Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trying to get ahead...check out last week!

This part of my post needed some color, so here's my glyph
from the beginning of the year! I hung them in front of the
room's windows (from my washi tape clothespins) and I
think they look great! Follow me on instagram to see more
pics like this one!
So, this school year is still off to a great start! I am so excited to be teaching 3rd and 4th grade, and I have a great bunch of kids that are making the days go by even faster than they usually do. That being said, changing grade levels is a LOT of work. And changing from one grade to TWO seems like twice the work! 

So far this school year I think I've worked at least a 10 hour day every single day. Sometimes it's more like a 14 hour day (like on Back to School Night!), and I've been working weekends too... I'm really looking forward to getting into our classroom routine and having some time to get ahead of the game. 

I FINALLY started to feel that way tonight when I looked at my plans and realized that almost the entire week is prepped, and that I've started putting some things in place that are prepped for the year that up til now I've been prepping week to week. My reward for being ahead is that I'm letting myself sit down and finally write a new blog post!

I figured I'd share some of my recent classroom activities!

One fun and smart activity this year was one of our first get to know you activities of the year. I know every experienced teacher has done the "Me Bag" at some point in their careers. Well, this year I did a "Me Museum" instead! I really loved how it went. 

The students brought in three items with information notecards pre-written for each item, and set them up on their desks. Then the students had time to walk around and look at the items and read the cards. So much less time consuming than finding time for each child to present their items one at a time. I actually think the kids really liked this method better too, and we had some great items brought in!

As usual, I've used a ton of mentor texts lately! 

Recently I used these two great books to model the CAFE strategy "Voracious Reading." 

Knuffle Bunny and KB Too were great examples of writing a whole story about one small event. While not truly small moment stories like some of the others we've read and written, these books are fun and do show how you can write a story about just one little thing.

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers was our read-aloud for the week of 9/11. Of course we used it to do our Mentor Sentence activities this week as well!

This past week I focused on the CAFE strategy, "Ask questions throughout the reading process." The Stranger is a perfect fit for this strategy, and with it beginning to change from summer to fall here in central PA it made a great fit. The kids really loved it, and I loved the fact that even the kids who had the story got a lot out of it because they were applying the ask questions strategy! A Bad Case of Stripes is a favorite as well, and was great for asking questions before, during, and after reading!

I went simple with my VOICES strategy this week! I wanted to introduce the "Uses proper end punctuation" strategy so that I could refer to it throughout the year, and we were editing our first round of "small moments" stories a la Lucy these two books were a good fit for our mini-lessons.

I wanted to link up with the Collaboration Cuties today, but I just didn't use a good Science mentor text this week. We're studying Biomes and Ecosystems right in Science and I just don't know many great books for that! Any suggestions?!

I also got my Math Workshop and Reading Response Journals up and running full swing this past week! Wish me luck, this week I introduce Words Their Way as the main component of our Daily 5 Word Work! Then I'll intro Listen to Reading on the computers and we'll have the D5 up and running finally! I can see routine just around the corner!


  1. Glad to see you are alive after all! Hee hee! I know it's so busy at the beginning of the year. Just remember to take some time for yourself! I don't think I have any good biomes or ecosystems suggestions for you. Sorry! :(

  2. I love teaching Biomes to my kiddos. I have a few series for you that may be helpful: I did a blog post on one set here
    Another series that I use is The Biome Atlases Series
    Biomes of North America Series
    Endangered Biomes Series
    Hope that helps!
    Hunter's Teaching Tales
    Find me on Facebook

  3. Wow. You have been busy. I like your musuems - that is a great idea. Did you see the punctuation song with LL Cool J from the Electric Company?

  4. Wow. You have been busy. I like your musuems - that is a great idea. Did you see the punctuation song with LL Cool J from the Electric Company?

  5. Changing grade levels is a LOT of work! It sounds like you are doing great, though! Good luck!

    Sprinkles for the Teacher

  6. I love the museum idea! Way better than the Me Bag especially for my 5th graders who have done the Me Bag in 2nd and 3rd grade. I will save this for next year! What do you use on the computer for Listening to Reading? I desperately want to do D5 in my 5th grade classroom but I always feel like it is slightly out of reach. I would love any suggestions for doing D5 with older kiddos. I love your blog by the way. I used your Magazine Text Features item the other day with great success! Keep the great products coming :)


09 10 11 12
Blogging tips