Sunday, August 16, 2015

We are well under way...

The past week has been great, getting to know each other and work together. That has really been the focus this past week - learning to work together to analyze text and even to write our paragraphs. We learned that by working together, we can create better paragraphs and that by editing the work of others we not only help them but we learn a lot in the process!
For some, working in groups has come quite naturally. For others, there has been a bit of a learning curve but all in all we are seeing real progress. I can't wait to see how much each student progresses this year!

We started reading A Long Way from Chicago and the students really seem to be enjoying learning about Grandma Dowdel. Be sure to ask your student about this larger than life character!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Welcome to 6th grade

Welcome back to school!

This week, (even though it was only 3 actual days), was a long one! The hallways were filled with students finding their classes, meeting their teachers for the first time, and reconnecting with friends they hadn't seen since last week. It was a time of anticipation and a bit of feeling overwhelmed at times....and that was just what the teachers were feeling!

I am so excited about this year and already have fallen in love with my students. I looked at the room filled with potential and sincerely meant it when I told them they were not the FUTURE leaders, they are leaders right now.

This blog is a new step for me in journaling what we do in the classroom each week and I hope parents find it helpful in knowing what we doing to learn and grow as we make the journey through 6th grade.

Of course we did the regular classroom set up kind of stuff and we started our toolboxes (more on that in another post.) This week was also getting to know you week, and it was so much more! We learned to let go of negative labels, both those given to us by others and those we have often given ourselves. "No one can go back and change the beginning, but anyone can start today and make a brand new ending." Old labels were tossed into the trash (some took a few shots to make it in, but life is like that...sometimes it takes more than once to get rid of negative labels we have glued to ourselves!) In their place, we will begin to look at "I AM" and all the wonderful things we have been created to, kind, respectful, brave, beautiful, etc. We are over-comers and we are Torndoes!

We also learned how important each member of the body, or group is to the whole. We started by reading and analyzing an Aesop fable about the stomach and the body. Each person had a job in the groups as we answered questions about how this story related to school and life outside of school. 

After group discussion, we went on to whole group. We talked about the fact that when one part of the body hurts (even if it's a part I never think about or even kind of dislike) the whole body hurts. Think your little toe finding the leg of the coffee table in the middle of the night. You don't say, "Well little toe, that was a stupid move. Hate it that you are hurting." No! Your whole body gets involved and feels the pain! When one part hurts or falls, the whole body hurts or falls. On the opposite side of the coin, when one part succeeds, the whole body succeeds! When we run a race and win, they don't give a medal to our legs. They give the medal to the whole person!

At the end of our lesson, we gave out "Atta Boy!" post-it notes to give everyone a chance to brag on how well someone had done in their groups. I was so impressed with all the students as they acknowledged the contribution of others!

Next week we begin our lessons on characterization as well as look at how to use our classroom computers and how to cite evidence. Monday night will be Meet the Teacher night and I look forward to seeing my students and their parents!

I hope all my posts won't be quite this long but when you are busy learning so much, sometimes it takes a while to tell it all!

Welcome to 6th grade! It's going to be a WONDER-ful year!