Monday, September 16, 2013

Learning Celebrations- they make a difference!!!

Hi Friends! When I first moved back to Newnan 6 years ago and started teaching at Arbor Springs, Cristy taught me about the most awesome culminating activity for a unit of study. It is called the Learning Celebration! Thank you so much Cristy for teaching me how to get parents and kids more invested in our classroom and even more excited about learning!

Probably everyone already knows about a Learning Celebration, but in case you don't I'll explain :). Seriously how could I go 12 years, think I was a pretty good teacher and not know about a Learning Celebration??????

Well just in case you find yourself in the boat I was in several years ago and have not ever had  a Celebration, this is a MUST DO activity!  All you do is spend several weeks on a topic/unit like Living/Non-Living things, Author Study, Friendship, Community, Reading/ Writing Strategies, etc... Really it could be about anything.

Then you have your kiddos complete an activity like writing about the topic and then illustrating, creating a PowerPoint, using craft materials to make something and then write about it, etc.... This also can be anything.

So our first Learning Celebration was a huge success!! We spent the first several weeks learning that good readers can read books 3 ways; read the words, read the pictures and retell. We have also been learning that good writers' borrow ideas from books and that good citizens need rules to keep everyone safe and learning.

So, using the book No, David! by David Shannon, our kiddos had to brainstorm and discuss with a friend all the things they might do at their house to make their grown-ups yell, NO!  You should have heard some of these friends!! They are hilarious!! Check what some of our friends had to say!!

Well, for the celebration, all you have to do is announce the Learning Celebration in your newsletter or make a cute invitation inviting parents into your classroom. Don't forget to invite your administration! The parents love to see the support and the admin loves this type of parent involvement.

Cristy and I schedule our Learning Celebration at the beginning of the day so parents can just maybe go in a little for late to work.  The turn out for both of our classes was AWESOME!! Only 4 or  5 families from each class were missing.

So after you invite the parents, either take digital pictures of your kiddos work or scan their work, then put their pictures into a PowerPoint. If you don't have a projector and activeboard, then the kiddos could just make their pictures on large construction paper to hang or on chart paper.

When the grown-ups come in, we give a brief welcome and intro explaining what was taught and the project,  the kids share their work, then we can discuss any important things that we want parents to know   (like the new report card or incremental grading).

 Anyway after discussing our important info, we share a quick slide show with music of pictures we have been taking since school started! Everyone loves a Learning Celebration!!

Try one!! You'll love it!!
If you have had an awesome Learning Celebration tell us about it!!
If you have not had one, We challenge you to have your first!!! We have several a year, but start with one and you will be hooked! What topic will your first Learning Celebration cover???

Have  a great week!!

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