Today our amazing tech teacher, Ms. Falco and I had a conversation about kindergarten and the 3-D printers at STEM. She had a couple of my students watching the 3-D printer create a pot that one of them had designed on a pottery app. We talked about how we could get the kinder students to start designing objects to be printed and came up with this project. For the end of the year kinder celebration, we always have the kids do an art project to bring home. This year, the kids are Setting Sail from Kindetgarten, so we decided that we'd have the kids design boats with their initials in them to be printed and put in shadow boxes. This is our first test print and I can honestly say that Ms. Falco and I were just as excited about the product as our designer! Can't wait to start designing tomorrow!!!
Today was a really exciting day for me as a teacher! This January, I applied to become a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator for the 2016-2017 school year. Today I found out I was selected as a Local Digital Innovator, which will give me the opportunity to do lots of professional development and learn about some amazing ways to use technology in the classroom!
I'm really excited to get to learn from the PBS Learning Media team and other Digital Innovators!
This week, all of STEM Magnet Academy celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday with a variety of activities. Each grade level was asked to interpret one of Dr. Seuss' quotes. For kindergarten, I decided to use this as an opportunity for a close read of "The Sneetches" by Dr. Seuss. Throughout the week we read and highlighted and discussed the story. Then on Thursday and Friday, I asked kindergarten students to consider what the message of "The Sneetches" was by answering the question, "What did Dr. Seuss want us to learn from the story of the Sneetches?" Here are our thoughts.
This week we had lots of fun celebrating Dr. Seuss, who's birthday was on Wednesday! As part of the celebration, we created class books modeled after There's a Wocket in My Pocket. Each student created a creature that lives in our classroom and wrote a sentence to name their creature. You can find the complete book on our Shutterfly page!
Finding creative ways for kindergarten students to respond to close reading can be a little tough. But this week, our magical tech teacher, Ms. Falco, brought us some small hand-held video cameras. We spent a little bit of time experimenting with the cameras (we have a bunch of great silly faces recorded for posterity). Then on Friday, we recorded our classmates responding to On a Beam of Light - the story of Albert Einstein - by telling what the author wanted us to remember or learn about Albert Einstein. We started by drawing portraits and planning our videos and then got to work recording. I'm very proud of our first effort at creating videos!!! It was really fun and gave me a great way to see what students took away from our week-long close read about Albert Einstein.
This week groups 5 and 6 reviewed the magic e concept by using word ladders to build and change words. We began at the bottom of our ladder by making the word rip and then progressed up the ladder by adding, subtracting, and changing letters to make new words. Students practiced paying special attention to the vowel sounds to determine whether or not a word required a "magic e" to make the long vowel sound.
I am always really impressed with my students' ability to evaluate their own learning. This week we started moving towards our next Authors Celebration by having students begin looking at the work they have been doing so far in this writing unit. Students began rereading their own work and checking for certain criteria (on a Lucy Calkins checklist). Students reread their writing, determining if they have a page for the beginning, a page for the middle, and a page for the end. Students looked at their writing to see if they are using all the sounds they hear to spell words on their own and checked to see if they have used the word wall to spell sight words in their writing. The thing about kindergarten students evaluating their own work that always amazes me is the honesty. It would be really easy for students to go through the checklist and say that they have done everything on the list... And some of them do. But the majority of my students look at their writing honestly and find things that they can continue to work on. This is a huge celebration for me, as we use our checklists to make goals for ourselves and how we are going to work to make our writing better as we move towards our next Authors Celebration.
I love teaching kindergarten literacy at STEM! It is amazing to be a part of the reading and writing growth of a kindergarten student. You get to see kids move from knowing some letters and sounds to being enthusiastic readers and young authors.