Today, the Meriwether Lewis Elementary School staff participated in a global tweetup. With October being Connected Educator Month, the MLES staff wanted to showcase how choice and comfort have become common place in our school. Below are pictures from todays tweetup.
Today was a great day. This tweetup offered a window into our school. We are building and growing but in no way are we finished. As a staff we are learning. You can learn along with us by following #mlsstaff and our twitter handle, @MeriwetherLES.
This week we have been working on story plots. We started with the question:
A few students sort of had the idea but mostly everyone was not quite sure. Then we broke down the plot of The Three Little Pigs. The students told me what happened in the story. We wrote the plot down into different steps.
From there they formed groups and started to create a story/plot of their own. Each group developed a simple story and wrote a script with the plot.
After they created their script, they began creating characters and a setting. Some students sketched out their setting before actually deciding on what to do.
They worked through snack (their choice) and began building their set.
Here are the videos and plots. (They typed this and proofread their work.)
1. The three little pigs are on boat.
2. The three little pigs are reading the book, The Three Little Pigs.
3. The pigs are on a hammock.
4. The wolf is in the water.
5. The wolf sees the boat.
6. He puts his hand out and tries to stop the boat .
7. But the wolf cant stop the boat and the wolf falls of the boat.
A raccoon tries to get into a house to get food and gets stuck in the cat door. (plot)
1. raccoon smells food
2.raccoon finds cat door
3.raccoon walks to cat door
4.raccoon pokes his head in cat door
5. raccoon gets stuck in cat door
6. a man hits the raccoon the end.
Plot: A bear doing a back flip.
1 The bear walks to the a party.
2 stared to dace.
3 he dose a back flip.
4 walks a way.
5 he lives happily ever after.
The Football Game with the Mean Coach
1. The coach quits.
2. The football players go to practice before the game.
3. Then the new mean coach comes.
4. The the mean coach gives them a potion.
5. Finally the nice coach returns and they win the game.
We have been back in school for 8 days. For most of those days, I have had students attempting to build marble runs. This was not a teacher directive. They just love playing and investigating with marbles.
Today I challenged my students to either build a marble run or a tower. As they built, they had to record directions. The project was a great success. The students were engaged and they truly took a scientific approach to building and writing.
My kindergarten students love to build and create. We are currently studying plot. As a way to help teach plot, I thought they should create stop motion videos that told a simple story. This is an ongoing project but I thought I would share a few of their creations. The following videos are all short but they do tell a story,
The bird falls down the first time but tries again and gets to the nest.
They were talking about vehicles that will fly in the future.
The cats are dancing and socializing.
In addition to stop motion, my students have started to use Animation-ish. It is a cool computer program that allows you to make animations.
Last October, @beckyfisher73 stopped by my room and asked about the class rules posted in my room. This is my 8th year of teaching but my first year teaching kindergarten. Traditionally, teachers hammer home the rules the first week of school. I even did a bit of this when I taught upper elementary. With kindergarten students, I didn’t want to go over rules too much. The first day, we spend about 10 minutes going over very basic rules.
There was already an established set of class rules for all kindergarten students. During the third week of school, I went over the established class rules with the kids. We discussed the rules and they gave me reasons why they thought they were important. The students seemed to agree that they were important.
After @Beckyfisher73′s visit, I began to evaluate why I did have those rules posted. When I taught 3rd and 4th grade, I always had my students create the class rules themselves. It was one of the first collaborative projects of the year. They would develop 5 rules that the class agreed upon. The point of having the students create the class rules was to give them ownership and accountability.
Why did I not do this with my kinder kids? In retrospect, I think I should have. I think next year I will. This is an example of why I love teaching. I fail. Being an educator is challenging but it’s the challenges that enable me to grow.
These internal debates about class rules lead me to consider not having any class rules next year. Does a kindergarten class with no class rules sound crazy? I don’t think so. After evaluating the rules I had posted in October, I took them down. I have not had any rules posted for 3 months. The class basically follows one rule, the Golden rule. If I do have rules posted next year, I am going to create a way for the students to vote to have rules added and deleted via a democratic process.
Why does a classroom need rules? Doesn’t the school have established rules already? Most places of business don’t have rules listed. Customers just know what is right and wrong. Shouldn’t a classroom be the same? Shouldn’t the students, along with the teacher, monitor the classroom? These are all the thoughts running through my mind.
What do you think? Do you have class rules posted in your classroom? Did you make the rules? Did the kids make the rules?
I recently introduced Google Earth to my 4-year-old son. He loved it. Within minutes, he was zooming in and out and asking to see our house. We also visited Disney World (Animal Kingdom), grandma’s house, mommy’s work etc.
A few days later, my son saw a map in a local newspaper. He said to me, “where is our house?”. I said, “That is not a map of our neighborhood.” His response, “change the map and go to it.”
This is how their generation thinks. We have to understand our students. To them, things should be manipulated to work the way they want it to work. He could not understand why someone would have a map that can’t be changed. In his mind, he is thinking the map is useless because it doesn’t apply to his life.
In my classroom, I have kindergarten students who continuously try to make a laptop a touch screen. All the time, I see them using their finger on the laptop screen. I asked a student why he did that and he said, “it is easier to use my finger on the screen than using the pad.”
I am not saying that all maps should be like Google Earth or that we need to only have tablets. I understand the importance and necessity of a traditional map. I also love my laptop. This isn’t about maps or laptops. This about the simple act of listening and observing.
How do I learn? As an educator, and parent/husband, I learn by listening.
In the classroom, I am on a continuous path of learning. How I learn changes day-to-day depending on the brilliance of my students. The students and I learn together.
I look at our learning space as a clock. The students are the gears, and I am the hands. The students make me move. I respond to them. I learn from them and then build based on their needs and wants.
I learn and will continue to learn by listening, observing and experiencing.