Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Repost from October Because I Love 4th-Grade ELA!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#11 -- An Amazing Week in 4th Grade

If someone sentenced me to teach 4th grade for the rest of my life, I have to admit, I wouldn't hate it. I'm really enjoying this grade level. And it comes as a surprise to me, actually, because when I started out my degree, I didn't picture myself in a general education classroom, leave alone 4th grade. I mean, 4th grade is so, well, middle, and un-glamorous. But I love it here!

One of my favorite things we taught this past week was purple words. Students were taught to look for descriptive words in menus. After they collected a descriptive vocabulary, they either created their own imaginary food to describe or real food. They wrote great descriptors. And I thoroughly enjoy teaching language skills.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love history I.introduced the students to Woodland Indians. I'm surprised how little they know. I expected 4th graders to be more aware of history, but maybe that's because I'm a homeschooling parent and we talked history constantly in my house when my kids were growing up. (Plus, being an author of historical narratives makes me a little more, er, historic? than most folks...)

Project-based learning is important. Really important.  It keeps the students much more engaged and helps them invest in their own learning. I'm a huge believer in student-centered learning.

As I've written before, the role of teachers is changing. We are more facilitators of students' learning than actual direct instructors. I love that. I have been teaching writing through student blogging. And the kids are much more engaged because they are writing for a purpose.

I read all the students' blogs and helping them with grammar. I made each student a checklist to follow to help them with the simple things: capitals, periods, etc. I'm not sure they even get that they are to refer to it to check over their work. And when I do comment on their blogs, some actually correct their blogs (I comment privately). Others ignore it. I'm still looking for a better way to help them and also to keep track of corrected blogs. 

Probably my favorite time of the week was when I read the BFG chapter: "Frobscottle and Whizzpoppers." Oh mylanta. We all laughed so hard. I wish I'd written that chapter! (Read aloud time is my FAVORITE.)

Frobscottle is a drink the giant drinks that makes him pass gas. He calls these emissions Whizzpoppers. Here's my favorite quote from the main character, Sophie:

"Kings and Queens are whizzpopping. Presidents are whippzopping. Glamorous film stars are whizzpopping. Little babies are whizzpopping. Where I come from, it is not polite to talk about it. "
And what the giant says:

"Us giants making whizzpoppers all the time! Whizzpopping is a sign of happiness. It is music to our ears!"
Makes me wish I'd written the book. So clever, engaging and fun. I love it when school is fun.

Speaking of which, on Friday the students and teachers were allowed to dress up as book characters. I dressed as one of my own book characters. That is a character whose books I'm currently writing.

I dressed as Grandma Betty Biddle from my Airship Chronicles trilogy. Can you see me? I'm in the back on the left.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Student With Traumatic Brain Injury Goes Back to School!

With her permission and the permission of her mother, I'm posting a video of one of my favorite people to work with.

Carissa is an inspiration to me, and I'm so grateful to be one of her teachers! We have so much fun during homebound.

This is a video we created together to help her teachers and friends get to know and meet the new Carissa. Carissa starred in it. I just did the filming and editing. Isn't she remarkable?

Carissa has a traumatic brain injury. The damage was to her brain stem and she only had a 5% chance of living. She was in a coma for two months. I am just so honored to know her.

You can read more about brain stem injury here:

Carissa was met with plenty of love and open arms on her first day back!

Can you guess my new mascot?

As soon as I get my badge, I'll announce my new school and position. So excited!!