Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Mania and Surprises

First of all, my heart goes out to those at Sandy Hook Elementary!

Wow, it's been a while since I have posted anything here! Now that I am done with my classes for the semester, I think that it's time to share what I have been doing in my classroom. First thing is that I have the most wonderful 3rd grade team!! They secretly went around the school to campaign for me for "The Teacher of the Year". My principal gave me the papers saying that I won the award without saying a word. I asked him if it was a joke then tried to give him the papers back, ha ha. He said that it wasn't a joke. I was floored!! My team told me what they did and I just about cried. They are the sweetest bunch of ladies that I have ever had the opportunity to work with!!

My principal has finally decided to allow my team to use REAL BOOKS for reading instruction instead of our awful basal!! Yay!!! We started with  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It's been a long time since I have seen children enjoy reading class. It warmed my heart to see my students having such lively discussions about what was happening and actually paying attention to instruction. We still had reading tests and assignments, but they were more meaningful to my students. The kiddos were able to make real life connections to the characters and what was happening during the Christmas pageant.

The first thing that I did was have my students look at the copy right date in the front of the book. We began comparing the cost of living in 1972 to today. We also talked about what was going on in the world and the types of things that were popular at that time. They LOVED it!!

As we read each chapter, I had my students name each chapter to help them start thinking about main ideas. Some of the names were: "Meet the bad Herdmans", "Herdmans Go to Church", and "The Evil is Stealing the Show". If I forgot to let them name the chapter, they were quick to remind me.

There was a lot of character comparisons being made along the book. Also we analyzed how some of the characters changed throughout the book. That was neat to see them pick up on those things even before we started talking about it.

Every Friday was our "FUNctional Friday". This was where we took a piece of functional text and looked at the components. The last piece that we did was directions to making a gingerbread house. Yes, we actually made the houses using graham crackers. It was SO much fun. I think that this will be what the kids remember the most. Doesn't the "Teacher of the Year" have to come up with awesome activities??? I think so!!! Ha ha ha!!
Here are some pictures from our wonderful day.....