Sunday, March 18, 2012

Donor's Choose for My Classroom Library

Hey everyone!  I'm sure many of you know about  If not, it's a website for teachers where you can go and create projects for materials you need in your classroom.  Anyone can donate and when it's fully funded, the items are shipped right to your school.

So, it is almost the end of match week.  Through tomorrow 3/19 at midnight, Donors Choose will match any credit card donation.  That means whatever someone donates toward a project is doubled.  If you're interested in checking it out and seeing an example of a project or even donating :), here's a link to my current project.

                                    Mrs. Kerola's Donors Choose Project
    I currently have a project for new non-fiction books and a new bookshelf.  As you can see in the picture below, my shelf space is limited and the small shelf isn't very stable.  And, looking ahead to implementing the Common Core standards, non-fiction is a much bigger focus than it has been in the past.

Our Class Library- This is from the beginning of the year.
We are out of shelf space and have no room for our new books.

So, if you are in need of some new materials for your class, check out donors  

More to come later on organizing my classroom library.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Morning Meeting and the Moon!

I love morning meeting!  It is such a calm, focused way to start our day and build community in our classroom.  Beginning on the very first day of school, we meet in a circle on the meeting area carpet to begin our day.  At first, I lead the morning meeting but gradually release that responsibility until the kids are totally in charge!

The morning meeting is part of The Responsive Classroom philosophy of how to build a positive classroom culture.  A morning meeting usually has four parts, ending with the morning message:
                                             1. Greeting
                                             2. News/sharing
                                             3. Activity
                                             4. Morning Message

There is a morning meeting book that is a great resource that I've used a lot when planning my morning meetings.  Click on the picture of the book below to check it out.

Ok, so I just wanted to get that plug in for morning meeting.  I will post more about it later with examples of greetings and activities I use.  But, I also just wanted to quickly share an example of how I try to integrate whatever content we are learning into our morning message each day.  We are in the middle of a unit on the Earth, Moon, and Sun (more to come on that unit).  Here is one of my morning messages from last week:

OOPS! I just noticed that this pic has the wrong date in the message.  One of my students noticed right away (of course :) and I fixed it but had already taken this picture before school.

We are learning about contractions right now so I put a line under "it is" and "we will" for the kids to fill in the contractions made from those words.  Also, I usually try to incorporate whatever chunks/word patterns we are learning about.  That day I wanted to review what we learned about how the moon isn't really changing shape but just looks like it so I asked a question that could start a quick review discussion. I make the morning message interactive so that it can serve as a quick review.

Oh, and I also try to change the greeting of the message each day to match something we are working on and help my kids see themselves in many ways.  That day they were strong readers.  Some other common greetings I use are:
                                        Dear authors,
                                        Dear mathematicians,
                                        Dear second graders,
                                        Dear boys and girls,
                                        Dear kind kids,
                                        Dear curious kids,
                                                 (when we are working on questioning)
                                        Dear teachers,
                                                 (when we are working on how-to writing)

During our current unit, I have also addressed them like this:
                                         Dear astronauts,
                                         Dear space explorers,
                                         Dear researchers,

Much more to come on morning meeting!  I would love to hear how you write morning messages or different greetings you use!