Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Summer Looks Bright

My last visit to kindergarten for the year centered around what we'd be doing over the summer.  I read aloud Mark Teague's How I Spent My Summer Vacation to get their creative juices flowing.

Then we brainstormed exciting things that we wanted to do over the summer.  Students wrote a list of these on one shade of their sunglasses, then drew a picture on the other shade.  They glued it onto their paper and sketched their head behind the glasses.  Here is the sheet & sunglasses I found from Elementary, My Dear.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monsters University

The timing of Pixar's new film, Monsters University, couldn't have been better.  Perusing typical university webpages can be a bore for elementary students, but checking out Monsters University is a very different experience!  

First, we watched a message from the dean:

After taking a quick pre-visit survey (you can download it here), students were free to explore the website to find out what college life is all about.  I had 3 focus questions students were to investigate:
  1. What are some of the college entrance requirements?
  2. What are some of the clubs, activities, sports, and other social groups on this campus?
  3. What are some of the majors or classes you'd be interested in taking?

I also attached some activity pages (that I found online in various places) where they could design their own student id, complete a maze and unscramble puzzle, wordsearch, campus maze, and sudoku puzzle.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

We Can Do It!

With the school year coming to a close, I wanted students to reflect on their experiences and start looking forward to the future.  I read Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld to show them that we all make a difference by our actions.  This delightful story shows the transformation of a small cloud that feels that she can't do what other clouds are able to accomplish because of her small size.

After reading the story aloud, we brain"stormed" (hehehe) the message the author was trying to teach us.  We all gained a feeling that we can do anything if we put our minds to it.  I then had students create a flip book demonstrating what they wanted to accomplish in the next school year.  Using the year 2013, they came up with:
  • 2: two goals I have for next school year (academic, social, behavioral)
  • 0: something I'd like to stop doing (habits, choices)
  • 1: one thing I am worried about
  • 3: three new things I'd like to learn/try

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Paws in Jobland

Paws in Jobland is an interactive website that allows children to explore careers and find a match based on their interests.  Our second and third graders loved exploring this website and discovering new careers.  Students can learn more about different careers grouped by genre.  They can answer questions about their strengths and interests to find a career fit.  They can search through an alphabetical listing of possible careers, and even play a game that tests their knowledge of different careers.

As students were exploring the website, I asked them to focus on one career that they might be interested in and fill out a reflection sheet.  It was interesting to see what they each picked...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Posting Online

In fifth grade we've began a new project to help raise awareness of cyber-safety.  I found a variety of great resources on to help facilitate this.  We started by watching the video below, Miketosis.  In this video a crush is revealed during a science class and starts spreading quickly through the school by means of cell phones and computers.  Students text, email, share, and post this embarrassing information within seconds.

Afterward we discussed how the actions they take online can have offline consequences.  I asked them if they've, or someone they know, have ever posted something online that embarrassed them or got them into trouble.  How do they decide what information and images they post online?  What is okay to post and not okay to post?  Why do people post inappropriate messages and pictures online?  Who can see the things you text, email, and post?  Is there any way to guarantee privacy?  How might things that are shared affect your future?

Then I introduced the project.  Students were asked to create a story where something is shared through technology and the consequences associated with it:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thinking Outside a Box: Being Wendy

I stumbled upon a great find at the bookstore, Being Wendy, written by Fran Drescher.  In this delightful picture book, the main character lives in a town called Boxville.  Everyone in Boxville follows the rule of wearing a box with the name of their career on the front of it.  Police Officer Miranda Wrights has "police officer" written on her box.  Her teacher Mrs. Reedenwright has "teacher" written on her box.  But Wendy doesn't want to be labeled as just one thing, she wants to think outside the box and be many things...

This was a great book to read aloud during our college & career month in May.  Many students think they need to know now what they want to be when they grow up, and my goal was to dispel this, among other, myths.  You do not need to know who you want to be in the future because the possibilities are endless!  You can change your mind, explore new careers, and find what interests you.  It is important to have a plan of action once you decide on a career and everyone chooses their own path.

