Monday, July 16, 2018

Being the Change - Chapter 5 & 6 {#cyberpd}

As I kept reading and finished Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed, I really held on to the idea of this powerful work being anchored with simple introductory conversations of daily observations.  I also find myself reflecting on my school community and what it offers or doesn't offer.  I worry our children are protected and sheltered and won't be ready for what they may encounter.  I also worry we cover things up because we think they aren't ready and wonder when we stop this to promote growth and change.  I found a sentence I wanted to share with parents to maybe help our community.  "And if we don't know the answers to our children's questions, we can create opportunities to learn together."  I love when a child says something and makes me stop and think.  I don't hesitate to think along the side of them to figure things out.  I wonder how we can model this as part of the learning process and make it visible to help our families and community.

Another sentence I want to ponder longer is, "When we ask ourselves honest questions about how we may see our own humanity in others, we will be far more adept at being compassionate citizens."  It makes so much sense to find things the same to help us process, question, and support a situation.

The lessons ideas n Chapter 5 are lofty and big for little ones.  I found myself writing notes in the margin to think about the word obligated; committed, obliged, pledged, required, tied, and urged.  I wasn't thrilled with these words either.  Then I started to ramble on with a few questions that might help little ones think about obligated.
Who helps you make decisions?
Who helps guide you?
Who watches or takes care of you?

I think I need to wrestle more with the steps or process of thinking about those you could defend or stand up for.  Those who you will connected with might be something to think about.

I think decision making is one to explore more with because little ones have a lot of impulsivity.  I want to look for picture books characters that make conscious and unconscious decisions.  I wonder if Cathy Mere has that list already made, she loves to make book lists!  

Then the words intent and impact sent me to  I found intent to be defined as meaning or significance - the why and impact to be the influence of effect - the impression a decision or choice may have.  Again, I think we need picture books geared for little ones with some examples here.  

Chapter 6 sums up all that I'm thinking about this work no matter what the grade level is.  We have to start the school year ready to listen and allow time for the students to share their news.  This sharing isn't just about hearing it, it's about learning from it to grow as a human.

Thank you Cathy and Michelle for organizing #cyberpd.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Picture Book 10 for 10 is 1 Month Away {#pb10for10}

Dear Cathy,

I'm so excited today!  It's July 10th which means August is coming up next and on August 10th we are lucky to host Picture Book 10 for 10.  I think today snuck up on both of us this year.  Summer is a great time to do things differently and I hope you are doing something differently right now.  My alarm clock was wonky this morning so I missed my 5:30am yoga class I was going to try and get to.  Yes, working out that early is something different for me and then allows me to be all in for the dogs and girls the rest of today.  Yoga is relaxing and I find #pb10for10 relaxing and invigorating at the same time.   Don't you?  I hope our friends think so.

 I just want to remind everyone of the details for our #pb10for10 event.
  1. Grab a Badge (I like to select the image and save image as...)
  2. Join the #pb10for10 Google Community
  3. Choose Your Favorites:  All you need to do is choose ten picture books you cannot live without for whatever reason.  In the first days of this event, everyone shared their ten very favorite titles.  This still works.  You will notice, however, that many past participants choose some type of theme to determine their selections.  We'll leave this up to you.
  4. Narrow Your List to Ten:  It isn't easy, is it?  We've seen some crafty ways to get around that number, but really ten is plenty. 
  5. Write Your August 10th Post:  Write a post about the ten books you cannot live without.  Share your post on August 10th and link it to the Picture Book 10 for 10 Community.  
  6. No Blog?  No Problem:  If you don't have a blog, this might be the perfect time to start one --- or now with the Google Community it is quite easy to just post your favorites directly into the community without a blog.  We will also be tweeting from the #pb10for10 hashtag.
  7. Comment:  On August 10th (and maybe for a week --- there are a lot of posts) take some time to read posts from other participants.  Please comment on at least three.
Enjoy your day Cathy!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Being the Change - Chapter 3 & 4 {#cyberpd}

As I continued reading Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed, new learning is taking place for me and I need to listen more carefully.  I teach second grade currently and I want to say microagressions don't happen in our community at this age.  However, as I sit and reflect today I think if I listen with this lens or focus in mind I might pick up on some simple/possible ones younger students will use.  

