Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Using Frozen in the Classroom

One thing you rapidly learn about me in my classroom is my love of ANYTHING Disney, which is why I was all to excited when their newest animated work of genius came out this year. As more and more students in my class went and saw the movie, the discussions about it abounded during our morning meeting. Taking advantage of the enthusiasm, I began to encourage the research of information about the movie. Early on, students were bringing in books from the library about Hans Christian Andersen and reading adapted versions of The Snow Queen. By the time January rolled around, I still had about half of my class who had not seen the movie yet. I decided to use this to my advantage. One of our third grade writing standards is conducting short research projects. I came up with a list of topics students could choose to research. They were invited to work individually or together and could present their information in any way they like.

Some students chose to quickly research everything on the list. Others spent more time researching one of the topics. 

My only regret was sending home finished products with the students after they presented. These were some of the few I had left after room clean up at the end of the year. They all did an amazing job! I told my students after they researched and learned from this list, we could watch the movie. One of the best parts of this project was listening to the kids watching the movie and commenting on everything they had learned. The scene where the choir was singing from the church, someone yelled out that they were singing Joik. Another one asked if the fjord in the background was the Sogenefjord. 

Our learning did not stop here. Frozen inspired us to read this book:

And students loved working on sequels until the end of the year. 

Frozen was a great learning opportunity for our class this year. I hope you also take more time to learn all the amazing aspects of the movie that can be so easily overlooked. Have you ever used a movie as instructional material in your classroom?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"In Summerrrrr"

This year has been quite a wild ride! As a new blogger, I have infinite amounts of admiration for all those out there who relentlessly keep up their blog post throughout the school year. It's definitely something I will have to work on more next school year. Now that school is out for the summer, I am finally beginning the decompression process as well as reflecting on the year. As I complete my fourth year of teaching, here are just of few of the things that I will take with me into future years of teaching. These are things that would never have been possible without the inspiration and support of those awesome educators who I have been privileged enough to add to my professional learning network.

1. Taking the plunge to become digital in record keeping- I was inspired after listening to Cathy Mere and Karen Terlecky present with a group of brilliant women at NCTE in November. I started using Evernote to record anecdotal notes of student conferences. I loved the ease of use and being able to access my notes anywhere. It helped me keep track of student goals and growth throughout the year. I look forward to using it from the get go next school year.

2. Exploring ways to embed digital literacy in my classroom- With the educational field ever changing, it can be overwhelming to keep up with the changes.  I jumped in to using quite a few different ways for students to share their learning using technology this year.  I only brushed the surface of digital literacy this year, but I feel that that has given me enough of a background to make me feel more comfortable with the idea of embedding in my future classrooms.

3. Becoming more comfortable on Twitter- For the longest time, I was a Twitter stalker. I loved to follow educators I admired from afar, but did not feel comfortable putting my own thoughts out into the "twittersphere" or connecting with others I did not personally know. This year, I have made a point of being more active on Twitter (May excluded ;) ). This in turn helped me to find a voice to start a blog, one which I hope to update more frequently "innnn summmeerrrrr"! :)

So, what new learning will you take with you into future years of teaching? Please share!