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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Core Democratic What?

Okay, so this is one of those times when things don’t work out according to plan.  I started the school year with so many dreams and ambitions and then – the school year started.  The first month is always a giant cluster of catching up (even as organized as I am), but then one things started to settle down, I ran into a slight problem.  What I thought was a couple of bug bites from the mid-October visit to the pumpkin patch turned out to be a lot more than I even imagined.  I went to my doctor and talked to her about it, just because what if it was a poisonous spider bite or something crazy?  (Yes, I need to stay off of WebMD)  It wasn’t a bug bite at all – I had shingles.  SHINGLES!  I kind of always thought it only happened to those who were much older, but it was happening to me.  I was immediately taken out of work for a week and a half and told to relax.  It was brought on by stress and I know exactly where that came from.  This year has been incredibly stressful.  Being an inner-city teacher isn’t a walk in the park – I love my job, but it comes with a heavy stress load.  So I relaxed, went back to work and life went on.
Well, then November rolled around and I felt the cold that was going around – it started around Halloween, but it’s just the time of year.  A few days later, a nagging cough came in and it just wouldn’t quit.  By last weekend, I could barely breathe my lungs were so congested.  I went to the doctor this Monday and she was worried I had pneumonia, but at the very best, a very bad case of bronchitis.  (Chest x-rays came in…no pneumonia!)  However, she still had me off work for the week.  So here I am at home, on a Thursday when I would normally be at work, and while I type this it sounds like there is a packet of Pop Rocks in my lungs.  I am crossing all of my fingers that this is gone by Monday so that I can return to work healthy.
While I was off with shingles, I did finally have a chance to work on my first lapbook and I’m pretty excited about it.  At the beginning of the school year I met with the social studies department (as we do every year) and there was a push to make sure each grade was instilling the Core Democratic Values in their classroom.  While I haven’t covered it in depth in 2nd grade, it’s definitely something that we do cover.  I took this time off to do a little work and came up with a Core Democratic Values Lap Book.

I’m actually really happy with the way that it turned out and have had success using lap books in my classroom before.  While I planned to do it before the election, the bronchitis had my out of the room, so it will have to be shifted for after when I return.  This may work out better because I know my kids are going to have a lot of questions and I want them to feel like they can talk about it.  I knew during our class mock election how they felt about their candidates and I want to use this opportunity to stress the importance of education and using their voice within their community – regardless of their age!
One thing I really like about the way this turned out is that it’s not TOO much to handle for younger kids.  I’ve done lap books before that took us an entire day or two to complete.  This is very doable in the classroom!  I always try to create with my class in mind – because my kids are active and can be very challenging, but I also think about ways other teachers can use this to take it one step further.  Included are ways to differentiate with the definition cards, talking points that can be used in class and at home, and items that are quick to fill out and in terms that kids can understand – a big perk in social studies!  Each feature within it includes a picture to provide step-by-step instructions for assembly.  Even if students are absent, this is broken down easy enough that they can complete the assignment at home.  This would also match perfectly with my government units for 2ndgrade, but it can be used in lower or higher grades as well.  It’s definitely not limiting!  This is something I’ll be using in my classroom for years to come and I am extremely excited about that!  Social studies can easily be swept under the rug, but in order to build our students into the informed citizens they need to be, we have to make it a priority and start from the bottom.
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