Tag Archives: growing

Making the Web Work for Me

7 Dec

Inspiration came to me today in the form of my sister, Lissa.  While at the PEAK conference today, I attended Lissa’s presentation titled “Making the Web Work for You.”  She helped me remember why I keep this blog.  I want to reflect on my teaching and learning while also connecting with other teachers.  If I’m never posting on my blog, how am I supposed to achieve this?  One thing Lissa said to me after the presentation was “It takes a little extra time now, but the time it will save in the future is worth it.”  So now I am taking that time.

My school has each teacher set a goal to help us grow as professionals.  A colleague and I set the same goal for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that we both had interest in the same topic.  The second reason is we wanted to help keep each other accountable.  Our goal is to incorporate inquiry-based strategies for literacy through centers, daily plans, and weekly plans.  We want our teaching of literacy to be more authentic and natural.  We do not want letter of the week or other phonic programs because we do not feel it is authentic.

My current understanding of authentic inquiry-based literacy learning is that it is student driven.  When students start asking questions about letters and sounds is when it should be introduced and talked about in the class.  It should not be introduced in alphabetical order, but rather based on student interest and connections to other topics being discussed in the class.  One strategy is by looking at the first letter of each of their names.  My understanding is that students will start to notice letters and the sounds words make and naturally want to know and learn how to make these letters.

Our plan to learn more about this goal is to do personal professional development and observe other teachers that we know already have this in place in their classrooms.  Lissa has also inspired me to reach out in the twitter world to find others that can help me reach my goal.  Now that the inspiration has come, I will do my best to continue to reflect as I learn.

Drawing Together

10 May

While I was in the maternity leave substitute position, there was a day that I had no white paper for the students to draw on.  I had my wonderful TA Hiba go get some butcher paper for the class to draw on.  We moved the tables and taped it to the floor.  I set markers and crayons both out for them to draw with.  It was a sight to see.

The students were so quiet at first as they settled into the place they chose around the paper.

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The quiet did not last long as the students began attempting to write and draw many things.  Some of which had to do with out PYP Unit if Inquiry “How the World Works.”

This picture shows one student writing letters.  You can also see the picture that Hiba drew of a flower, per the request of many students.

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It was amazing to see the growth they had all made that would have been missed if I had given them something specific to draw.  This activity tops a coloring page any day!

 

Caring for Living Things

6 Mar

We are currently doing a unit of inquiry called Sharing the Planet.  We have been talking about the difference between living and nonliving things as well as what living things need to grow and live.

I wanted my students to be able to see a living thing, specifically a plant, grow, so we are taking care of lentils.  I bought regular unsplit lentils at the store.

Lentils

They had to first soak overnight in water so they would absorb as much water as needed.  Each student was able to put a handful in our tub of water.

Soaking the Lentils

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We linked this to literacy by talking about the letter B for bean.  They glued the leftover lentils to a letter B.

B for Bean

The next day, once our beans were good and soaked, each student put a spoonful in their own cup so they could have their own beans to take care of and watch grow.

Individual cups

After only one night of being in the cups they have grown already!  Can you see the little sprouts?

Day 2 in cups

Having their own cup really worked well today when they each got to hold their cup and touch their beans and no fighting went on.  Each student gave his or her own cup a small spoonful of water.  It is amazing how careful they are around the beans while they are playing.  They didn’t want to hurt them 🙂