Sunday, September 6, 2015

Reflections from the Teacher

It was truly my desire to reflect weekly on the happenings in my classroom. As you can see, weekly hasn't happened yet. Quite honestly, one reflection is that those days are full and busy. That leaves little energy left for writing posts. I'm trying to take advantage of the 3 day weekend to give a glimpse of what has happened, and what lies waiting on the horizon.

My first thought of my year so far is...blessed! The time and effort it took in the first weeks to create relationships, build foundations and create a culture of growth, curiosity and challenge has paid off. There is a sweet spirit among my learners. Based on The Energy Bus for kids, I can say the positive energy is flowing.

We are in the midst of building collaborators. They are learning how to do that. Learning to think, communicate, share and create. They are understanding that there are strategies to employ and that quitting isn't a part of the vocabulary when you learn. They are seeing there are differences among them and that they help by building each other up, supporting when it is hard, and that everyone has a place and a purpose.

I came in feeling a little more comfortable with technology. But I am moving on and continuing to stretch myself into the unknowns which just seem to keep coming. There it is in a few words, and now I'll show you with some photos.

 Reading will always be a part of our days. Getting lost in their thinking in a book they chose. We have set goals and are monitoring regularly. We celebrate each of their steps to success.
Math talk is in progress on Twitter! Check out #mtgr2 , a weekly slow Twitter chat for 2nd grade classes. This is a sign of my growth as I take on a new role of hosting that chat! Next week begins a K-2 chat #k2tweetpals where we can learn about our different communities. Questions will post on Sunday evenings. Follow me at @firstatbat and our class is @linked learners . Please join in with us. We love being connected learners in a connected world!
 We have a daily letter. Great
classroom community time. Don't you love the Energy Bus poster? A parent made it for us. It is a great reminder to us and I refer to it often.

 The photo here is from one of our writing lessons. You can find the script if you search for playdoh script and writing process. The students use the playdoh while you read the script. It compares a writer to a sculptor. It is a fantastic lesson. They make a pencil holder while they learn the writing process.

One of our students showing off her math thinking for  #mtgr2 ! You find out so much about a child's mathematical thinking when you give them open ended math questions. We have had a few more classes join us now. I hope to keep growing.
We have been excited to be beta testers for the new Easyblog format. This year we will be one to one on iPads. Any day now Easyblog is going live, and we already know how awesome it is. Here the students are blogging about numbers in math.
We started using our notebooks in Science. We are studying weather and did focus a week of our studies on Hurricane Katrina. It has been a decade! We have a Skype scheduled this week with a meteorologist and a Google Hangout with a storm chaser! I created a lesson in Skype in the Classroom and hope to have others speak to our class about their experience or knowledge.

 A proud panther luncheon. Our student of the week brings a friend to lunch. Another great way to build relationships. Love our patio at school, though it is still a little too warm for me!

Every week our students are teamed up for some math problem solving. I love to listen to their conversations, see their strategies and see them work together. You can see how involved they are! I love this for collaboration and it is a hit with the students as well. A full hour of math problem solving is some of our best practice.

If you are not a part of Skype in the Classroom, I encourage you to get involved. You can find ways to connect with the world, build your students knowledge base and take them on field trips around the globe. This was a lesson from Cape Town, South Africa. Stubby the penguin was the focus. Students learned many things about African penguins, but also a great life lesson. We will be using Skype in the classroom on a regular basis. We are connected learners!

As I look at the calendar ahead we have a lot coming our way. I am excited to start our Hour of Empower which will be a mixture of STEAM, Maker Space and Genius Hour combined to help students explore their passions and create with purpose. We have the Global Read Aloud and we are looking for collaboration partners. We will celebrate Dot Day a little later because we will be off doing swim lessons for 4 days! We will be doing Reader's Theater with classrooms through Skype (another lesson I have available). Our iPads looking ready to roll out to students. I will be exploring Google in the Classroom and I really want to be more purposeful about using the iPads as a resource for students to have voice and choice in sharing their thinking and work. As you can guess...I am an excited teacher who is also a work in progress and I can't wait to see the future doors open and reveal a bright future ahead.