Burn the Dictionary or Keep It! You decide!

Today I was so happy to be at work! I know, you don’t hear that everyday, but it’s true.  At the beginning of the year my students were like church mice, huddling in the corner, hiding in their uniforms and today they broke FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! We are writing an All-About Book.  An All-About Book is when you choose a topic and it’s only about that topic. Usually the story gives  a bit of history about the subject and it follows up with interesting facts.  An example of an all about book could be here!

I modeled how to write an All About Book and then the children began to write on their own individual topics.  Our group topic is about something we know a lot about… being first graders! Today we were discussing, yes, first graders can discuss! We were discussing the importance of keeping a personal dictionary.  I asked the kids if the dictionary was important during reading time. The kids erupted with a lot of arguments concerning the dictionary.  One student, S, said, “The personal dictionary is not important. If I find a word I don’t know, I can just look online and the computer will tell me.”  Student K responded with, “The personal dictionary is important. If I write the words down in my notebook when I want to know the word again, then I can look it up in my dictionary and it’s right here.” All of a sudden, Student I said, “Ooh, an argument!” I interjected with, “No, a discussion.”  Then about half of the children joined in on the debate about the personal dictionary.  Most of them wanted to get rid of the dictionary and the others wanted to keep it. When the debate became really heated, they started to look at me to stop them. I just turned my back on the kids and let the sparks fly.  You may think I should have interrupted their discussion, but this was a real issue.  They were passionately discussing the validity of keeping a dictionary.  So proud of my little love lumps today! So proud!


About Michaela Chatman

Michaela Chatman is the founder of Camp Roadless Summer Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camp based in the Tokyo area. She has taught in Chicago, New York City, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. She has worked with children from ages 5-16. She is a dedicated fan and supporter of the arts. She performs locally in Tokyo with Kaguratei, a blues band. She is an active member in TELL:Exceptional Parents Group, Japan Affiliate of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (JASCD), Tokyo Investment Group, and Pink Cow Connections Networking Group. For fun she organizes The Tokyo Lovers Pizza Meetup Group.
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