Thursday, April 1, 2010

Biography Time!

We had an abundance of celebrities on our campus we welcomed Albert Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt, Mary Todd Lincoln, John Paul Jones...and many others!  It was an exciting culmination to a very long unit of writing.  Students have worked for two weeks through all aspects of the writing process to produce their masterpiece presentation.  The costumes they wore were a testament to the willingness of their parents to support the endeavor to have all of these famous people make a "live" appearance...even though some of them have been gone awhile!  Bet they never dreamed that they would be portrayed in so many cute we see from year to year in our third grade rooms!  What fun!  I love teaching third grade!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reading Secular Novels in a Christian School...Yes or No?

I have had parents argue that novels I use in my classroom were sacreligious and unacceptable for our children to read.  The arguement being that Christian Schools should screen everything and only allow the reading of novels written by Christians.  My stand on this has always been to train children to "think" about the author's message in relation to what God says in His Word.  Children need to be taught how to think about and dialogue what they are reading in regards to God's Word in order to form a Godly Worldview that they can defend on their own.  Chuck Colsen has said it well in his support of using great literature of all kinds in and out of the classroom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Science Fair...Anyone?

I am very excited about this great find!  If you want a book that will grab the attention of your little scientist...then this is the book for you!  In light of the fact that we are gearing up for an elementary school wide Science Fair in April...I would have to say that this is a MUST read for our young scientists.  Who may find that you have a little Crime Scene Investigator in the making!

The book is full of cute, animated cartoon-like illustrations that model the experiment without being so graphic with the "gorish" type experiments.  Yet, the experiments themselves will challenge kids to think like a CSI by explaining the science behind solving a plethora of topics.  The experiments are simple enough with directions, lists of necessary supplies, and so on.  This book comes highly recommended!

All In a Day of Work!

Do You ever feel like this during the week?  This post is to all of my fellow teachers....I think you deserve a diet coke from Sonic today!! 

On a serious is amazing to me how far behind I feel if I even let one stack of papers go ungraded.  I have found that especially with the writing that is involved with our students need that constant feedback.  Like most of us...yes, us adults...they are already trying to find the easy button...with the  quality of work they are willing to give me.  I have discovered that when I am on every assignment...and discussing what will make them really tends to bring the quality of what I much better ...than when I let a few days slide without checking over every single thing!! 

If you see me resembling this lady...Someone slap me!!  NOT gonna happen! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Here's to My Awesome Partners...Past and Present....

Ok...couldn't refuse the chance to dedicate this post to the ladies who put up with me every day!!  Judy, Debi, and Sheri...what would I do without you?  I know that my constant outpouring of ideas are maybe a tad daunting...but you sure do a great job of humoring me by at least trying and implementing them in your classrooms.  I suppose that if we find our boat sinking...we'll know who is going overboard first...huh? light of the holiday around the corner...I wanted to say, publically,  how much I love you guys!!  Yo' the best!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Teaching Fictional Novels Through Character Webs

What better way to engage students in discussion groups about fictional novels than to use character webs.  I am finding that when students really annalyze the dialogue, appearance, thoughts & feelings, and actions of the main character as well as the other characters, they really think about the progression of the story's theme and its relation to its characters.  It is a great springboard to discussions on what makes one change...from point a to point b.  It is interesting to hear kids dialoguing about they would feel in this or that character's shoes...And...isn't that the whole point of reading and the instruction of reading? 

Edward a great book to dissect in this manner...because it has so many interesting characters that impact the development of the main character Edward.

If anyone is reading this post...give me some feedback about things that you have tried and are doing with regard to fictional novel units that you are teaching.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Weather Blues...

Why is it that this is the time of year when I begin experiencing the "winter weather blues?"  I just wish that I could really shake things up a bit...and do something really creative!  Even though I know that the basic concepts are only really "gotten" by just sheer routine and repetition, I get tired of the same ol'...same ol!!  I'm sure the kids do too!  This is where I need a burst of fresh new ideas...or maybe a new twist on the old.  If anyone out there is reading my blog...and can shoot some ideas my way...I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's Happening in Our Reading Class?

Today was a busy one!  Every few weeks we begin a new "skill" with our young readers.  On the day of the "model lesson" today can be a little exhausting!  The model lesson begins with me reading the "model book."  Basically, the whole point is to read and question with a get the kids to formulate an idea or pattern that they will be looking to prove throughout the upcoming assigned novel.  After an intense read/question/debate/discussion...of the short "model" story...I have to say that I feel kind of wiped out! 

We are getting ready to read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  Our model story was The Velveteen Rabbit.  Both have their themes.  My young readers seem pumped!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Great Teaching...How Does it Happen?

From my experience of teaching, I am a firm believer that no teacher ever "arrives!"  Therefore, those great teachers out there are the ones who are constantly learning and figuring out what methods work with those kids they have been entrusted with.  Each child is different, and each new group of children from year to year, are uniquely different.  I have found that year after year, my files are pretty much scrapped...and its time to begin again. 

For more on this subject: