On Wednesday my wonderful husband Ron came to meet/visit the learners. He read them one of his favorite books, “If you give a dog a donut.” He also told them several mischief stories about our amazing dog Taxi. The learners were very excited to meet Ron and Taxi. Taxi is a very calm and loving dog. If the learners wanted to they could give Taxi a hug, high paw, or kiss before she left. 

We had a fun writers workshop mini lesson on Thursday that was titled “When you are done, you have just begun.” It was a great lesson that reminded the learners of what they should do when they finish a story during writers workshop. Here are some photos of writers workshop time. 


During first grade time I taught the learners about roll n write. They were very excited to do roll n write independently this week when the kinders were dismissed at noon. Roll n write is a fun math activity because it allows the children to all work at their own individual levels. It is a math game that involves using dice and you learn about addition, subtraction and it eventually moves onto multiplication and division. 


The first graders also played another fun math game this week called count to 20. 


We also began the conversations and class meetings that will end with our classroom agreements. It takes several weeks and many class meetings to create our agreements. I always love the process and journey of writing and creating our agreements. The questions that we discussed and pondered this week were: “Why do we come to school? and What do you think our schoolwork will be this year?”



Mindfulness

During September we will be learning how to be quiet in our minds and bodies for 2 to 3 minutes. During this time we will be learning how to pay attention to our breath. We begin each mindfulness lesson with the ringing of our Tibetan bell. I have found that just hearing the sound of that bell helps the children calm down. After our lessons on Wednesday and Thursday  I asked them what it felt like to be “quiet” for a few minutes. Here is a list of some of the words that they used to describe what mindfulness felt like to them:

peaceful

love

kindness

calm

quiet

happy

still

Over the course of the year I will share different things with you about mindfulness. Here is a quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn about how he describes mindfulness, ” Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” 
Daniel Rechtschaffen the author of “The Way of Mindful Education,” shared that these can be some of the benefits of Mindfulness:

– Better focus and concentration

– Increased calm

– Decreased stress and anxiety

– Improved impulse control

– Skillful ways to respond to difficult emotion

– Increased self-awareness

– Increased empathy and Understanding of others