[room 209m] unit planning

February 1, 2018

Things have been pretty crazy at my school recently. We’ve had three teachers leave since coming back from winter break and more teachers and paraprofessionals than that go on leave for a number of different reasons. Nevertheless, the show must go on! Since February is African American Heritage Month at my school, I’ve been trying my best to plan a unit for my students. This year, we’re learning about important traits related to self discovery: determination, appreciation, tolerance, friendship, and equality. We’re reading a number of fiction books related to these traits and learning all about respect when we meet up with a special teaching artist who is working with my students twice this month. It’s a lot of work, but always rewarding when students learning is super visible!


May is Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. At my school, we have three huge celebrations throughout the school year: Latino, African American, and Asian/Pacific Islander. Our last big one in May is Asian/Pacific Islander. Our theme this year was Out of the Margins, Into the Light, which I thought was very appropriate considering the current social climate in our country. My students did so much to prepare for this celebration/presentation in a short amount of time. We read four books and learning about character, setting, and sequencing of events. We watched various videos about cultural customs in a number of different countries. Then we put it all together in a video to show the school. I can’t show you the video here online, but you can see a small glimpse of what we did below!

Wall display of some of our work

Just the cutest class picture ever!


We’re back after winter break, which means our school is gearing up for our African American Heritage Celebration at the end of February. I know it seems early, but it takes a lot of time to get our things ready before we can create a wonderful video to share with the class.

In preparation for all this, I went on a library binge and borrowed a ridiculous number of biographies from the San Francisco Public Library. Our school’s African American Heritage Celebration this year has to do with Important African American Educators: Black Minds Matter, so I checked out as many lower level biographies as I could related to this theme as well as just some famous African Americans that would be good for my students to learn about.

I’m excited for them to start learning about some of these great minds like Mae Jemison, Rosa Parks, Ida B Wells, Charles Drew, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, and Thurgood Marshall. Now if only I can figure out how to present this information in an understandable way that the students can then learn about and present their learning in a visual way ………

Books galore!


goodreads-mama goodreads-papaAt school, we’ve been learning about Latino Heritage Month. This year, I decided that the best way to approach this unit of study was to find some great literature from the library and focus on those books during our read aloud times. I came across an author, Arthur Dorros, and we ended up reading a bunch of his books this past month. My favorites were Mamá and Me and Papá and Me. I like these books because they were simple enough for even my youngest students to understand, but also allowed for deeper conversations like how we relate to our caregivers. We used these books to talk about character, but then also relate the book to our own lives. I had the students draw pictures and write about what they do with the moms (mom figures) and dads (dad figures) in their lives. In fact, I just realized that if I put all their pages together, we can create our own versions of Arthur Dorros’ books!


It’s Latino Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). At my school, we have three large heritage celebrations a school year: Latino Heritage, African American Heritage, and Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage. Our first is the Latino Heritage Celebration at the end of this month, which means we are in full gear-up mode. One of the events we had is a special teaching artist who came in twice to work with all the kindergarten and first grade classes. She’s great when it comes to working with young kids, my students with disabilities included. She teaches them dances and various movements; she introduces them to songs from all over Latin America; and she gives them opportunities to experiment with various instruments like maracas and drums. This past week, she was in the room teaching the students a dance where they got to wear hats. They just had a ball wearing the hats, twirling them, and twirling each other, too!

Getting ready with their partners


Ready, set, twirl!