Pictures et al

While we were having a Last Hurrah on Monday with incredible Anchorage WL teachers, pictures of my students were flowing into my mailbox. They have continued to flow. If you read Cynthia Hitz’s blog, you know that idea came straight from her.

Cindy’s idea has been a wonderful way to get me revved up about this school year. Kids typically include a note about what they’ve been doing and how excited they are or that they “just can’t wait” for Russian class. I have pictures of hikes, water parks, animals, mowing, Badlands, and siblings. I need a category of students with birds of all kinds.

Probably there will be a bunch of kids with no pictures. That’s okay. I’ll tell them the door is open and we will keep looking at these until they quit flowing. And pretty soon, we’ll have the usual classroom pictures as well as those summer ones. I went to Costco and made a collage with 20 of last year’s pictures for the bulletin board. If anyone knows a way to inexpensively get a whole bunch more pictures onto one collage, I’d like to hear it. Shutterfly allows 30, but they all have to have the same landscape or portrait format, and they’re in straight lines. Costco has a template with a bunch of different sizes and formats, but allows only 20 or 22. They said that I could make up my own on a WP document. At $9.00, it’s a steal!

We all liked the game that Diana shared from her SEL class (her comment was that it was great to have a bunch of teachers learning how to do the kind of activities that WL teachers use all the time). She said they concentrated on non-competitive games. In this one, she can ask a question, like, “Explain why the father got mad.” Groups of four brainstorm an answer. They she sends all the “B” kids (they could be divided by letters, countries, city names…) to share ideas, while the big group gets to see the next question. Then the B kids sit down with their groups and she randomly picks one of them to answer. If that kid answers correctly, it’s a point for the whole class.

Diana also gave us a 30/90/10 rule. Every thirty minutes, students need a break of 90 seconds that gets them at least 10 feet from their seats.

Victoria shared a MovieTalk trick: she says it’s sometimes too hard to stop exactly at the moment she wants to talk about, so she makes screen shots of those in advance and shows them to the kids. Telling the story and talking about the pictures first doesn’t diminish the MovieTalk experience one bit. I like that! It might both curtail my rambling and focus me a bit.

If you’ve been to Carrie Toth’s site, you’ll know the Domino retell game that she learned from her own former Spanish teacher.

I hope that the electricity and wireless and Promethean board will all be working in my relo by the end of the week, because I have so many ideas for using them! If not, we will punt.


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