Friday, April 29, 2011

Lego Club

I am blessed to work in a school with some wonderful parents. One in particular noticed her own sons' love of Lego and began researching. A discovery was made about a Junior Lego Club that she introduced to fourth graders. However she also was willing to visit all of the classrooms and do a mini-lesson with the students. Let me tell you how excited they were! First she told them the rules including my favorite which was that there is a 4 minute period of thinking and building WITHOUT talking. I thought, "yea right!" They were silent and did not touch the Lego blocks until she told them to.
One instruction was to build things that make them happy --> see the picture of Lego people watching TV and making dinner.
Another instruction was to build something new or exciting --> see the picture of the assembly line where the pieces moved along to make real tools.
And lastly, make their lunch. One of my autistic students created his sandwich (jelly, mustard, and ham?) and his juice box. -- see picture below. He used the small blocks to represent each of the colors of the things on his sandwich. As well as creating a straw in his juice.
I was so impressed with their work, their ideas, and their passions! Later in the winter I was invited to judge the 4th grade creations at their Lego Club Expo. Truly intelligent fourth grade brains out there.

So Proud

For the month of April my students worked very hard on writing similes. They really seemed to understand the concept and some went waaaay beyond my expectations. For the April bulletin board, the students used an outline I created with about 10 basic color words and wrote a simile for each color. Then they typed their poems on the computer and inserted a picture to match their writing. They demonstrated many computer processing skills using Word, such as indenting, changing the font and size, inserting clip art. Afterwards they made a duck or bunny and glued their poems onto the body part. (This idea came from Mrs. Smith, a teacher at Union Hill School. She had amazing pictures of BBs in her school. I made my own patterns looking at her duck examples. To her... THANK YOU SO MUCH) Of course the boys picked the duck and the girls picked the bunny. The main BB was made using graphics purchased from Scrappin' Doddles. I freehanded my own 'bigger' versions.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Never Ending New Students

Putting a question out there to whoever is there to answer. How many new students do you get a year, on average? In the town that I teach it's normal to get 2 or 3 new students per class, in a year. This year I am up to 4 new students and am getting another new one tomorrow. (I know, this time of the year?!?) I did all the usual preparations in September for new students, but that stock pile has been taken and I had to run out tonight and get more. This now makes my total 29 second graders - 6 ELLs, 11 BSIs, and 1 autistic - and one adult. I receive BSI instruction for about 30 minutes a day and the ELL teacher pulls her students for 45 minutes a day. Anyways, I am just overwhelmed at teaching another student the class rules, procedures, and routines. Any opinions, comments, and or frustrations, too?!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Epic Teacher Fails

First and foremost, I have been twelve kinds of busy lately. So I apologize for not posting in forever. Now on to the topic at hand. Yesterday was the last day before our "spring break." As you can also note, it was the last day before Easter, so it was the day for parties and holiday festivities. I was all last minute running to Target the night before. Luckily everything I needed was on sale. I bought 96 plastic eggs for about $3 and 4 bags of jelly beans for $6. The next day my amazing parent volunteer filled all the plastic eggs up and then hid them out near our classroom. My students eagerly found all the eggs and asked the obvious question, "Can we eat the jelly beans?" I said, "Of course!" Side note: I don't like jelly beans, but these were Jolly Rancher ones and they were quite tasty. Anyways, I came back after lunch/recess to begin math. I had all these fun jelly bean math activities to do. You may already see where this is going. I had the kids eat all the jelly beans already! Needless to say EPIC TEACHER FAIL. I laughed and told them, "See teachers make mistakes, too!" I found some extra jelly beans for them to at least do some of the activity pages. Minutes later, I overheard one my best teacher friends tell her tale of the epic teacher fail. You see, her plastic eggs were filled with other types of candies, including chocolate. I should explain that usually in NJ our Easters tend to be rainy and or cold. However, yesterday was not any of the above. It was a sunny, 83 degrees. Again using inferencing, what do you think happened next? Of course, the chocolate melted in the toasty eggs. Oh well, we both laughed at our misfortune. Hopefully you liked your story Tracy!