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Booking Across Canada

A few months back I was asked by Miss. D from "Reading with Miss. D" to participate in her Booking Across Canada project. I, of course, gladly accepted!  Participants from nearly all provinces and territories have signed up to share a book featuring their province/territory and a lesson they've created inspired by that book. 

For now, you'll have to be patient.  On June 1 I'll post my lesson plan, a freebie to the first 10 who respond and a free lesson idea!

Class pet!

This evening I was able to bring in a pet to our classroom!  I'm so excited for tomorrow to introduce him to the students.  They do not know that he is coming.  I purchased a leopard gecko from a lady who didn't want him anymore.  He is about 4 years old.  He does not have a name, so tomorrow we will have to name him.  I'm very excited to tie him into my habitats unit. I couldn't get a great picture, as he was hiding out, but had to share!!

Personification Poems

We started poetry after Spring Break.  We began with some "Personification Poems" to tie in our figurative language lessons from before the break.  Can you guess the items students are personifying in the poems below?

A miners friend,
a pile of money.
But you have to find me.
I say, "Don't mine me".
Buried in dirt, it really hurts
1 oz of me is $1500.
~By Tyson

I'm flying, help!
Out of all the others,
you always have to pick me.
I'm so worn out.
I have a round head.
I'm hard to hit
and I always hit the net.
~ By Ryan

I have a heavy head,
so whatever you do, don't throw me.
I have a flat face
and lots of us are heavy.
We all have a really fat handle,
so we're quite hard to hold.
The only way to hit the ball is to swing.
If I get hit, I always say “Ow! My face!”
It really hurts!
Sometimes we hit so hard,
we hit people!
So now I always say “Fore!”
By Colton

Textbooks, or not?

Today, I wonder about the usefulness and practicality of textbooks.   I don't use them often in my classroom.  As a relatively new teacher, I do find them to be a good resource for collecting information for my lessons.  I will often show a picture or diagram from a text under the document camera for the class to analyze/discuss. 
In my school, we share textbooks on carts, stored in the doorways of the classrooms.  Whenever I roll that cart into the class, there are always groans and moans.  To me, that's a signal that the students aren't engaged by them and will likely learn less from a textbook lesson.
That being said, texts do contain valuable information, and students do need to know how to use these books as a tool.  Teachers in their future will use texts, surely in university.  I feel that it's my responsibility to teach my students how to read captions, search for information, understand headings and work the index. 
Textbooks are quite costly, and it seems they are constantly putting out new editions to keep up with new information.  For the cost of approx. 3 - 4 texts, a school could buy an iPad.  The technology is more engaging for sure.  (Though I don't feel I should teach with a tool simply because it's fun.)  With an iPad we would have access to new information immediately.  With that though, comes the responsibility to teach proper internet usage, how to sort relevant information from false, and proper referencing. 
As I write this, I realize I seem to have a preference for no text books.  What are your thoughts?

Positive Notes

Yesterday I was looking at how full this board was and it made me happy.  I wanted to share the idea behind this board.  First off, this is not my idea.  I've borrowed it from a great friend and past teaching partner, Nancy Maxfield. 

There are 4 types of notes on this board:
1) Bucket Fillers - These read : "You filled my bucket when you....".  In September, I read "Have you Filled a Bucket Today?" and we do a lesson to introduce the concept.
2) Thank you - There's a few examples of these below.  These seem to be most commonly used this year.
3) I noticed - These start out with "I noticed" and end with "thank you for following the class agreement and making our class a great place to be!"
4) Appreciation notes: these are from "Send a Letter to a Friend" day we had this year.  They read: "I appreciate you because...."

The notes are pre-cut and sit in the blue baskets below the board.  The students are able to grab a note whenever they choose (though we do talk about appropriate times!).  Sometimes, I will start the day with "Write a positive note to someone" written on the board, or I will write everyone's name on one and hand them out at random.  Receivers of notes can choose to keep them private in an envelope in their desk, or post them on the board.