Why do we read?

The day after I asked my students why we write, I asked the next logical question. Why do we read? You can tell who gave similar responses to the first question, Why do we write?

Again, these are their word for word responses:

  • Because we can then write words
  • To get smart
  • To be a strong reader
  • So we can learn more words
  • And we could learn more how to write stuff when we are writing our stories
  • Because God might tell us to be an author/reader
  • To be good at writing
  • When someone is sad we can read them a funny book
  • We read to understand the story by using the pictures (“Yes, that is very important!” youngest boy chimes in)
  • Because when we get to second grade we can read cursive in books
  • We need to understand words
  • We need to learn all by ourselves
  • So we can read to Ms. Welton

I love listening to my students. Their responses always surprise and impress me. Why do YOU read?

This diagram was floating around Facebook last week. I thought it was interesting. I want my students to grow up to be successful!

People-3

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Why do we write?

A simple question I asked my kindergarten students yesterday.

These were their responses (in order, and almost word for word):

  • We write to practice writing books, because God might tell us to be an author
  • We write to learn
  • We write so we don’t look at what other people write
  • So we can write what we are thinking
  • We write to learn our letters
  • If a person is sad, we can cheer them up by writing a funny story
  • So they can learn more and so that when we write we don’t try peaking (at what others write)
  • If we grow up  and we don’t know how to write we won’t know what to do (at this my youngest boy said, “Yes, that makes sense, I think!” It was so cute)
  • If we don’t know how to write the word we think with our head and write
  • Sometimes, if we want to write a letter to God and we don’t know how to write we can’t do that

why write 1 why write 2 why write 3

The kinders have spoken. What do you think? Why do we write?

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Websites that I L-O-V-E

Due to the limited resources at my school, my fellow colleagues and I have had to get creative at times. One of the teachers found this great read aloud website (the actual website doesn’t look pretty or amazing, but the links to the read aloud books are fantastic!):

Stories for the Classroom

Our favorite book so far: The Fire Station

I also love this handwriting website because we don’t have these worksheets in our curriculum. This website is great because I can generate my own handwriting sheets in whatever style I want and I can choose what I want the students to be working on.

Handwriting the way YOU WANT IT!

Do you know that if you sign up for Teachers pay Teachers (TpT) newsletters they send you a weekly e-mail with 10 free downloads across all grade-levels, and they are always freebies that relate to the month/timing in curriculum as well? Thank you for that TpT!

Jee Young has shared this website before, but it is one that I L-O-V-E, because it has GREAT bulletin board ideas. Can’t wait to have a bulletin board again.

Bulletin Board Ideas

I always, always, always, love free things. These are two of my favorites because they compile freebies from a multitude of awesome teachers:

Classroom Freebies

Freebielicious

A website I just found and will now be exploring during my lunch break:

Open Culture: The best free cultural and educational media on the web (according to them)

Well, just wanted to shoot a few websites your way!

What are your favorite sites for resources?

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Tips for the End of the School Year

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was checking into the York hotel and going to orientation with my fellow incoming teachers here in Singapore. The past nine months have have gone by so quickly here and my flights home to NY for the summer are already booked! Some of you might be saying, it’s only April, slow down.

Since I end school the first week of June, the countdown has definitely started. Here are a few tips and ideas I’ve had swirling around my head these past few weeks as I’ve been pondering the end of my first year here in Singapore. I will admit that the last two months of school are usually pretty crazy. Here are a few things I’m going to try to do in order to make it to the end successfully!

1. Plan out the end of the year. Like the UBD model, do some backwards design and make sure you have enough time to cover what you need before the end of the year! Make sure to factor in all of the end of the year field trips and assemblies.

2. Start early on report cards and projects that need to get done in the last weeks of school. The last two months of school are always super hectic, with last minute things popping up. So get a head start on those things you know you have to get done at the end, so you are a little bit less stressed, if that’s possible! 🙂

3. Delegate the work. One of the projects I like to do is creating a short video clip of my students from the year that I can show my students at the end of the school year. Creating these videos can get pretty time consuming, so I try to start it EARLY! This year, I’m going to try to get some of my students to help me on this big project and try to delegate some of the work.

4. Make time for friends. I know this sounds obvious, but for international school teachers, the end of the school year can be pretty emotional as there are always teachers leaving the school and country. Make sure to carve out time to spend with those close friends that are leaving and giving them their proper farewell. I know I was pretty emotional when I had to leave Korea after four years. I’m glad I got to spend a lot of time with my friends that my time so memorable in my last weeks.

5. Overplan for the last few weeks. Even if your grades and report cards are due a week or two before the school year ends, keep your students working! I’ve always found it a lot easier to manage when students have projects they are doing in the last week of school instead of a lot of free time (obviously). The end of the year is a great time for them to reflect on their learning from the year and be able to show their learning whether through presentations or projects.

6. Start planning for next year. This is a great time to start reflecting on what you want to do next year. I know for me, there are a lot of changes and tweaks I want to make. If there are a few projects that I can get started on now or at least write down, to remind myself when I get back after the summer, I know it will be helpful.

Here’s a fun comic I found on Chris Pierce’s blog, called teachable moments, that I just discovered. Thanks Chris for letting us use your comic!

teachcomic82

What are some tips you have for the end of the school year?

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Looking at the Social Lives of Kids

A few days ago, we had a well known psychologist and speaker come speak to our fifth grade students, Dr. Michael Thompson, who has written numerous books on children including Raising Cain and The Pressured Child. He led an assembly with our entire 5th grade students. He immediately started off by stating that he would’t be speaking for the entire hour, but that he would get the students to speak.

He asked them various questions about what makes someone a friend, popularity and how they feel about their parents asking about their social lives. It was an interactive assembly  and the students were engaged and trying very hard to get chosen to share. That’s not an easy task for any speaker when you have over 200 fifth grade students at the end of the school day as your audience. It was interesting to hear students’ thought on what makes a friend and what makes someone popular. The students had a difficult time actually describing clearly what makes someone popular as they went around in circles with their responses.

Dr. Thompson also shared about how often teachers ask him, what can they do about those 1 or 2 students in their class that don’t have any friends at all.  He also challenged those students that were “popular” to use it for leadership in a positive way. It would have been nice to hear him give some more practical tips and suggestions to teachers, but this was a session for the students! He did a few other talks as well with other grade levels, teachers and parents about various topics. I definitely recommend checking out his webpage or books if you are interested in learning more.

Here is video clip I found from a session he did at a school on the pressured child.

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