Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just the Facts!

One of the projects that we worked on before Parent Information Night (aka Back to School Night aka Open House) was "Just the Facts about..." Each student had his/her picture taken with a magnifying glass held near his/her eye. The pictures turned out awesome! The students loved seeing their faces magnified!

Then students wrote true facts about him/herself scattered around the picture. To complete this project, students mounted their paper and pictures on brown construction paper and cut aluminum foil to make it look like a clipboard. This didn't take very long and now the students can read about each other while we're in the hall (probably waiting on the restroom)! Here's a close-up of their work:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fair Isn't Equal

I think everyone in the Pinterest world has seen the Bandaid Lesson to teach that fair isn't equal.

First, I asked each student to close their eyes and come up with a pretend injury. Then I call each student to share their injury and how it happened. There were MANY different kinds of injuries and causes in my classroom! Some had broken collarbones from skateboarding accidents while others broke their leg in a soccer match, one was thrown from a horse and another cracked his skull.

After listening to everyone's (painful) injuries, I chose one student to come to the front of our room. I asked her to again tell us what happened (fell down) and where it hurts (scrapped knee). After I placed the bandaid on her knee, I went through each of my students and gave them a bandaid in the same exact spot as the scrapped knee student. A few replied, "But that wasn't where I was hurt!" I tell them that I am treating them all fairly and that I have knee bandaids for everyone! Some tried to argue so I said, "Ohhh you want me to give you a bandaid where you NEED it?" Students, of course, look at me and give me the "Duh!" look. (I did this with all students and even though they know I will put it in the same spot as the others, they think I may change to a different spot for them). Here are the students with their sad faces with their bandaids (some where a bit dramatic with their poses!).

After all students have a bandaid, I take time to discuss that fair doesn't mean the same. We are all different so what we need is not always the same. Each student in our classroom has their own needs and it is my (and other teachers') job to give them their best opportunity to succeed. We then hang the following poster up in our room:

(find it here)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Common Core: Rounding

At our school, the K, 1, & 2 grades are deep into the Common Core Standards curriculum. Grades 3 & 4 will take The CCS on fully next year, but have been asked to incorporate lessons this year to get into how instruction will flow. Our 3rd grade team decided that Monday is our Common Core Day! This week, we worked on Rounding to the nearest ten.

To introduce/review this skill, we thought about roller coasters! Numbers on the upwards slope, roll back and on the downwards slope, roll forward. Here is my (non-artistic) drawing of that idea:

Then, we got into game time to practice our new skill! Our game came from Number Activities: Numbers and Operations in Base Ten resource from K-5 Math Resources, we used the Rounding Game to practice rounding the nearest tens place. The students are in partners and use playing cards Ace (1) through 9 to play this game. The deck is laid face down on the game board and each player chooses two cards at a time.

In the first picture above, Player One has drawn the number 16 and Player Two has drawn 77. The students then round their numbers to the nearest tens place. Player One rounds to 20 and Player Two rounds to 80. Player Two has won and gets to keep all four cards. If there is a tie, students take back their own two cards. Partners work through the entire deck and the player with the most cards at the end is the winner!

Another helpful resources for rounding is this Rounding Chart from Super Teacher Worksheets. It is members-only for download, but something that could be recreated easily:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First Week Survival

The first week of school is always a stress filled time of the school year! Our class took time to discuss classroom strategies together. Instead of calling them rules, we have changed it to calling them classroom strategies so that they lose their negative connotation. The students and I will work on our strategies each day. To begin with, students created a circle map of rules they think we should have in our class.

After the students were done with their individual circle maps, the students work with their groupmates to sort their rules into our strategies. The classroom strategies we have are: Help people in need, Think of people's feelings, Never be mean or hurtful, Do caring things, Think of how your actions affect others. This was a real challenge for some of the students. We then discussed their rule sort as a class and found ways to display our strategies with one another.

As I have said before, I have a fish theme in my classroom. On Wednesday, students began painting their salt dough fish. We will hang them from the ceiling all year long. The students had a wonderful, creative time making their fish beautiful!

Our classroom is working on their Daily 5 - Read to Self stamina. The first day we worked 3 minutes, then 5, and Friday we achieved 8.5 minutes! I am so proud of their hard work!!

I'm sure you have seen the Post-It Questions all over Pinterest! Well, my students answered the questions. I loved reading their answers about what I can do to make their school year successful and how our classroom can run smoothly.

Lastly, for Art this first week, students decorated their traced names. Before school started, I used bulletin board letters to trace each student's name on poster board. The two rules are: follow my penciled outline of the name and decorate the letters, leaving no white poster board showing through. I will laminate them, students will cut away the extra margins, and the names will decorate our classroom walls!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Miss Rumphius

Today we read Miss Rumphius, about a woman who sets out to make the world a more beautiful place. The way she does this is by planting lupine seeds everywhere she goes. While we read the book, our class discusses why Miss Rumphius was inspired to make an impact on the world.

Miss Rumphius

My students make a list of how they can make Moonlight (our school) a better place. Each of them create a bookmark with their reasons on one side and a lupine flower on the other. We made the lupine flowers with oil pastels, finger paints, and crayons.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Peacemakers & Peacebreakers

Today was a rainy day in Kansas. We are used to heat indexes in the 100s, so the rain was very welcome with the nice mid80s! And you know what rain means = indoor recess!

(view from my desk during indoor recess! lots of coloring and pretending!)
No, David!
Today, I read No, David to my students. They LOVE this book! We made connections to our own lives and when David's situations and naughty behaviors are similar to our own. Then, we moved onto thinking of how we can be Peacebreakers and Peacemakers in the classroom. Here are our ideas:

And we can't go into a lesson without a little bit of art/hands-on activities! This is my example of a Peacemaker David. My students are making their own. On each Davids' tshirt is the students finish the sentence "I am a peacemaker when I...". I really enjoyed reading their reasons!