Thursday, August 22, 2013

Active REEEEEAAAADDINNG

Today in my fifth grade class we started REEEADDDINNNG! This is something great my "mentor" teacher has taught me and I LOVE it. Basically, when you are reading your mind is always active, we focus on digging deeper into the meaning of the text, by making connections, inferences, questioning, and predicting. I starting teaching the kids today, that this is what we are already doing, it's nothing different except this time we are just writing down. They all have an active REEEAAADDDING notebook, that they put their notes in when they read. I have taught them that they can stop in the middle of reading, and jot down notes, or read for twenty minutes and do all your notes after. The best part about this, is I collect it and I can see how the child is reading by their notebooks and the notes they take while they read. It's very individualized and differentiated. Each child is a different learner, there for each child is working on a different strategy. I am so excited to see my kids dig deeper into their books, and see how they become better readers!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Week STRESS

This week has been a whirlwind of activity. It was the first week of school, and that comes with excitement, anxiety, lots of work (that I'm not used to, due to summer!), and stress... due to all of this going on that is why I'm blogging on Sunday as opposed to earlier in the week! This week was my first week in fifth grade, and I love it. I have noticed a big difference on what they are able to do on their own, and so far I love it! For example, the kids are splitting one spiral notebook between two subjects, and I asked them to split it with a sticky note about half way. It took them about 2 minutes to do this, and I was so happy. It's the little things! :) I think that would have taken my third graders about 10 minutes to do this simple task. While planning for this coming up week, I am having trouble finding activities that are fifth grade appropriate and not too young. I think this will happen a lot this year and a lot of it will have to be trial and error. As I was planning this week, I was wondering what all of you do for your lesson plans. Do you plan day by day, or week by week? I usually plan a week at a time and then alter as necessary. What have you found works best for you? Also, do you plan with your teammates and do the same activities?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Week of School Planning.. oh my!!!

We've all been there and most have done it. The first week of school is the hardest! New students, setting up routines, taming behaviors, assessments and more. Each year, I think oh this year the first week will be so much easier, I've done it before, WRONG! I am always so nervous, never sure what to do, and I have a fear I will forget a procedure or I won't set expectations high enough, or question if they like me, if I'll be good ect.

This year, I'm calling it an adventure. I am in a new grade, with the same students from two years ago, with a whole new curriculum and I am nervous! I have started to plan, but I can't do the same thing I've always done. I would love to hear some of your ideas for back to school activities for the upper grades especially. I have done many great things in the past that I am going to share, I hope maybe you find these useful.

I have read First Day Jitters, which is amazing! Also to teach about character and being happy with you are I have read Chrysanthemum, and this year I am reading the Name Jar, which also helps you realize that you are special regardless of what others think. To show that you treat others is important I have read Have you Filled a Bucket Today, this is a FABULOUS book about how everyone carries around an invisible bucket and it's full when you do nice things for others and it's empty when you do mean things to others. I love to read a book a day that teachers during the first week! Any suggestions?? I LOVE reading to my students, no matter what age!

I have also done the basics like classroom scavenger hunts, people scavenger hunts, and time capsules. I love the time capsule, and the kids love opening it at the end of the year! They realize that they change so much in a year! What are some of your favorite activities??

One activity I love to do to model mutual respect that I have for the students is do draw two posters. One of Miss Nelson, from Miss Nelson is missing and one of David from No David. I have the students share the expectations they have of me, and then they share expectations they have of themselves. It's a great way to see what they expect.

I am so excited to meet my kids and get the first week under my belt. :) Bye bye summer, see you next year!!!