Today was a day of extremes. I began my day meeting with parents to discuss their children. I love taking the time to tell parents how unique and special I find their children to be. I gave parents their children's science projects about frogs with pride. I was proud of the environment that I had created in my classroom to allow this authentic learning experience to occur. I was proud of the children and all of their hard work. It was a great feeling. Although many teachers would rather not meet with parents at the beginning of the year, I stand by my decision to meet with parents early in the year. I feel that giving parents the opportunity to share in this year's goal-setting is central to my mission of meeting the needs of families. I learned a lot about my students today just be meeting their parents. It was amazing to see the "little pieces" of my students that were so evident in their parents.
Some parents discussed reading my blog to find out what was happening in the classroom. Yippee! I am so glad that parents are using this as a way to feel connected to their children's education. So often, what we do as teachers is detached from the familial life of our students. This blog can provide a connection through which families can all participate in their children's education. I feel good as I write this knowing that my time spent journaling is meaningful to others.
This Thursday is "Back To School Night". I look forward to discussing curriculum with parents on this night. By that time, I'll have already met with most parents to discuss their individual children. Hopefully, this will help parents to feel more comfortable on this night. We'll see how it plays out....
Today, we began our class VIP program. Our first student, MB, was so excited to share her "personality poster" with the class. The time that she spent representing herself and her interests is so evident. The VIP program allows each child to be highlighted for one week of the school year. Each day, the child brings in a different item to share with the class. In the past, my students have really enjoyed this week. Here are our VIP event plans. Download VIP Events.doc.
As I was conferencing with students, Mrs. Filemyr read "Down The Hill" from Frog and Toad All Year with the children. The children then made personal connections with the text and completed a writing assignment. Download Down the Hill Student Responses.doc. For final copies of the response paragraph, I use the following template. Download Down The Hill Writing Template.ppt. The students wrote well today.
Mrs. Filemyr also worked on a math lesson concerning doubles and doubles plus one facts and their relationship to each other. From all accounts, all students were comfortable with this concept.
In the afternoon, I introduced the "World Village" project to my class. See our wiki at http://worldvillage.wikispaces.com/. I felt quite disheartened and was feeling really down about how it went. First, we discussed the meaning of the words "global" and "world". Then we discussed "villages" and what defines them. The children were definitely understanding of the lingo. Then, I showed the children a slideshow of photos from Susan Souza, my partner teacher in this project from Thailand. They were more than quick to point out differences and a little slower to look for things that were the same. Upon our second viewing of the slideshow, however, they were more receptive to looking for things that were similar to our classroom. I will post a wav file that our class recorded tonight. The children recorded the "Organization" song they have been practicing. Download get organized recording.wav
At the end of the day, I discussed my experiences with my partner teacher, Sharon. After letting out how it had gone, I came to the realization that today's occurrences were exactly what I needed to see if I am truly to encourage children to "see beyond". It's o.k. for them to focus on the differences, and slowly open up to the similarities - in fact, that's the ultimate challenge of this project. It was just hard for me to see in the moment.
After discussing the pictures, I showed the first half of the Jeff Corwyn Experience: Thailand. I hoped to reach my more scientifically inclined children through this UnitedStreaming video. It was pretty interesting. http://www.unitedstreaming.com/studentCenter/index.cfm?cdCode=T15F1-6862
The next step in this project is for both classes to create a video of what it's like to be in our classrooms and post it for the other classroom to view. I spent hours today setting up all students on a private class Ning. It took what seemed like forever. Feeling exceptionally industrious, I also set up a Yackpack for them too. (I really am a rockstar - I truly need my own guitar).
What will tomorrow bring? I'm thinking more of the same.