the art teacher was also a first year teacher and she joked that her talent was knowing when to take the art away from the children. they would never be "done" but she'd decide that any more would ruin their work. she did have a great eye for when to stop them!
every year i would have a huge writing celebration at the end of august so we could tell the world that we are authors. i know that the experts say not to make your first writing celebration your biggest, but i loved starting the year with the huge celebration of our first month's work. it made the kids excited to keep writing as the year went on. plus, i used it to squeeze in as many lessons as i could. we would make cupcakes, which of course meant planning the ingredients, writing a shopping list for mrs lipstick, reading the instructions on the recipe, baking the cupcakes using math skills and team work, decorating them, and finally eating them. i did this because so many of our kids have trouble sequencing information and they especially have trouble with planning ahead and self-talk. below are the sentence strips i made one year for the children to use at a center in order to practice putting something in sequential order. everyone loves remembering good food, right?
and then there was the year i went to china to teach for 2 weeks during intersession and decided to try interactive writing there. turns out in china they learn words as whole parts. the teachers i was working with were really confused by the idea of phonics, as were the kids. it was one of the oddest interactive writing experiences of my life. 50 kids, 1 teacher, 1 pen. it says, "we live in Xian China. We like jump rope and football. Love," and then they signed their english and chinese names.