My elementary school serves 1st-3rd graders. A huge passion of mine has always been around classroom climate.
I train and expect my students to be independent, hard-working, and cooperative learners focused on setting and reaching their own individual goals.
I offer a variety of seating options including: ergonomic stools, exercise balls, traditional chairs and cushioned benches to sit on every day.
In my classroom I opt to not use overhead fluorescent lighting. Instead I have provided over 30 lamps throughout the classroom to foster a more relaxing environment for learning.
We listen to classical music during our independent work times in the background.
Consistency is key. My students know they are safe, loved, and valued. We are family.
One of Katherine Applegate's newest books is called "Wishtree." To summarize this story, trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this "wishtree" watches over the neighborhood.
First and foremost, I read aloud to my students purely for the entertainment value; students are provided the time to just sit and enjoy listening to a story read by their teacher.
During read aloud, my students have their own copy of the book in hand in order to track along with the story. This builds their fluency, vocabulary and improves comprehension. Second, read aloud time allows me to introduce my students to a genre of literature that they might not have otherwise considered.
Fantasy, autobiography, historical fiction, realistic fiction, mystery...read aloud time allows me to immerse my class in intentionally chosen books in ways they never dreamed possible.
Some past examples include: a trip to France complete with a French foods brunch with movie after reading "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick. A day at Hogwarts with feast and movie after completing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by JK Rowling. A coordinated science unit on the solar system followed by an author visit with Kevin Emerson after completing his book "Last Day on Mars".
With the book "Wishtree", students will create their own personal wishtrees. In addition, we will use a preexisting tree on our school campus as a real life wishtree.
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