I'm wrestling a bit with what microagressions will sound like in a primary classroom.    "Microagressions  are comments relating to someone's identity that leave a lasting, negative impression on the receiver of the message."  In her examples on p55 I found two that sounded like primary students; Did you make that?  and I heart your hair.   I have to be honest though some years I don't have students with cultural differences which seem to be an obvious opportunity for microagressions.  I really wonder what other readers are thinking about microagressions in primary grades; grades one, two, and kindergarten.

As I was reading, I wondered if intentional was part of a microagression and on pg 58 it was confirmed that it is.  I think primary students need to study intentional and unintentional.  Younger students can just state what they see based on observations or a honest wondering.  They certainly struggle with the idea of their words lasting and having a negative impression on the receiver.  So, I'm thinking maybe the precursor to the work with microaggressions with primary students is discussing someone else's identity beyond developing their own webs and discussing how our words can linger with someone, hurting their feelings.  I think we can foster the work in this book in grades that follow by creating an awareness of self and then others.

As I ponder my thinking around microaggressions in primary, I found myself excited to introduce the word bias in second grade and lay a foundation for the meaning and explore what it looks like for each of us.  I think with support and guidance we could frame our thinking around I am statements and the examples on p62 seem possible for second grade.  I found myself reframing my reading this week with the phrase, keep it simple.  

I'm also wanting to have a discussion with my students about labels, stereotypes, and assumptions.  I don't know if they have experienced labels yet.  My heart hopes not - they are just seven-ish years old.  

So much great thinking about being better informed about you students and helping them process their own news or the news of the world this week.  I was super excited to read about this because we share any news we have with each other a few days a week in our morning meeting and I'm thinking we need this all five days.  The news we typically share in second grade was validated in our reading this week because it's usually very self centered, as it should be with primary students.  I'm also thinking I need to make sure I'm available to not only greet them at the door each morning but be close as they settle in to over hear any news that might be shared informally in between students.  I'm sometimes caught off guard with public news students might know and instead of shy away from discussing maybe I can collect their thinking and either ponder how we can address it as a class or let parents know.  With little ones, there's a range of news knowledge their parents want them to know.  I can respect that.  However, I thought some of the lesson ideas shared could be modified and used when we use Scholastic News, National Geographic for Kids, and Newsela this year.  

Personally, as I read these two chapters I was hoping and wishing my own teenage daughters would have the opportunity and guidance to think like this with one of their teachers.    

Thank you Cathy and Michelle for organizing #cyberpd.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Starting a Poetry Friday journey

I purchased Poems are Teachers How Studying Poetry Strengthen Writing in All Genres by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater at the start of the summer.  When I was looking at the table of contents I thought I could not rush through this book but meander weekly and try these ideas out myself and share my journey via Poetry Friday.  Each week I will let you know the technique of the week I've played with and a thought or two about the process on my site for dabbling with writing.  You can easily find this space in the tabs across the top of this site.

This week was Jot from a Photograph and I really enjoyed reading guidance words from my friend Mary Lee Hahn and using her writing as a mentor.  I love to take pictures and Mary Lee writes, "My photos are my visual writer's notebooks."  This might just change how I view my photos.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Kid From Planet Z Series

Magic Bones is a much read series in my second grade classroom and I was thrilled to find another series The Kid From Planet Z by Nancy Krulik while on vacation.  Both series have in common the idea of traveling to another place or space which is very interesting for my readers.

