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Monday, 17 November 2014

Peace, Portfolios, and Preparing for Parents!

I can't believe it's already November 17!  November has been a busy time for me, and I'm sure it's been busy for you too!  Here's a look at what's been happening in my class in November.

Remembrance Day is always a reflective and thankful time for me.  I love talking with my kids about our freedoms and why we remember.  This year, I came across a post on Pinterest with some art projects inspired by Picasso's Peace Dove.  (I'm sorry, I don't know the original link, if you're reading this, let me know and I'll credit you.)  I decided to do an art project similar to the one I had seen. 

First, we read the book "What Does Peace Feel Like" by Vladimir Radunsky.  It is a beautiful book with phrases from children answering the questions "What does peace feel/look/smell/sound like?"

I asked my Grade 4's what Peace meant to them and asked them to think of sounds, sights, smells, and feelings that were peaceful.  I then showed them images of Picasso's Peace Doves and we talked about symbols for peace.  The major symbol in Canada for peace and Remembrance is the poppy, but I asked them to think of other images and colours that brought peace to them.

In the middle of the page, they drew a dove, similar to the Picasso dove, and around the outside, they used colours and symbols that were peaceful to them.  They turned out beautifully!

After Remembrance Day, my report card induced hibernation sets in.  Thankfully, a lot of my friends are also teachers and they understand that I won't be available to hang out in the first few weeks of November because they are in the report card writing haze, too! 

We have a late first term report card window this year, and our first report won't actually go home until December 5, thankfully!  However, we have Parent Teacher Conferences coming up this week on Thursday.  I like to have drafts of my report cards done before I meet with parents, so I spent this weekend (4.5 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday) at school writing report cards.  I had a lot of company, thankfully, with 4 other teachers in the school Saturday and 3 others with me on Sunday :)

In addition to reports, I also began putting together portfolios with my kids last week.  I'm doing portfolios a little differently this year, and I like how it is turning out so far.  I asked my students to choose one piece of work from each subject that they were proud of and wanted to show off in their portfolios.  For each piece, they filled in a small reflection explaining why they chose that piece and what they want me and their parents to notice about it.  It was interesting to look through and see what they chose, and to read the reasons why.  Here is a look at a few examples.

I'm excited to have these examples available for parents to see during our conferences on Thursday.  I'm curious to hear how your Novembers have been shaping up.  How do you organize student portfolios and conferences in your classes?

Also, download my FREE report card comments on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It has 125 different comments that can help if your brain is as fried as mine is at report card time!  Click on the picture below to download.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful book & great idea for students to think about peace!! Thanks for sharing!!