Posted on September 17, 2017
This week, we saw one of our projects connected to the big idea of IDENTITY begin to take shape. The children studied various advertisements in a local family magazine, noticing the phrasing, the purpose, and the inclusion of details such as websites, hours, and locations. They then used these observations to create their own advertisements to market their skills and talents in our class Yellow Pages. It is important that as writers, the children have a vision before they begin to create, and studying real-world examples of the kinds of writing they're asked to produce (whether the writing be a folktale or a small square advertisement) supports them in understanding the traits of good writing and encourages them to be thoughtful and purposeful decision-makers as they write. This "Study Driven" approach to learning about writing is one we will use throughout the year, looking closely at mentor texts, borrowing and expanding on the ideas and crafts used by writers in the real world. Be sure to ask your child, "What talent or skill are you advertising in the class Yellow Pages?"
Once the advertisements were produced, it was time for the children to deliver! We began on Thursday afternoon with 5 new teachers in the class, ready to impart their expertise on a range of talents (sun hat making, drawing cartoon people, using the GarageBand app on the iPads, creating tomato pillows, and producing comic book flip-o-ramas). They were asked to prep the materials they would need for their lesson, ensuring they had enough for their group of students, and that the materials were organized and ready to go. Before sending children off to their new teachers, we held a whole group discussion on what to keep in mind for your role as a teacher and your role as a student. Jacoby mentioned it was important that the teacher be kind to their students, and in the middle of sharing his idea, made a deeper connection: "Actually, that is something for both the teachers and the students." Murmurs of agreement could be heard within the group, as they began to list reminders that were important not just for the teachers, or not just for the students, but for both! As Alex pointed out, "The teacher needs to pay attention to the students, and the students need to pay attention to the teachers." And as Bryson articulated, "Teachers need to help their students, but the students can also help other students if they are having trouble." It was so exciting to see the children take this conversation from a simple reminder of how to work with others to a place in which they were seeing the roles of student and teacher as essentially one and the same.
Then the teaching began! Teachers guided their group of students to spots of their choosing in the room and began the art of instruction, facilitation, and support. Their voices took on an air of expertise as they used phrases like "Here, let me help you..." and "Not quite like that..." and "Yeah, that is great!" Students adapted to their new teachers quickly. After just a couple of reminders to ask their teachers their questions, not to ask me, they stopped coming to me all together! Some even began referring to their teachers as Mr. Cruz or Ms. Tayla. Both students and teachers were wildly successful with their endeavors. At the end of our session, teachers were expected to facilitate the clean up on their own, reminding their students to put things back, throw scraps away, and make it to our closing meeting on time. It was wonderful to kick back and let the teachers do the work! (-: On Friday we had a second session of expert teaching groups led by a new group of teachers. The talents shared during this Friday session included origami star boxes, drawing dogs, using the Sushi Monster app on the iPad, and drawing horses.
After these expert teaching sessions, we have begun to discuss the questions, "How does teaching help us understand who we are?" and "How does learning something new help us to understand who we are?" We will continue to give each child an opportunity to hold the teacher role as we move forward in our inquiry to explore who we are.
Jen Yamashita (Dominic's mom) has kindly offered to be our classroom parent this year! She will be sending out an email on Sunday nights with reminders and upcoming dates. Please look for her email as it will have important information.
Families and the children have requested that we bring back sharing time where students bring items or artifacts from home to share out with the class. We will begin sharing time this week Tuesday and will have two children set to share each day. If your child does not wish to share an item on their day, they will have another opportunity as we move alphabetically (by first name) through the list of students. Jen will list the children scheduled to share in her email each week. Please note that there may be some days where we run out of time for sharing. In this case, we will have the children who missed their turn share the following day along with children scheduled for that day. Please support your child in selecting an item that is part of one of the following:
Sharing for the Week: Tues. 9/19: Alex, Bryson; Wed. 9/20: Cruz, Dominic; Thurs. 9/21: Ellie, Emma; Fri. 9/22: Emmy, Flora
Wednesday, 9/20: Field Trip, HTY Play: The Ballad of Mu Lan
Thursday, 9/21: Free Dress Day and Monthly Assembly