Pictures of the Day: May 20, 2015

Wednesday was a busy day at school. What were we busy doing? Hanging up all those posters I showed you yesterday:

It’s funny, I look at that picture now and all I can ask myself is “Why didn’t you move that silly recycle bin?” Hee hee

And then this happened while we were in the library after all of our poster hanging:¬† Cute, right? Used by a teacher on our Facebook page as our countdown for “5 days.” Love. ūüôā

Pictures of the Day: May 19, 2015

I REALLY want to show you the WHOLE thing about this project, but instead I’ll just show you two pictures as a tease for a later story.¬† They’re the pictures of the day for today, but they’ve been in the works since last week at this time.¬† And you know, I think I’m just going to let you wonder.¬† To let the pictures speak for themselves and see what happens….:)

  

First Grade Blogs about Kindness

Did you know that sometimes at the end of the school year, kids FORGET that they’re supposed to be nice to each other and follow the rules at their school? That happened to us.¬† So, we sat down and made a chart of #nicethingstodoandsay to help us remember how to show that we care about each other.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like:

IMG_4662

We figured that if we could use this chart to help us, then you could, too!¬† So we decided to share it–with our Robinson friends, and even people outside of our school.¬† With kids AND with grown-ups!¬† Anyone can read it and use it to help them show someone they care about them.

We know we are going to use this list. What about you? How will YOU show that someone else matters? What #nicethingstodoandsay will you choose?¬† Leave us a comment, or tweet to us at @jbeardensclass to tell us how it’s working out for you!

Interactive Writing Explained

**Disclaimer–I am SO excited to share this post and have been thinking about the right way to write it for a LONG time!¬† My kiddos worked SO hard on the writing in this story and are rockstars in my book.¬† THANKS FOR READING!!**

If you have been here for a while then you know that this year is my first year in first grade in a LONG, LONG time!¬† I got my start there more than a decade ago, then moved on to work with “big” kids for a while and am back to my roots.¬† Much has changed, but I’m finding that many things have stayed the same–some things are just good teaching.¬† Best practice.¬† Good stuff for kids.¬† Interactive writing is one of those things.¬† I learned how to do it back then and am being reminded of it’s importance and power with kids today.¬† Let me explain. ūüôā

First of all a definition: interactive writing is a writing experience (often whole group) where teacher and students “share the pen” to create meaningful text together.¬† The teacher, using what she knows about students and their current understandings about letters, sounds, words, etc., purposefully chooses kids to add certain parts to the composition, building on their knowledge and helping them make connections to new skills and concepts.¬† This is not done haphazardly, and is best done with planning ahead of time–although I have had some amazing experiences with IW that happens “on the fly.”¬† Ideally, the texts you compose together because touchstones for future learning; revising and revisiting are part of the process. Continue reading

Stray Rescue Update #1–Sewing Class!

You already know we’re working on a project to benefit Stray Rescue.¬† ¬† I told you I’d update you as we got into it, but it took lots of time and we were so busy that I haven’t even had a second to tell you about it until now.¬† And boy is there alot to tell….but like I said in an earlier post, I’ll not tell you the whole story at once.

We decided that the best way to help Stray Rescue do what they do best was to do what we do best, and that’s be creative!¬† We had multiple conversations about how to do that, and we settled upon the fact that we should sew and bake.¬† Ok, maybe I added a little to that conversation, too, since I enjoy both of those things, but everyone agreed that it would be a good idea.

We did a little bit of research, and decided that we wanted to make chew toys for doggies that were shaped like bones.¬† We also thought that creating bandannas for our canine friends would be a good idea.¬† So the fabric, templates, scissors and sewing machines came out for the next several days and we got busy!¬† I taught everyone who didn’t already know about the basics of the sewing machine, and then each kiddo took a turn having-a-go.

I was SO excited when the first pupils in my sewing class were BOYS!¬† I know, that’s a little bit sexist to say that only girls would want to sew, but for some reason I was surprised.¬† Anyhow, they LOVED it, and I started hearing things like “I love this!” and “I have to get a sewing machine so I can do this at home” right after we started.¬† Here’s a little peek into our first “class”:

Tracing a “bone” onto some fabric to make the outside shape.¬† The bones were then stuffed with a plastic water bottle.¬† Somebody had the great idea that it would be a good way to recycle our bottles left over from MAP testing, and would make a great “crinkling” sound that doggies would love!¬† Double great. ūüôā

Love how we got so many out of one shirt! All of our materials were donated by students in the class.

Archie and Harry sewing a straight line.¬† That was the first lesson. ūüôā

Zarion totally rocked his first try at sewing, too!¬† He was adding a zig-zag stitch to the edge of our bandannas so they didn’t unravel.¬† These turned out great!


WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Hey, friends!  We need your help!

Remember when I posted the other day about Stray Rescue and we’re working with them for our service-learning project?¬† Well the project is just about to be in full-swing.¬† Why not yet?¬† Because like I said, we need your help!

