Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Let me paint the picture for you, my students were chomping away on their birthday cookie cake and I was reading aloud from the front of the room. I begin reading about Auggie's first Halloween at Beecher Prep. If you're familiar with this story, you know what part I'm referring to. I won't spoil it for everyone else. As I read about Auggie's heartache, I looked up and realized I had 21 sets of eyes locked on me. Eyes that were wide open with horror, amazement, and empathy.
I closed the book to stop reading for the day - gosh I'm mean - and looked up at my students. All eyes and voices were begging me to continue and I said, "Doesn't that just break your heart?" In unison I heard a sympathetic "yessss!" in reply.... and one, rather loud, "NO." I was a little taken back and I asked the student, "what makes you say no?" He responded simply, "It's fiction. He isn't real."
Being the reader that I am, I wanted to hop on my soapbox and say, "YES HE IS! YOU BE NICE TO AUGGIE! HE DOESN'T DESERVE THIS."
I refrained. Instead, I hopped on another soapbox, one about the power of fiction writing. I told my little naysayer, that yes he was right - it is fiction and Auggie isn't real, but what Palacio has done for us is create a character that is so lifelike and relatable that we can't help but feel emotions for them. Powerful writing holds your attention and makes the characters (real or imagined) feel as if they're sitting in your living room. I asked my students if they've ever thought about the characters while they aren't reading? I asked my students if they've ever put themselves in the characters position? Suddenly, I realized that my little naysayer has sparked a beautiful conversation in my room about the power or storytelling and reading. I shared personal experiences with my students where I, too, had worried and wondered about the fate of characters. I asked a gentleman who is in book three of the Harry Potter series if he thought of Harry and his pals outside of the book and he quickly nodded his head in agreement.
This little incident only lastly about seven minutes, but it was probably the most important and most authentic conversation we had all day. I realized that my students were reading (and listening) because they truly enjoy stories. They aren't reading for the sake of levels or because they have to, they're become life long readers and I wish nothing more for them.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Do you blog with your students? I can officially say we're bloggers now! Last week, I gave my students the task of identifying one scientist, inventor, or discovery to research and write and informational blog post on. I'll be honest, when I FIRST introduced the project you could hear crickets in the room. Even after a few failed attempts at pumping them up... I still heard crickets. I'm fairly certain the only thing they heard me say was "research".
As a class, we used the blogging platform KidBlog.org. I created an account (for free) and entered all of my students. The great part about KidBlog - you must have a password to read ALL of the posts. You can see the title of the blog, but in order to read anything a password must be entered.
The first question I had to tackle was, "what is blogging?". I relied on my good friends, Tim and Moby to do that for me. In their short BrainPOP, they hit the big ideas of a weblog being an online journal. They even go as far to describe different purposes for blogging. Perfect jumpstart for our project.
Click here to take you to the BrainPOP about blogging. The best news is that it's FREE!
After giving my students the rundown on blogging and KidBlog, I gave both of my science classes this task:
You will research the biography of one famous scientist and inventor. Determine the nature of their work, ethnic background, gender, and area of study. In a typed blog post, you will describe how their work contributed to science and technology.
In 5th grade, we have several GLEs regarding the impact of science, technology, and human activity. I was (and still am!) confident that this project was a successful one to cover those areas.
On our first day of class, I had my kids identify who they wanted to research. We started small and gathered resources. If you would like a copy of our research page, email me! [firstname.lastname@example.org]. I love sharing resources!
Each day of class, we spent about a week on this, I gave a mini lesson on different features of blogging. One day, I showed them how to edit and publish their blog. On Friday, our mini lesson was about inserting an image into the blog. For the most part, students really got the hang of things. While I was explaining our blog, I even had a student leave me comment that said, "okey dokey." Clearly, he had things figured out.
Do you blog with your students? What types of things do you blog about? What other social media outlets do you use? I would love to expand our blogging outside of science and biographies. Share your ideas!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
...when, what to my wondering eyes should appear?
An Amazon box full of eight (I mean 12) tiny reindeer (I mean books).
Next time I complain about my bank account, someone come and slap me - figuratively. I just can't help filling up my shopping cart with great books to bring to my students. I'm planning my first Book Drawing tomorrow to select the lucky students to check these little guys out first.
I'm thinking about "Wonder" for my next read aloud. Has anyone read it? Thoughts? My second choice is Skeleton Creek. Then, I may get my students hooked on another series.
Thoughts teacher friends?
Monday, March 11, 2013
Are your drooling after reading the title? Yes, you should be. On Sunday, my house was filled with the sweet smell of BBQ as our pork creation simmered in the crock pot. My bf and I like to cook together and try out and experiment with new recipes. Sundays are the perfect experimentation day! This was actually one we've done before - I just forgot to blog about it. Shame on me.
