Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Boring They're Not

Let's hold hands,

Run, jump,

Kick up the breeze,

And float away!

***In the interest of full disclosure, this was really our teacher's idea.  We don't know why but she seems to be obsessed with jumping pictures...probably because they are good for making up tall tales about us.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Divulging Secrets

It's a well known fact that I like getting mail especially from kids.  Well, I got a letter containing a very big secret yesterday but it was just so cute that I'm going to be divulging the secret today.
"Shh its a secert I absulootly Love writing."

Shh, it's a secret.  This letter absulootly put a smile on my face!

Monday, May 21, 2012

When I Get a Glimpse

Not every discussion in our Second Grade leads to the deepest of spiritual truths or application. That is definitely true of the way this morning's devotional time went as we somehow made our way from the woman who bled for twelve years to someone knowing a Bible story about a person who took a bath on the roof.  Honestly, I don't know what the connection was but once we had made it I tried to turn the conversation around.  However, my Second Graders insisted on discussing the merits of bathing on the roof.  It was concluded, and rightly so, that in this context that would not be a good idea because your toosh would be burning!  Ah yes, it wasn't deep or spiritual but we surely arrived at a simple truth. :)

In Bible, we have followed the book of Genesis through creation to the establishment of the covenant with Abraham to the Exodus of the Israelites.  This afternoon we pulled out a model tabernacle.  I had introduced the tabernacle and its different parts to them last week but had promised that we would talk about how each one pointed the way to Jesus and God's plan to restore relationship with us through him.  They were excited to learn more and loved remembering many of Jesus' "I am" statements and how they related to the different parts of the tabernacle.  Then we skipped ahead and talked about the fact that when Jesus died the veil in the temple was torn in two and how we can now have a direct relationship with God.  After reflecting a bit, I encouraged my Second Graders to pray and thank God for the truths that the tabernacle reveal.  As they prayed, I couldn't help but think that those prayers must have been sweet to the ears of God.  Each one that prayed thanked God for making a way for us to know him personally.

Yes, the truths aren't always deeply spiritual but when God gives me a glimpse of what He is teaching them and when I hear their sincere prayers it gives me great joy.

"For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?  Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy."  1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Favorite Read-Aloud Chapter Books

Being a lover of children's books, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to link up with Run!  Miss Nelson's Got the Camera and her All-time Favorite Read-Alouds linky party

I'm not even sure it would be possible for me to pick a favorite picture book read aloud so I'm going to have to go with chapter books instead.  These are two that I have read to my second graders this year and they have been totally engrossed.

The Teddy Bear Tree by Barbara Dillon is one that was introduced to me in my first years of teaching.  I have found that first and second graders really connect with this book.  It's the story of a little girl named Bertine who plants a teddy bear's eye and ends up with a teddy bear tree and more teddy bears than she can handle.  One activity that is always fun to do after reading the Teddy Bear Tree is to have the students imagine planting an object of their choice and having it grow into a tree.  I've had students draw trees that grow money, jewels, candy and even paper.

This year was the first year that I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to my second graders.  Written by Kate DiCamillo, I think this book is especially great for the Third Culture Kids that I teach.  It deals with the issue of repeated loss which is an integral part of the Third Culture Kid experience and learning to love again despite that loss.  My students were so invested in the character of Edward Tulane that many afternoons they didn't even want school to end because they wanted to hear more.  I'll definitely be reading this one again!

So there you go - two of my favorite chapter books to read aloud.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Night School

It all started as an interesting observation, became a joke and flourished into a winning idea!

Tuesday was an unbelievably hot day.  Mid-morning I told my kids we were going to have to turn the fans on five (otherwise known as "the blow every loose paper to kingdom come" setting) because the sweat was just dripping off of us.  Later after our Tuesday volleyball night, I was headed home.  It was about 9:45 in the evening and there was a group of about 20 men in reflective vests sweeping the roads.  I thought to myself, that's brilliant - work at night after the sun has gone down!  And why aren't we going to school then too?

Wednesday morning I told my kids about what I had seen and I suggested that it would be a great idea if we started going to school at night.  They were not at all convinced!  Who knows exactly what I said then to try and convince them it was a great idea but the next morning, the three instigators arrived with flashlights in hand, ready for "Night School."  They were so proud of their little joke and to be sure, it tickled my funny bone too.

Of course, when the other students saw the instigators' flashlights they were disappointed that they hadn't brought their own.  I think they thought I had told them to do so, not realizing that the joke was on me.  So we had "Night School" on Thursday and we kept the lights off all day while our three friends shone their lights on things for us.  But everyone wanted to participate so we made official plans for "Night School" on Friday.  Everyone could bring their flashlight and wear their pajamas since that's what you do at night.

Hard At Work

A Little Bit of Whiteboard Action with Our Fancy Clip-On Flashlight

A Midnight Snack

Bedtime Reading

Settling in for a Snooze

"Night School" definitely gets the two thumbs up award from this crowd!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Awkward But Cool

We have penpals that live across the world from us all the way in the great state of Texas.  We had a skype conversation with our penpals today.  It was a little on the awkward side but still very cool!

Awkward - My students couldn't seem to treat this as a normal conversation.  Their penpal would introduce themselves and there would be this long silent pause before I prompted them, "Say 'Hello' or 'it's nice to meet you!' Tell them your name.  Ask a question."  You would have thought we had never had a civilized conversation before!

Cool - The two penpals who talked to each other and had so much to say because they are both into riding horses.  No awkward pauses there!

Awkward - The school announcements with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to Texas (didn't know there was such a thing) came on the intercom in the middle of our conversation.  They told the kids they didn't have to stand  but there was one little kid behind the camera who was confused.  He was up.  He was down.  He was looking around.  It was awkward!

Cool - In discussing questions we could ask, one of my kids wanted to ask her penpal if they believed in God!  I love the fact that that was her number one question!

Awkward - It was awkward to have to tell her that she probably couldn't ask that question since our penpals are in a public school.

Cool - One of our penpals tried some French out on our French speaker when she said, "Au revoir!" at the end of her conversation.

Awkward - My kids told their penpals about Jumpy, our classroom pet.  They all wanted to know what kind of spider it was.  I'm sure they are picturing tarantulas or some other kind of exotic spider and not this.

Cool - My teacher counterpart asked about the staffing situation at the school and I got to share the great news of how God is providing.

Awkward - It was awkward the number of American children who looked at me with a question in their eyes when they were asked what state in the U.S. they were from.

Cool - Listening to all the kids ask each other where they were from and hearing our penpals respond with "Texas, Texas, Texas" and then hearing our students respond with "Nigeria, South Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Niger, Canada" - Now that was just COOL!

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