Saturday, September 2, 2017

Heartstrings and Teaching Things

Hello Everyone,
Well, this past week has certainly been a mix of both emotional joy, and at the same time emotional devastation. We enjoyed a beautiful week of heartstring activities in class, while dealing with the tightening of the strings of so many friends, fellow teachers, and schools in the Houston area because of Hurricane Harvey. At the time of this post there are over 40,000 fellow Texans in shelters, with damaged or demolished homes. At times, all we wanted to do was go down and help, rescue, and provide. Our school has, of course, started a donation drive, our district is collecting school supplies, and there are many opportunities to donate financially. Right now, is a great opportunity to teach kids about sharing what we have with those who have lost everything, to be  examples in this hard time. I know they will feel the tugging on their own little heartstrings.  

Besides the impact of Harvey on our hearts and minds,  we've had a great start to our school year.  With our pirate theme in full gear, the kids have had fun getting to know each other and showing what they know.

Meet the Teacher Night Message in a Bottle!

This past week we set up our writer's workshop and focused on the inspirations around us.  We know that we write best about what we know!  For the past gazillion years, we have had the kids create a map of their heart.  I love using the book "Treasures of the Heart" by Alice Ann Miller.  In this sweet story, a little boy shows his mom what treasures are hiding under his bed and that each of the treasures has a story.

After reading the story, I show the kids a large jar of treasures from under my son's bed when he was little!

I have done this same lesson a few times in years past, but this year I challenged my kids to build a "jar" with treasures of their own heart.  I gave them each a plastic container and added a sticker.  We wrote a note about what to include in the jar and slipped it inside to take home.  The kids brought them back the next day with their treasures.  They were able to share the "stories" behind the treasures with their writing partners. Writing inspiration!!!

After sharing their treasures, we started work on our "Maps."

I loved how this extra step has already inspired my kids to write from their heart!

For the specifics on this lesson, I have a little unit I shared a while back, but here it is again!

Thanks for stopping by our "Window on Wonder." These kids have already stolen my heart, and I'm excited for the year. I can't wait to share more with you! 
Stop by again soon!!
Till then, please consider making a donation to your local Harvey Recovery Donation site. This is going to take the proverbial village!!! Thanks in advance!

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