The first book in the series, Crash! is about the landing or crash of Zeke Zander and is family lose power while traveling through space and land on earth.  Zeus the spaceship commander is a cat and the only one to attend college.  As you can imagine, the spaceship isn't a quick fix and the Zander family has to adjust to living on earth with earthlings while not giving away their true identity.  I loved figuring out the things Zeke didn't understand as an alien and his responses to cover up his earthling mistakes while adjusting to going to school.  He might have even used some of his alien powers to help him win a game of hide and seek with new friends Amelia and Eddie.

The second book in the series, Don't Sneeze! has the Zander family still living among the earthlings.  Zeke continues to spend time with Amelia and Eddie and have earthling adventures.  The book begins with a trip to the circus and Zeke being exposed to tissues, juice boxes, and cotton candy.  Zeke and his friends are suppose to do a presentation together when Zeke gets the sniffles.  It's quite a struggle to keep his identity hidden because zeebops get the flu they leak green tears and to heal they have to stand on their head for quite some time.  Zeke needs to be there for his friends and the presentation.  Zee isn't the only one not feeling well, Zeus the cat/spaceship commander comes down with the itches.  I bet you might be able to figure out what Zeus catches while living as an Earth cat.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Being the Change - Chapter 1 & 2 {#cyberpd}

I'm very thankful I had a gift card and chose to spend it on Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed to participate in #cyberpd.  I initially didn't look at this book very closely because it's marketed for grades 4-8.  When it was selected I found some tidbits that others felt things in the book could be tweaked for primary grades.  As, I finish chapters one and two I would agree.  

As I read chapter one, the sentence, "We have an obligation to make kids feel visible."  I enjoyed reading Sarah's thoughts that followed discussing how this can be done through establishing relationships.  I think if you are reading this book you are invested in communities and relationships and wonder if any of  you had thought about the work we do in these two areas as making kids feel visible.  I hadn't and I want to make sure my students do feel visible.

As I read about identity webs, I found myself comparing them to Georgia Heard's heart maps.  I was wrestling if they were different ideas and I concluded they are.  I think identity webs could help build heart maps later in the year.  I loved the idea of starting identity webs the first day of school.  Kristi Mraz did a wonderful blogpost with Heinemann where she lays out how she would adjust identity webs for her kindergarten students.  It's doable with primary students.

I drew a little heart in my book on p36 where Sara encourages us to kid-watch.  In the age of data driven meetings, reports, and testing I long for someone to justify kid-watching.  I also think the suggestions on p36 and p37 could be guidance for an Reflection/Closing Circle at the end of the day.  

I started tweaking the language used for discussing the discomfort during disagreement.  This is just a rough draft and I'm open to any thoughts for further revising for younger students.
 - Listen with an open mind and heart.
-  It might not feel right.
-  What is your body doing?
-  Others can think differently than you.
-  We can have different ideas.

Thank you Cathy and Michelle for organizing #cyberpd.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Inspector Flytrap

Inspector Flytrap by husband and wife duo Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell grabbed my attention right away with their front cover.  I wanted to know more about a skateboarding, tie wearing, magnifying glass holding, big mouthed venus flytrap.  I love plants.  I know the venus flytrap has interesting eating habits.  I was intrigued.

I began browsing the book and found out there are four parts and after reading the book I would call these adventures; four separate stories within the book.  Perfect for early readers who need support with stamina and comprehending longer stories.   I enjoyed the illustration support within the stories and the color hues of gray and green.  While reflecting about my reading I discovered the illustration color choice helped me focus on the text more as a reader.  I wonder if it does for students?  Something for us to explore as readers next year.

Inspector Flytrap is a fussy detective.  He only likes to solve BIG DEAL mysteries and can turn some mysteries away if they don't meet that criteria.  His assistant is Nina the Goat.  She helps him travel, think, and sometimes eats clues.  She even ate the phone that brings them their cases.    As I was reading, I started to predict the trouble she could get into and laughed as she caused problems while they worked on a case.  Nina the Goat requires patience and close supervision.  The dialogue between these two characters will make readers smile and giggle.