First Day Back

We had a wonderful first day back. It was great to reunite after our time apart. We are gradually working back into our routines and rebuilding our stamina for learning.
We enjoyed some allergen free cookies and a little celebration for our first day back as well as celebrating our student teacher, Ms. Wright’s first day.
We cleaned and tidied the classroom and made beautiful snowflakes to decorate the room.
It was wonderful to reconnect as well as building motivation for learning.

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Teacher Inspiration~ Space for Mistakes

Right now I am all zenned out from my peaceful quiet winter break filled with tea, yoga, and good books. Also my cutie husband and furry friend. I thought a little inspiring blog post from this happy mental place was in order for my teacher friends.

I came across an interesting, thought provoking idea about mistakes.

“I actively train my students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, “How fascinating!” It is only when we make mistakes that we can really begin to notice what needs attention.”

-Benjamin Zander, Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and all around interesting guy

It’s fun to picture these accomplished musicians responding to their mistakes in such a way. It’s even more fun to think about my own students responding to their mistakes thus. How joyful our classroom would be!

I haven’t decided whether to teach this exact process to the kids or not. But I am so inspired to take this joyful approach to focusing on what needs attention.

So teacher friends, how can we adopt this enlightened approach to mistakes in our classrooms… Here’s my plan.

Smile and think “oh that’s fascinating” when I make my own mistakes.

Smile and think “oh that’s fascinating” when the kids do something that is not helpful before I respond to them. Consider what I can learn from their behavior before I act.

Be reflective on what daily classroom practices might discourage students from feeling neutral or even positive about their mistakes. Many educational traditions make students feel shame in make mistakes ( writing names on board, grading practice work, editing with red pens…)

Take steps to eliminate practices I find in my classroom that discourage mistake making.

Add purposeful classroom practices that encourage students to focus on and learn from mistakes. (More on this when I think of some.)

Create positive, reflective phrases or questions to say to students when they make a mistake. (Again, more on this to come.)

How do you handle mistakes? Please share and comment!

Sharing Activity

Our class will be having a special sharing activity on Wednesday, January 7th. Please help your child choose ONE item from home to bring to school and share with the class. This item may be a toy, photo, book…anything your child would like to share. The only exceptions would be play guns, swords or other items that represent violence and are not appropriate for school. Please also note that while we will do our best to take care of our items at school it is possible for things to get lost or broken so valuable or extra special items should remain at home. Thanks!

 

Winter Party

We had an amazingly fun Frozen party thanks to the planning and efforts of many, many parents! Thank you Sarah and Dana for organizing such a fun party that was inclusive of all children. Here are some pictures of the fun! Thank you to all who helped and attended!

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Connecting with Nature

We had a great morning learning and working with Ms. Meredith and Ms. Lori from the outdoor classroom.

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We learned about bird names, bird calls, and what birds do in the winter. Here are the kids playing with the bird puppets that helped us learn their names.

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We made a nature craft to help the birds find food during the long, cold winter. We smeared lard onto pinecones and rolled them in sunflower seeds.

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The kids read nature books or made their own bird books when they finished their craft.

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Cleaning up was as much fun as making the mess!

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We bundled up in our coats since we don’t have feathers to keep us warm and went out to the outdoor classroom to hang our pinecones in trees for the birds. We saw several birds in the trees!

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A very special thank you to Ms. Meredith and Ms. Lori for sharing their knowledge and love of nature with us.

Toy Day Tomorrow (December 18th)

 

In honor of earning 250 Behavin’ Ravens for our safe, respectful, learner behavior we will have a toy day. Your child may bring one toy that will fit in their backpack to school tomorrow. We will have a special playtime in which the kids can play with their toys with friends. Please help your child choose a toy that is appropriate for school (No guns, swords or other toys that represent violence). Thank you!

Literacy Lately…

Here are a few pictures of little lovelies hard at work. Literacy work time is my favorite because it is so choice oriented. The work I set up for the kids is really just a starting point for them to jump off from. It is fun to see the work the kids invent themselves.

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Welcome Ms. Wright

I am happy to announce that after winter break Ashley Wright will be joining our class as our student teacher! Ashley is currently a Westminster student earning her undergraduate degree in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood as well. I will let her write a post after she gets settled in to tell you more about herself.

Ms. Wright and I will be working collaboratively to meet the needs of all the learners in our class. It will be a fun and fulfilling learning experience for all involved.