We then played "Career Charades!"  Students drew a career card from the stack I made and had to silently act out the career they chose.

Examples of Careers & Actions:
  • Dentist: pretend to look at teeth
  • Astronomer: pretend to look through a telescope
  • Doctor: pretend to check a heartbeat
  • Photographer: pretend to take a picture
  • Painter: pretend to paint a wall 
  • Truck Driver: pretend to drive and honk your horn
  • Musician: pretend to play a guitar
  • Builder: pretend to hammer a nail
  • Librarian: pretend to read books aloud
  • Mover: pretend to lift a heavy box 
  • Teacher: pretend to teach the class
  • Singer: pretend to sing into a microphone 
  • Hairdresser: pretend to do someone's hair
  • Dancer: pretend to dance around the room 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

We Are Girls Summer Series

Summer is just around the corner and GENaustin has a cool opportunity for girls!  GENaustin’s We Are Girls Summer Series is a two-day workshop series that provides girls with a friendly space to learn tools and strategies to thrive in the upcoming school year. We Are Girls Summer Series is open to girls entering  5th and 6th grades. 

We Are Girls Summer Series:

Session One- July 16 & 17, 2013  from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Session Two- July 31 & August 1, 2013 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM

Location: Mitte Carriage House, 1008 West Ave,  Austin, TX 78701

Cost: $80 per two-day session (includes lunch)

What girls can expect:

Day 1-Girl Talk
Girls will dive into activities and discussions surrounding the complex issues that they face everyday.  This session will focus on creating and maintaining better friendships, building confidence through effective communication and adopting a healthy body image.

Day 2-Looking Ahead
We will focus on thinking about the future and the transition to middle school. Girls will have an opportunity to ask questions and get real answers and advice from older girls about classes, friendships and all of the changes ahead! They will also learn about stress management and the importance of setting goals. All in an engaging and fun environment!

To register for either session, click here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lunch Bunch

Our school counseling program at Lee Elementary offers small group counseling for our students.  Small groups provide not only the opportunity for additional learning experiences, but also a time of sharing and a time of growing together with fellow students.  Small groups give the students a chance to belong, a chance to express themselves, and a chance to benefit from the support of group members.  I offer many small groups that occur during lunch time covering a variety of student needs.  Since each day different students have lunch plans with me, I thought a good way to communicate with both students and lunch monitors would be to hand out these badges:

Here are the backs of the badges.  For our younger students, they are to start eating their lunch in the cafeteria until I come to pick them up.  Our older students have permission to meet me in my office.

Parent permission is always requested for a student to participate in a lunch bunch group.  Please contact me to refer your child or to ask any questions.

You can download the templates here and here.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My First Resume

I stumbled upon a great resource, Career Activities Book, published by the Texas Workforce Commission.  There are a variety of activities to help students understand the concept of self-knowledge, the development of a basic understanding of interests, likes and dislikes and how to interact with others. The various activities are also designed to raise awareness of the relationship between work and learning, the awareness of how work relates to the needs and functions of society and the interrelationship of life roles. The elementary grades are a good time to introduce the importance of personal responsibility and good work habits and the benefits of educational achievement. 

In fourth and fifth grade we completed 2 self-inventories to learn about the "Work Environment" that would be a good fit for us and our current "Work Habits."

Then we used the information from these 2 inventories to create our first resume.  I showed students a copy of mine and how it "brags" about all of my accomplishments.  
Here are some student examples: 

Friday, May 3, 2013

COW Day: May 3, 2013

This year our fifth graders will be participating in COW (Careers on Wheels) Day!  COW Day is a static display of 45 vehicles for students to walk around and observe a wide variety of vehicles that represent all U.S. Department of Education Career Clusters.  Students can talk to the drivers and actualy touch and see how these vehicles operate.  Presenters will also discuss related careers tied to a particular vehicle as it relates to a broad industry.

Here are some of the highlights from our trip: 

 Recycling, Ambulance...
 Road Safety, Dell Children's...
 Flo from Progressive, Austin Community College...
 Local News Station, Concrete...
 Austin Police Department, Bomb Squad, Firefighters...
 and Helicopters!!!