|Each day kids added post-its to a new chart.|
We spent a lot of time working on building our classroom community, setting up basic procedures, and just making sure the kids feel comfortable of course. We made (and then discussed) some charts like the one in picture, usually related to one of our read-alouds or a prior class discussion. Other topics were "What kind of teachers do you want us to be?" "What can students do to help each other succeed?" and "Why is school important?" It was great to see the students come up with the answers to these questions.
I did manage to slip in some regular academics of course too! For example, we definitely made some great progress in setting up Mentor Sentences, Writing Workshop, and the Daily 5!
So, I use a lot of mentor texts in my classroom in every subject area. But this Sunday we're talking about Language Arts mentor texts. Forgive me for not making a little image for each one! I figured I'd just give a little snippet about them all in one shot!
|These were my mentor texts for various things throughout the week!|
Do Unto Otters was a great lead into our "ways we want our class to be" and "what can students do to help each other succeed?" activities. Perfect to read before writing a classroom constitution.
I read Matthew's Dream and Cloudette this week during Writing Workshop in conjunction with my 50 things I love freebie graphic organizer and the prompt "How do you want to change the world?" This is a twist on the typical "hopes and dreams" activity I usually do each year. While reading these stories this week, we added our first two strategies to our VOICES board; "use various graphic organizers to pre-write," and "choose a narrow topic." (We'll revisit these two often.)
We added our first two strategies to our CAFE board too! Comet's Nine Lives is great for modeling the "check for understanding" strategy. The side story Jan Brett weaves in through the illustrations, the use of interesting words, and the almost unbelievability of the cat continually dying is really engaging for the kids and is great for modeling this skill.
Our other one is the "choose appropriate texts" strategy that went along with our talk about choosing good fit books!
And of course, that first week of school you've got to have some activities that are mostly for fun and community building! I loved the way this student completed this activity (from my back to school activities pack). We did some other fun stuff, and we still have some more fun coming up next week too! I just couldn't fit it all into a 4 day week!
One challenge I'm working on overcoming right now is how exactly I want to handle Spelling and Word Work in my classroom this year.
I have quite a range (double the normal because I'm a 3/4 multi-age) of ability, and our current resource for Spelling is kind of...not my style... I'm lucky enough to work in a district that provides instructional coaches, so I was able to run some ideas by her. I want my Word Work sessions to be mostly independent(so kids can do it during Daily 5 while I'm busy conferring with other kids), but I obviously want it to be really meaningful and not just busywork. I'm really interested in teaching about affixes and latin/greek roots too. But obviously I'm nervous about doing something drastically different than the norm...
My instructional coach recommended Words Their Way (which I used when I taught Primary) and was able to procure me an extra copy of the resource from the district (score!). I posed this same question to my facebook followers and was happy to see that the feedback I received was also in favor of WTW and focusing on affixes and root words (thanks ladies!) so that was good! Anyone have any favorite WTW games or independent Word Work activities to share? I'd love to hear some details about how Word Work works in your 3rd or 4th classrooms! I'll be doing the pre-assessment this next week, and doing our Word Work anchor chart, but will need to have a system in place for the 3rd week of school! Yipes!
In other exciting news, I'm pitching in to help two of my BBBs celebrate some big milestones!
There's a great giveaway going on where you can win a choice from some great prizes just by stopping by some great blogs you should be visiting anyway and collecting the numbers in their posts! While you're there, make sure you're a follower! These ladies all have great things going on on their blogs and you'll want to be in on their future posts!
The next stop on your journey is over at I Heart Recess! Just hit this button to head on over there now! Or if this is your first stop and you'd rather start collecting the numbers from the beginning you can hit that button and go grab a handy cheat sheet over on Diane's blog!
Collect all the numbers and then enter for your chance to win! I know I will be!