Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Can't Possibly Choose a Best Part of Today! ...Library Mouse, Cameras, Books, Glue, Highlighting, Pinterest...

Wow. I love my job.

Having said that, probably the best part of my day was the minute I got home and sat on the couch. Bliss. Tired feet. Tired everything. Love my kids and husband. Totally time to relax!

But besides THAT...

Best parts of the day:

1. This morning we sang our "Good Morning" song, and for the first time, I broke out the transparent plastic pieces to highlight words. Omiword. It was love at first sight. My darling students LOVED using them to highlight high frequency words.

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2. During the first week of school, I read Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk, and my class really enjoyed it. Today, we re-read. I told students ahead of time that I wanted them to listen very carefully for important ideas and details, so they paid attention well. I stopped several times while reading to ask students what they noticed about the story. I gave them time to discuss with partners, share with the whole group, and we created this chart.

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My students noticed many other things. Each time a child raised a hand to share, I praised them for thinking and participating. But I actually only wrote down what I wanted to. I really wanted to highlight traits and events that made Sam a reader and a writer. My class loved hearing the story again!

3. Every Friday, my students choose new books to keep in their book boxes for the week. With some classes, book chooseing can be a little ... ahem... busy? I don't want to say "chaotic," because I am a teacher, and I pride myself on the order that I am able to maintain in my room.  But some classes I've had in the past have had some difficulty with choosing those new books, and honestly, that time of the week often felt like chaos. Shhh. Don't tell.

Man, this class has GOT IT. It was a total delight to watch them put last week's books back in the correct place, help each other find where books belong, choose new books... Unbelievably fun.

4. We had our group time. While three other groups were busy with various jobs, I worked with a small group. I always teach my students to use all the classroom tools at the beginning of the year. Last week, I taught them how to use scissors (lots of reminders about safety), staplers, and scotch tape. After my demo, some discussion, and some "guided practice," I put out a tub full of paper, and let them go wild with the staplers and tape. They loved it.

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This week, my lesson was on hole punches and "teeny tiny dots of glue." I showed the students how to use regular hole punches and craft punches, we had a serious discussion about "teeny tiny dots of glue," and then I let them experiment again. It was awesome...peaceful...endearing...adorable. Those little children punched and punched and punched and then glued everything to make pictures or designs of some kind. Some students did so much punching that there wasn't time for glue, so I just offered them Ziploc bags so they could save "the little holes" and take them home. How cute is that? Imagine a bunch of 4-5-6 year olds carrying little bags full of the stuff you usually clean out of the 3-hole punch and throw away! I swear, they are unbelievably cute, and they're not even trying!

5. Early last week, we interviewed the principal. Students thought of questions they wanted to ask, we walked to the principal's office, squeezed the whole group in and interviewed her. I sent two students with my "mini iPad minis" (older iPhone models, no longer in service) and they were our official photographers. It turns out that it was a good thing I took a couple of pictures while we were in the principal's office. My "photographers" got lots of pictures of each other, the carpet, some of the wall, etc.

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Ha ha ha! Classic! That's our principal in the red shirt!

But it was an important job, and each student did end up getting a few decent shots.

So out of that experience grew the idea for children to just play with the cameras during our Choice Time. I really want to use the cameras so that children can record their learning and share with others. And obviously some practice was in order. So I added "Cameras" as an option. WOW.  In three days this week, my class took a total of 671 pictures!

OH YEAH! That's enthusiasm!

And though the pictures varied in quality, I observed the very beginnings of claymation ideas, movie-making, interviewing skills, storytelling, and documentation. Here's a sample:

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And there are hundreds of cool pictures that they took of each other. Yes, lots of stuck out tongues and goofy faces, and some silly "self-portraits." But we are on our way! One student switched to video mode, and walked around asking other students to explain what they were doing!

6. After school my new teacher friend, Gwen, came to my room to work on pairing up my students with her fifth graders for some buddy activities.  I met Gwen on my first day at my new school... the day I was moving and unpacking. She spotted me walking toward the staff room, jumped out of her chair and raced toward me. She threw her arms around me even before asking, "Are you the new K-1 teacher? Bless you!" When I asked her name, she said, "It doesn't matter! You don't have time! Go work on your room!" She popped her head into my room later that day to ask if I needed any copies made (Isn't she AWESOME?!), but hadn't been over to visit since, and my room has changed a lot! When she walked in the room, she looked around and said, "I want to pin everything in your room!" Totally made my day, because Gwen's a Pinterest pro and teaching champ herself! Thank you, Gwen!

And now it's the weekend! I really do love my job, just need a little recovery time! What was the best part of your day or week? Please share!

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