Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Why are your shoe laces wet?"

This is a question that came out of my mouth yesterday during bus duty.

sidenote: bus duty = cruel and unusual punishment

So let me start this humorous story at the beginning...hope it makes you smile  :)

I was in charge of the kindergarteners, and there was a little boy who did not have his shoes tied.  I asked him if he wanted me to tie it, and of course he says "Yes" because he doesn't know how.

So I begin to tie.

And they're wet.

I think to myself, "weird...."

The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Why are your shoelaces wet?"

Kindergartener: **bewildered look on face**

I start to scan his body looking for signs of water/wet/anything to give me a clue... 

spit?  puddle?  water?

I notice his pants.  Which are wet.  From the crotch.  All the way down both pant legs...into his shoes.

**lightbulb moment**

Me: "Honey, did you have an accident?" 

Kindergartener: shakes his head "yes", regretfully.

So after that exchange, and after telling him he needed to tell his mommy when he got home because he failed to let his teacher know, AND asking if he needed to use the potty before he got on the bus (silly question..the evidence is in his pants.  all over it really... he's got an empty bladder.) I send him on his way.

And head to the nearest bathroom to disinfect.  Multiple times.  

I felt like an ER doctor with the hands up in the air yelling "CODE RED! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" trampling over kids to get to a sink.

The other teachers got a laugh out of it. 

And I hope you did too.  

I'm willing to sacrifice a little cleanliness if it boosts morale... just this once.  :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Synthesizing Reading Texts: putting it all together

My students have just finished their literature circles and are excited to share about their books.  They read some great books this time: Rules, The Westing Game, and Bridge to Terabithia.

(side note: If you haven't read The Westing Game, do it! It's a great mystery for higher level readers.  There are a lot of characters to keep track of and plot twists, but I got raving reviews from my fifth graders about how much they loved this text! They even read ahead and finished it before they were supposed to.  I mean, that is what I wanted!   A love of reading!)

I thought it would be a nice change of pace to partner them up within their lit circle groups and have them "artistically synthesize" their books.  

A big word we use all the time in Room 5 is EVIDENCE!  It seems like I say that a zillion times a day and it's never enough!  We talk about citing from the text, using direct quotes, and all the evidence-based terms I want to see in their answers all the time (because, for instance, it says in the text, the author says, from my reading I know, it says on page ___).  This was a great way to integrate that into a fun project.  This is the infamous poster in my room that I refer to CONSTANTLY!

I will say, however, that I let them have some free reign on this.  I gave them the guidelines of what I wanted in this handout.  (click to download if you want a copy).

I wanted to see what they could do on their own with minimal teacher help and use it as an informal assessment as I walked around and eavesdropped on conversations.  

In the section where it says Reading Strategy Focus, I put in character traits.  We are finishing our topic about character study and finding evidence for how and why the character acts.  I wanted them to list the main characters and their characteristics, and use quotes from the text to support their trait.  If you're doing this in your room, you can write in whatever reading strategy you're working on.

Initially, they were super excited to have some ownership in this project and get to put their creativity into it.  They began with rough drafts of what they were to say in each part.  

After a couple days of working (at about 30-45 minutes at a time) this is the final result! They came out great, and the kids blew me away with their creativity!


Have a great week!