Super pleased with how well the first week of school ironed out after a week long Spring Break (March Break). The first few days were tough, as many students (and their teacher) had the luxury of sleeping in all week and eating when they wanted to. Ha!
The week started with St. Patrick's Day. As previously mentioned in my posts, holidays and celebrations are always a little different in intermediate classrooms. Nevertheless, we engaged in some St. Patrick themed activities. Here are a few freebies gathered from I'm Lovin' Lit that I used and loved!
This "Laughing with Limericks" pack was FABULOUS!!! My students did a terrific job--- many leaving us in stitches! After teaching the students how to write limericks (patterns, pacing etc.), we created a few as a class. Then I broke the students into pairs and each pair created one or two limericks. Each poem was entered into a mini-contest. I wrote each of their poetry titles on the board and read through each poem (so that there was no favoritism). The students each chose 3 that they liked (other than their own). There were 3 winning pairs who earned a prize. I was UBER impressed with the creativity and humour. Would definitely use this activity again. Lots of laughs and lots of fun was had by all.
Another great freebie I picked up was this "St. Patrick's Day Idiom" Pack. My students have been working on Figurative Language in their writing and being able to recognize it's use when reading. Again, using "the jar" to choose groups, I broke the students up in pairs as they dissected the various idioms that we see and use in our everyday speech.
We finished up the week with this Metaphor round-up pack. We completed this pack "Over the Rainbow" as a shared lesson/activity. We discussed the use of Metaphors when writing and their purpose.
This month's writing focus is "Research". The students just recently completed a mini-research paper on natures phenomena's (Geography/Literacy) and will begin to create a slideshow to accompany their paper (key points and visuals).
This week I taught the students how to organize their writing when presenting research, once again.... But this time, in the format of a Biography. Using Erin Cobb's Research Pack, I was able to provide my students with clear examples, highlighting tricks and a clear outline to organize their ideas. The student seem to really be enjoying it, as I pretty much gave them free-reign on who they wanted to write about. I am getting pretty solid writing from them because they are interested in the person they are researching. At the end of the week, they will also transfer key ideas into a 10 slide presentation (using Google Presentation) to present their 'celebrity' to the class.
In Fully Alive (Religion) and Health this month, we are focusing on a Body Image. These few lessons this week were very eye opening for me as teacher, as it really hit home how much work we need to do as parents and educators to help our kids sift their way through adolescence with a bombarding amount of false images being thrown at them every day.
The first lesson this week was about how we interpret and see magazine ads and images.
I passed around various ads from magazines and gave each student a mini pack of sticky notes. Each students wrote their feelings, ideas, thoughts.... whatever came to mind (that was appropriate) on the back of the ad on their sticky. At the end, we discussed the comments. Comments ranged from "He/She is so beautiful".... "I want to look like her/him"...... to "He looks so fake".
I polled the students and asked if they thought these people really looked like this in real life. MANY said YES.
I then used the video from Dove's Beauty Campaign- "Evolution" to show the students that our idea of "beauty" is distorted. Advertisements are usually 100% edited and that what we see isn't real.
Another lesson that took place this week was a look at how we see ourselves. Usually we see the worst in ourselves. Each student was asked to write a paragraph about the following ideas:
* What do you like about yourself?
*What do you not like about yourself?
*Do you think you are beautiful?
*Would you change anything about your looks?
*Do you think you are smart?
*Do you have friends?
*Is it easy for you to make friends?
*Do you feel like you belong?
This activity was a HUGE eye-opener. These writing pieces were not shared with the class. Even my most "seemingly confident" kids wanted to change things about them or were not happy with what they looked liked. We discussed as a class some things we might want to change (in regards to our appearances) and how we are often our worst critics. I then showed them this video below, which demonstrates how we see the worst in ourselves---- things that others never see or notice.
This is another Dove Campaign Video entitled "Sketches".
My message to the kids was this----
Lots of work will continue in regards to body image, how we see ourselves and others in the coming weeks.
Have a wonderful week :)