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Home : 2008 : Jul : 19

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    By Kermit

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    I do "The First Six Weeks of School" (Responsive classroom) and all of the activities are meant to help build relationships, routines and so forth. We do our Hopes and Dreams the first week, and this is very meaningful. I also spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year discussing how "everyone's brain is different" and learning about how people learn. These things are great for the beginning of the year.

    I always begin with a big math project before I start in on the curriculum. I use Marilyn Burn's K-8 book for this and have done half-size me with the kids. They then write their autobiography and post it on the wall with their half-size me! It is both math and writing and really fun. They work with a partner, also which is very important to be be able to do!

    I think all of these art projects are meaningful. From the hopes and dreams they are planning and visualizing for a good school year, and in the half size me, they are measuring and halving numbers.

    I do not however believe in doing "cutesy" art projects. Mine are always connected to curriculum or have some meaning. I actually hate cutesy and want to honor their creativity by having them do most of their art on their own. I have NEVER in 5 years done coloring pages, or cut out activities. We always do water colors, oil pastels, clay, etc.

    This year I think I will have them do a self portrait in clay. I want to buy cookie cutters in shapes so they can use those and build a face mask. We will glaze and fire them in the kiln, then hang them from the "tree" in my room!!

    I do other things mentioned above too:

    -make their own name tags for their cubbies and coat hooks
    -make the labels for the book tubs
    -paint picture frames from IKEA and put their pictures in them (beautiful project that helps the children feel like the classroom is theirs.)
    -decorate their drawing journals with cut outs from magazines

    -I start SSR right away and begin "training" them to read on their own so I can do conferences. We begin this from day one.

    View the original thread this idea was posted on



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