C.S. Lewis on Reading Fiction

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C.S. Lewis on Reading Fiction

We have more picture books on the way next week, and in 2 weeks I am tackling a stack of folktales & fairytales. I love reading fiction, particularly fairytales, because the story is good vs. evil, there are clear foes, and the brave heroes manage to win. Children need to read fiction if only to experience safely in a book the villains they will surely meet face-to-face in one form or another. Can’t wait to share more books with you!

 

Teachers and parents:

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ReThinking My Classroom: All is Love

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It is about half way through the school year, and what do you think I’ve been hearing about at work day after day? The upcoming Olympic games (so excited!), or good books we’ve read to our kids? NO.  End of year testing. Every day there is a discussion or a training to get us all ready for the brand spankin’ new standardized tests, that no one seems to know anything about yet. Scary.

Testing has been on my mind. A lot. Too much. Am I losing sight of what matters with these kids?

Then I read this blog post from Momastery: Share This With All the Schools, Please

And I stopped. Here is a description of a teacher who GETS IT. She isn’t just teaching math, she is teaching human beings. “All is love.”

And I resolve to think about training good kids instead of training good test takers.

It is not as if this is new. I just need reminders once and awhile. THIS WAS A POWERFUL REMINDER.

We Are KindI am the teacher who has “We Are Kind” posted on the classroom wall in a big frame I painted one summer. We spend the whole first week brainstorming ways to be kind to each other. We giggle and cheer and bond. And then school happens.

February is going to be a VERY busy month for my class. Crammed into the shortest month of the year will be 4 full days of testing, Parent Teacher Conferences, publishing a class book, the Valentine’s Day Party, two art assemblies, several birthdays, and a career day, on top of our regular classroom activities (some of those I am truly PSYCHED about, and some of them I am dreading . . . cough cough testing . . . )

But—being busy is no excuse. If I have time for a load of testing that I don’t believe in, surely I have time for a small and powerful thing that I DO believe in.

I teach in a third grade Dual Immersion classroom, which means I have one group of kids in the morning and another group in the afternoon. I am responsible for 44 little souls. I feel the weight of that responsibility. 

That blog post made me stop immediately and THINK. 

The part about looking for patterns jumped out at me. I can do that. THAT would be powerful for my kids.

 

So I am asking myself these questions:

Which kids are looked over and forgotten? Why?

Which kids are showing bravery? How?

What can I do for them today?

What can I do for them tomorrow?

 

If I can change my classroom in little ways, to help those kids who feel lost, then I might actually accomplish what I set out to do at the beginning of the year: foster kindness.

So I am adding something else into the mix for February and the rest of the year. And I couldn’t be more happy about it 🙂

A Small Breakthrough

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I started using the ClassDojo App as a behavior tool to track positive and negative behaviors, which means I carry the classroom iPad around a LOT. My iPad has been switching off to a black screen randomly, which is annoying when I am trying to use it, and of course my kids notice because they don’t want anything to get in the way of getting their points.

Right after the final bell one day, my little T______ bounds up to me: “I can fix that!”

T_____ is a darling kid and he struggles with just about every subject.

He took the iPad in his dirt covered hands and my gut reaction was, “Whooooa, do not touch that” but he was flying through the icons like a master. He found the settings button (which was hidden within a couple of folders), and viola! Fixed.

I ask kids to read and write and multiply for me constantly—but here was a moment for this kid to shine in a different way. I loved it.

Whipping up some plans for 2014

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I have great hopes for this year.

My word for the year is create, and I’ve been making plans!

 

These are my intentions for this blog during the next 12 months:

1. Write every week. Post every Tuesday night after school.

2. Read and Review every book on the New York Public Library’s list of 100 Books for Reading and Sharing (very excited about this!)

3. Start Posting and Sharing products on Teachers Pay Teachers, with an emphasis on literacy.

bring on the new year 🙂