Sunday, September 11, 2016

Having an Ishful Day

We had a busy Monday! We kicked off our first full week learning about our spelling routine. During the fall I like to get the agents into a routine. They have the choice between regular spelling words or a word list with some challenge words that I created. Both lists of words fit a rule each week. Spelling homework goes home on Monday. There are 4 sheets: ABC order, Sentences, Three Times a Charm, and a practice sheet. Most of it they are welcome to type in Google Docs and share with me or do it in a word processing program and email it to me as an attachment. It can also be handwritten neatly. They should work no more than 20 min a night (unless your child chooses to work longer) on each sheet. One sheet is due per day. It is your child’s choice what sheet to do each night. However if they do some early less they have to do later in the week. This is the beauty of teaching time management skills. Students should craft thoughtful sentences where they show understanding of the word.

We spent some time organizing our writing for The Best Part of Me project. We reviewed similes, personification, and alliteration as writing techniques to make their paragraphs stronger and more interesting. Using a graphic organizer, students thought about different ways to describe the best part of them. Teaching students to use graphic organizers as a tool is vital to help them as they grow as your authors.

During read aloud we continued our Peter Reynold’s author study. Friday we read So Few Of Me and discussed lessons we learned. Ask your agent what he or she learned from the story!  Peter is a fantastic illustrator and author who believes in teaching kids creativity and following their dreams. International Dot Day, celebrated by millions worldwide is taking place September 15th. Students are encouraged to wear dots that day to school! Today we read Ish, which teaches students about the power of being okay with something looking ishful!. Through this tale you learn to be yourself, and it is okay not to be perfect. Thinking ishfully allows us all to be okay with our own creativity. We might not draw a tiger perfectly but I bet it is tigerish. We could have a saddish day. Students had the opportunity to create something ishful! To learn more about Dot Day visit:

I wanted to share my latestblog post from my other blog as it relates to what we are doing in school! It is called Wait! You Do Not Want Us To Raise Our Hands?

As part of my student learning goal I want to teach students how to be more mindful when communicating with others. Therefore I am working with them on not raising their hands but speaking and waiting their turn just like a conversation at the dinner table. I am tracking data per subject until the number of hands raised reaches zero. I began to think about how in the real world no one raises their hand to speak in the office, at the dinner table, or out on the playground.

I introduced the concept the first day of school while going over classroom guidelines in a presentation. Students were pretty taken aback by this. I never realized how raising hands was such a conditioned behavior like Pavlov’s dogs until I started this. Over the course of the first three days of school I noticed it was very hard for students to not raise their hands. They actually waited for me to call on them until one figured out she could just speak, so she did. Then others followed. What is tricky is figuring out how to share the communication space, especially when so many students want to speak at once. What I am finding (even after three days) is that some of my more quiet students are expressing themselves to the class more with not feeling the pressure of having that hand raised. Others are trying to navigate when to speak. Some are not sure what to make of this. Hands are still being raised all day, but I am hoping we can eventually get there.

I am wondering if students will be more apt to speak in this manner. Will they embrace this change? How will they view this? Trying to unlearn such a conditioned behavior can be challenging, but I am hoping this builds our classroom community and teaches students not only about mindfulness but how to be in the world.

Using clicker counter I began collecting data on the number of times students raised their hands for each core subject until each subject was at 0 hands. I was curious to see which subject would be the first and which one would be the last for this experiment. 

1 comment:

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