Friday, September 19, 2014

Flashback to the First Week of School!

This is a FLASHBACK post since I just can't seem to blog about all that we do when we actually do it. So let's go back to the first week of school (only three  FOUR weeks ago!). (started the draft to this post LAST week and just now getting it published!)

I wanted to share a few activities from the first week that went really well.

2nd Grade Expectations Posters

The first is one we did the 2nd Day of school to help collect students thoughts and feelings about 2nd grade. I prepared 6 questions for the kids to answer on separate pieces of chart paper.

1. What do the kids in our class need to do so that everything runs smoothly?
2. What do you hope to learn in 2nd grade?
3. What will YOU need to do to be successful this year?
4.What can Mrs. MeGown do to help you this year?
5. Our classroom should be ___________ everyday.
6. School is important because_________________.

The posters were stationed around the room for the kids to rotate through and answer. I set out post its next to each poster and told the kids to keep their pencil with them. I waited for the kids' attention before we rotated to the next poster on a bell. That seemed to work well for us.

Here is a video showing how my class did!

We put the posters out in the hallway!

These pictures didn't turn out well...I'll chalk that up to poor lighting and um...user error. I was rushing so the pics are a little blurry. :-/

I love what some of the kids say on this one..."teach us", "work", "help us read better".

And this one..."I need to raise my hand." "Work EXTRA hard."

Love this little class already!

Elmer: A Differentiation activity w/ Bandaids!

A former teammate of mine found this on Pinterest a few years ago so I cannot take credit for it!
Everybody loves Elmer. The colorful patchwork elephant who got tired of being different and wanted to be like everyone else. It wasn't until he disguised himself to look just like the other elephants that he realized his friends really missed him and didn't recognize the plain Elmer. It concludes with the idea of it's better to be yourself and be different. Not everyone is the same. 

So after reading, I got out a box of bandaids and told the kids to just THINK about what I was doing. I called each student up to me individually and thought for a moment and stuck a bandaid on them. 

("Hmmm...let me see where you need this....ok,!') 

Some got one on their arms, hands, legs and yes, even face! The kids were a little confused by what I was doing and found it highly entertaining every time I stuck a bandaid on someone. 

When I was all done and everybody had a bandaid I asked the kids if they knew what I was doing. Someone suggested that I would always be there to give them bandaids. Another student shouted that I must really care about them. And another thought I was thinking about how I could help them.

 This book and activity is a GREAT way to address the fairness issue. What's the fairness issue, you ask? Well, as teachers, we know we have kids that require a little more attention than others and may have special services. And we also have kids that can extend their learning even more by providing more choice in their learning etc. This explains about differentiation and how "Fair doesn't mean everybody gets the same thing. Fair is giving everyone exactly what they need." 

I introduced this poster after revealing the purpose of the activity. 

I now have this hanging in my room. 

I explained to the kids that I may spend more time with someone else or give them different tools or options but that is because I am giving them exactly what they need. I have some students who come in for inclusion and receive special services. I also have gifted and talented students who have a "push-in" GT program.  I also have 4 students who go to 3rd grade for advanced math and 1 first grader who comes to me for advanced math. There are also 5 new kids to the school in my class. Lots going on! It seemed really important that I did this lesson with this group of kids.

Here they are sporting their bandaids!

It is one of my favorite first week activities and I plan to continue it each year!

Me Museum Project!

The last thing I wanted to share from our first week was our Me Museum activity! Remember the good ole "Me in a Bag" activity that is so popular the first week. You know, the one where each kid brings in 5 things in a bag to share about themselves. And by the time the 7th kid stands up to talk all about their stuffed animals or rock collection, the class is already fidgeting and squirming around? Yeah, we don't do that anymore. I did it for years but have found that this Me Museum is a great alternative that we will continue to do from now on! The first day of school we sent home this letter , from Doris Young on TpT, to let kids and parents know that they would bring in 3 items to display in their museum (on their desk) that would tell about them. They had the whole week to gather their things and prepare notecards (as signs) to tell about the item. We had our Me Museums due on Friday. I blogged about this last year too but this year, it went so much better!

Here are a few pics and videos!

The kids had to decorate a sign for their Museum too.

We talked about using "museum etiquette" where we only look with our eyes and keep our hands behind our backs. Love how this student is using his museum manners!

I had groups of 4 or 5 rotate around and gave them plenty of time at each table group.

I had post-its at each table for the kids to write questions if they had any and leave on that student's desk. This was great, since the kids really wanted to know more about the items and we couldn't shout across the "museum." :) We shared and answered the questions at the end.

And here they are LIVE!

I am super impressed with this group of kids so far. We are off to a great start and I look forward to this year! 

Maybe next week I will be able to flashback into time again because there is still more I'd like to share. 

But it's clearly my bedtime! 

Thanks for stopping by!!


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