Saturday, January 4, 2014

First lessons of the year

This past week I only taught for two days. Although no one wanted to be back, it was a good transition in from Winter break. I eased in by taking a break from literature in Language Arts and focusing on grammar. We made a one word resolution that they had to figure out what part of speech it was and then write a paragraph about how it would guide them throughout the year.  We also played parts of speech bingo which was really fun. You could tell with more repetition of hearing examples that my students were becoming better at correctly identifying the parts of speech.

In social studies we reviewed what we had learned last year. We then added information onto the dragon we made that is hanging in our hallway.

We learned about the religions and beliefs of ancient China, including Daoism and Confucianism.  It was fun to have deeper conversations this week really connected how these beliefs shaped the Chinese culture.  In college I read The Tao of Pooh, which is a book that uses Winnie the Pooh to illustrate the Taoist principles.  I read some of a chapter to my classes and we tried to infer what the chapter was saying Inner Nature meant. It was a lot of fun because all my students knew the Winnie the Pooh characters to be able to relate to what the chapter was discussing.

Next week we will continue learning more about the different dynasties in China. I have some fun activities planned to keep them interested.  We will be having a debate, learning to say a few Chinese words and possibly trying to use chopsticks if I can find some cheap enough. 

I have added two new books to my books to read list.  For Christmas one of my friends bought me Fires in the Middle School Classroom and The End of Molasses Classes.  These are two books about better understanding middle school students.  I'm not sure when I will have time to read all that I have now but I look forward to it.

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