Thursday, 15 January 2015

Last Day of Work..... Adventure Awaits

Oh, how bittersweet it is. Today marked the last day of work with the kiddos for me, as I prepare for the birth of my new babe.
I have the sweetest class this year, so it was tough to say goodbye. But great new adventures await, and I am so looking forward to it all.
Our last day was jam packed with tying up loose ends and  making sure our last day together was memorable.
I wanted to share one activity that we did today, that is one I will most definitely keep in my back pocket for future use.
Suspense Story Reading--Digital Lounge
At the end of October, my students worked on Narratives (particularly Suspense Stories). They loved writing these stories. We worked on the entire writing process, plot structure and dove into descriptive word work and editing and revising techniques. (See post here).They put a lot of work into these stories. Since then, we have moved on....but these stories have still been on my mind and there's. Soooo..... since we are continuously working on Oral Communication Skills (tone, expression.... etc.) I decided to bring them back!
 I laminated each of their stories and had them use the lessons we have completed on "strong & effective ways to communicate" to record their stories. They each brought in a device (some students shared with others-- so we didn't depend on the schools resources and have to worry about signing them out, etc.). They were challenged to add sound effects and additional features that would enhance their digital story.
Oh my goodness! They did a phenomenal job. So much so, that today I hosted a Digital Story Listening Lounge!
Here's how it ran....
 I had the students put an independent book to read on the back table (all kiddos did this). I also had snacks and drinks at the back table, as well. This area acted as a "pit stop" for our listening lounge.

On each desk, the students left their written Suspense Story and their device with their recorded story.
*Each student brought their own personal headphones to class*

Each student rotated around with their "peer evaluation sheets" listening to as many stories as they could and provided feedback.

Since there was more than one story recorded on some devices (students who shared), there were not enough devices for each student to listen to. This is where the pit stop came into play. If you didn't have a place to read/listen to a story, you were to head to the 'pit stop' for a light snack and some independent reading.
The kids were VERY focused the ENTIRE time. No one talked. No one goofed around. Every-single-student was engaged. My plan was only to run this activity for 30-40 min., but it ended up lasting a little under an hour. They were so 'into it' that I didn't want to disrupt them.
At the end of the hour, I collected the stories and the peer feedback sheets and attached them to each other for review before I hand them back.
How I know I hooked them......
After this block of time, it was recess. Many kids asked to listen to a few stories they didn't get to during indoor recess.
My teacher heart is full.
And my time in this classroom is complete.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Back from the Break!

I am not going to say it was pleasant getting up this morning, attempting to get back into gear....but it wasn't horrible. I am thinking day 2 might hit me harder? Ha!
Anyway, I am not going to recap my Christmas Break, but it was oh-so-lovely to take a little break and to relax with friends and family. With a new baby on the way, it was especially great to spend a little extra time with the hubster.

And today was back to reality. Ugh.
 "Getting back into the groove" day.
Here are a few activities that we dove into that were easy, yet meaningful:

Goal Setting:
We spent a small portion of the day reviewing rules and expectations.  But also refreshed a list of class goals (things we really need to still work on as a group). Then I had the kids move into some personal goal setting. I had the students use small sticky notes, so that they can change their goals or remove them, if they have been achieved. How often do we have kids make goals and then never have them review or make changes to them?!  

HERE is a simple template that I created if it interests you.

Reflecting in Religion Class:
Tomorrow (January 6th) The Epiphany is celebrated in Canada. It remembers the three wise men’s visit to baby Jesus and his baptism, according to events in the Christian Bible.

Today, my students read Matthew 2:1-12 together. We discussed the events and the significance.
We talked about the role "The Magi" and who the 'Magi's' are in our own lives.

I read the article entitled "The Magi at 40,000 feet". I didn't read the entire article to my students, but paraphrased the story.
I really, really like this story because it is real.
The message at the end is my favourite part of the entire article.

For homework, my students are to reflect and think of a person or a group of people who have changed them in some way. Maybe it made them appreciate life more, or taught them something special. Perhaps even someone that made them think or slow down or just smile when they thought they couldn't.

Tomorrow they will write a brief reflection on this person and why they are important.

After their reflective time, I plan on breaking my students into pairs to create "A Modern Day Epiphany" Story.

While I am on maternity leave I intend on creating an Advent/Christmas package for upper grade students and hope to have this activity in more detail..... But for now, HERE is the template my kiddos will use to brainstorm.

So there you have it... nothing crazy, but a good start to the new year in 6/7E!

Have a great week :)