Thursday, November 8, 2012

We made it to the Houston Chronicle!

On Tuesday morning last week reporters from the Houston Chronicle came to our class to interview my students and I about the election process and the mock election we had at Garden Oaks. They took some nice pictures and we had fun! Here is the link in case you want to see the article. http://www.chron.com/search/?action=search&searchindex=property&query=garden+oaks&sort=date&channel=home&period=%2A&subaction=put&facet=itemtype&value=pictures&caption=Pictures&keepFacet=1

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Famous People Biographies!

As every year, today and tomorrow my students will be doing presentations on their book reports of famous people from history. This is great opportunity for them to practice their oral language development skills. It's not easy to have the courage to stand in front of a crowd and say what you need to say!! I tell them to take a deep breath and relax by thinking something funny, that its ok to make mistakes because nobody is perfect and just to try to do their best. That minimizes their anxiety and make them feel confident. We all sit quietly and listen respectfully while someone is presenting. I think that if children start doing this kind of presentations at a short age it helps them build strengths such us good communication skills, trust, confidence and character too, then when they grow up and have to do a presentation it would be a piece of cake for them to do it. I do this because I grew up being very shy and it was very difficult for me to talk in front of a crowd even as an adult. Lol. I think they all did a great job on their presentations, but we still have half more to go tomorrow. We had Abraham Lincoln, Anne Frank, Amelia Earnhardt, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Hellen Keller Pocahontas and to my dislike Barack Obama lol. Well Hugo did a great job on his presentation I just don't like Barack Obama lol. How rude Ms Torres!! Anyway it was a very fun day and can't wait to see our next presenters tomorrow. Here are some of the pictures we took. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mock Election at GOES

Election Day is on November 6th, it is just around the corner! A few more days and we'll get to choose who will be our next president! I think it's very important that we take the time to talk to our students about the election process and a few more important things regarding the rights and responsibilities of all American citizens. Students need to know what is going on in our country and with our leaders. That's  why I decided that my students should participate in the mock election at GOES. When I talk politics I can get very passionate! So, I thought "what a perfect timing to start giving some important social studies lessons to my students". I'm supposed to be the Social Studies Lead Teacher anyway!! lol. So, this week I did give them a few lessons and will continue adding some more next week. We discussed about the symbols and values of our country "The United States of America". We studied the meaning of the beautiful colors of our flag. What do the colors represent and why are they important?. White for purity and innocence, Red for valor, determination, perseverance, and passion for our country, Blue for vigilance, liberty, freedom, and justice. I explained to them about what stars and the stripes and what they represent too. We also had a discussion about other important symbols such us the national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" and the beautiful values that are implied in the song such us Bravery, Courage, Determination, and Fighting for Liberty and Freedom and of course we did sing it!! lol with my high pitch voice and everything and Ms Aasleteen was there to sing too, thank goodness!!! lol As I was giving the lesson, in the back of my mind I was thinking "how come some grown ups don't understand and practice what these important values mean? So sad, to see many people get influenced and manipulated by "leaders" to follow a crowd without taking the time to research about the candidates and not really understanding what they're doing??? That's why it's imminent for me to teach my students what are our rights as US citizens. I told to my students that we all are part of this nation, that a nation is a group of people who share common history and values. That a value is a belief about something that a person or group of people cherishes, honors, and holds as important. I ask them "what is important to you?, what do you cherish more than anything?", some of them answered "my family", "my parents", "my home", some wise kids said "my freedom". It was very interesting to see their faces all engaged and hear their answers. I ask them if they understood what Liberty and freedom was? of course they had an idea, but didn't understand the concept well. So, then I decided that I will give them a lesson about the Constitution and the Bill of rights. We'll discuss all of the amendments of the constitution but will study in more detail the first amendment as well as the fourth, fifth, and eight amendments. Since our school is already doing the Leader in me program, we also reviewed the seven habits of leadership, what it takes to be a leader is and what does it mean to be a leader? What are the qualities and important attributes of a leader? We discussed that a leader has to have integrity and honesty to always do what is right, no matter what the situation is, no matter if its convenient for him/her or not, a leader has to be proactive and make wise choices for him/herself as well as for everyone else. I told them that a leader is a person that knows well what he/she is doing, has clear goals in mind and effective plans to achieve his/her goals, a leader is a good communicator, articulates  well, and is experienced. I told them that anyone can be a leader according to our talents and strengths. Than we spoke about the requirements to be a candidate running for president of the US and who is allowed to vote. That lesson took us to where I wanted to go, which is discussing about our current presidential campaign and the candidates running for presidents from all of the different political parties. We also worked on a booklet titled "If I was the president of the US". The children had to think about different current issues regarding our country, such as taxes, health care, education, economy, and war, very briefly of course and what would they do to help our country. and finally, I told them that we would have a mock election were they would get to choose who would they want to be a leader of our country. And YES, today we did cast our votes!! It was very exciting!! Loved the whole process!! Thanks to Ms. Martin that coordinated this whole important event!

