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Archive for the ‘Celebration Saturday’ Category

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Not much happened this week.
A layer of ice.
Schools closed.

I stoked the fire.
Carefully added a log or two.
Then let it go out.

Crochet needle looped and looped
a neck warmer for a friend,
prayers for an injured boy.

Ukulele picking.
Hallelujah
From G to E-minor
cramped and challenged
this weak left hand.

Read a book
about Love,
And the face staring back
in the bathroom mirror–
this, too, is love.*

A book about a Fall,
I didn’t look up
I didn’t look down
I just kept on climbing
one step at a time.*

Cooked and cared for
my mother-in-law
recovering from surgery.
“I’m fine,” she insisted.
She’s fine, I know.

Wrote a poem
with only a few words,
lifted it up like a paper airplane,
and sent it out into the world.

* Matt de la Peña Love

* Dan Santat After the Fall

 

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

This week as we returned from our break and began 2018, I wanted my students to choose a One Little Word for their year.  To lead them in this, I created a Google slide show.  

My students were very thoughtful about their word choices.  With three choices to creatively represent their words, students rotated from magazine collage to Canva and Animoto. For their writing element, I asked them to write the journey to their chosen word.

This exercise confirmed a belief I have about students and literacy.  A child’s story should be told, honored, and respected.  Then you can reach, teach, and move them forward.

My students worked through their struggles, their heartaches, their goals, and their dreams.

Erin’s word is Value.

Erin wrote: “I chose value because it’s unique like me. To most people it’s the worth of money. But to me, it’s the worth of myself. I could have chosen other words like confidence, determination, etc. But I couldn’t live by those words. I couldn’t try to be confident for the whole year. The first week I would fail. But I can value myself. I can live by this word, whether it’s me trying to have more value in myself, or me knowing that other people value me.”

Austin chose the word Strive.

Austin wrote: “I got my one little word from basketball. Since the beginning of Christmas break, I have been playing the game a lot. I still have been going outside, but not as much as I usually do. So when it was time to get on the court, I was not ready. I was not ready to run a lot. I was not ready to dribble the ball. I was not ready to put the ball in the basket. We lost both of our games. My mom and my dad told me that if I was not on my game the whole time, I would have been ready for this moment. That is when I decided that I needed to strive to be what I want to be (basketball player). I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing and wait until it was time to do something. I decided to limit my ps4 time. I would work more, hustle more., and especially strive more. I decided to go to the time, not wait till the time came to me.”

Faith’s One Little Word is Gratitude.

Faith wrote: “My journey to get to my one little word all starts when the hurricanes and fires and floods all started. When hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the devastation was horrible. Watching the news and all the houses and building destroyed, it made me feel thankful and grateful for everything I have.”

Trace made an Animoto video about helping.  In his post, he wrote, “My One Little Word is Helpful. The way this train of thought all started was when my Mom had told me  ‘Maw-maw has a problem where she is starting to forget so we will need to help her more often. Also she is starting to forget to eat so she really needs our help.’ So now I go there almost everyday to help. ”

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

On my daily weather report app, a snowflake appeared, then disappeared, then appeared again.  On Thursday afternoon, our superintendent cancelled school for Friday.  I was skeptical.  Snow?  Really?

The last real snow I remember was a freak one in early March of 1988.  I was pregnant with my second child, and I remember my coat would not fit around my bulging belly.  My oldest was 3.  Neighbors made a snow bunny.  Since then, we’ve had ice rarely, and snow flurries every 7 years or so.

I woke up a little later knowing I could.  When I opened the door to let my dog out, I was shocked.  Snow!  Real live snow!  Falling and sticking!

snowy camellia

 

Neighbor James makes a snow angel.

The snow fell for hours.  Reports say we got 1-2 inches.  To us here in South Louisiana, that’s a blizzard!

What a gift to open our Kidblog and see that Lynzee had written a poem about the snow!

So cold
No sign of letting up
Only white
White as can be
Falling down
Lonely snow
A white Christmas
Knowing that
Even then
Snowflakes will stay.

And we
Rush to
Eat breakfast

And play in the snow
Music floating in our minds
And snowballs
Zip by
Ice castles
Nothing can stop the joy of a
Glorious snow day

–Lynzee, 3rd grade

Our local news station, KATC, made this video about the 2017 snow event.  Such delight!

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Ruth Ayres invites bloggers to celebrate every Saturday.  I don’t always post, but today I wanted to celebrate our field trip this week.  My students are practicing for a play they will perform next week for first graders at the Shadows, a local plantation home.  Wednesday was the day we signed up for rehearsal, so my students were able to try on the costumes and see where each scene would be in the house.  They were excited and nervous.

After the rehearsal, we walked to an iconic cafeteria on Main Street, Victor’s, where Dave Robichaux eats. I had to give them a speech before we went in about how their eyes would be bigger than their stomachs.  The first thing on the shelves are delicious looking desserts.  My experience has taught me that young children left on their own to choose their food rarely pass up desserts.  Victor’s offers home-cooked meals like rice and gravy, smothered pork chops, fired chicken, and the Wednesday special was a stuffed catfish.  Yum!

But the highlight of the trip was the movie Wonder.  I’ve read the book a few times.  Some of my students have read it at least once.  Some had not read it but now want to.  I asked them to write a blog post about the field trip and gather here some of their quotes about the movie.

