Back to School

For me, August 1st marks the magical time of year that kicks of Back-to-School! It is honestly one of my favorites times because it marks new beginnings. I feel more creative, more excited, and more myself! (And, Target has tons of awesome classroom stuff! I'll be honest about how much time I spend thinking about my classroom while roaming the aisles.) 

Every year I reconsider how I can build a classroom community for learning, caring, and friendship. I believe that what you do at the start of the year is essential to lasting success. I think that building community should be fun and the results are something you can return to over and over again as principles that class agrees upon.

For these reasons, I developed three different Back-to-School resources for teachers - Critical Thinking and Perspective Taking with Six Hats of Thinking, Building a Classroom Community Using Poster Dialogue, and A Recipe for Friendship with Enemy Pie (1st & 2nd grade or 3rd & 4th grade).

I can't wait to see how you are using these resources in your classroom! 
#creativeanddramatic @creativeanddramatic 

Poetry Out Loud

One of my favorite activities at the end of the year is to embody poetry with my students, specifically with "Oh, the Places You Will Go"! I love digging into words and bringing poetry to life (even if just with your voice). This is a fun way to engage students at the end of a long school year. 

Poetry Out Loud can be used with any poem throughout the school year. The process utilizes the theatre technique of scoring the text- making meaning, exploring choices, and then making marks in the text. Poetry Out Loud connects the meaning of the text to vocal traits in order to bring the poem to life. The focus of Poetry Out Loud is the process but creates a fun and unique product to share with families and other classes. 

The free resource walks teachers through the process of creating a fun and engaging learning experience, even for those that aren't performers or may be reluctant to dip their toes in the water! 
The easy to use Poetry Our Loud Menu helps students understand how a line or keyword may be performed to match the meaning and context. 

The focus of Poetry Out Loud is to deconstruct and re-construct the poem by marking up the text in order to make meaning and then, select and rehearse vocal choices for performance. This simple lesson will hit numerous literacy and drama skills- a perfect arts integration lesson too!

Vegetable Garden

Summer is almost here and so are the delicious vegetables from a summer garden! Engage students with some fun literacy activities around vegetable gardens as the school year comes to a close. 

Do taste tests in your classroom! 

Then compare and contrast the vegetables! 

Use a local supermarket flyer to have students look up vegetable prices! 

When I was in college I heard a story of a kinder teacher who looped with his students to first grade. During the summer break between kindergarten and first grade, he gave each student a packet of tomato seeds to plant at home. Then, when the next school year started the students brought in the vegetables they grew. The class made spaghetti sauce in a crock pot and the students served it to their parents during Back-to-School Night. 

Vegetable Garden Literacy Pack