Continuing to Address Student Social Emotional Learning and Access to Texts

We finally have access to our school library! Our library media specialist has been tasked with creating a schedule where only five students are permitted in the library at a time. Every other week, each teacher has four or five 15-minute slots for his or her students to return and check out books. It’s not ideal. However, it is how we are expected to engage with the library space for the time being.

My students seem to be responding well to using the Coping Tools Checklist. We are practicing using one coping tool a day until we are comfortable with all the options. With the help of our gifted resource teacher, we have also begun engaging with some texts to address our social emotional learning needs. We read “Me and My Fear” by Francesca Sanna on the first day of school to address our anxieties as a class. I had the students create a circle concept map with the word fear in the center. Next, they were to write words, or draw pictures, that came to mind when they considered the concept of fear. For example, they could jot down things they are afraid of, how they feel when they are afraid, or how they act when they are afraid. We shared our concept maps, then previewed the text. My students discussed their observations on the size of the girl’s fear throughout the text on our picture walk. In the book, fear is like a white shadow of the characters. Fear stays with the main character and grows and shrinks throughout the text. During our read aloud, we used context clues to understand why the main character’s fear was progressively growing larger and how it impacted her relationships with others. The students made connections between the text and their own experiences as we read. Finally, we talked about the little boy and why the main character’s fear started to shrink. In the end, the little girl realizes everyone has fears, and she is not alone. The students were intrigued to see that fear never completely went away, and I facilitated a discussion on why fear stays with us. The students were quick to identify that fear can keep us safe in dangerous situations. At the end of the lesson, I had the students add any new ideas to their concept maps. My students seem to be very sensitive to other and how others view them.

Our classroom library has been a big success so far! The students have been very respectful with the texts I have provided. I gave each student a book box to store their books from our library to keep them safe from the wear and tear inside desks. Since I do not know each student’s reading level yet, I have allowed the students to select two books free choice this past week. This have given them the opportunity to practice finding texts and simply enjoy independent reading. My students have been using the “Just Right Method (Five Finger Rule)” to find texts that are a good reading level. My student librarian was quick to pick up on the Lexile organization system our library follows. He helped me put books back into the right bins without any trouble. It also gave me a chance to build rapport with him over books he enjoyed. This year, our school has worked in twenty minutes for daily independent reading. So, we, as a class, set a goal of 10 minutes of sustained reading to start building our stamina. The students also asked for an outlet to share books from our library they enjoy with their classmates. So, we dedicated a space on my chalk tray to display books our students recommend. I also had my students pick a book review page for fiction texts, as well as a book review page for nonfiction texts. We are going to display them with our recommended books. Then, we are going to store them in a folder with prongs. We are going to keep that folder in our library for any friend who is looking for a new book to read. We’ll see how this progresses as we put it into action.

space suit reading

Virtual Field Trip to the U.S. Capitol

In social studies we are studying citizenship and what that means to us here in the United States of America. Today we are going on a virtual field trip with our First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. We will visit many influential spots including: the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. We will also receive interesting facts and insight from experts along the way. My favorite spot has to be the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. There are so many amazing artifacts, and 19 museums included in the Smithsonian Institute. The Institute even has their own ZOO! Watch the video and share your favorite spot and/or interesting facts that you learned by watching this video.


I learned that Plug-ins can be used to add new features or make it easier for others to interact with your blog. I activated Pixabay, Lightbox for Images, and Cool Timeline. I like that Pixabay can make it easier for my students to find and add pictures to the blog. Inserting images is pretty simple with this feature, and the the selection of images to choose from is fairly wide. I like that Lightbox for Images can make it easier for my students to view content on our blog without leaving the page. I also chose Cool Timeline with the thought of using it during social studies and a unique way to display student learning.

Respect in Our Classroom

In our classroom, it is important that we make a space for everyone to feel loved and accepted. We do not always have to agree, but we need to respect one another. What does respect mean to you? How can you show respect to someone else this year?

One for all, all for one by Photo by Rineshkurmar Ghirao on Unsplash

Classroom Library Updates

We have some new school rules about using shared books in the classroom. We have to make sure we keep each other safe this coming year. We will have the library open for you to check out books. However, when you are finished with a book place it in the bin beside the library. We have to clean the book before we put it back. We will have a classroom librarian who will help the teacher clean the books and put them away where they belong. We also have some BRAND new texts available in our classroom library! Be sure to check them out and share your favorite books on our blog!

My Avatar

I created this avatar several years ago using Bitmoji. I have used it in my classroom and updated it annually. This updated Bitmoji reflects my positive attitude and love for pastels. I feel that adding an avatar gives you a more personal touch without adding a real photograph. My students love creating their own avatars, and I find it provides some insight as to how they view themselves.