Sunday, December 16, 2012
Our Reading Street story last week was Night Letters. The kids really got into this story! For one of their stations, they thought about an object such as a plant or animal that they might find in their back yard. Then they wrote a letter to themselves from that objects point of view- just like the little girl in the story. I did model by writing my own night letter from the point of view of garden snake. After stations, they came up and shared their night letters with the class. I tied in our skill of the week which was drawing conclusions by having the students guess who each night letter was from. The students had to explain their thinking by using details from the text and their prior knowledge. My kiddos really enjoyed this activity and it was great practice!
Posted by Katie at 1:14 PM
Sunday, December 2, 2012
I adore Christmas! As soon as I finished my last bite of Thanksgiving dinner, I was ready to start decorating. I have decorated part of my classroom and put up our tree. The kiddos will make their first ornament tomorrow thanks to a wonderful parent volunteer! Just a tip: I buy a few packs on inexpensive thank you notes from Wal-Mart or Target and keep at school. That way I can write the kids a note before I forget and they go home for the holidays.
I found these felt snowflake place mats at Wal-Mart and hung them up in our classroom.
This is in my bedroom.
My Christmas tree at home.
An ornament we will make this season!
Posted by Katie at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I did it y'all! I passed National Boards!! I am officially a National Board Certified Teacher. Wow was I shocked and so so so relieved. In other great news, the day before I found that out- I was named Teacher of the Year for my school. That is such a huge honor because my co-workers vote on it. It was a good two days!
We all know that not a lot of work gets done the day before a holiday break. So yesterday we did some Thanksgiving literacy activities and writing before doing a math worksheet. Yes I gave a worksheet! It was a simple addition review which I thought the kids needed. I am sharing this because of the challenge I gave my early finishers. Students that finished early were given the challenge to circle the sums that were even numbers in green and the sums that were odd in red. My kids liked this idea a lot. We all have those kids that if they are not busy thinking than they are prone to getting into trouble so I am always looking for easy ways to challenge my kiddos. If you have any easy tips please feel free to share!
Posted by Katie at 4:46 PM
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
This is a funny. The other day I was working with students at my reading table. A little boy comes up to me and says, "Ms. Coleman, I threw up." I asked him where since I had not seen him or heard of chorus of eight year olds saying "EWW! Yuck!" He said in the classroom but I cleaned it up. Now my classroom is tiny so I see and hear just about everything! I asked him who saw him throw up (and so kindly clean it up). He tells me no one saw it. I said, "So you threw up, cleaned it up, and no one saw it?" He said yes. So I said ok, go to the nurse. He, of course, was fine and spent the rest of the day at school. Do they think I am that stupid or do they simply think they are that clever?
Posted by Katie at 5:03 PM
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Yes, I am alive. This year has been really hard. With a new grade level, a challenging group of kiddos, and a new math program (not to mention trying to have a life outside of school!) I have felt like I am barely keeping my head above water all year. I am just now starting to feel on top of things even thought I have a million things I want to start with my kids. My goal is to really think about what my kids can and cannot handle so I do not get frustrated. For example, I really really really wanted to carve pumpkins with my kids but I know my kids just can't handle it so I am putting it off until next year.
Anyways, this post is about Recess Academy. I wish I could take credit for this idea but sadly I can't. Those of you that have read my posts before know that I am a big fan of Setting Limits in the Classroom by Robert J. McKenzie and Lisa Stanzione. (Buy here). This book is about how to eliminate power struggles, give students logical choices, and respectfully manage your classroom. I read it after my first year of teaching and let me tell you- I went home a lot less frustrated every day. When I led the committee to write out new school wide discipline plan, this is the book we based it on. I HIGHLY recommend it. Ok back to recess academy. The idea is simple. You take kids out of recess or specials for five to ten minutes and practice behaviors they are struggling to master. I had my first recess academy two weeks ago and it was great. I had several students that continual blurted out and I realized how frustrated that made me and how it was have a negative impact on our day. So I pulled these four kids out of music (we do not get recess) to practice raising their hands. We sat on the carpet and I read them a really fun picture book. Whenever they had something to say or wanted to answer a question, they had to raise their hand. Sometimes I called on them and sometimes I did not. I have seen a real improvement in hand raising the past two weeks. This was a positive experience for both me and the students instead of making them move their clip and everyone getting upset. When we were finished, they went back to music class. There are a lot of other situations you can use recess academy such as standing in line correctly, walking in the hall correctly, following classroom routines, and lots more!
I would love to hear back from you if you decide to try this strategy!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I have made it through my very first days as a 3rd grade teacher...and I am pooped! The tininess of my students amazes me. Moving from 4th grade to 3rd grade is a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be. I am having to make sure I give instructions in smaller chunks and realizing how much less independent they are. I am learning a lot though! As I have mentioned before, my state has adopted and adapted the Math Common Core Standards. My county has started the journey of training us in AMSTI (Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative) in math. We got the Pearson Investigation Units and a whole lot of manipulatives. I think it is always important to give kids time to play with new materials before you try to teach them how to use them as learning tools. So today that is what we did. I set up a few different stations around the room (unifix cubes, pattern blocks, small white boards, etc) and broke my kids into groups so they could explore. We also practiced our station behavior before and during our exploration time. We practiced walking from station to station silently, cleaning up after ourselves, working together, and staying on task. After stations were all cleaned up, I asked the students to write in their math journals about how we behave and move during stations. Students were then encouraged to share their writing under our Elmo (document camera). I think this was a very valuable way to spend our time today. I took some pictures of the kiddos exploring the materials and reading today.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I have been very busy the past few weeks finishing up my classroom, attending workshops, and trying to enjoy the last bit of summer. School starts on Monday and I am super excited and stressed. I met some of my new kiddos at Meet the Teacher Night last night. Third graders are a lot smaller than what I am used to! I think I have a great group and some very supportive parents! Here are the last pictures from my classroom makeover.
My super cute door. Thanks to Brooke and Kim for helping me!
My "Classicot Award" Wall that I got from One Extra Degree
Inside the cabinet I have stored copy paper, lined paper, extra textbooks and extra workbooks. There is also a built in filing cabinet inside. In one drawer, I will keep the student's graded papers after they have been signed. I will keep graded benchmark assessments in the second drawer.
This is the back wall of the room. I have my calendar up. The empty bulletin board will be for novel study and author study. I plan on putting my reading vocab words and concept webs on the white board as well.
This is my library center. I have baskets for different genres, authors, and series. Each book is labeled for AR. Every book also has a dot sticker on the front that matches the basket in which the book belongs. I got my super cute genre posters from One Extra Degree (can you tell I buy all her stuff or what?!)
This is a big view of this wall. I have shelves running along almost the entire wall. I have picture books in baskets on these shelves as well as baskets of clipboards and dry erase boards. Their textbooks are currently stored there until I pass them out next week. I also have a lot of the math manipulatives stored in plastic bins as well.
A close up of my math journal basket. I have one just like it for reading journals.
A close-up. Their book boxes are on this counter. I have students turn in their work in the drawers. I have one labeled for centers, one for math, and one for science and social studies.
The front of my classroom. My math wall is still a work in progress! I have a little desk where my laptop and Elmo are located. I love that desk because I can store my teacher editions that I am currently using and any over head manipulatives right there.
My bookshelf with TEs, binders, leveled readers, and personal picture books.
A wide shot of the classroom and my small group area.
My classroom helpers and clipchart. The students will store their data binders in the stacked crates by the door.
I hope to post my plans for my first few days this weekend. Wishing everyone a restful weekend!