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Thursday, February 18, 2010

L is for Landfills and Ladybugs

Yes, I realize that those two things don't really make sense together. I'm sure some ladybugs can be found in a landfill, but I will attempt to further connect the two by the end of this post.

Landfills are on all of my student's minds. First of all, I will start with the conversation we had during our reading lesson this morning. We have been discussing natural resources, endangered/extinct animals and ways humans change the earth.  This week's story is "How to Help Planet Earth" and is set up like a magazine article with many facts and pictures. This being said, we have become OBSESSED with recycling. The students all decided to save and bring in their paper/soda bottles to school if they didn't recycle at home. (By the way, we decided we should not bring in any beer bottles/can...)

We read a caption that was saying how kids may not be able to help the whole world's problems, but they can do a small part by recycling. This lead to: "We can't save the polar bears, but we can recycle!"
Here's the conversation between myself and the famous Mr. T.V. (aka Dr. Seuss Jr.):

Me: You guys must be talking about the commercials/news stories that says the polar bears' homes are being destroyed...There's not much that we can do to help in that situation, but I'm sure some scientists are working on it. (Really eloquent, I know.) What is a small thing we can do to help the earth?


Me: What can we do, Mr. T.V.?


Me: Where are we going to get baskets of fish?!


Me: Okay, so how would we get the baskets of fish to the polar bears? (I pulled down the map and showed them where polar bears live and where we live.)


Me: Where would we get an airplane?


Me: Where would we get money to buy tickets for the airplane ride?

MR. T.V.: FROM THE PRESIDENT! (We have been learning about the presidents this week, too.)

Me: Alright Mr. T.V., you write a letter to the president and ask for money to save the polar bears and we'll send it. But, I don't think I'm ready to go on a field trip to where polar bears live with second graders yet...I'm thinking that to start, we can recycle. That would be pretty easy. What are some ways we can be better at recycling?


During this time, the rest of the students' heads are going back and forth between me and MR. T.V. like they are watching a tennis match. And, their little faces were changing from "great idea" when looking at MR. T.V. to "what is wrong with you Ms. Buckler? Why don't you want to help the poor polar bears?" when looking at me...Take a minute to imagine that.


Ladybugs are things that I love. I blame my grandmother and Aunt for starting the obsession. I've collected ladybug things for a while now, and each year, my students add to the collection. For Valentine's day, I got five (yes, five!) ladybug-shaped boxes full of chocolate covered animal crackers. I've also gotten ladybug earrings, bracelets, pencils, tattoos (fake) and erasers. Oh, and a used nail file. If it's got a ladybug on it, I've probably gotten it from a student. (There was that one guy I dated in college that made me a ladybug fishing lure, but that's another story.) I've even dressed up as Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis (given to me by a fellow ladybug lover) for Halloween.

 So, when the Time unit in math rolls around, I've always read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. This year, we have extra days to learn about time, so I got to pull out the extras that go with it. I was  very excited.

We made ladybug clocks, which I think turned out ADORABLE!

And Mr. T.V. read the story aloud with all the appropriate voices and dramatic inflection while the rest of us showed the times on the clock. We recorded his reading. I wish I was smart enough to be able to post it on here. I have it if you'd like to hear all seven minutes of fabulousness (especially when the snake says "If you insis-s-s-s-t! Right after LUNCH!")

We, and by that I mean mostly me and the girls and Mr. T.V., have been having a blast with the ladybug stuff.  To relate it to landfills...I know that a few of those ladybug clocks will end up there. It's just a part of life. I shall keep you posted on the polar bear project.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

W is for Writing Prompt

Yesterday, I posted a lovely drawing from Dali Jr. In honor of today's FCAT Writes test, I thought I'd post a writing sample from one of my often talked about friends.

We are reading "Goose's Story" this week. It's about a goose who has lost part of his leg and befriends this little girl. So naturally, our writing prompt was this:

One day, I made friends with a ______________. We ________________________________

I asked for AT LEAST 5 sentences and a picture (insert face twisted in agony from Dali Jr.--see yesterday's post). I gave my own examples. I said, "One day, I met a penguin. We went to his icy home..." I assumed most of us would write about a real/imaginary animal.

Most of us did, exept for one. Try reading it for yourself.

This is what it says:

One day I made friends with a box!
We played with a tree! Indeed!
We even gave each other mohawks! (Yes that says MOHAWKS)
It was awesome!

Please notice that there ARE five sentences and a picture. Please also notice the mohawks on the heads. (Orange and blue because he is trying to make up to me for wearing a Miami shirt in my classroom.) I'm not sure why he has drawn himself as a cyclops.

The excessive use of exclamation points in not coincidence. This is just how Mr. T.V. talks in real life. HE TALKS IN EXCLAMATIONS.

