Friday, January 17, 2014

Five For Friday: I Survived Nine Weeks!

Happy Friday, friends!

I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday! Here's five random things that our class has been working on this week:

Today is a special day for me, as it marks the end of the nine weeks for our school. I've officially made it through my first nine weeks of teaching - and I have loved every second!

As I reflect, I truly feel that I have exceeded my own personal expectations, and my students have done so as well. I can only hope that my students pass on the things that they are learning to others. All standards aside, I want great things for my students, and expect great things from them. I care more about the people they become than the scores on the tests they take. After all, isn't learning all about the journey, not the destination?  

This week we finished our Analyze-a-Character project! This was a great way to look into the physical traits and character traits of different characters. Students needed to take an indepth look on a specific character from a book that they are currently reading, and list the physical traits (outside) and character traits (inside) of their book character. Then, in order to practice citing their evidence, they had to pick one of the character traits and find text-based evidence that supported that specific trait. I'm so impressed with these - don't they look fabulous? 

I got the idea and rubric from Leslie at Life in Fifth Grade, so feel free to click the picture below for a free download! It's a fabulous resource and a great project for students to analyze character traits. 

In honor of MLK Jr. Day on Monday, we discussed some serious topics today. We read the story, March On by Christine King Farris and discussed the true impact Martin Luther King Jr. had on American culture.

Then, we discussed a deeper topic: did MLK have a lasting impact on our world, or are racism and segregation still present today? It was both impressive and somewhat troubling, the responses that students gave. We talked about how even though people are aware of the fact that appearance doesn't matter, people still judge others, whether intentionally or not, based on their physical traits. To prove the point, we looked at a current commercial which has caused much controversy. 

After talking about the public's negative reaction to this harmless Cheerios commercial, we agreed that for some reason, our society has strayed from MLK's dream for our country. We talked about the steps that we can take as individuals and the steps that all people can take to make a more equal world. We created our "Pathway to Change" (an idea I saw from A Year of Many Firsts).

Students took off their shoes, stinky feet and all, an traced both of their feet. They wrote ideas that could act as steps in the right direction on the road toward a more equal world. Take a look at some of their insightful ideas!

 Our goal is for others to "follow in our footsteps" on this pathway to change. This is the poster I have hanging on my motivation wall behind my desk, and I think it was the perfect advice to give as inspiration to write their steps. 

One of my goals this week was to create a focus board for my students for reading instruction. I forgot to take pictures of it, but I love that it has been interactive with their writing goals and reading objectives. Pictures will follow soon!

Today was the first meeting of the Lunch Bunch Book Club! My students LOVED it! We started reading The One and Only Ivan and let me tell you - it is a fabulous book. I started the group by modeling - we will read some of the book together, and then talk about our wonderings at certain points. They have to read several pages on their own for next week, and to hold them accountable for their reading, I am going to have one student lead the group discussion next week.  He or she will be responsible for discussing what they were assigned to read, reading more of the book, and leading the discussion about our wonderings at certain parts of the book. 

For those of you who haven't read the book, the story is written from the perspective of the gorilla, Ivan. I'll share with you a little Ivan humor, which, I think so far, this is their favorite part of the story: 

"Here in my domain I do not have much to do. You can only throw so many me-balls at humans before you get bored. 
A me-ball is made by rolling up dung until it's the size of a small apple, then letting it dry. I always keep a few on hand. 
For some reason, my visitors never seem to carry any." 
 Hehe, isn't he a silly gorilla? I am looking forward to sharing the various emotional portions of the book with my students as we continue our book club this month!
Have a wonderful weekend! 

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