Thursday, December 12, 2013

Poet-Tree: Pun Completely Intended

The holidays are fast approaching in our classroom! Since all of our fall activities have come and gone, it was time to bring in some fresh and new holiday spirit. I present you.....drumroll please...... our "Poet-Trees".

Our Poet-Trees just happen to be a few very-well priced 3 foot Christmas trees that were recently picked up from Target. The trees were quite barren and needed a bit of pizzaz. Some good ol' 5th and 6th grade educational pizzaz. Isn't that the best kind?

I gave each student a large ornament print-out. I asked the students to research and find a famous poet and a poem that he or she wrote. I specified a list of poets that I wanted my students to research only because I know my students know plenty about Dr. Seuss and other classroom favorites. I wanted them to step out of their comfort zone a bit and take a look at other classics.

After each student picked their poem, they signed up for a day to present their poem to the class. Before their presentation day they needed to type the poem, decorate their ornament, and get at least three signatures saying that they had recited their poem to an audience. This was wonderful because each listener had an opportunity to give comments and shape them into better public speakers.

Let my tell you I was quite impressed with my students! When it came time for them to present, they got up there with confidence and recited some classics. I love that this activity asked them to research poets and really take some time to understand the poem that they wrote. Many of my students came up with more than one favorite and had a hard time deciding. It has been great fun listening to them in class!

Thanksgiving Festivities

Ahh.... so I do realize that this post is a bit late on the arrival. However, better late than never, right? I have been so incredibly busy with student teaching winding down that I have not had a second to sit down and blog. I pinky promise that I will be more diligent now that I have more time. I will.

Anyway, Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago. In my class I made it a fun-filled educational day. I am a firm believer that education on the day before Thanksgiving break is vital. As educators in todays world, we don't have a day to spare on the curriculum calendar. I packed the day full with fun activities, math games, and even a Black-Friday debate. The topic was " How early is too early when opening stores on Black Friday?" My students were FILLED with all sorts of ideas about the topics. We had a rather heated debate and I think that they raised some wonderful points! They were begging me to stay inside for recess to continue the discussion. 
Who says learning on the day before break can't be fun?!

In the morning I had a treat waiting on the students desk when they came in. I created rice krispie treat turkeys' for the students and allowed them to munch on them while they were completing their bell work. They were impressed by my turkey creations! Thats exactly why I love my kiddos, they appreciate all of the hard work I put into it. Even if my turkeys do come out looking a little less-than-turkey-like. 

(Did I mention I made 60 of them?!)

In the sprit of Thanksgiving, we also created "The Diary of Plymouth Rock". I read the book, Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock to my class. The book tells about the very interesting life of plymouth Rock. We learned how many times the rock was moved, the many places it was moved, the various monuments that were built to enclose the rock, and even its current resting place. The students were truly enthralled with this book. I was also impressed to learn so much about the history of such a important artifact!

We then created our own diary of the rock. I asked the students to complete a diary entry for the rock. They were asked to fill in the dates (located in the book) for the 6 important events in the rocks life. We have really been focusing on the voice trait, so the students were asked to use strong voice since the diary entry was from the rocks point of view. They turned out wonderfully! I decided to create a class book out of all of the wonderful entries.

Those are some of our Thanksgiving festivities, what are yours?