As most often happens, my plan for writing goals for ourselves didn’t go according to – well plan. We came back from winter break and needed to readjust ourselves to school by reviewing routines. We came back from winter break just to have a late start to school one day. We came back from winter break and we just needed to get used to each other again.
So our goal setting conversations shifted to this week. This actually worked out better because goal setting ties in well with our character trait for the month Commitment. Our guidance counselor teaches a lesson each month about a particular character trait. Monday, she spoke with the children about commitment and what it means to our goals in kindergarten and for when we grow up. Tuesday, we quickly reviewed commitment in a “little chat” about trying our best and doing our job as students in the classroom. 🙂 Wednesday brought our read aloud, I Can be Anything by Jerry Spinelli.
In this charming picture book, the little boy dreams of all the things he can be – from a make believe critter to a cheek-to-cheek grinner. The kids loved all the things and giggled at many of the pictures. We talked about each of the things the little boy could be. One student said “Um, he needs to pick one!” This led to a discussion of how each of us can be more than one thing. I am a teacher, book lover, cupcake baker, etc. To help prepare us for our writing, we used the app Popplet to create a web on the Smartboard of all the things we can/want to be now and when we grow up.
From there, we went into small group writing. Students made the outline look like themselves as whatever they wanted to be. We have many future police officers, a few doctors, a couple cheerleaders, and even a unicorn! We CAN be ANYTHING!
This week we started our rainforest unit. Automatically the children are engaged in lessons because of the wonder of all the animals and plants that live there. Our focus standard for this week is K.W.7. In kid language – it is “I can research about a topic”.
Every week we “unpack” a math and a language arts standard for the week. I already have the standard written in kid language – leaving the important vocabulary that they need to know (such as research and topic). We discussed what research means and how we do research. We also discussed what topic means. I am fortunate enough to have a class of investigators who ask questions all of the time. This focus standard is a natural fit for them.
Through our shared reading time and unit time this week we explored the topic of rainforests. Any time we read a book, listened to a song, watched a video clip, or researched on our iPads I reminded them we were researching. We compiled a list of rainforest facts to use as jumping off points for our writing projects. We discussed earlier in the week about how researchers ask questions and usually write down the answers they find. In our journal center all week, we have been writing about what it might be like to go to the rainforest. What might we see? What might we do? The journal entries became like first drafts for the book they began creating on their iPads yesterday. The students were able to choose what about the rainforest they wanted to research and learn more about. Some students chose plants, others animals, even one explored the effects of deforestation.
As 21st century learners, our students are used to various modes of learning. It is important to embrace many styles to address learners of all styles. We use music, graphics, books, Brainpop clips, Magic School Bus, Google – – you name it. And through all of these modes, my students are becoming researchers. They are seeing that even with the technology we have – more “traditional” modes are still helpful and useful when we are looking for answers.
Pictures of journal entries
Using our class generated list (correct spelling is important to Google)
Beautiful rainforest books