Thursday, October 30, 2008

Always a Learner

Some people believe that you go to school, get a degree, and then you are done. For teachers, I don't think we can ever stop being a learner. Today I found a great new site that allows me to complete my own professional development in technology. I came across this new ning - classroom 2.0. This ning is all about technology and education. WOW...if you need to learn ANYTHING about Web 2.0 you should check this out. The ning is open to anyone. They also have a great Wiki about Web 2.0 with explanations and links to help those that may not be as proficient as others - such as myself. I am really excited to become involved in their forums and learn all the great things they have to offer. You can also find an introduction and the location of it's members on voicethread. I hope that this ning can offer you something new as well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


For many people, they may not understand the importance of traditions. Here at Chets, traditions are the foundation of our school. Each year there are certain things that happen because we feel they are important and provide meaningful memories. One of those events is our Literary Celebration. At the end of October, our school is transformed by Literary Pumpkins. Each year I walk out thinking my pumpkin looks the best only to be WOWed when I see what other classes have done. I can't believe they get better and better. One important aspect I believe in with this event is that all students should be able to have a part in the process. I love to find a book that kids can make a little pumpkin to go with. This year our book was Apples to Oregon. It is a great story and the kids love listening to the adventures of Delicious. The kids homework project was to decide on one type of apple and make their pumpkin look like that apple.

They couldn't have gotten any better.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Making field trips meaningful

Today our first graders visited MOSH (Museum of Science and History). We have been on this field trip for many years. When we got there I was very happy to see that they had added a whole new Force and Motion section because we are currently working on that in our Science standards. But the one thing that I hate about this trip is that there are always so many, many students there. We have about 220 first graders there ourselves. I worry the kids never get enough out of it because they have to share the space with so many other children. Do they hear all the cool information when they press the button? Did they get to try all the neat science tools? Did they get to see everything there?

Today I was put back into the mind of a 6 year old as I was reminded that they don't care that there are tons of kids all around. They don't care that it is loud. They don't mind that they didn't get to see EVERYTHING. Today, I was reminded that they enjoy just being able to see new things, learn new information about ANYTHING, and are excited by just being there. For many of our students this year, this was their first time being to MOSH. They were so excited to see all the great things they have - like the skeletons of people and manatees. We ate lunch with our friends at Friendship Fountain and played vocabulary games while we ate. We shared our food with our friends.

They had a wonderful time with their classmates and learned something new. This was a meaningful field trip!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What is coaching all about?

As the science coach for Kindergarten and First Grade, my goal is to help teachers learn best practices for teaching science to our future scientists. For the most part, that entails having meetings to discuss the standards, curriculum, look at student work, and discuss ways to teach in an inquiry classroom. For many teachers in the primary grades, they are still learning how to write and teach lessons in the 5 E model . Some times we forget that teachers are just like our students - they learn from modeling. This week I spent Tuesday in 5 Kindergarten classes teaching a lesson from their pumpkin unit. Hopefully, spending time modeling one lesson will increase the time and passion that each one of them spends in science instruction. Hopefully, they are able to vizualize exactly what some parts of the 5E model look and sound like. Hopefully, I made a difference for not just one teacher, but 5 teachers. That is what coaching is all about!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Celebrating Mem Fox

In our class we have just finished our unit of study on Mem Fox. What a great author for first graders. They love her work and she is great model for Authors as Mentors.. On Friday we celebrated her work and her homeland. We began with our Reader's Theatre of Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. What a great way to teach comprehension, fluency, and intonation! We had crafts all day and re-read her stories. If you have any great ideas from an author study celebration, please drop us a comment. You can check out all our fun from our class blog.