After a great Monday with my students, I was happy to come home to scrumptious leftovers. Those who know me well, know that I am not a typical "leftovers" fan. Gosh, I guess this means I'm growing up.
Lettuce Wrapped BBQ Pulled Pork - Scott Style
- pork shoulder
- pork rub (we used Famous Daves)
- brown sugar
- 1 cup beer
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- BBQ sauce of your choice
- Lettuce (for wraps)
- Coat meat with mustard and pork rub. Sprinkle with brown sugar (all over!)
- Pour 1 cup of beer and 1 tablespoon (or a few) into the crock pot.
- Plump your pork into the crock pot and drizzle with BBQ sauce.
- Let cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred when you're ready to dine.
- Spoon shredded meat into lettuce wrap for a little sandwich. If you're feeling fancy, drizzle with some BBQ. Enjoy!
Enjoy your extra hour of sunshine, friends!
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Late night baking on the weekends is one of my favorite things to do. This weekend, my bf and I tried out a little dessert in a mug. If you're curious about what I'm talking about, I shall direct you to this article on Buzzfeed.
After clicking through all of the recipes, several times, we decided to try out the strawberries and cream mug treat. You can find this recipe on babble from The Family Kitchen here.
We made a few modifications to the recipe. Here's how we made our cakes:
Strawberries & Cream Mug Cake:
- 1 egg
- 2 T strawberry yogurt
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1/8 t baking powder
- 1/8 t vanilla extract
- 2 T granulated sugar
- 5 T flour
- fresh sliced strawberries
- extra yogurt to dollop on top!
First, spray the inside of your mug with non-stick cooking spray.
Mix egg, yogurt, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla, sugar, and flour together in small bowl.
Pour into coffee mug (this batch makes one cake!) and microwave for 2 and a half minutes or so. It may depend on your microwave. Our second batch was much tastier because we didn't cook it as long.
We threw another dollop of strawberry yogurt on top and sprinkled strawberries in the mug for extra sweetness.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Last week I had the pleasure of watching Donalyn Miller speak at a conference here at the Lake of the Ozarks. I blogged briefly about it here. Thanks to her presentation, I've been inspired to try out a few tricks in my classroom. She also introduced her participants to several resources, one of them being The Nerdy Book Club blog. If you're not following, you should be!
I loved Donalyn's idea for a Reading Graffiti board. Using a large piece of black paper and metallic sharpies - reading magic is made! Students can write one quote per book per student. This challenges them to find the perfect quote. Below, you see our first being written...
As of yesterday, we had six quotes written on our board. Students are so excited to add quotes and find that PERFECT one. I've had a few tell me they've found quotes, but they aren't quite sure what to write on the board. I've also had one gentleman who has shown me a quote on each page of his current read. When students find a quote, I've asked them to come read me the quote first. This has given me another glimpse into what type of reader they are. It's interesting what quotes and lines from the story they pull from the pages.
Do you have any type of reading graffiti board in your room? Share your tricks!
Monday, March 4, 2013
Oh, Life Lately has been filled with tremendous amounts of snow and oodles of fun. One would think that after having four snow days in two weeks, my to do list would be down to nothing. Let's just say, that is not the case whatsoever. In fact, after school today I felt more behind than ever! But first, let me catch you up...
My bf and I got all dolled up one Saturday night because he's a pretty rockstar sales rep!
A group of us, the Icebreakers to be exact, survived the Polar Bear Strut 5k at the Lake of the Ozarks. This was my first race and boy-oh-boy it rocked my world. Big kudos to my bf for coming in third overall and first in his age group! :)
I'm ready for race number two!
Then it snowed.... a lot. Just when I thought it had stopped snowing, it kept snowing. I watched a record amount of Netflix movies and my stir crazy popcorn popper was busy. We missed a Thursday and Friday of President's Day week. It was pretty much the easiest week ever.
As I was walking into school the following Monday I thought, "Well.. this week will be tough after only going to school two days!" Then it started SNOWING AGAIN. We had TWO MORE snow days last week. There is only so much I can do with the snow. I literally tried/did everything. I even photographed Chip.
In honor of Read Across America Day, I had the great pleasure of dressing up like the Cat in the Hat with two spunky collegues dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2. It was a really fun day! A third grader passed me today and said, "YOU were the Cat in the Hat!" I just smiled and walked away.
On Saturday night, a group of us took a painting class at a little art studio in St. Charles. Thanks to Studio Gallo Blu, I now have a lovely little painting to hang on my wall. Plus, I walked away with the confidence of Van Gogh.
How's life lately for you? :)