Winter Cultural Celebration 2018

A couple of years ago we had our first Cultural Celebration (which took the place of the traditional Winter/Christmas party) before we left for our Winter Break.  It was SO MUCH FUN and based traditions that came from our class culture.  We loved it!

This year we did it again, and again it was SO MUCH FUN!  I think the thing I love the most about the way this celebration is planned, is that it all comes from the families in the class.  Every class is different and special and so therefore so is every Cultural Celebration!

As I have done in previous years, I sent out a survey to families, and received many responses. :). This told me the direction of our gathering, building on the ideas for traditions and family favorites that they had shared with me in their answers.

After the Winter Sing-A-Long (which is definitely a tradition in our school culture), we all met in our room for some fun and togetherness!

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Sing-a-Long Selfie with Avant and Mrs. Bearden 🙂

I am pretty sure that EVERY KIDDO had someone there to celebrate with them (we even had some siblings show up!), and even if they didn’t have their own family member, they had someone’s visitor, because we’re all one big happy first grade family!

In order to keep things low key, we offered several activities and had kids/families decide beforehand which one(s) they wanted to complete together.  This was totally led by the kids, which I think added to the fun and originality of our party.  Check out what we offered:

Making reindeer food: Did anyone besides me NOT know this was a thing?  I don’t spend much time on Etsy or Pinterset, so maybe that’s why, but goodness–this was a hit!  Getting ready for Rudolph and the others was high on almost everyone’s list!

Decorating sugar cookies: I mean, what says winter-party-fun more than cookies and icing?  There were many different shapes, colors and as many sprinkles as you wanted, and goodness–kids could have probably stayed at this station FOREVER!

Stringing popcorn:  Several families mentioned that they string popcorn every year for their Christmas tree.  I haven’t done t for years, but I actually did this for several years early on in my marriage.  IT was so much fun to watch families do it with their kids, although I’m not sure how much actually made it onto the string–MUCH of it just went right into bellies!!  :). This station made me want to try it again at home, this time with my own kiddos!

Holiday Read Alouds:  You know we HAD to include books in this celebration!  Families shared their holiday/winter favorites, and I pulled many from our classroom library as well.

Gingerbread Playdoh:. I knew (because it was mentioned as a special love of many families) that I wanted to have something gingerbread related, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t too cliche or too messy, or require too many materials.  Ok, well, I may have lost on that last requirement, but Ms. Turken’s class has just made gingerbread PLAYDOH with their learning buddies the week before and that seemed like a SUPER idea for us to try, too.  This one ended up being such a hit that it might have to become a regular holiday activity in our first grade room!

Our Cultural Celebration was just what I had hoped it would be, and everyone seemed like they enjoyed it so much!  Enjoy some pictures of our winter fun!

What a great way to head into a relaxing Winter Break! 🙂

Veterans’ Day 2017

If you have been at Robinson for the last few years, you know that we do Veterans’ Day in a big way! This year was no different!

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Every year we have more special Veterans that come to celebrate with us–our gym is always bursting at the seams! (Thanks @docpainter for sharing this picture, and thanks for coming!)

There was a procession of all of our special guests (while we all sang a medley of the armed forces songs), the Roadrunner Choir sang the national anthem and kindergarten led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

After that, each grade shared their specially prepared song, and everyone knocked our socks off!

Many smiles were smiled, laughs were laughed and tears were shed as we remembered the important sacrifices many, many people have done to enable us to live and learn in freedom. 🙂

And…because it’s my blog, I have to share a couple of pictures of my own first grader, and a special Veteran who came to celebrate with her!

Thank you, Dad (and Mom, too, who was taking the picture!) for your service!  We appreciate and love you so much!! 🙂

Happy Veterans’ Day, everyone!

 

The BEAUTIFUL Skin We Live In!

Seems like I have been waiting FOREVER to share this post with you, but I wanted to wait until the final products were hung up before I finally wrote a about it.  Man, it’s been hard!

If you have every visited my classroom, or if you have read this blog before, you hopefully know that diversity and community are two important parts of my classroom.  I have done much over the last year to incorporate more diverse texts into my classroom (and life!), have celebrated cultures of our classroom families, and stressed with my kiddos how amazing it is that we are NOT all the same!  Different is BEAUTIFUL!

I used some similar books from years past, because they are great and still worked to share that diversity, appreciation, celebration, inclusion message I wanted to send.  Kids really enjoyed them. 🙂

I have done portraits many different ways over the years, but wanted to really focus on making them LOOK like us, especially the beautiful COLORS of us.  It was a fun experiment to find just the right combination of paint to represent each kiddos’ face, and we had some great conversations about what we noticed, what we liked and what each color looked like.

