Taking a risk with technology

After two weeks in the class all alone it was sort of a risk to also incorporate technology into the class. It is an exciting time by the second week of take over and I attempted to start a Wikispace with my class. You might wonder what about. Well it is !Biografías en español! (Biographies in Spanish) Students have been working hard on their biografías. They started out just reading in groups, talking about a specific person. I developed a graphic organizer that students could use to make notes about the biographies. I modeled with the life of Cesar Chavez: Passions, Impacts (people, events that had impact on the individual), Contributions, and Legacy. Now they get to read and write about one or more individuals that they find interesting. I found it really cool that they all had different ideas for their biografías and the students that needed the extra support with one person could actually use the one they read about to use for their writing. I have continued to use the graphic organizer to develop writing lessons. Now  each student had his/her own password to work on the wiki at their own time and during our biografías time in class. I consulted with the Technology teacher and he was incredibly supportive with the project. The most exciting thing is that it is a Common Core expectation that by the 6th grade students should be exploring things like Wikispaces. We will continue to work on the writing and we will see how it all turns out!


Field Trip

Two field trips in one week it was really nice to take some time out of school and learn with students about Space at the National Geographic Live Speaker Series at Benaroya Hall in Seattle with speaker Kevin Peter Hand @alienoceans. I was amazed at how engaged the crowd was with the speaker. He talked with a very full house about “The Search for Life Beyond Earth.” Then two days later students learned how to make A Choose Your Own Adventure Story. Very fun! Students made a book and called it “Clowny with a chance of Plane Crash.” I loved that writing can be so much fun. Students started to write a story with the help of several volunteers at 826 Seattle. A well hidden little place in Seattle where people volunteer their time to teach children how to write and have fun with writing. It is also a place to help students with writing homework after school.

I think that without volunteers and a well planned schedule, the trips would not have been possible. I have to say that I have learned very much from just seen what goes into planning such outings and how much one can trust that parents will be willing to lend a hand. Even without a word of English.

book cover       Inside Book

Poetry: Clase de poesía al aire libre

To start out the unit on poetry my CT had students listen to us read as many poems as possible. She also expose students to as many poetry books as they could get their hands on. She suggested reading and reading some more…

This week students started to write their own. I am so amazed at the enthusiasm of the students to write their own poems. Some students have started to fill pages and pages of poems.

On one of the sunny days we had this week she thought it would be a great idea to start the lesson outside. By taking student outside she made the lesson of capturing ordinary moments and making them extraordinary, a very real experience.

This is what we wrote on a little board outside at the top of a hill:

Parjarito pajarito pio pio pio

Abeja, abeja bzz bzz bzz

Arboles, arboles swoosh swoosh

Gusano, gusano ______

Los arboles verdes

Como el pasto en que camino

Hojas secas

En el pasto

Quemadas por el sol ardiente

photo 4

Lectura Persuasiva

Eliminar comida basura            Jane Goodall

The first week back at my MP I was able to do some practice teaching two mini lessons. Both were read alouds one was a persuasive letters and the other was about the power of persuasive writing. The first was an article called “Elimina comida basura.” The second was a short article about Jane Goodall and the many letters she wrote in defense of animals and the environment.

It was a great experience to have my first week back. Teaching two mini lessons gave me some idea of how one lesson builds on another. I also really appreciated working with my CT side by side because I knew that if I needed help she would jump right in. It felt good just to teach. For each read aloud I was able to elicit student thinking and with help from my CT write students thinking.

Some of the challenge for me the first day was definitely using my teacher voice while also transitioning from recess to Lectura Persuasiva. Also while planning the read alouds, I debated what were good stopping points and turn and talk. It turned out that what benefited the students the most was stopping and doing turn and talk, when key points were made. Letting students discuss among themselves lent itself to figuring out the meaning of words on their own. I did not have to stop and explain every new word that they were reading. The students figured it out on their own using the context of the writing, with the help of each other and the class discussion. I also did a lot of thinking out loud, while I read I highlighted on the smart board some of the ideas that stood out to me and let students discuss.

It is all still rough but is work in progress.

Writing a Vignette

“Writing a first draft is very much like watching a Polaroid develop. You can’t – and, in fact, you’re not supposed to – know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing” (Lamott 39).

After finishing my vignette a culminating project for my Writing and Methods class, I realize how long it still takes me to gather my ideas and write them down. I was reminded about the long process before getting to the final draft. First you write then you write some more then you revise. You read it to others and then you revise again.