Goodness being a teacher entitles a lot of responsibilities! But I love doing it, I'm passionate about politics! lol


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Planting the Seeds

Noah and Gavin reading the directions

All of the girls were very concentrated

Ms. Sonya was very helpful

Here is the station with all of the materials needed

The soil

Gathering the materials

Helping Addy!

Marina and Matilde were on task!

Gabriella and Isabella

Eddy and Samantha

Queen, Abigail, and Alana

Miguel and Gavin were following directions!

Joetmy, Eddy, Samantha, and Nancy
A few months ago I attended a training on Science called Laser I3 from the Smithsonian.It was very interesting and I learned a lot.They provided all of the materials needed to do some science projects with the class. Last week and this week the children had the first  few lessons on plant growth. We did a few experiments and we planted some seeds. It was a big task for all of us, just to set up the planting station with all of the materials and then making sure everyone got what they needed. I'm so glad that Sonya Hernandez "Gabriella's Mom" and Mr. Railsback were there to help us. There are so many steps involved in the process and you all know that "children are children", so you have to supervise closely that all of them were following directions step by step. We also had to create an automatic watering system, so that the little plants would have enough water without us checking every time. After a few accidents and some spills, everything went fine. It was a success and now the little seeds are sprouting and growing. The children have to keep up with their plants and they have to measure the growth daily. They have to observe and measure the plants daily and then record the growth of the plants on a graph. It's a lot of work and it requires a lot of patience! But it is a lot of Fun!
I will keep you all posted with the new pictures of the plants growing!

World Geography Class Projects

Marina did great on her Holland project and brought gouda cheese!

Matilde

Mati brought a delicious treat from Ireland

Emma now wants to vacation in Costa Rica

Miguel presentation on Greece was Stellar!

Miguel and his Grandparents

Ella and her Mom

Isabella did research on England

Isabella and her Parents

Nancy and her Mom

Noah presented on Bolivia

Queen's Presentation was about Mexico

Andrea and Ms. Ariana

Handsome Jesus did a great job on Romania

Addison did great on Grenland

Alana's project on Canada was simply Amazing!

Abigail presented on Cuba and brought some Conga Music!

Eddy did great too!

Mr. Raisback helping Jennifer!

Samantha

We had some pizza from Gabriel!

Eddy and his dad.

Gavin presented on Germany

Joetmy did her presentation on Columbia

Beautiful Gabriella brought us Croissants from France, yummy!


These couple of weeks have been very busy for my students and I. The children did finish their Geography projects and did their oral presentations. I think that when children start doing oral presentations early they develop confidence and later on presenting in front of lots of people won't be a problem. They all were great! The third graders did research in Europe countries, the second graders did it in South America countries and the first graders did their research in North American countries. They had to come up with very interesting facts, such as the location of their country, the population, the religion, the flag, important events in history, traditions and celebrations, landmarks, plants and animals, bodies of water etc. They did an excellent job! Parents and family were invited to the presentations and many of them were very kind to bring a special treat for the class from the country they represented, it was very nice! I want to share their success with all of you! I feel very fortunate to have these beautiful children in my class and to contribute to their education.