Monday, April 26, 2010

Heart Wonders

Thanks to Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough, authors of A Place to Wonder, we've wrapped ourselves in wondering. These authors helped me introduce the notion of heart wonders. Heart wonders are those wonders that can be answered with your own brain or heart (pretty much any wonder). That is just what helped us begin to think about how to answer some of the wonders we have.
Heart wondering has been the perfect stair step before research wondering. It has given kids permission to think about something and answer it using their own thoughts and words (great practice before taking an author's words and writing them in their own). I used one of the heart wonders from their book to use as a mentor and then let the kids paint an create their own as our wonder unit began. These are some that are hanging outside our room.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Second Grade Wonder Walk

Not sure if you checked out the wonder walk video I created with the flip camera. It is here if you haven't checked it out. I mentioned it again because my students have been wondering about everything!

We have read books about wondering, posted wonder posts in our blog and written, painted and answered heart wonders of our own. Last week on a beautiful spring day in Ohio, I handed them the flip cameras (after watching the wonder walk video for the 2nd time and thinking about how we could wonder with a flip) and they were off to film the wonders around our school. We are very fortunate to have beautiful grounds with a wetland like habitat that borders the front of our school. I haven't yet had a chance to teach them the flip share software but I played with their clips to create this short wonder video that they made. I also figured out how to embed it in our class blog ( I posted it under my blog) which means they can read my post, comment and later create and then add their movies to their blogs!!! I am so anxious to see their reaction when they watch the video on our class blog tomorrow!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

LMNOpeas by Keith Baker

I really love Keith Baker. You might know Big Fat Hen (I keep in my song books basket), Quack and Count (math read-aloud) or the Mr. and Mrs. Green series (so perfect for second grade). He has written a new alphabet book called LMNO peas . I read it last week as we thought about different ways writers end their stories and my kids loved it!

Keith introduces you to peas who live and work among the letters of the alphabet. The small vegetables become people-like and tell about the many jobs they have in the land of letters. (On pages H and I: We're hikers and inventors and investigators.) The text rhymes, story moves and the pictures are simple yet detailed. One of my readers came back to read the book during reading workshop and said she discovered a ladybug in each page. One writer decided to post an alphabet list on his blog of animals that begin with each letter. It definitely caught the attention of my second graders and had them rereading and creating.

Check out his books at his website Keith Baker Books!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin

If your primary students are ready for a new song book: Pete the Cat is it!  My son's first grade class has been enjoying this book the antics of the Pete in his new white shoes. This song book is perfect for shared reading.  It is filled with repetitive text, prediction and a great message.

Pete is a blue, easy-going cat with brand new shoes. He loves to walk along and sing.  He loves his new shoes but steps in many things (strawberries, blueberries, and mud) that change his shoes to blue, red and brown.  But Pete isn't bothered, he keeps walking along and singing his song.   In fact, a favorite part of the book is the last page where you read the moral of the story: (not matter what you step in: keep walking along and singing your song) it's all good.

Check out the link to the song and free download here at Harper Collins.              

Below is a youtube video of two young kiddos reading, singing and loving Pete the Cat. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Remembering to Play

I have a problem sometimes making my job harder than it really is. I think too hard about an idea or try to plan the perfect lesson that bombs because I tried to model and teach too much (thinking I can meet more needs in my classroom when really I know small group and individual conversations are my most efficient way of differentiating). I look at a standard and make it bigger and harder to teach than it really is. I forget to slow down, re-teach and ask the kids what we need to do to when management in the classroom breaks down.

This spring break I have thought about what I need to do bring back a sense of play throughout the day in my classroom for my students and for me. Taking time to read, think and create has given me some downtime. Amy Krouse Rosenthal, A Place for Wonder and the video clip (below) that I found after linking to presentation zen where I read about how great work requires great play (thanks to Mr.Bass) have all helped me feel ready to go back to school. I will start tomorrow with a few insights (and I guess goals)  I am thinking will help me.

Thanks to an old friend's advice, I will be chipping away each day instead of stressing about finishing something really big.

Thanks to Amy K Rosenthal (Ted Talk : 7 Notes on Life), I will be ok with my self figuring things out as I go.

Thanks to the post at presentation zen, I will remember that a feeling of play will keep me in the moment,
help me from taking myself too seriously and keep me connected.  


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wonder Walk

I created this video using a flip camera and the flip share software. This will be one of a few mentor pieces I am planning to create for my students as we begin to wonder on Monday. I wanted to model wondering in the backyard and using technology made it easy.