I was crying through out the whole movie. This movie made me realize that I am very fortunate and that I should never ever bully. Bullying can be horrible. Auggie had many problems but he knew he would get bullied and he knew that there will be issues caused because of him. This is one of the only movies that touched me emotionally. I really recommend this to you, but you all saw it so just watch it again. Faith, 6th grade

 Auggie’s mom decided that Auggie would begin Beecher Preparatory School in the fifth grade, so he would not be the only new kid. And the day before he started, he met Julian, Jack, and Charlotte. The whole time Charlotte was talking about Broadway, and Julian goes out of his way to be rude. When they get to the science room, Julian says, “This is the science room. It’s supposably hard.” And Auggie says, “It’s not supposably. It’s supposedly. Maybe my mom needs to homeschool you, too.”, which made us all laugh. And at the end, Auggie got the Henry Ward Beecher medal. If I could give Wonder a grade, it would be an A+. Lynzee, 3rd grade

That was such a “wonder“ful movie. That was probably the saddest and most heart-warming movie I ever saw in my life. It almost made me cry and that is a hard thing to do but I didn’t. (Surprisingly).  Andrew, 5th grade

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Developing a mindset for presence is difficult in these busy fall days.  I am adjusting slowly to the shifting of gears three times a day as I travel from school to school.  I use the car ride to reflect on the last class and prepare for the next.  I’ve got the time down so that I’m not rushing.  I’ve noticed on the sign-in sheets at my schools that my time is the same every day even without my paying much attention to it.

 

EnneaThought® for the Day

Type Two EnneaThought® for November 11th

How can you fully experience your Presence here and now? Observe the many thoughts that pass through your awareness without becoming attached to any of them. (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 47)

 

This week I’ve been practicing mindfulness and meditation with my morning group of kids.  They looked forward to this.  But Friday was Friday and their little busy minds just would not relax.  Eyes were opening, mouths were smiling, feet were fidgety.   So after the timer dinged, I asked my students to open their journals to free write about the word ripple.  I selected the word from the mindfulness card that said to imagine dropping a stone into the water and watch the ripples.  Adding this layer to the meditation practice brought my students to a vulnerable place.  I’m learning that when we open up our classrooms to the experience of mindfulness and safety, emotions can arise.  We have to be ready to treat them with gentleness and kindness.

Focus on nothing
everything becomes clearer
morning mindfulness

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Collaboration was the name of the game at all three schools this week.  At each school, I was working with my gifted students on projects that required cooperation, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, the 4 C’s of 21st Century education.

At school #1, students were working on “Mood” stories.  With the celebration of Halloween, most stories took on a scary mood.  Some of my students asked if they could work together.  I considered it and decided to let them, but I was skeptical about whether they could truly collaborate.  I was pleasantly surprised.  They gathered together and used a story board to plan their stories.  They talked and wrote, wrote and talked.  The class was buzzing with the sound of collaboration.

Dawson was writing on his own.  He asked for big paper to use for his story board.  He wrote his “longest story ever!”  I enjoyed his use of text features to create the mood.  This was his favorite part to read aloud.

They all sat down and chanted,”Oh Ouija Board, oh how do you do, show us the spirit that lives here too.” Their hands moved and spelled L I G H T S O U T. At that exact moment the lights went out and the tv came on with static.

In the static they could make out a man that said,” III WWW III LLL LLL KKK III LL LL YYY OOO UUU!!!

At school #2, we are working on podcasts about endangered animals.  Each student chose an animal to research.  One of the best things was when we were able to talk on the phone with a local bird expert.  My students are powering through the steep technology learning curve.  I am hoping we’ll be ready to publish them next week.  We are looking forward to a call with a marine biologist this Monday.

At school #3, we worked with Mystery Science lessons and made a chain reaction machine.  After many tries, I was sure it was going to work for this video.  I ended up giving a little hand in the chain.

 

I am a strong believer in project-based learning experiences.  My students become motivated and engaged, and they own their learning.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

I have to thank NCTE for the National Day on Writing as well as all the many posts on #WhyIWrite and my many teacher-writer friends who inspire me every day to make my class a safe place for writers to bloom.

Michelle Haseltine told me she was writing quotes on pencils to give to her students as inspired by Malala’s Magic Pencil. (Her post is here.)  So early Friday morning, I grabbed some fresh pencils and Googled writing quotes.  Each student received a pencil with a quote.  This was such a simple, yet positive way to garner enthusiasm for a special writing day.

Betsy Hubbard posted last minute ideas on the Two Writing Teachers blog early yesterday.  I grabbed the idea of chalkabration!  Years ago, Betsy led a monthly roundup of Chalkabration posts.  The basic idea is writing poetry with sidewalk chalk.  My students were so excited to be able to go outside and chalk their poems.  I made an Animoto video to share.

Here are some of the wonderful fall themed poems my students and I created.

–Margaret Simon Fall Haiku

Fall The holy winter is waiting. Why keep it away when you could bring it in. Winter comes. –Trace, 5th grade

Fall Mysterious Admiring Happening Turning Winter Every Night Fall –Austin, 6th grade

Autumn Summer breeze turned cold. Bright sun into dim moon. Emerald leaves turn amber. Blue skies now dark. –Madison, 4th grade

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