Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ISTE 2010 Presentation

We (myself and two other fabulous teachers from my school) are presenting at ISTE in about 8 hours. We are discussing the real world application of web 2.0 tools in K-5 classrooms. We have a delicious site with links to the examples we are sharing.

I'm really excited about it, but it also signals the end of the fun. We're heading home early tomorrow afternoon.

I miss my daughters and my husband greatly. Still, I'll be sad to leave. Not sad to go home, but sad to leave ISTE. That may not sound like it makes sense, but it is perfectly clear to me.

This has been five days of jam packed fun, thinking, and some chaos. Hopefully I will manage to make some time to seriously reflect and post some thoughts.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Clubs for All

Every Mother's Day our music teachers do a tea for the mothers of all the first graders. The kids learn lots of songs about mothers and each class writes a poem to read. It's a fabulous event that was made more special for me this year as my oldest daughter is in first grade.

Her class's poem consisted of a series of lines that began with 'Some mothers' followed by various things the kids came up with. The line submitted by my daughter was obvious: "Some mothers go to book club and do work at dinner time."

I do go to book club, once a month. I don't work at dinner time and have no idea where that came from. It's been over a month and this line is still haunting me a bit.

This same daughter has requested a book club of her own. Initially I dismissed the idea but as I thought about it I came around. This would be a great event for our school. So, my daughter, a few friends, and I are trying it out this summer.

I'd like to use some chapter books that are appropriate for first and second graders. I want them to be meaty books with some depth. Cynthia Rylant's Van Gogh Cafe is one I have been considering. But I'm not coming up with much else. Advice please!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Big Bad Teacher

The last few days of school are always crazy. This year is no exception. I've had quite a list of things to finish or accomplish before the end. Today we did a big piece.

Weeks ago my students read several versions of The Three Little Pigs. After reading them the students recorded the setting, characters, main events, complication, and resolution. From that, they worked together to plan their own story. They chose to write The 17 Little ExploreOrrs and the Big Bad Teacher. I was so impressed with the story and the creativity and cooperation needed to write it, that I wanted to make a movie of it. However, we got into other things in writing and time got away from me. Now, with only a few days left we managed to make it happen.

I explained to the students that we would take pictures and then narrate them for the movie. I read their story to them again and had them think about how to stage the pictures. Immediately they were on top of it. Their ideas were awesome. They could see it.

I did have to ask them who would be The Big Bad Teacher. They all hollered, "You!" I agreed and then asked who would be the real teacher at the end. They all hollered, "You..Ohhhhh." Then they decided it should be another teacher we've worked with this year. I said I didn't know if she was available right then but I'd check. As I was looking for her office number one student said, "You could wear something different."


I pulled out our dress up stuff and grabbed a hideous hat and a boa. I put on my old denim jacket and the kids said, "Take off your glasses!" They had the idea. Off we went.

The result is their first movie.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Tables, Tables, and More Tables

This year I took the advice of another first grade teacher and made some changes in the tables in my room. I have one tall table at which students can stand and work, two normal size for sitting in chairs, and one low table for sitting on the floor. As the year has progressed I have noticed that my students use the low table a lot and the random tables I have around the room. The normal sized tables are not as popular.

Right now my students have netbooks from our library and are working all around the room. Only three chose to sit at our regular, round tables in chairs. Four are at the table I use for guided reading, two are at our little blue table, two are at a small table in a corner, three are on the floor and a couple are at the low table. Next year I may just have one regular sized table for chairs. That would free up more room for the piano I recently moved in.