Both, my Honors students and regular students did Found Poems based on their novels. My Honors students are almost finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows and have been doing a great job analyzing Rawls' writing. We have discussed character, setting, and different conflicts throughout. I had the students do Found Poems based on chapters 8 & 9 when Billy decides to cut down the big Sycamore tree because of his promise to his dogs.
Here are some examples of what they did:
My regular students did a similar activity with the novel Watsons go to Birmingham. They were able to choose a chapter from 1-6 and write their poem based on the events from that specific chapter.
My principal actually shared this one with the staff and I showed it to my students today. It has a great message, in my opinion, about living life to the fullest.
My students had good responses to this one. One student said we should, "try to do something special everyday in our lives." I really thought that was a great comment. I wish we all made that a requirement.
I just want to congratulate Kwame Alexander for winning 2015 Newberry Award for his fantastic book - The Crossover. Written in verse, it is the story of two brothers and their love of basketball. If you need a book for reluctant readers, this is a definite go-to book. Congratulations to all the other winners and Honor books that won awards from the ALA. There are some great reads on this list. Here are just a few others:
Yesterday, my colleagues and I had to present something we have done in our classes to the staff. We decided to discuss the One Little Word activity we did when we returned after winter break. Below is the video I made that we showed the staff.
Another resource used to teach kindness was the book How Full is Your Bucket? The idea behind this book is that each of us has an imaginary bucket. The bucket is full when we are feeling good and having positive moments. The bucket empties when things are not going our way and/or people are being mean. I read the book aloud and the students had to reflect and write about the meaning behind the story. I felt the book made a lasting impression on my 6th graders.
For the past few years, I have started the days after winter break with lessons about resolutions and my One Little Word. I have taken (stolen) ideas from others and now have a pretty lesson plan to introduce the OLW to my students.
First, I like to show them a Year in Review video such as the following just to remind them of the highs & lows of the previous year.
After that I ask them what a resolution means and what the top 5 new years resolutions are?
In no particular order:
1. Quit smoking
2. Lose weight
3. Be more organized
4. Be more spiritual
5. Spend more time with family
I then tell them how almost 90% of people fail and then ask why people fail?
I then start my first activity: Non-resolutions. I took the idea from Crazy Lady Teacher here. Basically, list the things you will NOT do this year. For example:
I will not travel to Alaska this year.
I will not have another child this year.
Then we share our favorites. Good times!
This leads us to OLW. I explain what it is and then show them this video I found from Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning:
After the video, I pull up this emaze for slide #2. It has great questions to think about when deciding on a OLW.
Once words are chosen, students design their construction paper with the word. On the back, they write a paragraph that states:
1. What does the word mean to you. Explain.
2. How will you achieve this goal? What do you need to do?
This year, once a week, I teach a kindness lesson to my 6th graders. I use picture books, videos, articles, poems, etc. I started the year with the awesome book Each Kindness. After each resource is shared, my students will reflect and journal about it. I ask them a guiding questions such as:
1. What is the theme or main idea of the piece?
2. Why is this piece important?
3. Why would I show/read this to you?
4. What is the author trying to teach us?
After a few minutes of writing, we discuss and share our ideas. My goal is to continue teaching kindness throughout the year. Then, in 4th quarter, we will do some sort of final Kindness project/culminating activity. I am still figuring that out.
My 2015 One Little Word is...Simplify. It comes at the right time as my family is trying to get rid of all the clutter. We have signed up for numerous de-clutter challenges and so far so good. We have created bags for donation, garbage, and recycle. We are reading books on how to Simplify and bring back the peace of a tidy home. We are doing it the konmari way. Simplify seems to be working positively.
Currently, I am reading a book my own brother wrote and published through Amazon. It is called Trader Joe, It is the story of an options trader named Joseph Broad. Trader Joe tells his life story even though it is more of a memoir on my brother's life during the 90's as he was a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. It is fun to read about this time in his life since I was only 10 and was busy with my own tween years. I had no idea that he went through these events.