Monthly Archives: November 2012
It’s report card time here in PEI, and we have parent-teacher interviews tomorrow and Friday. I have a few years in at this teaching gig, but P-T interviews still give me those little butterflies in my stomach. Until I get going, that is. Once I’ve spoken to a few parents, I always loosen up and relax. It’s the pre-interview time that I’m a little anxious.
Anyhow, with report card time, comes assessment. This is generally assessment of our students – how are they doing? Where do they need to improve? If you’re a follower of my blog, then you know that at the end of the school year, last June, I asked my students for some constructive feedback of my teaching. I asked them to anonymously write some things that they enjoyed or that I did well and ONE thing that I could work on (because ONE thing x 25 students is a lot to work on!).
So, being that I’ve assessed my students and given them feedback on their report cards, I thought I’d let them have a crack at my teaching and give me some feedback. The great thing about doing this, is that you always get some warm fuzzies from the comments: Good sense of humor, I liked the read aloud that we did, you don’t assign to much homework, I like the Math games that we play… and so on. With the good comes the ugly. So far, it looks like my class would like to do more hands on projects, art work and it looks like I’m doing a good job of teaching math, but my social studies needs some work. (Go figure, guess what my favorite subject to teach is?)
Feedback is how we improve – students and teachers alike. Seeing it in black and white from the minds of the students who sit in front of me now, is extremely empowering! Of course it’s a little scary to ask them what they think of your teaching, that first time. It’s such a great exercise though. Just think, how many times have they put themselves out there to do something for you this year (read in class, do a presentation, post their artwork – the list goes on.)
The end of the week is approaching, why not make a point of asking your students for some feedback. You might be surprised with what they come back to you with! Good luck:)
Okay folks, I’m just going to lay this out there. We need a new playground. Ours, among other things, is simply not accessible to all of our students. We have a child in a wheelchair, who literally can’t GET to the playground. This, my friends, is not acceptable. It’s not good enough for him, nor for any other future students who may be in his position. Oh, but my community is not one to sit back and complain – we’re trying to shake things up and make things happen.
Barrier-free playground equipment is not going to simply fall from the sky – even if we wiggle our noses and say, “Pretty please”. It’s not. I’ve tried.
We’ve taken matters into our own hands and have applied for the funding we need through the Aviva Community Fund program. It’s an awesome program, but what it all boils down to – is that we need votes! Can you guess where this is going….come on – think of the kids!
Yes, you’re right – we do need your help. If you could ever spare 60 seconds (or less) to vote for our school project, John, and our entire school and community would be forever grateful and oh, so appreciative. You can literally sign in with your Facebook account (or use your email address) and click “Vote” for our project. Your few seconds of selflessness and kindness could make the difference for our project. Voting is open for the next two weeks and you can vote every day. Did I mention that you can vote every day, for the next two weeks? I just wanted to make sure to get that in there. In case you needed a link to your curriculum (because you could get your students to vote for us too) this would go along perfectly with an “empowerment” or “change the world” type of theme, or even a “random acts of kindness” theme in your classroom. Just think, if everyone reading this post voted each day for the next 2 weeks, and perhaps shared this post on his/her Facebook page or Twitter feed…we’d have our playground in no time.
Okay – that’s it. My shameless plea for your time and your votes. All children deserve a place to play, don’t you think? What if it was your child?
I’m super excited about the book that I just got Using Picture Books to Teach 8 Essential Literary Elements: An Annotated Bibliography of More Than 100 Books With Model Lessons to Deepen Students’ Comprehension. What a mouthful!
The book covers:
~Point of view
It’s for grades 4-8 and contains 2 lessons for each of the 8 literary elements above, using suggested titles. Each lesson is based on a model text – a picture book! The title, author and brief plot summary are included for each model text. Each lesson begins with a critical question based on the literary element and the materials required for the lesson are listed. A step by step explanation follows, as well as black line masters if applicable, and a wrap-up. Beyond the 16 lessons, there are “More Books for Teaching…” each of the 8 literary elements. Along with the additional title suggestions, are teaching ideas and interdisciplinary connections for each. Over 100 titles are included in all and this book is aligned to the Common Core – which is a bonus! There is a two page spread at the beginning of the book listing which standards are addressed.
One of the lessons that I can’t wait to use is a Point of View Improv activity. The group that I have this year will love it! Most of them love an audience and thrive on acting silly! There are 10 cut-apart scenarios that willing students will draw from a basket, each putting them into a unique situation by giving them a specific point of view to speak from. For example, “You are a cheeseburger. You see a big mouth coming towards you. What do you call out?” I mean, come on! What a unique idea! There are only 10 cards included, but it would be easy to come up with some others. Students could also create their own “point of view improv” card and the cards could be added to a class set.
I just love when I buy a book that I can see so many uses for! I already own 5 titles that are included in this book and I’ll be looking at gathering more!
Picture books are so powerful and I think that sometimes we forget that in the middle and upper grade levels – I know I do. However, so many picture books are extremely versatile and could address multiple teaching points. I don’t mean for you to run out and purchase this book – although I do think it’s a good buy! What I’m suggesting is to have a look at your library, or the class libraries of teachers of other grade levels. Most picture books will offer opportunities for teaching literary elements – it’s just to find the time to read through some good ones and to make those connections. That’s what I love about this particular book – all the connections and titles are there for me!
Do you have any titles of picture books that you use to teach particular literary elements?