Monday, February 17, 2014


  Gung-Hey-Fat-Choy!  Happy New Year!!

     My class learned all about the Chinese New Year which began this year on January 31st and lasted two weeks. We learned some interesting facts about how the Chinese celebrate the new year.  We did this by reading books, watching videos on You Tube and doing research on the internet.  Here are some of the books we read:
My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Chinese New Year by David F. Marx

Lion Dancer by Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low

Here's one of the You Tube videos we watched:

     The final day of the Chinese New Year celebrations ends with the Lantern Festival. So, we decided to make some lanterns to hang from the ceiling in the hallway.  They turned out great! (Not my original idea) 

Here are the directions for making the lanterns:
12" x 18" red construction paper cut into two strips measuring 6" x 18" each
white index cards (3" x 5")
black construction paper handles 2" x 8"
Chinese symbols/words for students to copy

Make a small fold on one end of the paper.  Fold the rest of the paper into fourths.

Next, have the students write Chinese symbols or words on each of 4 white 3" x 5" index cards.  Glue one in each section.

Fold, stand up and glue along lip.  Glue or staple on the handle.
I would love to hear what you do in your classroom to learn about Chinese New Year.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kids Teaching Kids

Hi Friends!
We all know how powerful it is when students can teach something to one another.  It's been one of my goals this year to give my students more opportunities to do this.  In order to be able to teach someone something, you need to understand what it is you're teaching and be able to explain your thinking in a way that others can understand.  I think this quote by Einstein sums it up:

Here are a few ways I've encouraged my students to teach others:
1.  When a student brings something from home that they've made and others show an interest, I encourage them to teach others how to make it.  For example, I had a girl in my class that made some of those rubber band bracelets.  Everyone was interested in how she made them. So I asked her if she would like to teach everyone how to make them and she said yes.  I went out and bought lots of the rubber bands in a variety of colors. The next day she worked with small groups of kids and taught them how to make their very own bracelet.  What a teacher she was! She explained how to make the bracelet as she slowly and carefully put one together in front of her small group.  Then she guided and helped each student as needed.  The kids were so engaged and made some beautiful bracelets. 

This student even wrote a book about how to make a rubber brand bracelet.

   Another student taught the class how to make caterpillar bookmarks using tongue depressors. 

  This student taught the class how he made his Lego creation.


 2.  Another way I've encouraged students to teach others is through class projects.  My students worked together to create a large mural depicting the story of the First Thanksgiving.  We hung it up in our classroom and invited other classes to come and listen to us share what we learned. 

When we learned about the signs of fall, we made posters and shared them with the first grade classes.  Each child from my class shared his/her poster with a small group of first graders.  They had to teach the younger kids about the signs of fall. (Sorry, no pictures.)

3.  Finally, I try each and every day to let my students know how much I value them.  Kids have so much to offer if we just give them opportunities to share what they know.  It doesn't just have to be what they've learned at school either.
Maybe you could have a "Kids Teaching Kids" time each week and students could sign up to teach something to the class.