Monday, November 30, 2015

Figurative Language in Literature

Our figurative language study is in full swing! This week, we are focusing our efforts on finding examples of figurative language in literature, music, and in our daily lives. Inspired by a colleague, I am challenging my students to listen and think about figurative language all hours of the day. As they find examples of figurative language, they are invited to add those examples to our class collaborative Google Slides. 

Did I mention we are 1:1 now? Life changing, folks! We just recently started utlitizing Google Classroom now that we are 1:1 with iPads. 

To begin, I created a bare-bones Slides project with the different types of figurative language we study in 5th grade. After assigning the collaborative Google Slides in Google Classroom (how many times can I say Google in this post?), we defined each of the types of figurative language as a class. This isn't the first time we've discussed figurative language, so the definitions were more of a refresher after the long holiday weekend. 

Then, I partnered the students and gave each duo an opportunity to pick a book from my special pile of "figurative language friendly" books. Students read the book together and were adding to the Slides in a matter of minutes! We had so much editing happening at once it caused a bit of panic. We'll refer to that as GAFE Growing Pains. :) We did some troubleshooting and solved the problem with "disappearing" text. 

"Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen 
"Pigsty" by Mark Teague

Here's a snapshot of the titles we used. There were several more I found online, but I didn't have access to those books in my personal library or our school library. 

If you are looking for good books to add to your mentor text stash or your classroom library, I highly recommend the following titles! I apologize to your bank account in advance. 

Pigsty by Mark Teague
Fireflies by Judy Brinkloe
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray
Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee 
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Yesterday, I Had the Blues by Jeron Ashford Frame
Parts by Tedd Arnold
Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger

What books do you use to teach figurative language? Share with me!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Two Cents

I think about how much students are always watching my actions. They see my in the grocery store (ignore me while we're there but then tell me how they saw me buying chips at Hyvee the following morning.) They are always watching for my example on how to react in situations. They watch how I treat their peers and how I respond to situations when I'm upset. They make sure I say the Pledge of Allegiance with them every morning. Heck, they even watch when I sneeze. True story: while teaching second grade, I was discussing the importance of washing your hands after your sneeze to prevent spreading germs. One student piped up and said, "I know Ms. Furnell sneezes in her elbow! I've seen her do that before!" Whew - that was a close one. Good thing I wasn't sneezing in my hands otherwise I would have been ratted out... quick! 

My point:  kids are always watching for the example of how they should act.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I do strive to share the positive -- spread awareness on topics close to my heart and use social media as a platform to make others feel good. Would I want my kids to see what I post on Twitter? Sure I do. Would I want my nieces and nephews to see my blog? Of course.  

I often use Spiderman as point of reference in my classroom. 
"With great power comes great responsibility." 

I'm usually saying these famous words in regard to our science experiment or iPads. However, I think we can apply it to social media. We have great power with social media to be the change we wish to see and promote positivity and kindness OR we have the power to put a damper on those around us with our negativity. We also have a responsibility to teach our future tweeters and Facebookers how to be kind "behind the screen" and treat others (friends and strangers) with respect and dignity online just as we would face to face. 

Last week was difficult watching post after post riddled with negativity about everything going wrong in the world. I, personally, took a break from social media because it became too overwhelming to read.

I know life isn't always sunshine and roses. Trust me - I get it.
However, think of how contagious a small smile can be - can't we have the same affect with our posts online? Can't we help spread happiness online just as we would in person?

So maybe... Just maybe! If we start spreading happiness those in the future will follow in our footsteps and spread kindness online as well. 

I'm in. Who's with me?

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