Saturday, April 26, 2008


Teaching has been fun. During the early weeks of April (and maybe end of March?), I taught a health action research unit. The "action research" portion of the unit involved students creating and implementing actions for improvement of their own health (on their self-selected health topic, such as exercise or hygiene or nutrition). The picture above is my own action plan chart, posted in the classroom, showing (and thus modeling for students) my daily progress during the 8 day period of the action plan.

Currently, we are in the middle of a 2-week Earth Day unit. We started with reading bug poetry (thanks to Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise - Poems for Two Voices) outside, then watched part of the Planet Earth video series (originally broadcast on the Discovery Channel about a year ago) to consider the future of our planet, and used Time for Kids Earth Day (in print and online) and poetry and riddles to read and think and write and talk about personal choices in using natural resources.

Next week, we will write an editorial business letter, in which students will persuade a business or government entity to implement a practical, energy-saving strategy. For example, I wrote a letter to Dunkin' Donuts, asking them to use paper instead of Styrofoam cups (it's really unbelievable to me that DD uses Styrofoam cups for my large hot coffee; I've stopped buying them) and also to offer a small discount to customers who use their own refillable cups. Students need to find a subject/topic that relates to their own personal experiences, just like I did.

These action-packed projects help me speed on forward to the end of the school year!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

views of the Big Apple

Spring break has been wonderful so far, particularly because we spent four days in New York City, visiting my mother, a few friends, and some unique Big Apple treasures.

#1 - my friend's fire escape vegetable garden in the Bronx

#2 - blooming trees in Queens, a common sight all around the city

#3 - view of Shea Stadium from #7 subway train

#4 - the biggest toy store in the world! (at least, we think it is)
#5 - view of Central Park from 59th Street and Fifth Avenue

#6 - impressive glass structure with Apple logo suspended, and Apple store below ground

#7 - American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street
We soaked in the spring weather, sunshine, mom's TLC, great restaurant food, and relaxed.

Monday, April 7, 2008

running on ... fumes?

At this point in the school year, with 10 weeks left of instruction and review, I am not too ashamed to admit that I'm really really tired and want to get through it already.  You know what I mean.

I'm wrapping up our health action research project this week.  Students are writing their papers.  I will take and post a picture of my own exercise "action plan", modeled after the action plan assignment.  For once, mainly because the paper counts as 2 essay/test grades, I am reviewing their rough drafts for major problems and giving quiz grades.

This is school spirit week.  Tomorrow is our field trip to see a science show at a local theatre - fun! Friday we enjoy the school spirit assembly.  We start spring break after Friday.  Hence, work motivation is low.

Looking ahead, I'm trying to put together a few mini-units, one for Earth Day and one regarding manners/civility.  Then literature circles, and that takes us to June!  Instead of a final exam this year, we're working on a cumulative portfolio final assessment.  So June will focus on the portfolio.

And here's where my mind and heart and soul really are located right now - in New York City, where we plan to go on Saturday for 5 days.  We'll stay in my mom's tiny apartment, see a few friends and family, eat some good food, shop.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

happy spring

Finally, it feels like spring. Here is a "Victory Garden", made by Georgia at the American History Girl Club meeting at the history museum. "Molly" was the featured American Girl.