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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

All's Fair In Love and 4th Grade?

Another first day down! Phew! Needless to say, I'm exhausted but I had a great day meeting my new 4th grade friends.


I decided to make another version of my tickets to 4th grade fun.




 It's just a fun way to start the day. My little guys wear them as necklaces the first day of school and many save them as bookmarks. You can find the template for this ticket and many more here. It is customizable and super easy to use! They would be great for invitations to any type of party, AND...they're FREE!

So, here is a quick glimpse of the view from my desk this year.  (Don't mind the laminator I left on the table.)



This can be found on the front of my desk. It's one of my favorite quotes by Roald Dahl.



I also found this adorable mustache freebie on Pinterest this summer. Grab it here!



One of the fun activities I did today focused on the difference between fair and equal. It's no surprise that my classroom is full of students with a wide range of abilities. The challenge is meeting the needs of each and every one of my students while simultaneously keeping them all engaged and entertained. This is not an easy task. That's where differentiated instruction comes into place. Often times children don't think it's fair that certain kids might get extra help or different assignments, and understandably so.

Today I tried to teach them that everyone learns differently and some students need accommodations to be successful.

I had my students close their eyes and imagine they just got a boo-boo on a certain part of their body. I called one student up and asked where he got his boo-boo.  When he told me it was on his hand, I kindly placed a Band-Aid on his hand and sent him on his merry way.




 I called the next student up and when she told me her "boo-boo" was on her elbow, I proceeded to put the Band-Aid on her hand, exactly like I did with the first student.


I did this yet again with several students. Of course I added the dramatic effect of sympathetic "awws" and baby talk to get some laughs from the crowd. No matter where they claimed they needed a Band-Aid, I put every single one on their hand. The look of confusion was priceless. 

I continued to play dumb saying things such as "What? I'm treating everyone the same. Don't you guys want to be treated fairly?" "If Bobby needs a Band-Aid on this hand to get better, isn't that what Jenny needs to get better?" This began a really great conversation among the class. The students were so animated and opinionated about how this wasn't working. I love when their little minds get reeling! 

I then put this quote up on the Smartboard and asked them to read it silently and think about what it meant.  


The light bulbs went off. 

I took time to discuss that fair doesn't mean the same. We are all different so what we need is not always the same. This is called differentiation. I also told them that when someone has a boo-boo or gets hurt when they are at school, we would help them and not make fun of them. So if someone has a different activity in class it is so they will get what they need and we won't make them feel like they aren't as smart as or smarter than someone else. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Giving It Another Go..

I'm sitting here the night before (or should I say, the morning of) my 5th "first" day of school as a teacher. It's hard to believe I have 4 years of teaching under my belt. It seems like just yesterday I was the nervous 4th grader worried about the first day of school. Not much has changed, except my evolution from student to teacher. On second thought, I believe I am still a student, constantly learning from those around me and my life experiences.

 It's just before 1am. I should be sound asleep. Instead, I find myself once again drawn to the light of my lap top, wondering if I should attempt this teaching blog once more.

A lot has changed in my life over the past few months and I find myself more driven than ever. I'm trying new things, embarking on exciting adventures and wanting to become a better person. I've been regretting my decision to stop writing this blog and decided that I should give it another chance. Why not? What have I got to lose?

I know I will be spending a lot of time over the next few days discussing the importance of respecting each other in the classroom. A few years ago, my class created this anti bullying video. I thought it would be a good way to start the first day with my new batch of kiddos tomorrow. Feel free to show it to your new class as well, or ever better, be inspired to create your own!

Enjoy.