Five for Friday 12-11-15

I have fallen in love with Angela Watson's podcast Truth for Teachers. If you need reassurance, ideas, or to be refilled after long days, she is your go to gal! I was struggling a bit with the teacher-life-athlete balance and she has been so helpful in centering me. Sometimes I swear when she is talking about classroom clutter and work hours she is peering over my shoulder. Her advice is spot on and super motivational. Give her a listen! You will be hooked! 

My second graders started an inquiry cycle about holidays. They could choose any upcoming holiday to research. A lot of them chose Christmas. Most of them know A LOT about the holiday but they don't know a lot about Snata....they asked questions like "Where does Santa get his magic from?" and "How does Santa eat 5,500,500 cookies and not fall down?". Pretty great and hilarious questions. Which of course they wouldn't find their answers to in any database! The first day I was caught off guard but by the second day I talked to them about how Santa was magical and he had lots of secrets. Did they think that Santa would tell all his secrets to PebbleGo? He wouldn't spill his secrets to the Internet! This helped a bit for students to focus on the more factual side of the holiday! 
This reminded me two things: one, these kiddos are SO young! They think of holidays and think Santa! Which duh! They're in second grade. But I expect SO MUCH from them academically and it hit me how much I really am expecting. The second thing is how to complete inquiry when these kiddos are interested in areas that are a hard to inquire about. They want to learn about Minecraft, and Legos, and Star Wars, and Santa (my little kindergartners have such a hard time with the concept of fiction v nonfiction when it comes to books about REAL THINGS like Legos and Barbie...Legos and Barbie are REAL so how come this book is fiction?). How do you bridge the space between being a child and solving those real world problems they're supposed to solve? Are they the same? Does there need to be a bridge or just a shift in the way I think? I almost would LOVE to do an inquiry project of the above mentioned topics to create the framework for what inquiry is while also engaging them where they are. I just haven't figured out quite how to do that yet. 

I finally replaced my Wonder sentence starters sign with something prettier and easier to read. You can see the original on the left was literally a bare bones anchor chart I laminated and stuck on the wall. I finally sat down this week and made a new sign so it's nice and pretty and matches the rest of the classroom decorations! 

I did some MAJOR (for me) cleaning in my classroom. I know I said in an earlier post that I'm only messy at home, but the truth is I'm an organized stacker at school. Look in any cabinet and shelf and you will see a stack of poster, papers, etc. I'll group things by the type which makes me SEEM organized but really I was holding onto a lot that I didn't need anymore. Listening to some of Angela's podcasts made that sink in. During a podcast about clutter, she finished by sharing a quote from Barbara Hemphill - "Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions." Yes! I had all these "neat" stacks because I couldn't decide what to keep and what to throw away. The first picture (above) you can see the stacks that I literally pulled off my shelves and dumped in the center of my looks organized at a glance but when you really look, you realize...wait...!

After dragging everything into the center of my classroom, I started to sort: what was I really going to use again? What wasn't mine, but I could stored elsewhere? What WAS mine, and could be stored elsewhere? And what were things that I didn't need or things that were ugly and I would never ever use again? These last items went in the trash. Before chucking them, I took pictures of each poster to have as a reference if I want to recreate them.  
I ended up filling both the garbage can and the recycling bin! Now my classroom has a much more zen vibe to it because there aren't stacks of paper and posters sticking out every where. There is more room for students. So happy I did this cleaning!! 

I ended up finding two posters the librarian made last year and hung those up. 
Yep that means out of 30 posters I had saved and stored to "use" I really only wanted TWO of them!

Happy Hour of Code Week!! My students have been celebrating ALLL week and I have been loving it!

In kindergarten, we used an app called KodableFirst grade used an app called Daisy the Dinosaur, and second grade used Scratch Jr

The librarian used the website ( with students who wanted to learn more. This website has themed coding lessons - including Minecraft, Frozen, and Star Wars and the students LOVE them. 

Happy Friday! T-minus 8 days till vacation ... but who's counting;)

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