Oh sweet Friday, how I love thee...

There's nothing better than the sound of the bell at the end of the day on a Friday.  I usually can't wait to get home so I can get my comfy clothes on and put my feet up (which is what I'm doing right now!)

My kids are all playing nicely, the hubs has his earphones in because he's doing "course work" (AKA watching youtube videos while pretending to work)...hopefully this lasts long enough for me to write my blog post!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share 5 random things from my week.  This was such a busy week I hardly even had time to take photos of anything but I do have some to share!

1.  We added a little word work into our daily 5 mix! We now have all 5 activities up and running and my first and second graders are so great!  I've never had a class that is this quiet.  Even in gym I can't get a rise out of them.  They are the quietest little dodge ball players ever!

Their favorite word work activity is sitting with the keyboard and typing out the words on our word cards.

2.  For some reason I have a ton of kids this year who just don't have ideas for their writing.  This has become our main focus now.  I have a few kids who won't even write a word let alone a sentence!

I did this really fun activity with them this week to help (hopefully) spark some ideas for them.

I put out magazines and flyers and had the kids make a collage of things that they liked or things that inspired them.  They really got into it! One student cut out a green pillow and said the green in the pillow inspired them to want to write about aliens. I laughed at the one in the picture below....yup, Friday inspires me too!

3.  We started our traditions and celebrations unit this week and they're pretty into it! I read them a book about Thanksgiving and then we did a knowledge building circle to come up with all of the information to put into our chart. 

Knowledge building circles are just like they sound.  Students sit in a circle and discuss a question or idea posed by the teacher.  Students must be respectful of the speaker and all ideas are welcome.  This was our first crack at it and we got a lot of great information.  We used an ipad to find out the other information we didn't come up with in our discussion.  

I'm trying to wrap my head around teaching social studies using an inquiry based method and I have to say I am having difficulty with it, BUT we have to start somewhere.  We are not totally worksheet free because I needed somewhere for us to start.  

So here is what we're doing:

I made these graphic organizers for students to choose from.  I also got a ton of books from the library and I signed out our ipads for our inquiry time so students can research anything they need to.  I want them to have a decent understanding of some commonalities between different celebrations which is why we are recording our findings.  

Then, I am going to pose this problem to the students: "When all of our Dojo Masters get to level 300 we will be having a celebration.  We need to plan out what this celebration will look like.  How can we use what we learned from all of these other celebrations to help us plan our own".

They will then work together, possibly as a whole class or in groups to come up with a way to celebrate.  They will then have to present their ideas in any way they choose (e.g. create a poster, dramatize it, write a speech, make up a poem, record information on the ipad etc.). We'll vote on the best idea and then have the celebration! 

If you have any other inquiry ideas for social studies I would love to hear them!

And if you would like the above graphic organizer for a traditions and celebrations research activity you can get them by clicking here or the above images.

WOW this is turning out to be a really long post so I think I will end it here (I'm pretty sure there were more than 5 random things in there).

I'll share more about Knowledge building circles on another day!


  1. You have such lovely and inspiring ideas! I am enjoying reading your blog :-)
    I will have to steal your writing idea!

    Seconds at the Beach

  2. I do love your blog - I am your newest follower. I use the keyboards in our room too and th kids love them.
    Paula from Paula’s Place and iSURF Maths

    1. They are such a great motivator! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I love your picture collage idea. I might have to try that with my kids. I also have many kids that are struggling with ideas.

    Having students type words is a wonderful idea! How does that work exactly? Do they just practice typing on a keyboard? Is the keyboard attached to a computer? I might have to try this as a center for practicing spelling words.

    1. I have a few different sets of word cards that they take and set out and just start typing. I try to get them with a partner so they say the word, then type the word and then put it in a pile. It helps to get them used to the keys on the keyboard as well for when we go to the computer lab!