Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If We Were Colors...

I am officially freaking out! I leave for Jamaica in a few short hours and I’m pacing around the apt not knowing what to do with myself! Haha so obviously I decided to blog about an upcoming event at school.

Every year my school has an international book fair and food festival. On the same day each class has an author’s reading where the kids each read a story or poem aloud to their families. It is so much fun!! A lot of work, but way worth it in the end. I always have my little ones read poetry because it keeps it short, sweet AND still fun! 

One poem that I use for a prompt is Choose a Color by Jacqueline Sweeney. These turn out SO cute!! 

This is an example of a student’s poem from two years ago. How stinkin’ sweet?!

Annnnddd here is the paper I plan to have my kiddies write their poems on! 

I’ll be back next week! Will miss you all and blogland while I’m away…but OMG cannot wait for the beach!! ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

HOLY Giveaway!!!!

OMG head over to Ladybug's Teacher Files for an amazing blog template giveaway!!!

Isn’t this so freakin’ cute?! I can’t! I’d love, love, love to win this. My sweet little blog would LOVE a makeover!! Keeping my fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stories Unit...

I’m on Spring break for the NEXT TWO WEEKSSSSS!!! Let me just tell you I am the happiest girl in the world right now! I am going to Jamaica with some very fun friends on Wednesday (poor B has to stay home because his graduate program has a different schedule…booooo!) My body, mind and soul all need some R&R like none other. Before I completely drift off into laa-laa land I wanted to share what I’ve been working on…
Our school has been working very hard this past year to re-vamp our current curriculum. Our Principal has worked with us to create interdisciplinary units using a curriculum program called Atlas Rubicon. At first most teachers would roll their eyes or mumble under their breath when Atlas was talked about. However, now I’m finally seeing what the purpose of it is. It will be great when all of our units are uploaded onto it and we can have a clear look at our year in one place. The art, music, foreign language teachers etc. will be able to see when we teach certain units and we will be able to collaborate.  Do any of you use Atlas at your schools?
Our next unit is Stories. It is a completely new unit for our team and I’m excited!!! It’s not like we didn’t teach about stories before, but now we have a few weeks to really dedicate to why stories are important and can be found all around us!!
I completely copied this idea from Kbumreading.com. I took her Fiction Story Walk and tweaked it to what elements I want my little people to focus on. 

Story Walk -

Monday, March 21, 2011

Poem of the Month...

Every day my class has a monthly poem that we recite during morning meeting. It is an excellent way to practice fluency and reading skills such as volume, tone and expression. Plus the kids love it! I keep the poems themed by month and whoever is the line leader that day gets to lead the class in the poem.

There are so many activities that you can do with poetry. I have attached just a quick Persona Poem intro lesson that I read about on Scholastic years ago. They come out very cute every year. It’s really funny to see what each kid picks to be. I will take pics after my class completes this little writing activity. 

Do you use poetry in your classroom? 

Im up here

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Respecting the workers...

OK I promise this will be the last political post for a little while, but I just couldn’t resist. I came across this clip and wanted to share. The situation in our country concerning education and unions is just out of control and it’s nice to see that there are people still willing to defend the average Joes of the world.

I also liked this clip because Congressman Ryan talks about what America needs to do to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century. Sweet lord U.S.A let’s pull it together and QUICK!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pay Teachers More...

Personally, I believe becoming a teacher is a calling…at least it was for me. I just knew that this is what I would do with my life. It wasn’t even much of a choice. I’m very, very lucky that my dream has come true and I’m actually happy to go to work each and every single day. In fact B constantly remarks that he cannot wait to be as happy as I am leaving the house for work every morning.

Here is a very interesting article about teachers, politics, perception, and society. I’m not saying I agree with Nicholas Kristof by any means, but it does elicit some intriguing and timely questions about the role of teachers in America.  

It also kind of makes me want to move to Singapore. I hear it’s beautiful there. ;)

What do you think?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Using technology to humanize education...

A while back I saw Salman Khan on NY1 and I remember thinking what a brilliant idea he had. I just watched a great TED talk that he gave this month. You can view it below.

I recently taped a lesson I taught to my firsties on how to create pod-casts using an ipad so I could share it with my team. I figured this way my team could use the video to go at their own pace and pause me whenever they needed. The idea caught on well and they liked the idea of being able to actually use the ipads while I walked my students (and inadvertently) them through the whole process.

Imagine what this could do for our little ones? We could tape ourselves teaching an array of lessons and fix-up strategies ranging from reading to math etc. Then our students could view these lessons whenever they needed -- maybe while completing a homework assignment or studying for an exam. I am very excited and inspired to use this sort of teaching and SOON! What do you all think?!

Right now I need to get off the computer and help B make dinner before he kills me...haha! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday friends!! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reading Response

It has been WAY too long since my last post. I haven't been feeling all that well and have been very tired. No more excuses -- I am back!!

My class has been working on really responding to reading. This has required lots of modeling, practice and reading (which is always fun!!) My little babies actually really like to discuss books and respond to reading. This week we worked on The Big Idea and text connections.

Google Docs is NOT working for me this morning so I used Scribd. Hope this works!!! 

I'm off to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my family!! Enjoy your weekend friends!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pounds of fun!

Tomorrow my lovely assistant Rose and I will be introducing our little ones to measuring weight. We have already covered measuring length and height using inches and centimeters. We plan on using a lot of hands on activities so the kids can really grasp the concept of units of weight. Tomorrow we will focus on pounds. 
This is the chart we plan to use on the ActivBoard to demonstrate what weighs about a pound. Then the kiddies will get their own chart and work in cooperative groups to estimate and weigh objects such as shoes, books, paper clips etc.

You can get your very own copy of our chart here!
Man I am TIRED!! Thank goodness it is Friday tomorrow…WOOHOO!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ms. Wiley, Ms. Wiley, Ms. Wiley!!!

Ever feel like you can’t accomplish anything because your darling little people are constantly calling your name?! I love them nearly and dearly, but 6 and 7 year olds have a hard time understanding when you need to focus your attention on 1 student or a small group that does not involve them.

I have threatened to change my name, but the kids just laugh at me…haha! Then I came up with my handy dandy alien ears!! You can get these at any dollar store or Oriental Trading. When I wear my alien ears the children know I am busy working with other children (at this time they are working on an independent activity…think reading, math game etc.) I tell them that when I have my alien ears on I do not speak English…instead I only speak alien…BEEP BEEP! THEY LOVE THIS! And the best part is…it really works! The visual of my alien ears stops them in their tracks and they try to problem solve on their own. For example instead of calling “Ms. Wiley I’m ALL DONE!!! WHAT DO I DO?!” They look up at the board for further directions.

 I know...I'm crazy, but it works -- I promise!!
Of course if there is an emergency they are able to come up to me. For things in between, like if they come up with a brilliant text to -self- connection in their book that they want to share with me they write it on a post it note and place it on the Notes to the Teacher board. When I’m finished working with my group I check the notes and get back to the kids.

I just glued the Notes to the Teacher paper to a large piece of construction and hang it in my room.

How do you manage your kiddies while you are working in a small group?!

Blog Template by Delicious Design Studio