Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Assembly

Every Monday morning, Sunnyland has an assembly to welcome students and staff back to school and to get us all started off on the right foot. We say the Pledge, sing the school song, and share ideas about how we can all make our school better. One of the things we can do is: "Be a good learner."

Mr. Pahl has been reading some research lately that talks about how many kids think you are either born smart or you're not. It is called "growth mindset." Many kids (and probably many adults) think you are born as smart as you are going to get. They think you can learn a few new things, but not much. They think that there are smart kids and dumb kids and maybe something in between, but that's it; there's nothing you can do about it. Well, the great thing this research is finding is that there IS something we can do about it. EVERYONE has the ability to get smarter. 

It begins with believing in yourself. Then there is a lot of hard work to follow. I hope to be writing more about this soon. In the meantime, here is the video room 12 created to help spread the idea that "Everyone CAN Learn!!!"
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Poetry! Who? What? When? Where? Why?

This has been a really popular poem structure with my previous classes, so I continue to introduce it each year. The way to write this poem is to answer each question on each line. It's easiest to start with a really basic idea, then do some revising to make it "delicious!"

Why does Mr. Pahl call vivid language "delicious?" Well, several years ago, I read Grace Lin's Year of the Dog to my class. She writes beautifully of the feasts her Chinese American family had on special occasions when she was growing up. Each time we read a passage about one of these feasts, several students would exclaim, "That sounds so delicious!" And this is how "delicious words" came to be. Grace Lin's books are full of this exceptional, descriptive language. I highly recommend them.

Please share your  Who? What? When? Where? Why? Poems in the comments!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Poetry! ACROSTIC Poems

In order to improve students' use of descriptive language, 4th graders are participating in a brief poetry unit to mix things up and to learn to infuse their writing with the most delicious and exquisite words and phrases possible.

The first kind of poetry practiced was Acrostic Poems about ourselves. It is easy to describe yourself. We discussed the importance of using long phrases or sentences on each line, writing with descriptive, VIVID language, and incorporating at least a few similes and metaphors.

Please share your Acrostic Poem about yourself!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reading Minutes Update!

If you follow our blog, then you know that I have made a promise to the class. If they read 200,000 minutes between September and June 1, I will spend a night on the roof of the school. I have made this agreement with classes I have taught in the past, but none of them have quite risen to the occasion. This group of students is...different. Today is the last day of the first semester, the half way point through the school year, and up to this point, this AWESOME group of students has read a total of


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Wow. We are only half way through the school year, and they have read more than half of the minutes they need to reach their goal. This class might actually do it. Stay tuned!