Friday, November 30, 2012

Planting our Gifts

The flower pots are decorated, the cards are made and today first graders planted the bulbs! Students are working hard to create a special gift for classrooms around the school. As part of their plans to improve the school community-- each classroom will be given a special flower pot designed just for them by a class of fabulous first graders.

Building Richmond

One class of second graders is working on constructing a replica of different buildings around Richmond. They decided as a class that they all enjoy constructing, and picked this project as a way to connect to our community theme. Once complete the town will be placed on a map which they are also designing, and then be available for younger students at RES to use to learn about our town.

Students were engaged in thinking about what the buildings look like, how they could build them with the materials that they had and how all the pieces would fit together.

Being a Teacher is Great

On Wednesday afternoon I found this note on one of the chalkboards in the enrichment room. Many things happen each day at school that cause me to be appreciative of my profession--and this is a great example of that! For a student to create something specifically for me--- I feel truly honored in these moments. It also causes me to pause and think about what 'chalkboard notes' I am leaving for students!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Building and Creating in Kindergarten

This week during explore time I challenged students to see how long a structure they could build. Students jumped right into the task. I observed that students began immediately working together. I was excited to see that students seem to have an innate ability to work together when they are excited and engaged by a task. The room was barely long enough to hold their creation!

Creating Advertisements in Grade 4

We are beginning a new unit of study during our enrichment/library time with fourth graders on media literacy. The goal of our studies is to get students starting to think critically about the media that they consume--from print resources to the internet! Our goal is for them to develop into strong critical thinkers and also to support them creating their own media. We believe that using advertisements is a great way to begin their journey towards critical evaluation of media.

Advertisements are a great starting point because they offer clear messages, but they also use a variety of strategies to 'sell' their products that students can learn and develop a critical eye for. Once students have practiced using advertisements as a way to evaluate the message and intent of information, we then apply this to other forms of media. Students shift their thinking from 'everything I see on the internet is true' to asking questions about the source of the information, the bias and the intent! We are beginning the unit by looking at print media advertisements and then creating our own advertisements. Here are a few pictures of students hard at work designing their positive ads.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the Enrichment Room!

I am so thankful to be a part of this learning community! Have a great break.(WordFoto art done by a grade one student ).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Collaborative Writing in the Enrichment Room

Today during enrichment I witnessed two awesome examples of writing collaboration!
In a second grade class I observed as three students turned an exploratory center where they were creating thumbprint turkeys into an opportunity to write a book about pilgrims and turkeys. The whole approach to their work was collaboration at its best! The students discussed the idea of the book and then planned who would write and who would illustrate. As the students left my room I heard them ask their classroom teacher if they could please continue writing the book at recess!
In kindergarten I observed two students at the chalkboards writing letters. They proudly called me over to let me know that they were trying to write words, and that they were teaching and learning from each other ( their words). As time went on I observed these students using phonetic strategies to attempt new words, as well as teaching each other words they already knew how to write.
It has been great to have a chance to see students applying ideas from their classroom. This transference shows the strength of their classroom instruction and the joy they have for their learning! I also enjoy seeing them work together to create --as this is at the heart of my goals for them during their enrichment experience.

The Votes Are In!

Last week students chose from 61 drawings to determine the mascots for room 32. All the votes have been counted and we have two winners. I hope to enlarge these entries and create two mascots which will hang on our wall the rest of the year. These owls have a lot in common with our students, they are wise, unique, and observant!

The Value of Creating

Each day students come to me and ask me to take pictures of things they have done during enrichment class. I am really proud of students for recognizing that creations are not always permanent, but that they are always valuable and worth sharing. Later in the year I plan to involve students in this blog as a way of sharing their creations, but for now we take pictures and take moments to share with each other!

Teamwork During Exploratory Play

Enrichment is a time for students to explore their interests. Choice times are a regular occurrence in which students get to choose their activity. During this time, students often find themselves working together to accomplish a task. This teamwork, although not specified by the teacher is encouraged and valued. This week we had a group of first graders come together to create a one hundred piece floor puzzle. The puzzle was challenging, but students persevered. The best part of this experience was that students shared the work and the joy of their accomplishment.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Amazing Racers Go To Asia

Through perseverance on a tough geography task third graders discovered that their next destination on our amazing race around the world is Asia. Students learned about longitude and latitude lines and put their new knowledge to work to 'land' in Japan. Today students worked as a team to complete an origami task, and then another task in which they must think about which countries are part of the continent of Asia.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Digital Tool Tuesday! Take 1!

In an effort to share some of the great digital tools that we are using in enrichment, I thought I would try to create a post each Tuesday which highlights a tool or tools that I have utilized in my classroom, as well as share why or how it is informing our learning!

For this first post, I have selected what has proven to be a student favorite.

One of the tools that students have continued to mention--even though I used it the very first week of school-- is AutoRap. This is a free Ipad application that records your speaking voice and converts it into a musical rap. We used this as an introductory tool the first week of school. We made raps about our favorite activities, our favorite books, and our learning styles. It was an engaging way to get to know each other that had us all dancing in our seats as we listened intently to what each member of class was going to add to our classroom rap. This tool was a great reminder to me of the way that music can engage all learners and it allowed me to get to know students without just asking them to share a favorite thing, or fill out a survey!

Here are a few of the raps we created!

I have a feeling that when students work on independent projects they may figure out a way to use this tool to teach about their subject!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Week in Enrichment

Over the last few days I have overheard many earnest discussions among our students about voting and elections. As a way of providing them
with a connected, but developmentally appropriate opportunity to understand a little about voting, I have set up an election in the enrichment room for an enrichment room mascot. Each student in the school will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite mascot. They will choose from mascots designed by other students and then visit the voting booth!! Stay tuned for the results!

Creating Reading Buddies in Grade 2

During enrichment today Miss Darling's second grade class continued to work on a sewing project which they have designed. Each student is creating A stuffed "reading buddy" that they will present to a younger student to encourage their reading at school.

Students have maintained an amazing focus for this project and are proud of their works in progress.

Below are a few pictures, taken by a student photographer (interestingly you can tell that the important thing to them is the product they are creating, as all the pictures focus on the reading buddies).