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Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday... January 31.

Hooray for Friday! I am so happy the weekend is here! I am linking up with Doodlebugs once again. Here are a few random things from my week.

1.  Change is normal, change is good, change happens every 3 weeks in our guided reading groups. I have noticed that I get really protective of my students in a short period of time. We have a great team of teachers giving guided reading instruction, but I still worry and fret.  The students I had this last go round in second grade were such hard workers! I pushed too. I pushed them to a higher level than they are used to and they did it. It was more instructional level than independent level, but that is okay. One thing we did was look at the vocabulary and I pre-taught all the unfamiliar words before we read the material. I felt like these students deserved to hear about how great they are doing and how hard they are working, and so do their parents! Here are the notes I sent home.  Do you brag on your kids? In the classroom or in small group instruction and what does it look like?

2. This girl has her Learner's permit. She is driving. It is exciting. :)

3.  Last week I posted about the research we were starting on our Kansas symbol in first grade groups, well our group researched the Ornate Box Turtle and gathered facts. Then we wrote a short play about the box turtle and performed it while being recorded. When the students finished their presentations, they made birthday pictures for Kansas, great lady that she is. And they also had the option to draw/write about Kansas symbols. Here is a look at their work.

4. Third grade's story this last unit focused on Biography. So we chose a biography and researched someone. We researched Jesse Owens. Then the students drew and colored a picture and wrote five facts about Jesse Owens on their posters.

 Researching Jesse Owens brought up interesting questions of prejudice, discrimination and the idea that some things are not that cut and dried after all. One student remarked that Jesse Owens and Martin Luther King, Jr. , were in the same situation.  I ask him why he said that and he said because they are both black. I tried to go into a deeper discussion and to explain how the color of their skin wasn't enough to make their situations alike. There were some similarities in their situations, but I wanted my student to think about it and figure out what those similarities were, because the fact that they were both black didn't make them alike in and of itself. The climate toward blacks in America during their lives would have provided a parallel because of the discrimination they endured. Later as we logged in to do Read Live, one student discovered that a student from a different grade level was still logged in to the computer they were using.  Then he says, "Oh, I know who she is, she is the girl in the wheelchair." It was a crazy conclusion drawn on the fact that the girl in our school who has an injury and is using a wheelchair while it heals is in a different grade level, and that she is obviously a girl. Not enough to draw a conclusion on! In fact, the girl who whose name came up on Read Live is in Fourth Grade, the other girl is in Fifth Grade. I used this to try to explain, this would be a little like saying two people were the same because they both have the same color of skin. I don't know if I made an impact. But we had an interesting social discussion. We wrapped this up by presenting our posters in to their classmates at the end of guided reading. They are getting it. They are beginning to dig deeper and become thinkers, like Common Core Standards want them to do.

5. There's some movement in our district of teachers who are retiring, moving to new positions, or leaving our community.  There are whispers of more movement. So I am praying I am offered a position in my current school. There are some snags right now, like positions being cut. I hope that nobody is without a job that has one right now and needs, wants, intends to keep it. I also hope there will a position or two left over to make room for me!

Happy Weekend everyone! It is snowing, sleeting and icing now. Now that it's the weekend. I know some places have not had nearly enough school since the Christmas break, but we have not had any snow days yet (hear that hopeful "yet"?) (...and I see "icky stuff" on the forecast until Tuesday. Fingers crossed. Snow day dance will be achieved, maybe during the Superbowl even).


  1. It is exciting and scary when your kids get their learner's permits and venture onto the road. Two of my older boys have passed that stage and I was a nervous wreck! It seems like you are handling it better than me - LOL!

    1. I decided not to print about the sheer terror of it on my blog. lol. I know she'll be a great driver, I have been gripping pretty hard on the edge of seat though....