Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa's Watching...

Hee hee hee! Was it wrong to tell the children that Santa is watching them even when they are at school? I will tell you that it is working like a charm. I even heard one of the students whisper to another that he better stop misbehaving or "she's gonna tell Santa...". Ha, ha! My class this year is full of sweet, well- behaved kids, but I can feel the excitement building and I wanted to try to keep things at a low roar for as long as I possibly can.
Technology-wise, I must say that I am having great success with ABCya and FirstinMath. The students are really surprising me with their abilities to jump into the programs and learn how to navigate & complete the tasks with success. I wish that the FirstinMath program was a little easier. The program is difficult for many of my students. I can only put my top performers on the program because the middle & low performing students are just completely lost using it. I think that as the year progresses, I will be able to get more & more of them on the math program. But... ABCya has been a great program for ALL levels of students. There are so many good activities for both math and literacy, and there are also fun actvities that they can do for a little brain break.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Holiday Fun!

This week we learned about Hanukkah & Kwanzaa. The students had so much fun learning that there were other holidays besides Christmas.

I started the week teaching them about Hanukkah symbols & traditions. I read them several books and we watched a United Streaming movie about Hanukkah. We learned about the menorah and what the candles represent. We made our own Star of David by tracing triangles, cutting them out & pasting different shades of blue tissue to them. I hung those from the ceiling of our classroom and they were so proud to show them off. We learned how to play the Dreidel game & invited our principal in to play with us. The students taught her how to play and how to spin the Dreidel. They were actually very enthusiastic about learning the traditions and customs behind Hanukkah.

In the middle of the week I began teaching about the symbols & traditions of Kwanzaa. Our big book of the week was called The Marketplace. This book is set in Africa and shows what a typical outdoor marketplace would look like. It was a great set up to teaching about Kwanzaa, an African holiday. Again, we read several books and watched a United Streaming video about Kwanzaa. I taught them about the kinara and what the candles symbolize. We did a cut & paste Unity Cup craft. They turned out really nice and I hung them in the hallway.

On Friday we summed up our learning. I wasn't sure how many facts they had actually retained. I was extremely surprised at what they could tell me about both holidays. They could easily tell me the symbols that we learned about, but they were also telling me things like traditional foods for each holiday and reasons and customs behind each holiday. I was really impressed! They were even asking to learn about more kinds of holidays.

I will post the pictures of the projects later...