Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What a day!

Does your teaching schedule fill up this time of year?  Everyone decides it is time to get in that research project they have been putting off all year?  Today I had classes of kindergarten all day, doing their "research" from their life sciences strand.  It was fun, it was crazy, and it was loud!  I loved it -- most of it anyway.  By the 4th class I finally wised up and asked a fifth grade class, who needed to review life cycles, to come in and help out the Ks.  When everyone arrived, I explained to the Ks that as scientists they were continuing their study of zoo animals (after a visit to the zoo) by using books.  Because scientists had research assistants, I was providing them each a 5th grader to assist them as they searched for answers to their questions.   It was awesome! ( I will upload clips from my flip camera as soon as I figure out how.)  My cozy library space was full of bodies and their was a steady hum of noise, but the productive sounds, not just noisy.  It was a positive learning experience for both groups.
I do love my job.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Small moments make a great day

I love my job!  Some days, though, its hard not to get grumpy when I have to jump through bureaucratic hoops. Amazingly, those seem to be the days my students sense that I need a good vibe and never fail to brighten my day.  The latest was a sweet cherub who came in this morning in a frilly, lacy pink outfit with a purple jacket.  I said, " Don't you look beautiful, just like Purplicious  or Pinkalicious."  She responded with, "My favorite color is orange, but some days you just have to wear purple." LOL.  I think tomorrow will be a day I just have to wear purple, too!  Maybe I will even add some orange.
Hope you get the chance to find the color in your day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why not saying no has an up side!

If you know me then you know that I say yes to almost everything, then wonder why I am always running around like a crazy woman.  Sometimes, many times actually, these impulsive acts result in a positive return.  If you are a member of AASL (if not, why not??) you might know that they are about to share a database of exemplary lesson plans that follow the plan format of Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.  I volunteered to be a moderator for this database, which involves checking lesson plans against a rubric and the standards to be sure they teach what they say they will, etc.  Anyway, I couldn't believe I said I would do this, but I pulled out my laptop and AASL standards resources and started.  Reading these lessons has me evaluating my own lessons; do I follow the standards? Do I upgrade my lessons with technology when applicable? Do I include self reflection time for my students?   What I have learned already is worth the time I invest in editing!
How about you?  Do you say yes to new opportunities to grow and evolve?  You won't regret it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How I spent my weekend

I just spent the weekend reading a new book I got for the library.  It was "No Passengers Beyond This Point" by Gennifer Choldenko, the author of "Al Capone Does My Shirts."  It was intriguing, to say the least.  Three children find out that their family home will be foreclosed by the bank.  Their mother, who is a teacher, is sending them to live with their Uncle Red while she stays behind to finish out her school year.  Everything seems very ordinary, squabbling siblings on a plane, until the plane lands.  Following a person who has their name on a sign they enter a cab, then everything changes.  The fact that the book is told by three points of view, from each of the three children, keeps your attention through this maze of a place they have landed in.  Each child needs to decide whether to stay here or go on, they must depend on each other and ultimately on themselves.  The ending is a real twist, and makes me question whether or not this book is right for many of my students.  I will be curious to see who picks it up and reads it.

Of course, I also went to the Virginia Hamilton Multicultural  Conference, and it was wonderful!  I was so glad to get the chance to hear Nikki Giovanni, not once, but twice!  She is a wonderful speaker, I guess if you are an award winning poet you would have an amazing way with words.  She was funny, charming, and slightly outrageous by turns, and always surprising.  Charles F. Smith, Jr. was also a presenter, a photographer/poet/performer who was a delightful new author to meet.  He is one I can't wait to introduce to my students, especially the boys.  Just wait until they see the Mohammad Ali book he has written.   The third presenter was Chris Raschka, who was as interesting as his illustrations!  All in all, this was a terrific a wonderful conference!