Posts Tagged ‘actiivities’

Back to School

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

I am not sure if this deserved a blog post but well…I found myself here. It also might be an excuse for not having blogged in a long time (I told you I am not much of a blogger – the information, blogs and websites out there are overwhelming, who needs another one?). 

First, take a peek into our classsroom this year. I made a Word doc so you can download it (if it helps in any way). 

Our first day was filled with fun. Details? Yes, please. 

Tell Me Something Nice– I pinned various tags on each student’s back and let them move around (e.g “Tell me something nice about my hair”. ) Compliments upon compliments began to pour! But guess what? One of them came to me and my colleague (the Romanian language teacher) and pinned tags on OUR backs, too! He said, “You deserve compliments, too!” 


Snowball Fight – each kid wrote three things about themselves on a piece of paper (I told them to change their handwriting, so others would not recognize it). They crumpled the papers and …boom! Flying balls all over the classroom until I said “Stop”. We grabbed any paper we got our hands on, sat in a cricle and read, trying to guess who was who. (Of course, I wrote, too! I changed my writing so much that only one kid could guess!) 


Musical Chairs – But nope, not your usual game. This is exactly the opposite! We take a chair and the ones sitting need to MAKE ROOM for those left out! Imagine when we had only 1 chair left – 14 kids on top of each other , hah! 


HOPE – I created the word “hope”exclusively out of post -its, and then invited students to write their hopes for the new school year. 


ME – I gave the kids the paper below with two instructions. They cut and glue letter “M” upside down. What did it change into? “W(e)”  🙂  We had a discussion on the purpose of this activity (community and collaboration). 

Of course…the last activity was reading a wonderful book: Little Blue and Little Yellow. If you haven’t read it to your students, you (and they) are really missing out. It is about a little blue dot who plays with his friend, the little yellow dot. One day they hug one another and…oh, they turn green! They want to return to their homes but neither family (blue, nor yellow) wants to let them in…I won’t tell you more, let your students find out. It is a wonderful story about friendship, differences and identity – as we will start our learning journey this year with a an inquiry unit about identify and diversity (Marvelous, Marvelous Me). 

I almost forget – we also wrote a “recipe”for our Reading Buddies (who now are in second grade and with whom we read the entire last school year) – How to Be a Successful 2nd Grader 


Well, this would be about our first day at school. We will tell and show you how we keep learning this year, and hope yours will be as great as ours! 🙂 






Outside. The Box.

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Traditional thinking is all about “what is“. Future thinking will also need to be about “what can be“. (Edward de Bono)


I wanted to share how I encouraged thinking outside the box with my students (ESL students).Maybe it will inspire some of you.


You need no technology. You need no big preparation ahead. Just a box and, some colored paper and some post-its. And, of course, engagement.


I made a simple box and placed inside the following:

“bias and prejudice”

“no challenge”

“safe steps”

“own experience”

“limited understanding”


Kids were intrigued. “What is in the box?”…so I encouraged them, “Come, come closer and see for yourself”.

They began taking out and reading the cards. We had a discussion – kids connected the ideas with their own experience. Then I asked them, “What then should we place OUTISDE the box?”


The answers began pouring…as you can see. 









“new challenges”




Using student input is more powerful than you imagine. Those words were on our class wall and both students and I referred to them when things got complicated and when it was easier to give up. 

You can build on this lesson – now that we have tech tools, I would do it slightly different. Maybe use a powerful quote, video, use Scribblar or another application in the process. This is just a first step. The next is actually modellling creative thinking in the (almost every) lesson you teach. 

Thank you for reading!

*Photo credits: