Dec 28, 2012

It Looked Like a Cumulus Cloud...

    I'm sitting at an airport so small they board on the tarmac, when the dreaded announcement came across - 3 hour delay.  So what's a girl to do but lesson plan?   
With Utah forecasts showing cloudy skies over the next week, we'll be casually revisiting our Clouds unit.  We started it off with a great classic, It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw.  I was a little worried about how fourth graders would like this book but, with some humorous inflections thrown in the reading, they loved it!
After learning about the different types of clouds for 2 weeks, we made our own "Spilt Milk" pages.  I know the cotton ball clouds project is a classic one, and I've used it over and over as a summative assessment.  Along with the correct placement and labeling of each cloud type, the kids also wrote by each one,
"It looked like a _______________, but it was a ________ cloud." to mirror the book.  Matching each cloud type with their own visual representation helped the kids keep the types and atmosphere level straight.

Dec 21, 2012

When You Reach Me

Have you heard of this book?  I thought it was kind of like a younger version of The Time Traveler's Wife.  It's a fairly quick read, with quite a bit of action, and relatable characters.  The ending was a little expected, and yet somehow I was pulled in and couldn't put it down until I finished.
Check out the review!

Dec 17, 2012

What Do You Say?

I live 30 min. from my school, and all the way there this morning I kept thinking, "What am I going to say to my kids about Sandy Hook?"  I had hoped some brilliant idea, some words of wisdom or uplifting thought, would come to me.  But all that came to mind was my own experience of a school lock-down several years ago when some boys decided to target shoot on school grounds.  Because of my position, I was the one to run through the halls, checking to make sure doors were locked, kids were fully hidden and teachers were calm.  That experience made me really think hard and decide what I would do should a gunman be in that hall with me - for whom would I be willing to take a bullet?
And so I'm faced with the original dilemma.  What do you say to 9-year-olds when children their own age - even younger - have died in such a tragic way?  How do you fully convey the fact that you would do anything to protect them, give your own life for theirs if it should come to that, but that they're safe in their own school and should feel confident and not fearful?  How do you appropriately address the sadness, avoid  focusing on the details, and move forward in hope and faith?

Our thoughts from Salt Lake City, Utah are very strongly with the families of all the children at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Dec 14, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

There are a lot of things floating around the blog world about Random Acts of (Christmas) Kindness, so I thought I'd share what we do to celebrate birthdays.  I've been a little unimpressed with the gifting of cute things to my students for their birthdays, knowing it would last as far as the school hallways before being opened, eaten, lost or tossed aside.  I wanted something more meaningful.  So after coming across a blog about random acts of kindness done for a lovely woman's birthday, I decided we should do the same.  Now when we have a birthday in our class, the kids get this paper in the morning:
Throughout the day, they do and record random acts of kindness in honor of the birthday person.  At the end of the day, while I'm passing out papers, they write a happy message to the person and we present the stack to the birthday student.  
I wasn't sure how this would go over with the kids, but they love it even more than the small gift the PTA gives them and often ask about it the morning of their birthday.  So much more fun and meaningful than the old birthday standbys! 

Dec 12, 2012

Factor This In

Parent Rap

I came across this video yesterday and laughed so much, I had to post it on my class blog for my parents to enjoy!  The joys and perils of parenthood...  Hope all you parents out there are rockin' it too!