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Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sharing Relay with my students

One of the things I have learned this year is that it is important to let the students get to know you. In my other practicum experiences I was very distant about my personal life with my students. I would answer questions when they came up, but I never really shared with them. We spend a lot of time learning about our students' lives so it only makes sense to help them get to know their teacher beyond the classroom as well. My mentor teacher really provided me with a good example of how to share her personal life with students while still maintaining a professional separation between school and home. Following her lead, I began to share more about myself with my students. One of the major aspects of my life outside of the classroom is volunteering with the American Cancer Society as an event chair of Relay For Life at the University of Cincinnati.

My initial, very ambitious plan, was to host a mini-Relay at Fairview so students could experience a Relay did not happen. I just didn't have the time or energy to put the plan into action. I did, however, work with the school to invite families to our event and I did a special art project with my students in honor of the Cancer Survivors at Relay For Life.

Though my students knew I volunteered with Relay, they did not really understand what it meant. Before the art project I spent a few minutes talking with my students, in first-grade terms, what the American Cancer Society was and how we were able to help. My mentor teacher and I really worked hard this year to help the students realize how their actions contribute to others' feelings. This activity was a perfect reinforcement because we were able to talk about how good the Survivors at Relay would feel knowing that 20 students were thinking about them and were willing to share their art work with them!

Using our Fun Friday time and X-group's Friday center time my students tissue-paper collaged over top of Relay logos, signature phrases, and (in conjunction with our theme) the word 'hope' written in all of the different languages children in our classroom speak (8!). We had a lot of fun using the tissue paper. I was really impressed that all of my students were engaged and not a single student asked if they could keep their artwork. After they finished tissue papering, I trimmed the pages, glued them onto black construction paper, and connected them to make a banner to hang at our Survivor dinner. It looked AMAZING:

Our banner hanging at Relay!

After the event I brought in pictures from the dinner to share with the students. They were so excited to know that their artwork was put up on a real college campus!

I am not going to lie, this project was probably more for me than the students. It was important for me to connect two of my biggest passions. It also helped me begin to brainstorm ways that children can contribute to their community without even leaving the classroom. This is something I hope to continue. Maybe a monthly or quarterly activity? I will have to think about it!

For those of you unfamiliar with Relay For Life visit our event page:http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=32694 or watch a video about what Relay For Life at UC is all about: 

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