Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Excitement for Learning

Due to Hurricane Isaac, schools were closed yesterday and again today.  I can honestly say that I was upset to hear that I wouldn’t have a full week with my new students. I guess that’s a good sign, and I hope this year continues to go smoothly.  My class is really coming together as a team. We are learning to work together and help everyone succeed.  This is my first year at a Montessori school.  I am slowly learning how to incorporate all of the amazing Montessori materials into my lessons.  I love how my third graders have been taught to be independent thinkers and workers in their previous 4 years at the Montessori school.  This allows me to serve as a facilitator (which studies show to be the most successful way of teaching) and I love it.  I have already seen excitement for learning in the eyes of my students.  We started off our year by thinking like scientists and asking scientific questions.  My students are begging me to research the answers to our questions and then share what they learned with their classmates.  I cannot wait to get back to school tomorrow to see all those shining faces, but I am thankful for the additional time to prepare my lessons for the next few weeks.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

The First Weeks of School

Today was the seventh day of this school year, and my students surprised me with how independent they could be.  We are still working on our procedures and routines, but I love the Whole Brain Teaching aspects that I have implemented this year.  I have always had class rules, but never reviewed the rules each day.  I feel that this is a great part of WBT.  

My students and I spent last week getting to know each other.  My favorite activity was Story of My Name by Fourth and Ten.  

I really loved reading how and why my students were given their names.  The craftivity that goes with the writing project makes for a great beginning of the year bulletin board.  Here is a picture of the completed hall display with the students name posters.  

To create the name posters I simply used Word Art in Word to create my students’ name posters, printed them on cardstock, had the students color them, laminated them, and hot glued clothespins to the back of each.  This will allow me to hang the students’ work all year for displaying in the hallway.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Reader's Notebooks

I finally completed my Reader’s Notebooks today.  I wanted to make tabs to separate the three sections, but I wasn’t sure how to make tabs that wouldn’t be destroyed by my students.  After a lot of thought, I decided to use three colors of card stock to create “dividers.”  After printing information on each sheet, I folded it in half and glued it on a sheet of paper in the composition book. 
The first section is where the students will record notes about the books I read to the class during Reader’s Workshop.  They will record the focus skill and any necessary anchor charts.

The second section is where the students will take notes on the books they read independently in class.  There is also a spot where they can record the AR quiz score they earned.

The last and largest section (half the composition book) is where the students will complete their independent reading assignments and write letters to the teacher about the books they are reading. I have created writing prompts on address labels for each Common Core standard.  The students will place the sticker in their notebooks and then write a response about the book they are reading.

I can't wait to see how these work out in my classroom this year.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It...Projects for a Dollar

I am linking up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.  This week, all of my projects were made with items from Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and the Target Dollar Spot.  

I got the idea for using the foam cubes from Dollar Tree for word work activities from Amanda from One Extra Degree.  I decided to use the letters for a Boggle-type game since I do not have the wall space to put up one of the cute Boggle boards. The kids will roll the dice and try to make as many words as they can using the cubes. I think this will be easier than the Boggle board because the kids will be able to move the cubes around to form the words.
I used my leftover foam cubes to make dice.  I love foam dice because the sound of regular dice rolling on a table drives me crazy.  I just used a Sharpie to draw dots on the cubes.  Then I found these great plastic containers (6 for $1 at Family Dollar) to keep the dice in (like I saw on Pinterest from Sunny Days in Second Grade).  The best part is that the kids can roll the dice while they are in the container, the dice will not become projectiles!

I wanted my kids to be able to easily grab the materials they needed for math games, so I used these black buckets from the Target Dollar Spot.  Each bucket has a deck of cards and a set of dice.  I made 12 buckets, so each pair of students will have their own to use. 
Dismissal at my school is a 30 minute process as kids are called for various buses, day care vans, and car rider groups.  Last year, I felt like this was a chaotic and wasteful time.  This year I’m going to try using this beach ball as a closing activity.  The kids will pack up and come to the whole group meeting area where we will pass around the beach ball.  Each color of the beach ball has a sentence frame that will help the students sum up what we learned during the day. 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Sports-Themed Super Improver Wall

I am so thankful to Stephanie at 3rdGradeThoughts for introducing me to Whole Brain Teaching.  I was very intrigued by the Super Improver Wall idea because I do not think it is fair to only acknowledge students who earn As.  After watching Chris Biffles video about it, I decided to make one for my classroom.  I used the sports-themed levels shown in the video, but I added a couple of my own to give a total of 12 levels for the students to move up throughout the year.  The levels that I used are rookie, phenom, starter, leader, star, MVP, captain, super star, Olympian, record breaker, hall of fame, and living legend. 

Each student will start with a white name tag on the wall, and earn stars for personal improvement in academic or study skills areas.  Once a student earns 10 stars, he or she will earn the next color name tag.  This continues until the student earns a golden name tag and reaches the “living legend” level.
I will use a similar procedure for behavior with my clip chart.  Each time a student ends the day at the top of the clip chart, he or she will earn on star on his or her clip.  After earning 5 stars, students will earn a new color clip.  This is not a new idea, but I love rewarding students for going above and beyond in regards to classroom behavior.



Design by Custom Blog Designs