Friday, February 13, 2015

February is about...

celebrating Black History! I love teaching Black History.  I still haven't completely figured out what I think is appropriate for little ones to learn about racism, but I think Black History Month can be a great time just to develop positive associations with being black.  I tried reading my kinder and first grader a book about Barack Obama, and they were just not understanding or having any of it.  So I've been using these simple mini-books to just teach the basics of a few figures in Black History.  With my fourth graders, I've been reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham, which they have been loving! 

Valentine's Day! With almost all boys on my caseload, I'm not huge on making February all about pink and red hearts.  Still, they were so excited to get some scratch-off valentines from me.  Also, this year I got my first ever Valentine's gift from a student! It sounds absurd, but sometimes my feelings get a tiny bit hurt when my students get gifts for their general ed teachers and not for me.  Of course I quickly brush those feelings off, but I was super excited when one of my fourth graders brought me a chocolate valentine! Totally made my day. 

Vocabulary! I know vocabulary is one of the five basic components of reading, but for some reason I always thought of vocabulary as meaning "big words" like tenacious and plethora. Upon casually checking out my students' NWEA RIT strands, as one does, I noticed that many of them were weak on "picture vocabulary."  I've started checking my students on names of animals, things in nature, and transportation items.  And woah, do we have some work to do! I love making stuff for my classroom, so I immediately got to work making some picture flashcards on Lesson Pix.  Wish I could share them, but I believe Lesson Pix doesn't allow it. I plan on introducing animals of the week and regularly going through our new flashcards.  I'm also keeping an eye out for some adapted books on those subjects.  

February's been a fun month so far with my students.  Have you done anything special to celebrate Valentine's Day or Black History Month?

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