Friends! I am so sorry that I've neglected my little slice of cyberspace lately. I am, quite honestly, in survival mode. I am just trying to keep the momentum going in my classroom and in my coursework. Of course, real life (outside of school) has also been keeping me busy! Life is crazy... in a good way... :)
Seriously though. Please excuse my absence! Although I don't have anything earth-shattering to share, and I haven't been taking a bazillion pictures lately, I still managed to scrape together a few classroom happenings to share. :) This could get messy, but I'm going to be keeping this post fairly short and sweet.
We've been working with nonfiction features a little bit. When I say "a little bit", I truly mean it. I am very accustomed to working on HUGE nonfiction features books. This version is a little bit more condensed and concise. It's a nice review for the end of the year though!
As part of our study of the American government, my students wrote their own classroom anthems. We spent some time talking about what it really means to be patriotic before we watched Carrie Underwood sing the national anthem at a Super Bowl on YouTube. The kids were so adorable... standing up... hands on their hearts... singing along. My heart melted then and there. Afterwards, we talked about what we feel when we sing the anthem and why we feel the emotions that we do. After a brief discussion of pride and patriotism, we talked about our pride for our classroom and how it is similar to what we feel about our country in some ways. Then, the kiddos started writing their own anthems and shared them out. They turned out really well... and most were to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner. :)
In other news, we spent some time playing with words that fascinate us, baffle us, tickle us, and basically amaze us. We read Donovan's Word Jar, and we have been adding words to our jar chart ever since. (My real tangible word jar was way too hard to manage with two classes, so this was a quick fix for now.) This isn't anything fancy or fabulous, but I LOVE seeing how attuned they have been to language and precise vocabulary lately.
Of course, we practiced glossary skills a little bit with partners too. This is another crucial vocabulary building skill that is so important... as long as you don't rely on it too much! ;) Again, nothing fancy! I just wrote words on construction paper, flipped them upside down, mixed them around, and had my students come up in pairs to draw a word from the pile. Then, they looked up the definition, recorded it on the paper, and drew a pictoral representation of the word. A few groups also put the definition into their own words. Ultimately, each group was responsible for teaching their term to the class. They loved this... and it was super simple on my end! The other kids sketched pictures next to each term and added definitions next to it in their own mini-dictionary.
The only other decent photograph I managed to take over the past few weeks is a little torn paper flag craftivity that we completed on American Symbols. It was a nice formative assessment piece. This kiddo is definitely on the right track. They just confused our state bird... the cardinal... as a national symbol instead of a state symbol. This was a great way to see what still needs to be clarified before we wrap up the unit. (Confession: We made these maps before Winter Break. I've been hoarding them until now, because I knew we'd be strapped for time this spring! Ha!)
Well, that pretty much sums it up. We've been super busy reviewing for our final End of the Year test with tons of centers, games, and SmartBoard activities, but I haven't been the most devoted photographer, as you can tell! :) Anyway, with just a few days left in the school year, I think it's safe to say that I've survived my first year in my new district. I can't wait to see what next year has in store... :)