Monday, May 28, 2012

One Lovely Blog

Thank you Kimberly (Love of Teaching), for awarding my blog the One Lovely Blog Award. Who doesn't love getting awards, right? :) So let's see if I can follow the rules correctly...

1. Follow the blog that gave your the award. Check! (Glad I found her!)
2. Link back to the blog that gave you the award. Check!
3. Select new blogs to win the award:

Ok, I'm sure these lovely ladies have been awarded before, but here are a few blogs that I find lovely and have been getting me through the last weeks of school! 

There are of course about 5000 other lovely blogs I could have chosen, but I'm a little tired so I'm going to stop there. I hope I followed the rules! You all inspire me so much!

How many days until summer for you?? Count down for me: 13 school days (but I'm going to my cousin's wedding in Aspen so I'll be missing 2 days and I don't count the last day of school because it's an that means 10 teaching days!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What We've Been Up To

It's been a busy, busy month over here! Has it been crazy for you? What am I talking about - it's the end of the year - of course its crazy! :) 

So here's a peek at what we've been up to in the past couple weeks. Since the workshop with Stephanie Harvey and Smokey Daniels, my reader's workshop has been reinvigorated and I have tried some new an inquiry based open research workshop (meaning students study whatever they'd like...with some guidance) and teaching collaboration strategies explicitly to improve book club conversations. It's been really amazing and a little scary to feel like I don't know exactly what I'm doing, but I think the payoff is worth it!

This is a poster we made on day 2 of the inquiry process. I narrowed down their research interests based on resources I have/ knew I could get for my kids to use and then we talked about what it means to ask a researchable question. Honestly, I didn't think the lesson went that great - and judging by this poster - I didn't really teach much of anything...but my students are literally going wild over this research. They can't stop asking questions and asking me for more sources to read to find their new questions that developed from their new learning. WOW! That's just what we want, isn't it? For our kids to be inquisitive, to learn, and to synthesize the information enough to ask more questions?! We are about to move on to the next phase of the inquiry process (coalescing) - and I'm not so sure I know even how to teach we'll see how that goes!

Here are two anchor charts we used while learning about ladybugs and making inferences using informational texts. I just love hearing 2nd graders begin sentences with, "I am inferring..." :)

I particularly liked this lesson because making the distinction between learning and inferring is so important. I had/have some students who say, "I'm inferring..." and then finish the sentence with a fact straight from the text. It was great to have the two side by side to differentiate the two thought processes. 

Last week we began our unit on synthesizing. I hope I'm teaching it right - I never know if I'm defining it right! We have been reading books like: The Great Kapok Tree, The Alphabet Tree, The Story of Jumping Mouse, and An Angel for Solomon Singer. I'm really pleased with the thinking my students have been doing! They are really working hard to make sense of things and read for the big idea. Sometimes I struggle knowing how much to lead them to the big idea and how much to let them think what they think...what do you all do? 

This silly chart is supposed to be me haha! After the institute, I wanted to review what it means to listen to our inner-voices. My kids about died that I drew green eyes - apparently none of them had noticed - or knew that people could have green eyes!

This is a chart we made and continue to add to as we continue learning about how to have a successful book club (or really any discussion). I think going over these collaboration strategies has really made a difference in my students' conversations and also in their ability to self-reflect, as they've been setting collaboration goals for each meeting and then talking about whether or not they met that goal. This week we are going to add, "share the air" to the "sounds like" side of the poster. I am hoping my students can become more aware of how much/ how little they contribute to the conversation and learn how to invite other's to speak and "share the air." 

Congrats to those who have already finished the year or are about to finish! We still have 15 school days left! 

On another note, I have to miss two days of school for my cousin's wedding (the Thursday and Friday of the week before the last week of school). Any ideas of what I should leave for the sub????