Friday, September 1, 2017

First Week Done!

We just finished up our first week of school yesterday! (In Michigan we are not allowed to have school the Friday before Labor Day so as to not impede tourism.) 

What a fabulous first week of school! This was definitely the change that I needed in my professional life. I could not ask for a better staff to work with, a better principal to push my thinking and a better group of students. Seriously. I am so glad that I took the risk and made the decision to bid out and try something else. If this first week was any indication, this is going to be a great year!

Here's a peek at our first week :)

The Power of Yet

I am a big proponent for teaching students about Growth Mindset. Last year, I read "Teaching Students to Drive their Brains" which has these brain car pictures for kids. I have turned them into a poster with the kids with the words The Power of Yet on it. The students color/decorate their car and we add them to the poster. Every time a student says "I can't", we all chant back "yet!" This poster hangs in the back of our class where you can very easily see it. 

Peek Face Portraits

I don't even remember where I found this activity. I know it was on a blog somewhere about 5 years ago. They always turn out so adorably! We read "The Important Book" by Margaret Wise Brown and then the students mimic the writing style from the book to write what is important about them. Then they add their faces peeking over the top of the paper. So cute! 

Teaching Kindness, Respect and Love

I love the book "Mr. Peabody's Apples" by Madonna. I read it every year to my students but this year was searching for ways to incorporate and activity with it. I came across this blog from Tenacious Teacher and knew I had to do this activity. We read the book together and talked about how spreading rumors, especially if you don't know the whole situation, can be really hurtful to the person you're talking about and how once the words leave your mouth, you can't really ever get them back. You can apologize but it doesn't take the words back, ever. 

Then we went outside and did the glitter activity. The kids were so excited because they wanted to be the winning team, but of course, they got frustrated very quickly because it was impossible to get the glitter off their hands to pass to the next person. After the activity, we talked about how the gossip and mean things we sometimes say stick to us like glitter. We can't get rid of all of it, even if we say sorry. It was a powerful lesson and I'm glad we did it. 

Digital Citizenship

Can I point out how awesome it is to have 1:1 iPads? I'm not a fan of putting a child on a device all day, but we have used the iPads a bit each day (except the very first day of school) to get the kiddos immersed into some of the activities we will do this year. 

The first activity we did was on Digital Citizenship. I updated my class in Google Classroom and invited each of my students to join. Once everyone was in, they attacked their first assignment. We watched a Brain Pop video and took a short quiz on digital citizenship so students understand how we should behave when we are using digital technology and/or social media. 

Growth Mindset Sort

We also did a growth mindset sort with Keynote app on our iPads. I am using "The Growth Mindset Coach" this year and there are activities for each month to help reinforce growth mindset for kids. I took the first activity and put it into Keynote during lunch yesterday (which was much easier than I thought it would be to make it). I do like Keynote in that the kids can manipulate the shapes and move them around, it makes word sorting or categorizing very easy. 

I read the tiles to them and they moved them to show if they thought they fit under the fixed or growth mindset. Some kiddos have a few misconceptions about the statements so we will review and revisit this on Tuesday so the kiddos know they have positive affirmation statements they can make to help themselves stay positive and keep pushing through. 


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