I taught (finally) for 5 days...well, Tuesday we had a 2 hour delay but finally we were back at school each day this week and I was back to teaching Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop and it felt like we had a routine.
This has definitely been a strange winter with lots of snow days or delyas due to cold and snow.
What do I still need to get better at? The arrival and the dismissal.
Reflecting on this time today, I think, as a class, we need to descide on ways it can be better. I also think this class (and maybe students in general) do well when they have a To Do list and then the choice of what to complete in what order that they choose. I am thinking maybe a few things can be chosen from in the morning and at dismissal time. Also, maybe I know what needs to get done but maybe I haven't been explicit enough. So I need to be.
Despite the missed days, our Biography Unit of Study is over and tomorrow I plan to get LOTS of historical fiction picture books out of the library. March is going to be time to learn how to read historical fiction well!!
I scheduled a Parent Breakfast for Friday, March 7th and we need to have all of our realistic fiction stories published by then. I think this is doable but still lots of revising and editting needs to be completed.
Why do I want the parents to come in?
Some asked at a PTA meeting about the use of computers and seemed concerned. I want them to have the chance to come in and see what we have PRODUCED using the computer. I made a movie that had kids telling all the steps we did to make a nonfiction e-book on a topic of our choice.
1. We read online nonfiction books on MyOn and took boxes and bullet notes to record what we were learning by reading nonfiction.
2. We used a google apps presentation to make at least 6 pages in our e-book to share at least three big ideas about the topic of our choice. We included a title page, a table of contents, at least three topic pages, and a glossary.
3. We learned how to insert videos and pictures to make it visually appealing. Our goal - when a person finishes reading our e-book, they will say, "Thank you. I learned a lot!" (This was a comment I heard an NPR reporter say after interviewing a scientist that I shared with the class.)
We also PRODUCED a typed realistic fiction story authored by each student!
We also PRODUCED a POSTER ADVERTISEMENT to encourage others to read our favorite Biography that we read during our Biography Unit of Study.
ALL this will be hanging up to "show-off" to the parents to help them SEE how the computer is a powerful tool that can be used to produce strong work. While at TCRWP Reunion Saturday, I heard Staff Developer, Cornelius Minor, talk about how research shows that we are either going to be a producer or a consumer of technology. Those that learn how to produce with technology will GO FAR in life. I don't want my students to just use a computer to play a game. I want them to know how to write the code to make the game and then make lots of money!! I can angle my teaching with a computer to this end. And I want these nervous, concerned parents to hear my rational and to see the things we produce with our computer. When these parents raised this issue, I tweeted Cornelius to ask his advise. His reply tweet: Invite those nervouse mom 2 ur class 2 see how you run things OR make them a podcast.
SO I have a date on the calendar and I have 2 weeks to ensure all the students have their online assignments done and a movie (instead of a podcast) to show as we kick-off our Breakfast Visit!
WRITING CHALLENGE: I decided to challenge myself in March and participate in the TWO WRITING TEACHERS writing challenge...to write a Slice of Life (or a small moment) every day in March and post it online. I decided I will tell my students about the challenge this week. We'll make a chart and every small moment story we all write in March can be added to our class graph. My goal is to have my line of the graph reach 31 and who knows, maybe as a challenge, some of my friends will also reach 31. I think it will be a nice focus as in March we are doing a Unit of Study on Research Writing. To include a small moment challenge will help us to write in many ways in March. Then on Monday, March 31st, we will have an ORANGE PARTY!! We can eat oranges and share a small moment, a slice of our life, at the party!