Here was my picture of the day I shared with the kids today:
I try to add a little humor into our classes every day. I usually have our agenda up on a PowerPoint every day when the kids walk in so I try to add a humorous picture for them to enjoy.
I’m sure you have also heard of “Youtube” time. This is a class incentive I use so that we stay on task all class period. The students can earn class Youtube time if we get through our lesson for the day. This means we can’t frequently stop for discussions about how cute our hair looks or to ask my table partner about a new TV show. I really want students to understand that there is a time and a place for these types of discussions but it can be distracting when we are in the middle of a lesson and someone brings up their hamster. So it is really an incentive to stay on task. If the students earn Youtube time it is at the end of class after the lesson. They can then share any school appropriate videos. This means no cussing, no violence, etc. It also gives me an idea of some of the stuff that they are interested in and watching at home. I learn a lot about the kids by doing this–everything from who they are listening to their sense of humor. I even watched a cat who was dressed as a shark ride a Roomba in a kitchen (quite humorous!).
Sorry for getting a little off topic…these are just some fun ways I try to make our classroom even more enjoyable during the school day. I try to sympathize with my students and realize that they need to have fun in class. If I can make Language Arts entertaining they will learn more and pay closer attention in class.
Today in class we discussed symbolism. I briefly went through a quick PowerPoint that was just an overview of symbolism and had the students identify some common symbols that they see every day and what they represent.
I then shared the classic children’s book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Some students have never read this book while for others it has been awhile since they last read it. I have a digital copy of the book and so I projected it on the screen and read it to them. We then discussed the symbolism of the tree as a class. Most of the students hit the nail right on the head, but then I started discussing the deeper meaning of the tree. We discussed how when the tree gave the boy all of her branches she really sacrificed herself so that the boy could build his house. That is why the next part of the story she is “whispering.” She is slowly dying. It is something that you might not have picked up on the first time you read the book as a child, however it is really deep. We discussed how this can also symbolize man’s relationship with the environment.
2nd hour did not get to finish the reading of the book yet. 7th hour did not even get to start reading the book…by the end of the day we sometimes have longer discussions on symbolism and the kids are usually more talkative and want to share out more. These two classes will finish up the book tomorrow.
Homework: Summer reading project due September 3! (8 days away…)
As always, don’t hesitate to e-mail if you have any questions or concerns.
I will be linking up a homework project in the next few days for the kids. I am implementing “book talks” this year and the letter and information I am sending home will really explain this project the best. I haven’t had a chance to talk to the kids about it yet, however am hoping to do so on Wednesday. You will need to know what hour your students has me in Language Arts class because there is a slight variation on the length requirements between the classes. My more advanced classes will be reading more compared to my other classes. Here is the information a little early:
2nd hour: Book Talk
3rd & 7th hour: Book Talk
5th hour: Book Talk
Project List for ALL Classes: 10 Different Book Talks Guidelines
These will be linked to a page at the top of the blog for reference throughout the year as well.