When It Rains, It Pours

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At least when it comes to blogging, it seems.  Weeks without a post, then two within a few days.  But you know what they say – strike while the iron is hot, which in this case means two things:  I have something to blog about AND I have the time to do so!

My last post was about the current unit of study concerning the moon.  In a moment, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but here’s the backstory.  We’re learning about the moon’s phases (and when I say WE, I mean WE – every year I have to relearn waxing gibbous and waning crescent). We have several cool tools to illustrate this, including a light-up moon that demonstrates each phase.  So today, I gave them THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE.  Just by saying it was THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE in a deep, reality-tv-game-show voice had them hooked.  Working alone, with partners or in groups, their task was to identify each phase by a description.  When I tell you I need an answer key for this one, I’m not kidding.  Distributed the paper, and they were off….

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This last little guy was the first one done.  He graciously declined offers to work with others, and when he was done he told me, “I knew I could do it alone!”  That feeling that he had?  It’s called pride.

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Smooth as Glass

As I write this, I am knocking on wood.  I don’t want to give myself a kinahora (Yiddish for “jinx”).  Not that I’m superstitious, but why take chances? But this school year, as of mid-October, has been as smooth as glass.  In terms of management, easy as pie.  As far as the level of enthusiasm, high as a kite.  Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (idiom overload!), I’m simply basking in it.   Here are a few of the many things that make me happy each day:

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Our current unit of study is space – specifically, sun, moon and stars.  But how could I teach about the moon and not talk about Neil Armstrong? And how could I talk about Neil Armstrong without playing “First Man on the Moon” by Jonathan Sprout?  If I’m being truthful, the song IS why I’m teaching about Neil….if you don’t know J. Sprout’s American Heroes collection of musical biographies, you are really missing something.  This phrase gets overused, but I seriously get chills when the kids are singing, at the top of their lungs, “All for Apollo!”  Did it make an impact?  Look at their moon paintings:

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Because the interest level reached outer space, I added another craftivity (that’s what we call crafts that have a purpose)!  These are their retellings of Neil’s story.  Plus, I love a cute bulletin board!

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Here’s another.  Cuteness with a purpose = evidence of learning.

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Last week was the national Week of Respect.  How cool was it to have a former student, now an 8th grader, read to my class and teach them about being a person of good character?  Very, very cool.

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I’m going out on a limb when I make this next statement.  Venturing into the land of “maybe she’s gone off her rocker.”  But I’m choosing to believe that somehow the the magic that was the Summer of Shirley, now the Year of Shirley, has made its way into the classroom.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

1958:  American actor Shirley Temple wears a fairy godmother costume, which includes a magic wand and a tiara, in a promotional portrait for her television series of dramatized fairy tales, 'Shirley Temple's Storybook'.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1958: American actor Shirley Temple wears a fairy godmother costume, which includes a magic wand and a tiara, in a promotional portrait for her television series of dramatized fairy tales, ‘Shirley Temple’s Storybook’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Time Flies….

…when you’re busy.  And happy.  And having fun.  All of the preceding is true; thus, a nearly-monthless blog.  So to compensate, here are a few photos of recent doings!

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Sharing our published stories with classmates

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Experimenting with flashlights and shadows.

That’s all she wrote.  For now.