The rhyme of "box" and "mohawks" was simply added for extra flair. Additionally, this is his BEST handwriting.

You may remember stories of Mr. T.V. Yes, he's the one that said last week (while teaching math and I was in his seat), "Well, as you can see, the answer three." I don't know why he sometimes feels the urge to break out in rhymes. Or talk like a college professor. Maybe I'll just let him use HIS artistic license. I may start calling him Dr. Seuss Jr or DSJ (for short).

Monday, February 8, 2010

A is for Artistic License

Artistic license is defined as the freedom to create artwork based on the artist's interpretation. I am all about letting kids "express" themselves through their creativity, but today I had to stretch my creative boundaries.

When I was in elementary school, I LOVED art. I lived and breathed art class (we had it TWICE a week!). I cherished my 96 Crayolas like they were given to me by God Himself. I lovingly sharpened them with the sharpener on the back of the box and made sure they were put back into their little color-coded spots. I was one of those obsessive kids that had to color perfectly inside the lines. There was no "turning mistakes into part of the picture" for me. Oh no. Mistakes meant starting over. My favorite was drawing farm scenes. I just had to look out of the window for inspiration. I was especially good at cows.

I do, however, have a picture on my wall that I drew for my grandma. She had it framed and gave it back to me when I turned sixteen. In it, the sky is white and the clouds are blue. I know exactly why I did this though. I could not, and I mean COULD NOT, bring myself to waste that much crayon/marker on properly coloring the sky blue.

So all of that being said, I have a hard time relating to those students in my class that hate drawing and coloring. I just don't understand why they put minimal effort into their artwork and NOT CARE. Most of them love presenting me with their artwork. I love getting pictures drawn by my students and rarely (at their age) have to say the cautious "tell me about this picture" to get what it is.

Well, I have this one little dude who does not like to draw/color at all. He would probally rather copy every definition in the dictionary before he would draw me a decent picture. When I give an assignment that includes drawing a picture, his face twists up like I asked him to pull off his toenails. Today's center work was to make 5 animal fact cards. One side should have a question about an animal, and the back should have the answer in a complete sentence WITH A PICTURE. (Insert face twisted in agony here.)

Here is what Dail Jr.'s looked like. On the front: What do cows produce? Take a look at his answer/picture. I will comment after you get a chance to admire the lines and colors.

THE COW HAS A FREAKIN 3-TEAT UDDER-NECK! Don't get me started on its lack of ears and tail, different sized legs... and ARE THOSE TOES?! No wonder the cow's expression is so shocked! She's giving milk through her neck!

My wonderful Instructional Assistant happened to be in my room at the time and I showed her this new interpretation of a cow. I thought she was going to pass out she was laughing so hard. Her response: "Well, we all didn't get to grow up on a farm."

So, I haven't gotten to talk about this little dude before, but I was going to call him Harry for his resemblance to Mr. Potter, but he will forever be known as Dali Jr. to me.

Maybe one day I'll post my blue-cloud picture...and a proper cow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

R is for Rain

Rain is such a hassle for a teacher. Especially one who is still adapting to a portable. Yes, I'm a Florida girl and I honestly love a good thunderstorm. But, I would like to talk to Mother Nature and ask her to come teach my class when she decides it needs to happen between 7 and 3 on school days. This being my fifth year teaching second grade, I am quite aware of the effects of rainy days on children. This being my first year in a portable, I've learned a few more things.

Here are some things I've learned about rain and second graders:
1. rain + second graders = big headaches for me
2. rain + second graders + being in a portable = migraine for me
3. rain + early arrivers = me scrambling for "time-fillers" cause I HAVE TO let them in early
4. rain + p.e. = movie inside and more sitting still (although it cleared up for my p.e. time today)
5. rain + lunchtime = no chance of walking nicely and quietly down the hallway
6. rain + lessons = sleepy kids
7. rain + my hair = entertaining mishap for the kids to point out
I'm sure I could add more if I wanted to...

It's amazing how the rain lulls them to sleep when they are inside and instantly invigorates them as soon as they step a foot outdoors. Come on Florida kids! Get used to it! It's gonna rain. A lot. 

I ran into the second grade pod this morning for the fifth time (I need to make lists of the materials I need) and said, "UGH! It's raining. I can't handle any more raining! Me and Mr. T.V. have extra issues when it's raining!"

Mr. T.V. walks in from his morning computer lab session and says, "Yay! It's raining! What's wrong with your hair?"

And to add to it...that stinkin' groundhog saw his shadow so we get 6 more weeks of possible cold and rain? Double "ugh".

I think I'm going to go take a pain killer and nap then start my search for some Frizz-Ease...Happy rainy Groundhog Day!