Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Taking Care of Problems #SOL16

I'm joining with Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.

Yesterday I took a personal day. I had scheduled to get my septic pumped. The guys came and there was bad news. My septic was draining properly. Turns out,  I have to replace the first 12 feet of the field line, called the header. I did this nine years ago. Should I really have to replace this already? I called the guy who did the work. He said text him my address and he'll let me know when he can come out. He mentioned something about today, but I haven't heard back from him. So my poor mom is put on alert. When the guy calls me, I call her, and off she runs to my house. Then we had quite a bit of rain last night. While I was watching tv and relaxing, I begin to hear a dripping noise. I discovered a leak in my roof. When it rains, it pours - I guess. Houses - blessed to be able to own one, but boy is it a pain in the neck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Project Presentations - Slice of Life

In my fifth grade social studies class, students have been working on researching a variety of topics related to Westward Expansion. The students worked in pairs based on their topic of interest. Today, groups presented on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Louisiana Purchase, and the Trail of Tears. The kids did such a great job. The group that presented on the Louisiana Purchase wrote a readers theater script that the class performed today. They included information about Madison, Livingston, Jefferson and Napoleon, how the negotiations took place, how the country changed because of the acquired land, and the effects on expanding westward. The class loved performing the reader's theater. The second group presented on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the creation of the Corps of Discovery, background information on Lewis and Clark. They informed us about the interactions with the Native Americans, the important stopping points along the way, as well as information about some of the flora and fauna they discovered, like the Lewis woodpecker. The last group that presented today taught us about the Trail of Tears. This group wrote letters from varying points of view, such as Native American children and mothers, as well as from Andrew Jackson. They did a great job including relevant information use in a persuasive form, especially when they wrote to Jackson. The class really felt for the Native Americans and their enormous loss.

As I've implemented project work in my social studies classes this year, I have discovered that with each project my students delve deeper into their chosen topic. They have become more curious, gotten better at questioning, developed their research and note-taking skills, and used more creativity in their presentations. I am looking forward to tomorrow's presentations!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Educator Collaborative Gathering April 2

I am linking up with Margaret Simon who hosts DigiLit Sundays on her blog, Reflections on the Teche.

Yesterday, I participated in some fantastic PD and all from home in my pjs. Can you get better than that? Chris Lehman put together some wonderful superstars in his The Educator Collaborative Gathering. If you didn't know about this or weren't able to watch the webinars yesterday, they are archived and you can go watch and learn when it's convenient for you - just follow the link, The Educator Collaborative Gathering.

I began with the keynote by listening to Smokey Daniels and Sara Ahmed. I was fortunate enough to hear them speak before at a conference in New Orleans in January 2015. These two are fantastic and really explain the importance and relevance of inquiry and collaboration in the classroom, the importance of listening to your students, and really following their interests. Speaking from personal experience, I know if my students have choice and voice, then I don't have to work on buy in. It's there and their level of dedication, involvement, and investment are off the charts.

Another session I listened to was Notebook Time: Bringing Discovery and Play Back into the Writing Classroom with Rebekah O'Dell and Allison Marchetti. I really enjoyed this session. They talked about the first 5 - 7 minutes of class time being devoted to notebook time and what that looks like. They said there was lots of modeling that went on at the beginning of the year, so students understood what risk taking looked like, with a gradual release. They used free writes, poems, sentence study, data and images. The only thing I don't currently use is data. I find this really intriguing because they said one thing they hear from colleges is that students don't understand how to interpret statistics. I thought this was a great take-away and I plan to implement using data this week into my classroom. I love the idea of having students look at and interpret data. I think this will be a great spring board for both conversation and writing.

There were so many fantastic sessions yesterday. If you weren't able to participate, it's well worth your time to take a look at the archived session. I know you'll come away with something new to try in your classroom.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Made It! #SOL16

It's the last day for the Slice of Life Month of March Challenge, and I can't believe I made it! I have written every single day and commented on posts from others every single day. I can't say I always wrote inspirational posts - or reader worthy for that matter, but I'm very proud of myself for making it to the end. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I set my goal and worked towards it every day. I really enjoyed reading posts by so many others that I didn't know about before. I'm happy that I've found these new blogs and I will continue to read them moving on. Now I have to decide how I want to continue blogging. I know I will participate in the Tuesday Slices, and I'm excited for that. I need to figure out how I want to move forward with other posting though.

This was a great challenge, and I really appreciate those at the Two Writing Teachers blog who started this, arranged everything, organized it for all us, and carried it out!

Hooray! 31 days of posting:)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Planning, Planning and More Planning #SOL16

At our school we have an auction every two years, and this year was an auction year. All the teachers have to offer some type of package for parents to bid on for their children. One of the items I offered with two other teachers is Chopped. We opened it up to be bid on two different times, so we'll have a total of 12 kids competing in the game. I'm meeting with the other two teachers to figure out what we need to do to prepare for the game.

We have a young group, first graders, and an older group, sixth graders, that are competing. (It was only supposed to be offered to fourth and up, but that didn't happen:)) We need to decide how we're going to work the competition since we have such a large difference in ages participating. We think the best way is to split each of the six into groups of three. Then we'll have two first grade teams compete against each other and two sixth grade teams compete against each other.

We have to decide on the ingredients that need to be included in the baskets, as well as what other items/ingredients need to be available as "pantry" ingredients. We also have to decide whether we'll have the kids actually chop ingredients or if everything will already be prepped and ready to use. We have to decide how the teams are going to be judged and what they'll win. Will everyone win something or just one team from each age group.

There is quite a bit of preparation that has to take place before April 9th! I think there are so many things to think about, I hope we don't miss anything. If there's something you think we might need to consider, I'd love it if you left in as a comment.

I hope it will be fun for the kids!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bullet Journals #SOL16

Have you heard of bullet journaling? My daughter introduced me to the idea. We scoured bullet journaling on Pinterest. We watched some videos on bullet journal - how to do it, what to include. Then, we ordered some Leuchtturm 1917 dot journals and pretty colorful pens on Amazon. And we waited. Today they arrived. Yay!

We looked at our new journals. Where to begin? It was a little overwhelming. Neither one of us wanted to write something in our brand new journal and mess it up. We went back to the bullet journal images on Pinterest, watched a couple more videos and then we finally took the plunge. We created some daily pages, a To Do List, an exercise page, and a goal page.

We're excited about this new bullet journal journey. Do you bullet journal?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hope for Our World #SOL16

Yesterday was rainy and gloomy. We met my parents, siblings and their families at church. The minister preached about the true meaning of Easter but he also spoke about his sadness. His mother is in her last stages of life. He talked about his faith and her faith and the power in knowing that this is not the end. I was moved by his strength.

We went to lunch together afterwards at my parents' club. There were many, many families there, spending time together over a meal. You could see the love at each table. Children begging grandparents for help with the push-up desserts. Parents scooping children up for hugs. Everyone taking care of their families.

The children were having a great time. They were trotting between tables, grabbing desserts, climbing into laps, scaling chairs. There was plenty of movement amongst the children. There were smiles. There was laughter.

My father turned to my mother and said, "Seeing these children gives me hope for our world."