Tangram Tales Residency @ Strehle Elementary – Day 6 – Wednesday, January 21, 2009


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Ms. Mauer's 4th graders rehearse their story

Ms. Mauer's 4th graders rehearse their story - 1-21-09

Friends:

6th day at Strehle began in 4th grade. Sometimes, this chatty bunch is sometimes hard to settle down and this group was no exception. It took a while to organize the class and solicit their input for the creation of the story chorus. They were a challenge and we did not make it all the way through rehearsing the entire script.

After 4th grade, it was a refreshing change to walk into a Kindergarten class where the teacher excitedly yells, “She’s here! Ms. Dianne is here!” The students were quiet, cooperative and full of enthusiasm. I had so much fun with them.

Ms. Clausing's Kindergarteners listen intently to "The Old Woman and Her Pig" - 1-21-09

Ms. Clausing's Kindergarteners listen intently to "The Old Woman and Her Pig" - 1-21-09

After the story, they went back to their tables to work with Tangrams. Here is Taylor, proud of her candle Tangram.

Proud Kindergartener Taylor creates candle Tangram - 1-21-09

Proud Kindergartener Taylor creates candle Tangram - 1-21-09

Check out these gorgeous girls!

Kindergarten Cuties - 1-21-09

Kindergarten Cuties - 1-21-09

After Kindergarten, it was on to Ms. Landry’s 3rd grade class. They did such a phenomenal job rehearsing their story, “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” that they received a special treat from me – me telling the story, “The Ghost of Mabel Gable.” They absolutely loved it.

3rd grader makes mountain Tangram in "Three Billy Goats Gruff" story - 1-21-09

3rd grader makes mountain Tangram in "Three Billy Goats Gruff" story - 1-21-09

Great job, Ms. Landry’s class! Ms. Dianne is proud of you! Woo hoo!

It was on to another 3rd grade class, Ms. Glass’ class. It took a little while to get the students organized but we made it through the whole script and there were some very wonderful moments in the class – students helping other students, students learning their parts without the script, and students just doing their best. My last visit was quite challenging but today, these 3rd graders really worked hard. I gave them 20 minutes of my lunchtime to finish rehearsal of their story, “The Mitten.”

3rd grader creates Mouse Tangram in "The Mitten" - 1-21-09

3rd grader creates Mouse Tangram in "The Mitten" - 1-21-09

After lunch, it was on to 5th grade. Ms. Walters was out and a sub was in the room. The students were loud and unsettled when I walked in. The sub had no idea about my visit and it seemed to fluster her. Because so much time was spent trying to corral the students, we did not finish our rehearsal and it was my last visit with the students.

5th grader Ebony creates fire Tangram - 1-21-09

5th grader Ebony creates fire Tangram - 1-21-09

Of course, not everyone in the class was uncooperative. I had several 5th grade students who listened, followed directions, and showed personal responsibility. One of the students was a bright light in my day. Chastity, a pretty fifth grade girl, made me two pieces of art. One of them was a picture of a paddlewheel boat – it was partially airbrushed, inked and glittered. Just gorgeous! She gave it to me to remember the students at Strehle. I was so touched. Here I am with phenomenal Chastity.

5th grader Chastity gives Ms. Dianne a gorgeous piece of art - 1-21-09

5th grader Chastity gives Ms. Dianne a gorgeous piece of art - 1-21-09

After 5th grade, I headed to Ms. Dorsey’s 2nd grade classroom. What a delightful group of students. It was my first visit but the students were prepped. Ms. Dorsey plays my CDs for the students all the time. It was such a pleasure to walk into her classroom. The students participated enthusiastically in my story, “The Old Woman and Her Pig.” It was so much fun. Ms. Dorsey is one of those teachers I wish I had in elementary school! She makes learning a joy. Thank you, Ms. Dorsey!

Ms. Dorsey's 2nd graders listen to "The Old Woman and Her Pig" - 1-21-09

Ms. Dorsey's 2nd graders listen to "The Old Woman and Her Pig" - 1-21-09

I finished my day in Ms. Johnson’s 4th grade class. It was hard to contain these students – so many of them just talk out of turn, walk around aimlessly, and do not pay attention. I felt like I was trying to keep popcorn from popping. The students were so wound up. I finally had to have a talk with them. I told them that the next time I visited their classroom, I “Expect excellence. No excuses.” My camera battery died in Ms. Dorsey’s class so I was unable to take pictures. I hope that this group of students settles down when they move to the next grade. I enjoy being around Ms. Johnson. She is wonderful. I just wish the students would appreciate the caliber of teacher they have.

Today was a mixed day. Partly cloudy with bursts of sunshine. Through it all, the gray clouds as well as the sunshine, I believe that my work has merit. Even when I face a challenging group of students, I know they are gleaning something from the lesson, even if they don’t yet understand it. Planting a garden takes time. Not all flowers bloom at the same rate. Some take longer than others. But you have to keep nurturing and cultivating. So I continue to “water my garden” and hope that the seeds I plant today will blossom and flourish tomorrow.

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne