Sunday, January 12, 2014

MLK,Jr., Day Five: Organization & Visual Plans

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is this Wednesday. Of course, it's celebrated next Monday, but I'll be focusing much of my teaching on MLK this week, so that my kiddos know why they are out of school next week!

As a Southern white girl, I really never learned about Dr. King in school. As a Southern white teacher, I began my career in a school populated by mostly poor, African American children, and I began to become very interested in Dr. King that first year of teaching. I found the coolest book that year - Letters to Dr. King - and I read it with such empathy that I shared it with my class. I've done so ever since. That book is one of letters written by children in the 1990's to Dr. King. Many talk about how things have changed, while others talk about how disappointed Dr. King would be if he could see the world today. Their messages are often as powerful as his!

Since that first year, I've discovered many MLK, Jr. books and resources. My favorite is Martin's Big Words. It tells the story of how young Martin grew up seeing, but not understanding, the prejudice in his world, and how he planned to change all that. Although I love the book, honestly, I love the youtube version {HERE} way more. The way the narrator reads, with the way the pages are panned, along with the music in the background just brings me to tears no matter how many times I watch it.

This year, I found the neatest way to show the differences in all of us are only skin deep using apples of all different colors and varieties. Everyone's seen the brown egg vs. white egg demonstration on Pinterest, and I love it, too, but this apple thing is really cool! It's totally NOT my idea! Nancy from First Grade Wow came up with the idea and has an entire unit based on the apples. You can get a free copy of that {HERE}.

I'm linking up with Mrs. Wills to share my plans for the week with you in a more compact format, too. 

We'll begin two-digit subtraction this week. My kids are beginning to see the light on regrouping in addition, and I really think subtraction will make the addition more concrete for them! Last week, I showed them a couple of videos from Khan University, and two kids' light bulbs turned right on! {LOVE} We'll start with base tens blocks, use Unifix cubes, and then go to pencil and paper pretty quickly this week (I hope). We're a little behind the pacing guide, but I'd rather have the children understand what they're doing than just sort-of learn an algorithm any day of the week! In fact, algorithms are about the last thing I teach...I'd rather the kids figure out what works for themselves. There's always somebody who just suddenly "discovers" regrouping.

If you've stayed with me this long, you really deserve a prize. Unfortunately, there's not one...but I do have my final Blog Hoppin' Resolution figured out!
Organization is NOT my strong suit! That's why it has taken me five days to get to day five (ha!). My New Year's Organization Resolution is...well, I don't know what it is! I think I'd like to get rid of all my paper copies of stuff I keep in this file cabinet, IF I have electronic copies (some of the stuff in here is from when I student taught in 1995!). I think I'd like to organize all my computer files by subject, season, holiday, etc. A lot of that is done, but when I download something new, I don't always put it in the right place, or if it's, say subtraction, but Christmasy, I never know which file to put it in, both? I'd like to get my house, classroom, lesson plans, calendar(s), family, and brain in some kind of synced working order. I have no idea how to begin to do that! Maybe I need to resolve to organize my organization resolutions by putting them in order of importance, then making a schedule of when to tackle each organizational project. Hey! I think that's it! Goodness knows I have enough bins, boxes, trays, and other organizers to organize the entire world - it's just a matter of using them, labeling them, and putting the junk I get out BACK IN THEM!


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  1. Thanks for passing on the apple idea for MLK!

    1. You're so welcome! I did it for my kids week before last, and they're still referencing it, which is amazing! They all talk about having a star inside each of themselves...LOVE that!

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