Monday, December 17, 2012

Essential Questions

Post the standards, make sure you have essential questions on the board.........Of all the things we teachers have to remember, these are things I can very easily forget to stay up to date with.  I must admit, I have always thought that essential questions were very beneficial.  They give students big ideas to focus on understanding.

This year, I tried a different approach to posting my essential questions.  I really wanted to make posting these essential questions not only easy for me, but also meaningful for my students.  So, I decided to post questions on the board, with an area where my students can respond to them by putting their answers up their on post-its.  My goal is to start pulling them down on Friday's and reviewing them as a class. 

My Genre's Book

So, I was looking for a fun new way to teach literary genres with my kids.  This is a skill we work on through the year, but I wanted to take a week to just really look at the four main genre categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.  I wanted to do more than just teach my kids about genres and show them different examples.  I wanted them to actually apply it and practice it. 

That's my example I made as an exemplar for my kids---->

Each of my kids made a "My Genre's Book."  We picked a theme (that week we did spiders since it was around Halloween) and wrote different stories, informational pieces, poems, etc. all about spiders for each of the genres.

To do this, I used 1 piece of construction paper and 2 pieces of white copy paper.  I just put the white paper in the middle, folded, and stapled.  We discussed a different genre each day and added a story to our book.  I think it helped make this somewhat abstract topic a little more concrete for them since it was more hands on.

My Heart is Aching....

    My plan is to take time later to post some of my recent activities with my kids, but right now I just  need to unload some of my many feelings....Alongside the rest of America, my heart is aching right now....I feel pain and anguish for the families of Newtown, CT.  Like everyone else, my heart is burdened.  I feel the pain of this tradgedy as a person, as a parent, and as an educator.  As a person, I can't believe something so horrific happened.  As a mother, I can't imagine being one of the parents who lost a child, or even just a parent having to help my child cope with this experience.  As a teacher, I am reminded of my daily committment to do far more than just simply "teach" my children.    

      This weekend, I hugged my daughter a little more, snuggled a little longer, and found her actions that are usually frustrating to be endearing.  My daughter is amazing and is truly one of the most amazing blessings that God has ever given me. 
My wonderful husband Chris, my amazing daughter Tenley, and me!
Today, some of my many actions were similiar. I hugged my kids even more frequently than usual.  I let them goof off a little more.  I smiled at their actions that can be trying at times and thought about how blessed I am to get to work with these precious children everyday!