Monday, August 26, 2013

Must Haves, and a Peek at my First Week Back!

It feels so good to finally sit down and start writing a post! I've been wanting to write all week long and just could not find the time. I'm sure every teacher out there knows how busy that week before school starts can be. Well, for me this year has been one of the busiest ever! I've very happily moved to a 3rd/4th multi-age class this year, so the change in classroom, change in theme, change in classroom library, and just preparing for teaching two grade levels at once (and implementing common core in all subjects) have been a bit overwhelming.

I STILL don't have pictures of my classroom to reveal. The kids come back TOMORROW! I'm heading up to the school for one last time today to put some finishing touches on a few things, but even then I think there will be some things to finish up. I finally broke my to do list into categories, one of which was "Optional." It hurt to put things in that category...but I'll get to them eventually!

To get back into the groove of things I'm double linking up today! If my calculations are correct then it's time to link up with Sabra's Must have Monday linky over at Teaching with a Touch of Twang! My first must have today is pretty simple. I MUST HAVE a good plan. I plan out pretty much every plan-able aspect of my classroom. Changing to 2 new grade levels this year has definitely impacted me for this reason. I want to have a basic plan for the year laid out, but I just don't have the experience in 3rd/4th to do that, and it's stressing me out! Still, I have planned out my whole first week of school, most of my second, and started making plans for several of my upcoming units, read-alouds, etc. What are your favorite tried and true 3rd/4th chapter book read-alouds? 

My other must have is not education related, but still helps me make it through a lot of long nights of prepping materials, grading reading response journals, etc. It's Netflix Digital Streaming! I usually like to play a TV series in the background while I'm working on stuff. I've made it through most of the popular shows that I never saw on TV, and quite a few obscure shows too. I love the ability to marathon watch shows and not have to wait a week to see what happens. That being said, I'm looking forward to me and Killer B's decision to have "No TV Tuesdays!" 

So, like I said, kids come back tomorrow, and I'm super excited! I've been working hard to prep everything for my first week back. So I'm linking up with this fun new linky

Luckily I had my tried and true Beginning of Year Activities and Forms to help me with some of the basics!

So, to share some of the highlights of my days this week:

Tuesday - 
We'll be reading First Day Jitters, starting our Mentor Sentences notebook, taking a Test about the Teachers,($1) setting up some basic classroom procedures, playing 2 truths and a lie, going on a classroom scavenger hunt, introducing Daily 5 and CAFE, and making some anchor charts!

Wednesday - 
I'll be introducing our VOICES board ($3) and Writing Workshop, using our 50 Things I Love graphic organizer (freebie!), discussing good fit books, more anchor charts, and introducing our Africa unit.

Thursday - 
We'll be reading Cloudette and Do Unto Otters, making a hot air balloon glyph, discussing genre, and doing more community building! (Anchor charts too of course!)

Friday -
We'll be using Kidblog for the first time to write our family message journals, I'll be introducing terracycling, kids will apply for a class job, we'll learn about read beads and book reviews, do a little more community building, and of course we'll make more progress on getting those ever important class procedures down pat!  

Of course I'm leaving out a ton of stuff, but those are some of the things I'm really looking forward to.

This'll be my first time teaching a social studies unit on Africa. The materials provided by my district are a, and frankly I'm overwhelmed with the thought of teaching an entire continent that is as diverse as Africa. Anyone have any tried and true lessons? I'm planning to focus mostly on the overall size, extreme diversity of cultures, and diversity of ecosystems present in Africa.

I'll be back later this week to report in on the week and reveal my classroom finally!


  1. Oooh this is perfect- I'd just said to an instagram buddy that I had to track down who I got the Tunes Tuesday idea from so that I could link her to the resources people have shared.

    I've been doing it for the last four weeks and the kids LOVE it! I'll have to create some of my own soon!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  2. I love how planned out your are, Nick! My first week back tends to be more sketchy because my students are still in their summer mode and move at a snail's pace.

    Thanks for the freebie and I just added your VOICES to my cart at TpT. Saved me some work!

    Thanks for linking up. I hope you'll come back next Sunday. Have a great week! Can't wait to hear how it all goes! :v)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  3. I love Do Unto Otters - what a great book to start out the year! I would love to hear more about how you use Kidblog in your class as I am thinking about trying it out this year in my 3/4 class. Thanks for sharing your week since I have one more week to go before it is my turn :)
    Hope you have a great first week!

  4. Okay, tried and true Third Grade read aloud books: There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, Tale of Desperaux, The Bad Beginnings, and Wayside School.

    Either : Gooney Bird Greene, and Harry Potter of course.

    Fourth: The Homework Machine, My Haunted House, and Ember.

    I love KidBlog too! I use it with my higher groups and some years they run with it, others I can barely get them to post.

  5. I HAVE to be planned. I sketch out at least three weeks, get all the materials ready, and organize organize organize!

    Ms. Chae Charges In

  6. Have a great first day! It looks like you have been hard at work and are all set!
    Kheila and Jess
    Two Friends In First

  7. Well I assume of course that The Phantom Tollbooth is your list, so I'll just throw in a few others: Matilda and Emily's Runaway Imagination for one-chapter-at-a-time read-a-louds, How to Behave and Why for setting behavior expectations, and Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude is great for teaching voice and point of view.

  8. I am SO with you on the must-have Netflix! Watching our latest series right now and blog hopping--we always seem to choose the ones that have gone in to 6 or 7 seasons... :0) Love the Do Unto Otters book, too! All the best as your year gets into full swing!

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers


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