, this student is taking it in stride!

Kids make my day!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on Monday and that's right, this girl is going to have to work. I am not too sure the reasoning behind this, but to comfort myself, I like to think that it is because the students wouldn't learn about this man who made a difference by standing up for what he thought was right. Oh and inspired millions to speak up too. 

I plan on taking full advantage of Martin Luther King, Jr. and teaching about a person who was kind, respectful, thoughtful, intelligent and well-spoken African-American male who took pride in finding solutions to difficult problems. I am going to say, I know he wasn't a perfect man and he probably made millions of mistakes, but who hasn't. So now that I got that out of the way, we can give thanks and honor his memory, by focusing on what he accomplished in his short life. 

Martin inspired people to love one another, and to change the injustices of the world through peace and understanding. 

He was one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, who helped change the  laws, so that future generations would not be segregated based on the color of their skin. I am not here to claim that the laws helped change the minds and hearts of all, but it helped force some people to face the issues and begin to change.

I think the most important lesson I want my students to learn from his life is that it is important to dream and then figure out how to make that dream happen. 

In years past I have been impressed about the dreams they have shared with me and others. (This is after we discuss to death that I am not talking about daydreams or nighttime dreams, but of what we want for our community/country/or our world's future.)

Most often they dreams revolve around, no more hunger, no more violence, no more pollution. 

If I could help one child realize their dream and help them find a way to pursue it, how would our world change?

This year we will once again identify our dreams, but I think I am going to take it one step further and see if they can figure out one-step that they can do to work towards their dream. 

How are you going to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. day?

p.s. Here are some of my favorite books to teach about Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Christine King Farris (She also wrote, March On! The Day My Brother Changed the World)

Meet Martin Luther King Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore and Amy Wummer

My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hello there stranger!

So I know it has been a while since I have posted anything and I plan on being much better about updating my blog! My goal is 3 to 5 times a week, highlighting the ups and downs of teaching and anything that I find that has helped teach different concepts. Now that obligatory phrase was mentioned, here I go!

Life flies by and in a moments notice you can be turned around, flipped on your head and right yourself once more. Maybe that doesn't make sense, but life doesn't make sense. 

One of the reasons why I love teaching is because of... you guessed it the money! Ha! If only that was the case. I never thought my favorite part of going to school day to day is the belly laugh of 25 students. The best thing is when they can make me laugh so hard I start to cry. 

Today was one of those days. I was tired, drained, frustrated (not at my students, at myself because I haven't seen as much progress in my students this year as last year and as a teacher you ultimately fault yourself a hundred-fold before even pointing a finger at someone else) and just plain tired... until one of my fist grade girls was read me one of her creative stories and accidentally nudged my nose with her pencil. I, being one for dramatics, decided to go with it to get the others students out of their funk. I preceded to fake an injury, this started a roll of belly laughs. Amazingly, my students took it in stride and just continued on with their work. 

Sometimes laughing is the answer. 

What I really want to know is it possible to skip without smiling? I would like someone to try it and get back to me. I think I am going to do it with my class tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More inferencing ideas!

Lesson idea #1

Length: 20-25 minutes

      Cut out 8-10 pictures from magazines that you think would be fun to make an inference with.
            Glue magazine pictures onto a piece of construction paper
            Large Sticky Notes

1)    Show students the pictures. Take one picture and make an inference and show them how to write their inference down on a large sticky note. “I think she is saying/thinking…” or “I think he is feeling…” and then stick it below the picture.
2)    Your students job is to pick one of the pictures and make an inference and stick it below their picture they chose. If you see students flocking to only a couple of pictures, encourage some of them to go to another picture.
3)    After they are done, collect all of the pictures and read aloud the inferences that were made.

Lesson idea #2

Length: 10 -15 Minutes

No Materials Needed!


Play the game: Pass the ….

This is a game that requires no talking, but great acting skills. To begin have all students in one large circle. Tell them we are going to be playing, Pass the… The person who starts passing is going to have an object in their mind and they are going to use their body to show what it could be, No TALKING is allowed!

When the last person passes it to the person who started it, students can guess what the object was. Take three guesses, if no one has guessed correctly the student then may share what it was.

The first time, the teacher should start the object as a practice run through. After playing and you feel your kids are ready, break them into smaller groups to play this game.

Lesson idea #3

            Tuesday by David Weisner

Tuesday is a wordless book (it might have 5 words all together) to make the story you need to make inferences to tell what is going on in the story.

As you “read” the story, encourage students to make inferences to tell the story. Have one or two students comment on each page to create the story. Prompt students and point to different parts of the illustrations if you think they are missing something. Remind students to look at expressions, and body language and the scenery to help tell the story.

**Inferencing can happen anytime and anywhere. Encourage students to make inferences in books they are reading or looking at.

Lesson idea #4

Zoom by Istvan Banyai

This is another wordless book. Each page makes you zoom away from it was first looking at. This book is fun for students to use the setting to help figure out what they are looking at and can help develop inferencing skills because they are encouraged to be detectives that pay attention to small details.

Lesson idea #5

            The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

            This is another fun read aloud. Not only will your students laugh at the funny moles that trying to figure out what invaded their underground home. As you work your way through the story it can be interesting to listen your students make inferences about what the moles think of this “Great Fuzz.”
Lesson idea #6

            The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

            Use this funny little mouse to help your students practice inferencing. The illustrations bring this story alive and my students thought it was one of the funniest books of the year! It also is a story about sharing, there are lessons to be learned from every story.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Booger Pickers, Booger Pickers, Please No More!

I don’t know if I have ever gone a year without having “gold miners” in my classroom. I have the full spectrum of booger pickers in my room. If you are a teacher or a parent I am sure you know what I mean.  If I forget a kind let me know and I will make sure I add it to my list.

Sneaky Picker- This is the kid who has their back to you, so they think you don’t know what they are doing.

Nose-Cover Picker- This is the kid that remains great eye contact with you, but will ever so slowly use one hand to cover the nose and use the other finger to go for it.

Head In Their Lap Picker- This is the kid who puts their face in their laps and then proceeds to pick it.

Backpack Picker- This is the kid who pretends to go their backpacks to get something out, but really just trying to hide the fact they are picking their nose.

I am not ashamed picker- This is the kid who isn’t afraid to pick it, look at it and then eat in front of you.

I am sure there are more, but in my classroom these are the most common of them all. What do you do when you got so much picking going on?

At the beginning of the year we talk about germs a lot! From hand washing to covering your sneeze to blowing your nose, we try to cover all of our bases.

I make my kids sign a no picking booger contract and I hang it in my room all year long. The contract says, “I promise I will never pick my nose!” Then I make all my students sign it. So when my class becomes forgetful (especially in the winter) I revisit the contract and review.

Am I the only one with this problem?