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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!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Caine's Arcade

This video was shared with me the other day. It has been on my mind ever since. I was in tears by the end of it (its not sad, I promise!). It is a great reminder of the potential of a child's imagination. It is also a great reminder of the impact that adults can have on children's imaginations. Caine's dad could have said not to touch the boxes, thrown away his creations, or even called them stupid. Instead, he gave him the freedom to create and validated his work. This is a lesson I hope to take to my classroom. I want to inspire my students to be creative instead of squashing their creativity. This is especially applicable in writing. A major goal I have for next year is to move towards a workshop style writing block. I want to give my students a chance to write about their interest and learn to express their ideas. You never know...I might have the next Caine in my class!

Update: I actually ended up showing this video to my kids. One of my guided reading groups was reading a story about pretending with cardboard boxes so I pulled it up. They loved seeing Caine's creation and asked to watch it a second (and third) time!

Changing My Classroom Culture: Update

I have been working towards a better classroom culture for the past few weeks. I began the first few weeks with an intensive, 30min a day culture building block. I could not keep up the stamina of it, however, I have still be teaching 2-3 lessons a week. Some are read-alouds, some are discussions, and some are written scenarios.  So the big question is: Is it working? I wish I could say that my classroom was now all sunshine and rainbows, but it is not and I doubt it will ever be. This unit has definitely made a difference--not for the major challenges, but for some. It has helped give me a reference to talk about problems, reduced tattling, and helped give my students away to be advocates for themselves.

Over the summer I will post a full unit and resources, but for now, take a peek at some of the fun...

I think that I will begin this unit in the fall of next year. I did not go as in depth into community and culture building as I should have at the beginning of this year (first year teacher mistake #10000000001). I truly believe that if my students had more of the skills at the beginning of the year that I am teaching now there would have been far fewer fight, hurt feeling, and yelling (from the teacher).