We have decided to make and then sell dog toys and treats, because when Connie came from Stray Rescue, she mentioned several times that the thing they need the most is MONEY!¬† We threw around several ideas about how to help, and decided to merge our overall class craftiness with their need for money and are going to sell our handiwork to our Robinson friends.¬† So we’ll need your help with that (once Sale Day comes up on April 28), but right now we need your help to gather the materials we’ll need to make our toys.

So…if you know me, or a friend in our class, and have any of these items laying around your house and are willing to let us use them, please get to us ASAP.¬† We’re going to start creating on Tuesday or Wednesday–hey, I know it’s late notice, so if you can’t work that fast I get it, but we just decided the other day that this was our plan.¬† Ok, moving on…

Here’s what we need:

For toys–

  • tennis balls
  • rope
  • old jeans
  • fleece blankets (or other fleece material that you don’t mind us cutting up)
  • empty water bottles (16 oz. or so)–no need for lids
  • old socks (adult sizes would work best)

For treats–

  • flour
  • dry milk
  • peanut butter
  • honey
  • oatmeal
  • cookie cutters (dogs, paws, bones, etc)

We’re getting excited about all of this creativity that is about to spring forth in our room, and even more excited about how that will benefit our canine and human friends alike when we can give Stray Rescue our donation!¬† There are over 400 kiddos in our school, and there is a large population of dog owners (we collected data to find out how many there really were!), so we’ll need to make lots of toys.¬† The more you can donate the better!

If you can help and you are a parent or friend of a kiddo in our class, just send your goodies in with them to school.  If you are a friend of mine, feel free to contact me and I will figure out a way to get them from you! Add a comment on here or send me an email, Facebook message or Twitter DM.  THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!

 

Stray Rescue

What a day Friday was for us!¬† We were so busy with so many fun opportunities!¬† One of them was a visit from a representative from Stray Rescue of St. Louis.¬† I mentioned here about how one of the great things we’ll be doing this quarter is participating in a service-learning project related to helping animals in our community.¬† And last year, I explained in a little more detail all about the background of service-learning in our school, and a smaller project we’ve already been a part of (check it out here).

So the visit for Friday’s goal was for us to learn more about both Stray Rescue in general, but also how we can most effectively help them.

We were visited by a volunteer, Constance Davie, who came along with her friend Sheri.

  

She gave us so very useful information about the work that Stray Rescue does, and how they are different from other animal agencies in our area.¬† The biggest difference–they are a no-kill shelter.¬† She told us about how they have a newly built facility on Pine St. that can house around 150-200 dogs at a time!¬† That’s a lot of pooches to take care of!¬† Part of the great work that Constance does when she volunteers is walk and wash and play with all of those dogs every day.

Ms. Davie shared with us about all of the programs that Stray Rescue has, using a big display board she brought with her.

We learned a lot from this part of the presentation.¬† Ms. Davie told us about how it cost only $75 to get a pet from Stray Rescue, which is much less than any of the other places around town.¬† Then, through their Post Adoption Program, they will provide training for you and your dog, if they need help adjusting to your family, or if they need to learn better doggie manners.¬† She told us about the Rent-a-Pet program (which I think is now called TAP–Temporary Adoption Program) where you are allowed to “try-out” a potential pet first, to see if they get along with your family and any other pets you already have.¬† What a great idea!

She also shared with us about many of the success stories of Stray Rescue; about animals that were in terrible conditions that were then rescued and are now living in forever homes with loving families!¬† She told us about how Sheri, her dog, and Sheri’s brother, Eddie, were once Stray Rescue dogs that now live with her!

The visit was short, but we were left with some very useful information to help guide us in our next steps.¬† When we asked Constance about how we could best help Stray Rescue, she was able to give us a long wishlist of things that the organiziation always needs, things that enable them to take care of all of those dogs they help.¬† The most surprising thing she mentioned was peanut butter, which is used as an easy way to help the dogs take their medicine.¬† I’d never heard of that before!¬† In the end, though, she said what they need the most is money.¬† Most of the money they spend is in veterinary care for all of the animals they rescue, and that can get pretty expensive.¬† Helping to offset the cost of those bills would do wonders to help them rescue and save even more animals in our city!

So what does that mean for us?¬† Since the whole idea behind a service-learning project is to learn while you’re helping others, we decided it’s probably not the best idea to just collect money.¬† We want to add more to our project and really “plus” the amount that we can get out of it.¬† So we’re going to go with our original idea of creating things that we can sell, and then we’ll donate the money to Stray Rescue when we’re finished.¬† I’m excited about all of the ideas we’ve thrown around, and how much we will learn through that process.¬† As we get into it, I’ll be sure to update on our progress.

Until then, have you ever heard of Stray Rescue?¬† Have you ever rescued an animal?¬† What suggestions do you have for us as we go further in our project?¬† We’d love to hear what you’re thinking!