Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Brand New Sleepover

Each year our First Graders participate in Sleepover in January. In previous years, this special day has been centered around great narrative stories about sleepovers, narrative writing, teddy bears, and friends. We read many books and wrote great stories about sleepovers. The study came to and end on the actual Sleepover Day where students came dressed in their pj's, brought their homemade teddy bears, had a pancake breakfast, and partipated in fun activities all day that were related to sleepovers.

This year the first grade teachers decided they wanted to change the annual event and spice it up with a little bit of science - ok, a lot of science. The theme just didn't focus around sleepovers but the night sky! Students learned about stars and planets. Over the course of a couple weeks, they incorporated science standards into their reading and writing as well. They had a family night where they had guest astronomers come with telescopes and families were invited to watch a movies outside under the stars. On Friday, they had their big day. They started out with a parade as usual but instead of homemade teddy bears, each child had made a pillow into a star or planet (they were really cool). They still had breakfast but with donuts and juice. Then it was off to their stations. They had a music where they sang "out of this world" songs, art where they made cool pictures frames, a galatic experience inside a big bag where they could watch the earth and moon move, and played space games on the smartboards. At the end of the day they went to the media center and watched a great shadow story on the ceiling, watched a movie, and danced. The kids had a BLAST!

Since many of our teachers loop back and forth between K and 1, I spend the day documenting the events so that we can use it for planning next year. Here are some highlights from their day.

Solar System

Space Worms

Monday, January 18, 2010

Project Wild at the Zoo

This weekend I attended a great workshop offered at the Jacksonville Zoo. Project Wild is a curriculum workshop that focuses on engaging lessons around animals and the environment. This was one of the most valuable workshops I have been to in years. There were about 20 people there from all over - Nassau County, Duval County, St. Johns County, GA, Tallahassee, and even two people from the Bahamas. We were fortunate enough to sit at the table with Tamika and Portia from the Bahamas.

They both worked for the National Park service there and were ready to learn what they could do to improve and provide education within their parks. Throughout the day we participated in great lessons, got to see some animals, and went through a section of the park making observations.

In May they offer Project Wet which I have already signed up for. I can't wait to go back and see what new and exciting things I can learn and bring back for my students!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back on track- A community reaches out

As a teacher and a mom, sometimes time gets so far ahead of me I feel like I am chasing after it. As I was taking pictures the other day for a topic I wanted to blog about, I realized how long it had actually been since I had sat down and blogged on this site. Was it because I didn't feel I had anything worthy to say? Was it because POW WOW and holidays tend to put me into another world? I am not really sure but the other day I couldn't wait to get a chance to sit down and write about what I was experiencing from my school.

Last weekend, our community experienced a devastating fire at the apartment complex across the street from our school. The fire took out 20 apartments. Luckily - no one was hurt or killed!! In the process, 6 of our families lost everything they owned. Everyone felt their loss. Immediately our school sent out an email addressing the issue and what we could do to help our families. The next morning, people were bringing in clothes, blankets, and anything they could spare to help them. Fliers were sent home with students explaining what had taken place and asking for donations. The next morning, the response was overwhelming. As I brought in bags of clothes myself, I was almost in tears as I witnessed what our school family has to offer. Our office was literally turned into a department store (except everything was free!) There were coats, shoes, televisions, sheets, dishes, pillows, microwaves, pictures of couches, shampoo, toilet paper, and every size of clothing you could imagine. I took a couple quick pictures with my phone because I wanted to capture the love and support our community was able to give for these families. Throughout the week, we continued to received an immense amount of stuff to help these families get back on their feet. At once point I could hardly walk through the office! Thank you Chets Creek and all our parents for continuously reminding me that our families know what giving is all about.