Friday, April 27, 2012

This semester has been a great experience. We have done so many different activities, that I know I can and will use them in my classroom. I've learned so many new things through activities, stories and assignments, that I have a lot of things that I will be able to take with me. This semester has helped me define myself so much more as a teacher and in learning ways that I want to become a more successful teacher.

Probably one of the biggest things I've walked away with this semester, is a bigger understanding of how much students today, bring home life with them to school. Through my observations this semester, I've come to know a great group of kids. These observations have been the first true group that I have really connected with and it was the first that it really hit me, just how much students come to school with home life situations. We talk about different things in our college courses about how students come to school with various backgrounds, but it really doesn't hit until you hear first hand from the student, the different things that they are dealing with at home. That happened to me this semester. After hearing one student's home and background life, I came to the realization that these students really do have various and sometimes difficult backgrounds. I walked away this semester with experiences that I am much more grateful for.

I also walked away from this semester with a much higher and more appreciative feeling for my classmates. I had the privilege of walking with my classmates for the last two semesters, and a few classmates a little longer than that. We have come to know each other so well, that we have not only laughed with one another, but cried with one another. I have made some great friends through this learning process that I know I will be taking these friendships with me the rest of my life. They have taught me to be myself and have also shown me things about me that I didn't even know I had in me. I will never forget our fabulous group of people and I know that we will all be great teachers in the end.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Focusing on the Famous Fabulous 40's!!!

One of the most fun and interactive activities we did this semester was the Decades project. In groups, we were to choose a decade and research different things about it. My group decided on the 1940's, a decade the United States was at war, women began working more and in more prominent jobs, and many neat things were brought out in the 40's. Areas our group researched included, people born in the 40's, well known people of the 40's, historical events, music/songs/artists, dance, films, books, disasters/scandals, inventions, sports, and how women, men and children were dressed in the 1940's. Our group focused on all of the different areas and really embraced who we were as representatives of the 1940's. We designed a large tri-fold poster board using newspaper articles as the background. We choose pictures of influential people during the 40's, inventions, and images of movies and famous pictures to represent things about the 1940's. Another major piece to our board's presentation was our victory garden. If we had displayed a title to our victory garden, it would have been "Growing out the 40's", in which we choose famous people that were born in the 1940's, displaying them in a victory garden style. We also choose other objects to help represent the 40's in our display, such as books, games, food that came out in the 40's, and a few different inventions that were created in the 40's. We used an imovie to show different movies, songs, and events of the 40's and we all dressed in clothing that represented the 1940's. We really had a fun and educational time figuring new things out about a decade that none of us were even close to being born in. We learned many new things and really enjoyed being creative in our own way to showcase what we learned.
An activity like this one in the classroom would be a really neat way to involve students in learning and research. Giving students a broad guideline of where to start and go with the activity, allows for students to branch out and explore new and interested areas on their own. Students are able to research areas on their own, finding what they feel is most important to represent. An activity like this is both fun and engaging, and can really get the students involved.

Below are a few pictures of our project:

Below are links to fellow classmates blogs and their decades experience!
Damian's experience
Lisa's experience
Suzanne's experience

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trade Fair

An activity we did this semester was a Trade Post. Everyone brought in things that we wanted to trade, in order to receive other items. A lot of the items that people brought in were homemade, cookies, pastries, paintings, bracelets and much more. We were given the chance to walk around and look at everyone's items that they brought in first. After seeing what was available, we could start trading. I knew a few things that I saw, that I wanted. I approached those people asking if they would want to trade one of my homemade cards with one of their items. If the person was interested, then we negotiated out a trade. Generally all the trades I made was one card from the item I wanted. By the end, I had a wide variety of things I was leaving with.
An activity like this could teach students how different groups of people used trading as a means of sustaining their living. Different groups of people traded food, clothing and other material goods that they needed. A discussion could be used around the students experience in trading their goods and then talk about how the other groups of people traded.
Below is a link to another classmates experience in the Trade Fair

Monday, April 2, 2012

Salty and Messy!!!

What's better than playing with playdoh? Getting messy in it! Working in groups we were instructed to pick a country, construct it out of the homemade salt dough and research the country we chose. My group decided to investigate and build Switzerland, a country none of us really knew anything about. Working and building the map was definitely one of the highlights of this project. For someone who is tactile, like myself, being able to manipulate the material you are working with, gives a greater sense of accomplishing the assignment and you feel good about the masterpiece you've made! Researching the country was also good because we were able to learn some new things about the country. We were given broad areas to research and we were able to take those areas and find many different things under those categories. Looking into areas like government, agriculture, history and a few other random things that our group liked to throw in, we were able to find out much more about this country. In thinking about the different things we learned from our country, we were able to make connections to where we live. Students would be able to see differences and similarities between the country they live in and they country they choose to research. This kind of activity is fun and engaging because students have the chance to get down and dirty!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

5 Artifacts, Culturally Thought

     One of the first activities we did as a class this semester was bringing in 5 artifacts that culturally define us as a person. At first the assignment seemed pretty easy in thinking of what to bring in, but after a short time in thinking about it, the ideas became fewer and fewer. It was a lot more difficult to see what culturally defined me. Who am I? What represents me best? The artifacts I decided on ended up representing my cultural background from a young age to who I am today. Each of the items can tell a story of who I am and how it represents me. For my artifacts, I brought in a ceramic Japanese doll I received from our first exchange student when I was five, a Dopey doll which was the first Disney movie I saw and the first movie I saw in the theaters, a cookbook my great-aunt from Mississippi put together, the book Tales of the Fourth Grade nothing which was the first chapter book I read, and a piece of tile and Mardi Gras bead necklace I found in the rubble after Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi coast. Each of these artifacts represents some part of who I am.
     As a class, we shared some similarities. Some people brought in cell phones, ipods, a variety of books, and many other different things that represented who they are. This activity showed our many interests and likes. It also showed how we are all connected in some way with the artifacts we brought in. With an activity like this one, you can have students see similarities and differences between one another. We had a chance to learn from one another, see what they found valuable and meaningful to them and it made us learn more about ourselves. Like we did with this activity, a writing prompt about a classmates' artifact that stood out to them the most, what you want to know about it, and why it has meaning to them is a good why for students to think about others artifacts and integrates Language Arts into this activity.