Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Why You Should Teach Students About Fixed Vs. Growth Thoughts


Year after year, I try to instill in my students the concept of a Growth Mindset.  It is so important for them to realize the power their self-talk can have over their learning, the way their brain works, and that they have the ability to grow their intelligence.  We talk about Mindset daily in my classroom.  One of the activities I'm doing to reinforce the importance of a Growth Mindset is this set of cursive writing resources from Runde's Room:





Each Monday, my students work through a different Growth Mindset quote.  We discuss the quote and how they can apply it to their lives.  It's working nicely to set our week of on a positive note.  The prep is really easy and the discussion that comes out of each quote is so powerful!

A colleague of mine also teaches about Growth Mindset.  Last year, Crystal and I created this board with our classes. (If you click that link, you'll find a few other resources we use to teach about Mindset.)  We found that the board was not only a great reminder for our students, but it also served as a teaching tool for other students in the building.  Many EAs stopped by with their students and had conversations about the different mindsets.

This year, we knew we wanted to do something similar, but with a different twist.  We enjoy making bulletin boards and it gives us a chance to catch up while doing something crafty.  We decided to use chalk pastels to create this years board:


 This was after our work was done on the weekend. 

Our students have brainstormed many many thoughts that are considered Growth Mindset thoughts, and Fixed Mindset thoughts.  We collaborated a bit to make sure we didn't have any duplicates up on the board.  One by one, each student added a thought to the board.


The Fixed Mindset side.

And the Growth Mindset thoughts.

The whole board complete!  We sprayed this quite heavily with a fixatif, just in case curious fingers touched it.  So far we are doing okay!

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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Parties in the Classroom


Happy Halloween everyone!  Aren't you just lovin' that Halloween is on a Saturday this year?  I know I am!

We had a great day at school yesterday.  I wish I took more photos, but we were having too much fun!

First thing Friday mornings we have gym.  We played some fun Halloween themed tag games.  It was hilarious watching my kids turn into Zombies and wander about dragging a leg, moaning.

Afterward, students did a journal write with this picture a prompt:





I love hearing all the different perspectives about who this girl might be, where she is, and what big decisions she is making.

After recess, I carved pumpkins with my math crew.  We've been investigating the pumpkins for a few days now and it was fun to finally cut into them.  My mom asked me what pumpkins had to do with math.  Here is the list I sent her.  

We:
- weighed them
- found height, circumference, radius, diameter
- measured thickness of shell and the distance between the ribs
- investigated why pumpkins float
- estimated seeds, debated the best way to count them, counted them
- weighed an individual seed
- figured out the percentage of one seed compared to entire pumpkin weight

That's a lot of math!


The best part of counting seeds is that I can take them home and roast them!  The kids will love that little snack on Monday.

Here's the pumpkins on my front steps.  I told the class that if they found me, I'd give them extra candy!  I've had 3 come by so far.  Don't you just love the freckles on the one pumpkin?

 At my school, we don't dress up until the afternoon.  I loved this costume!  He had the perfect old man walk too!  I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood, but don't have any photos.  I need to get some from friends.


I was blown away by the snacks at the class party!  They were seriously amazing!


 How did your class celebrate Halloween?


Check out my Pinterest board for more ideas!



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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dia de los Muertos Sugar Skulls


Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated on November 1 in Mexico.  The holiday honours the dead with lively festivals and celebrations.  Though I didn't have any Mexican or Latin students in my class last year, I felt it was important to share other cultures with my class.  Widen their horizons a bit.

After doing a small presentation on the holiday, we discussed one element in particular: Sugar Skulls.  Sugar Skulls are made of sugar as the name suggests.  They are highly decorated candy skulls that children buy and give to friends.  

I found several examples online of sugar skulls.

I printed one of each page and displayed them along the whiteboard.  Students came and took a close look at each.  When they returned to their seats, there was a blank piece of paper at each desk.

We folded the paper into 12 spaces.  I directed my students through drawing and labeling 15 line types (3 had to go on the back of the paper).  These included the basics (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) and some fancier line types (starburst, spiral, curled).

Once we had done all 15 types they had another close look at the sugar skull examples.  I asked them to tell me where they saw examples of each line type in the skulls.  We had quite a lengthy discussion and I was really impressed with how many they found!

Everyone got a blank skull template to create their own Sugar Skull.  They had to show me as many line types as they possibly could.  They fine lined their pencil lines and then coloured in with markers so they were really bold.

Here are three of my favourites:

This photo of my hallway bulletin board didn't turn out so great.  I didn't realize until it was too late....


This is a great project for teaching line type anywhere from grades 3-6.

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Halloween in the Library

First off, these pictures are all from last year.  
 #didnthavemypoopinagrouptopostthemthen

Secondly, I can not take credit for any of it.   These are all done by our past librarian, Mrs. Duncan.  

I came in one day on a Sunday to see this awesome board.  Mrs. Duncan whipped it up on a Saturday.  I LOVE everything about it!  The feather boa border, the hand drawn and coloured Scaredy Squirrel, the oil pastels right on the background paper, the Melanie Watt-esque arrows... love it all!

 

And a close up.  Scaredy is scary!


 A few days later, some other fun things appeared in the hallway.  With her library club students, Mrs. Duncan had the kids paint pumpkins to match their favourite book characters.  She did have a Scaredy pumpkin, but sadly he was vandalized.  :(

Patrick and Spongebob.

Everybody's favourite, Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

I love this Fly Guy.  He's so tiny in real life!!  Perfect choice for a fly pumpkin!

And all of the Library Club's work.  Good job guys!

I hope this inspired a little Halloween in your library!
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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Five for Fraturday

http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.ca/2015/09/five-for-friday-linky-party-september_18.html


Whew!  The first full week of school is behind me.  I am truly exhausted!  I know that we are going to have an amazing year ahead of us though!

Here's just a bit of what we got up to this week.



 Last Friday was my first day with my new students.  I had each of them write me a letter.  Over the weekend, I wrote them all back.  On Monday morning they each found a personalized letter waiting for them on their desks.  It was awesome to see their faces as they read them.



We started Read to Self this week.  This crew is working on building their stamina.  We're timing daily and graphing the results.  We are currently at 13 minutes, which is a major improvement from 4 at the beginning of the week!



Sigmond Brouwer came to our school on Wednesday.  I've seen his presentation once before.  It is so much fun!  I love how he gets the kids up and dancing.  If you don't know, Sigmond is a Canadian author with some really excellent books!



We saved Fred this week too!  This activity is so much fun.  The kids love the storyline of this not so swift worm who gets in trouble on the sea when his boat flips.  My classroom was LOUD, but man, they did an amazing job working together and coming up with lots of unique ways to save him.  The conversations we had afterword about perseverance were so powerful too.



The positive notes board is slowly being filled up with kind words once again.  I love how caring and compassionate they can be toward one another.

That's it for me!  I'm off to plan next week.... and maybe take a nap.

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Monday, 14 September 2015

Welcome Back Bulletin Boards

 
At Alwin Holland, we love a little competitive spirit!  We all start the year with some super back to school boards.  It's all top secret, and we like to see what everyone else has unveiled.  Our hallway looks so inviting right from the start!  Here are some boards brightening our hallway this year:






Need more bulletin board inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board!

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