Running on empty,
Why does it always seem like I'm running behind?
The paraphrased lyrics above are from one of my favorite Jackson Browne songs, and they describe how I felt all week! Playing "catch up" and getting reacquainted with my students after a 23-day hiatus due our holiday break and Snowapocalypse 2014 was beyond exhausting, and I am grateful for this three-day weekend to just shovel myself out from under long to-do lists, write lesson plans, grade piles of papers, finish some resources, and begin writing progress reports!
In hopes of saving time but still sharing some helpful information and ideas (and random reflections), I thought I'd combine my SHOUT OUT SATURDAY/SUNDAY post with DoodleBug's FIVE FOR FRIDAY link up, so here goes!
Despite the fact that we are 13 days away from celebrating our 100th day together, my students seem to need a refresher lesson (or two, or three, or four) about our classroom rules, especially the one about "treating others like you would like to be treated!" I am plan to lead a discussion on "The Ingredients of Friendship" using these posters next week! Hopefully, my students will remember how to follow this "recipe" for getting along and Room 2 will be a more pleasant place! Click on the link to see what this chef is cooking up to help improve behavior in your classroom!
Ever since my student teaching days-- back during the prehistoric time of the dinosaurs (yes, I am OLD)-- my lessons have always been thematic, literature-based, and cross-curricular. My amazing mentor teacher, Ms. Judy Brandon, immersed her students in art, literature, music, and hands-on activities daily, and taught me the importance of a literacy-based, developmentally appropriate, differentiated approach to instruction. She showed me how to honor and respect the different learning styles of my students while engaging and inspiring them. She interspersed her well-crafted lessons with anecdotes about her life, and shared souvenirs from her international travels. She began each school day with a story and a song, and so do I.
This week, our thematic learning centered on all things related to S-N-O-W. We rhymed and spelled with -ow words, we brainstormed parts-of-speech words to use in sensory poems that described it, we created different types of graphs about our favorite winter activities, and we read oodles of wonderful books about snowmen. We were VERY busy, and I was not able to snap pictures and manage the "blizzard" of activities at the same time! I promise to take some next week as we continue to enjoy our study of winter weather!
The chalk-on-blue paper scenes my class created based on the illustrations in Snowmen At Night are absolute masterpieces, and I will post some examples once I have them displayed in our hallway "gallery!" If you are not familiar with this book series, you must go directly to your local bookstore and buy it! The gleeful, whimsical illustrations, and the rollicking, rhyming text will delight and inspire your readers to draw and write about snow adventures of their own!
At the end of every afternoon, about 10 minutes before the busses come, I try to call a "classroom family meeting" and have our "Star Student of the Week" share items that he or she has packed in their "Clue Bag." The other students then have to guess what the object, picture, memento, etc. means to the Star Student or why it is special. This Show-and-Tell time helps my group learn to ask good questions and give answers using complete sentences, speak confidently in front of a crowd, make inferences based on visual clues or prior knowledge, learn to take turns, and really listen to each other. Helping students connect with and understand each other's talents, dreams, likes, and dislikes promotes tolerance, respect, and diversity.
Check back for a future post with pictures and a "freebie" that will help you put this activity into practice and promote a positive learning environment! Since we did not have a new Star Student this past week, I seized the opportunity fill a leftover holiday shopping bag with clues about "What Do You Think Your Teacher Did On Her Snow Days!" and had my students make guesses. They had a grand time trying to figure out what the significance of each object was, and roared with laughter when I pulled out my pajama pants with puppy paw prints on them! They chuckled even more when I explained that "taking naps on the couch with my hound dogs" is a high priority on days when school is closed!
MY MYSTERY BAG, SNOWMAN COLLECTION, AND SMILEY FACE FRUIT SNACKS
READY TO HEAD BACK-TO- SCHOOL THIS PAST MONDAY MORNING!
THE VIEW OUTSIDE MY FRONT DOOR AFTER ALMOST THREE WEEKS OF
THE WHITE STUFF!
I always introduce my students to the glorious picture books of Jan Brett during the winter months, and her website features a wonderful Reader's Theater script and animal masks for The Hat! My students also love watching her "How To Draw Animals" videos that are available, and spent much of their afternoon indoor recess on Friday drawing hedgehogs of their own! Click below to explore these and other available resources. You can also register to win a school or library author visit for 2014-2015!
February is only 11 days away and Valentine's Day will be here before we know it! If you would like to plan ahead, then you MUST visit Reading and Writing Redhead's blog! Click on the link below for a lovely collection of books, crafts, and projects! Thanks to Bex for providing such a wonderful variety of ideas!
It is time for me to get creating now! I am working on a deadline and need to get my newest product finished in time for my first Facebook Freebie event! It is scheduled for next weekend so mark your calendars! I promise to give you a "sneak peek" later this week!
I will sign off today with a favorite quote from Judy Garland....
Thanks to Doodlebugs for the opportunity to "link up" this week! Click on the icon at the top of this post to join in the fun! It's not too late!
Until next time, keep a song in your heart and a smile on your face!