The walls in this new room have afforded me the best place so far to display these masterpieces.  They are high and smiling at us and we can see them from everywhere.  I LOVE that you can see each kiddo’s personality in their portrait and even if they weren’t labeled we’d be able to tell who is who because they did such a FABULOUS job creating them.  But most of all I love that they represent how beautifully and wonderfully made  is each and every one of my Rm. 111 kiddos. 🙂

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Veterans’ Day 2016

Our school knows how to do things right. 🙂   And Veterans’ Day is one of those things that we do that has quickly become a day we look forward to celebrating together with our friends, family and honored guests.

Let me share our day with you. 🙂

First of all, here’s the first grade portion of the program.

Aren’t we a handsome bunch of kiddos?

We’re talented, too. 🙂  Here’s our Veterans’ Day song:

Before we sang, there were some tributes to our honored first grade guests.  It was pretty special. 🙂

Lastly in the program, some Robinson friends (including our RM. 202 friend Kaiden!) read the official Veterans’ Day proclamation:

Now…in case you wanted to see the entire program, it was live-streamed on Periscope and can be viewed in its entirety at these links: Part 1 and Part 2.  Also, Mrs. Sisul has updated Robinson’s Facebook page with pics from the day.  Check it out here.

Another amazing and thoughtful day spent celebrating some really important people and appreciating the freedoms and opportunities we have in America!  Great job, Rm. 202!

Our First Writing Celebration!

We have been working on getting our Writers’ Workshop set up, as well as learning about and writing Small Moments.

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We used the analogy of a watermelon and its seeds to help kiddos think about a BIG idea and the SMALL parts of that larger story.  This picture was really helpful for kids to have a concrete idea of what I was talking about.  After I drew my initial picture, writers tried their own watermelons. 🙂

Wednesday was the day we were finally ready to share our finished writing pieces.  This was our first for the year, and so we did have to start with a few instructions on how it would go.  I also tried something new this time (which, by the way, I SHOULD NOT have done on our first try at a writing celebration…oh well, lessons learned), and had kiddos do writing compliments on their iPads using eBackpack and the MarkIt tool.  Writers circulated and read their friend’s stories, leaving kind words about what they noticed and what they liked.

Great job on your first celebration, Rm. 202 writers, and great job on your first stories!  Way to start the year as writers! 🙂

Happy (Chinese) New Year!!

We did something this past week that has never happened in Rm. 202–or in any classroom I’ve taught in: celebrated Chinese New Year!  Our friend Baron’s mom, Mrs. Eyrick, was born in Taiwan, and offered to come share some of their Chinese culture with us.  It was perfect because we both got to see a little more about our friend and his family, and also, it fit in with our Social Studies unit right now.  Match made in heaven!

She showed up a little early and got busy decorating with some traditional Chinese New Year symbols and colors.  We learned that red and gold are important, as they stand for life and fortune.  Mrs. Eyrick brought us a dragon, lanterns (realized I didn’t get any pictures of those! :(), some fish as well as decoration for our door and a big Happy New Year sign.  So festive!

We sat down together on the rainbow rug and she told us all about the history of Chinese New Year, and how the Western Hemisphere (where we live) bases their calendar on the sun, and how the Eastern Hemisphere (where China is) bases their calendar on the moon (lunar) phases.  She explained the Chinese Zodiac, and told us how friends in China celebrate this happy time.

She even brought us a treat!  She shared traditional Chinese New Year “lucky” food–clementines–and gave each kiddo a lucky red envelope.  It had real money inside!!  We also got to enjoy some other Chinese tasty treats together.

What a great afternoon and a fabulous celebration! Thanks, Mrs. Eyrick, for coming to teach us about your culture. 🙂

 

 

Goodbye, Mr. Lacy! 

One thing I mentioned that made our 100th Day both fun and busy was that we celebrated our custodian of 9 years, Mr. Lacy. He has been such a happy addition to our school, and it’s already weird to not see him pushing his tennis-ball-stick down the hall fixing the smudges off the tiles.

Since he was such an important fixture in our school, we had to figure out a meaningful way to send him off in style (I know I say “we” like I had something to do with it–I did not; my amazing students and their specials teachers did all the work and I just went to enjoy the assembly).

Ok, wait, I guess I did do something, but it was teeny–like suggest to my students what we should do as our part of the goodbye scrapbook. Then they got busy and did all the creative stuff with making their body and a speech bubble with wishes for him for retirement. Apparently it’s no secret that he used to be a boxer; many kiddos wished him time to do that again. 😊  Sorry–didn’t end up with a picture of the final product.  Oops.  Forgot to take one until after it was delivered.  Imagine pages and pages of those cute little 2nd grade bodies.

Aside from that part, Mrs. Kesler worked with everyone in music to learn a song to sing to him.

The staff collected to treat him with something to do, too–a big ole smoker along with the supplies you need to make a barbecue feast. The PTO gave him a gift of a certificate for meat from his favorite butcher; he will be happy and well fed!

It’s funny how big a difference little things like a kind smile, a jolly laugh and a clean school can make.  Lacy definitely showed he loved us in everything he did, and we will miss him!