Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Year of Discovery

Our Discovery Journal

As our school theme for this year is Discovery, I spent some time this summer looking for some ideas on how to incorporate it into my seventh grade curriculum.

Ok, honestly, it didn’t take me all that long to figure out. Being a member of the Discovery Educator Network, I knew I needed to include Discovery Education in our work in class on a daily basis. I also wanted to make sure that my students were pausing to reflect on their learning each day, so the two thoughts came together as our Discovery journal. A tremendous “thank you” goes out to Mrs. Johansen from Discovery Education for sending each of us a supercool notebook that functions as our Discovery journal!

Here’s how it works: Each day, students (and the teacher) will write at least one thing they discovered that day. It can be something academic that they learned in one of their classes that day, it can be something new that they learned about one of their classmates, or something that they discovered about themselves, in or out of the classroom. It’s important to note that all of their comments in their Discovery journals need to be positive. We’re not focusing on the negative this year!

To give you some ideas of what we’re discovering this year, I’m asking each of my students to add a comment to this post and share at least one thing they’ve discovered since the beginning of the school year (was the first day just last week?!)

Please feel free to join us! What is one thing that you discovered today?

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Welcome Back!

Welcome Back to School! And welcome to Seventh Grade!! After only a few days with my new students, I know we are going to have an absolutely, amazingly awesome year! How do I know this? Well, I’m a teacher. I just know. ­čÖé ┬áIf you’d like specifics about how I know it’s going to be a fantabulous year, let’s start with Our Rights and Responsibilities.

To begin our year together, I asked my students to answer the following question: What are your rights and responsibilities in our seventh grade classroom? They worked on their lists individually at first, and then they discussed and added to their lists at their table groups. While they were working in their groups, I started asking students to write some of their ideas up on the ActivBoard to share them with the entire class. I think you’ll agree that, so far, my new students have some great ideas! Here’s what we have so far:

Our Rights

We have the right to…

  • learn in our own way
  • read what we want to during silent reading
  • ask questions
  • be creative
  • wear anything [that follows] the appropriate dress code
  • have recess twice a day
  • pray
  • have water at our desk
  • say the Pledge of Allegiance
  • choose our own supplies

Our Responsibilities

We have the responsibility to…

  • keep our books in good shape
  • respect our teachers
  • manage good grades
  • know right from wrong
  • stand up for our friends
  • stay safe
  • do our schoolwork
  • be reverent in church [I know a certain math teacher who will love that!]
  • listen to the teacher
  • show up on time
  • keep our desks and lockers clean
  • pay attention in class
  • stay organized
  • write in our planners
  • use our rights appropriately
  • assist our classmates
  • treat classmates with respect

The idea behind creating these lists was to start thinking about what our three main class rules should be for this year. Yesterday, each group had to synthesize all of these rights and responsibilities into three possible rules. On Monday we will vote for the top three and those will be our class rules that we all agree to abide by this year.

One item worthy of note: I found it amazingly awesome that every single one of the notecards the groups handed me contained the word “respect”!

So, do you agree with me now? It’s going to be a wonderful year!!

 

P.S. The video at the beginning of this post is a Google Search Story that I created to welcome my seventh graders to a new school year.

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The Lego Story

Something else I’d like to my students to remember: history is a story that can be told in many different ways. The following video is a beautiful animated short film that documents the history of one of the world’s favorite toys: Lego┬«.

You can find a bit more information about the video here: Lego Celebrates 80th Birthday with Whimsical Animated Short. For more about the Lego® company, visit their About Us page. You might also like to watch some of their other videos on YouTube here: Lego Club TV.

If you are a teacher, you should also check out Lego Education. They have so many great ideas for use in the classroom, including simple machines, robotics, and renewable energy.

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We Are All Connected

Something I want all of my students to remember is that we are all connected. This applies to our life as a class and as a part of the global community. Each of us has within us the power to positively impact the community. Choose to Matter!

 

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