Sunday, September 30, 2012

CNN Student News= AWESOME!!!

Do you share CNN Student News with your students?  I really wouldn't recommend it for any grades younger than 5th or 6th grade, but it is my kids favorite part of the day! 
We start each and everyday with the news.... which is great for me because I hardly ever watch TV... much less the news.  In 6th grade, I am to teach all about world cultures- countries and their government, religions and how their economy works.  With CNN Student News, my kids learn a little of that each and every day.  And its not just other countries...its right here at home too.  My kids love to learn about what is going on and have great questions, but what has impressed me most of all, is the empathy my students have for others. 
Many times the news has showed Para-Olympic athletes and my first thought was, "Oh no...please don't let them snicker...."  I know that is what so many of the kids would have done in the school I grew up in; however, not one of my students snickered or laughed or mocked.  In fact, they remarked how difficult it must be to play volleyball only on your behind, and they oooooooohhhhhed and aaaaaaaahhhhed  as they witnessed an athlete who had no arms shoot a bow and arrow with his feet and hit the target over 200 yards away!  It was not just an amazing story in the news, but it was amazing to witness the understanding and empathy my kids have.   I love how the news opens my students' eyes to things they have never seen or imagined before.

How do I use it in my classroom?

  • We watch it first thing each day using my elmo to project it from the computer.
  • Students take notes from each story in their notebook (they usually need 2 pages for 5 days worth of notes), being sure to write important names down (using the red bar at the bottom).  This helps them become familiar with listening and taking notes along with being able to write main ideas.
  • After the news, students talk for 3 minutes about the notes they took and the stories they saw.  
  • On Friday, students take a CNN Student News quiz using their notes with a word bank provided (I give 20 words but only 10 are used)------- You can find the quiz on the CNN Student News Homepage and click on the Discussion box in the bottom right hand corner....the quizzes are available on Fridays.
  • If students are absent, it is his or her responsibility to watch the news at home and make up their notes. 
I am thinking I might make my own quiz questions... some of them seem to be really tough for my 6th graders, but even though the quiz is tough, the kids would never miss the news.  I even have some students who will wake up early and watch it at home!!!!  I love that THEY LOVE LEARNING!

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's New?

What's new with you? For me... I am living in a world called NEW.   A new school year, a new batch of kiddos to love and teach, a new subject (added the Wednesday before school started), a new teacher to our 6th grade team.... make that 2.... starting Wednesday.... a new beginning for my partner teacher and great friend.
Ah, "new".... how do I love you?!  Gotta admit, all this newness is about to make all my hair fall out not to mention my face wont quit with the breakouts!  Ugh "new".... I am definitely not liking you.  Its the end of the 4th week of school and I am trying so hard to keep my head from spinning from all the new things happening in my life!
Let me share a little into my whirlpool of a year so far.... but please do not think that I am complaining.... its just what is happening right now... well I am complaining about my breakouts but how do you look at the bright side of that?!?!  anyway..... here's the 411.
  • August 14--- I had surgery and was laid up on the couch for 2 days.  I have to admit my husband was pretty awesome!  and I didn't have to do any cleaning :)
  • August 17--- First day of in-service.... on a FRIDAY.... ummmm who does that?? Its like saying "Bwahahaha... no more 3 day weekend for you for the next 9 months.... bwahahaha."  Friday in-service is no bueno.  <---- complaint???  truth????  tomato (long a).... tomato (short a).... I just LOLed telling you how to pronounce my writing.... kinda stupid of me....... I digress....
  • August 22---Wednesday before school starts.... my partner in crime... AKA our 6th grade ELA/SS teacher gets a job offer in a school district far away in "the city."  Tears and sobbing... loud...
  • Sobs and more tears....... wait....... shes going to stay 4 weeks..... smiles..... tears and smiles...... at least its not sobs so much......
  • August 22--- I tell my principal that I will teach SS.  There is NO WAY I would or wanted to throw a new teacher without a summer and 2 months late into the school year with 2 subjects to teach and one in a STARR tested area while the light of Heaven shined down in my classroom of only having to teach one subject....Science.   That would be torturous for that new teacher..... my future partner.... and I wasn't going to do that to her/him..... but most likely her.... no offense men-folk.  So I took Social Studies... World Cultures.  Ummmm this is NEW for me.  
  • August 27---- the first day of school.  We have a 3 way switch.  Total of 61 students.... wait for it.... 15 have ARD papers.... BOOM-Shaka-laka!!!!!   Yeah..... that's a lot... out of 61... BUT---- these kids ask some of the most thoughtful questions and have the BEST personalities that keep me smiling all day long.  I am learning something new each day teaching them.  I. LOVE. MY. KIDS! I might even give y'all a quote of the day!  we will see....They are pretty hilarious.  :)
  • September.... what is today(21).... 19.... September 19--- Tuesday.   Interview 3 teachers who have no experience.... but that's okay.... as long as she has the drive..... (no men-folk applied)  Picked an awesome mom who is eager to teach and hired her.  Mrs. Newsome (pretty perfect name and no.... I did NOT make that up.... I couldn't make this stuff up)
  • Fast forward to next Tuesday.... September 25.... my partner in crime's last day.  I already can't stop my eyes from watering when I think about her leaving.  She has been my rock for over a year.  I haven't really talked much about my personal life outside of the classroom, but she held my hand through the past year of having to deal with infertility.   I am still at war (going over 2 years now) with infertility and I get so sad over my own selfishness.  Ugh..... I am not ready to go there today.
  • Obviously Tuesdays are not my days.  
 And so my NEW year has begun; yet it starts again next Tuesday with a new partner that I am really excited to get to know and mentor, but that day will definitely be bitter sweet.  Embracing change.... running towards the new is tough sometimes, but if I didn't, I wouldn't be a Jack of all Trades.... or at least trying to be.