Duck into Third Grade

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Fondness for the Fourth of July

What memories of years gone by does the Fourth of July conjure up for you? I remember way back when Jaws was the movie to see and the Bee Gees were Jive Talkin’, my brother decided to put on a fireworks show for the family. Since we lived out in the country this was the only fireworks display we’d be seeing so it was a command performance you might say. Somewhere during the dynamic demonstration a bug flew in my dad’s ear and brought all the fun to a screeching halt. Much to dad’s dismay the insistent insect decided to homestead in his ear and could not be convinced otherwise. We heard the noisy tenant report each morning, “It woke me up at 2:36 and at 4:17, what a night!” This report replayed over and over, kind of like The Groundhog Day movie. Finally, the bug stories became a faint memory, whether it gave up the ship or expired my brother nor I cannot remember but we smile each Fourth of July remembering our crazy connection. My dad passed away years ago but I can still him hear him giving the exact times he was awaken by his unwelcome guest. Memories often are made in less than ideal circumstances.

Yes, the Fourth is much more than my mini memory, it is connecting with our country’s roots and telling stories about the founding fathers that set up a country for the free and about the brave soldiers that paid the supreme price for that freedom. We should not take these blessings for granted.

Time and tide wait for no man. Take a moment to stop and notice the little things. Make a memory, watch a firefly, put a puzzle together with a child, share a book, tell a story or listen to one, try out a new recipe or make one up…then write about your experiences down in several sentences. I use  Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project-one sentence journal which lasts for five years. Check it out. Recently, we reconnected with our grandchildren in Washington and made many memories to treasure. A grand time was had by all.

In the classroom, memories supply the foundation for learning. We must make connections. Students need to know where they come from is important and it will catapult them into  writing like nothing else by making it real. Connecting with students makes the learning authentic and carries on with them throughout life. Learning is ongoing, it is not just from August to June. Teach them well. Model savoring the moments and making learning stick…                  what better gift could we give?


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Practicing Predicting with PURPOSE

How important is it to teach kids to be predictors? Adults often forget that predicting takes time.  It comes more naturally for some students than others.  It is definitely a learned skill that improves with practice. Summer is a time to s-l-o-w down and  b-r-e-a-t-h-e!  Look for examples to try out and teach predicting to those fortunate folks in your nucleus.

I wonder if those are rain clouds because they are…

I think this movie will be good/bad because…

This character is very determined so I predict he will …

If I don’t double check my packing I will probably…

The dry weather is tough on flowers, if I don’t water them they will …

Speaking of flowers, I discovered this red balloon wrapped around my rose bush, I had to do a double take.  It made me smile to think I actually thought it was a flower at first glance. Double takes are vital in life and in the classroom.

Teaching kids to have a second look and giving them time to reflect and check their predictions is huge:

Was I right on the money?

Do I need to tweak my predictions?

Do I need to do a 180 and rethink?

Isn’t this a life skill needed by all?  Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.

Summer is the perfect time to practice predicting with pizazz!