Friday, August 29, 2014

Busy First Week Back!

You know it's been a busy week when you start a Five for Friday post on one Friday and end up actually posting it the following Friday...
Last week was full of meetings and room prep...and meetings. Is everyone else's pre-planning like that? A lot of the meetings were worthwhile this year though, and for the first time in a while I actually didn't have to worry about changing rooms or redecorating at all. It was nice to walk in and only have to put my chairs down and do a few other prep things before getting right to the planning. 

The planning this year is bound to be one of my biggest challenges. I'm looping with a little more than half of my class, so most of the things I did last year in class need to be done a little differently this year so that I can keep it fresh. That means finding all new read-alouds, and doing some different community building activities than before. 

So, I came up with a few new activities that I thought went really well! I went ahead and added them to my store. Check 'em out!
These Back-to-School Classroom Procedures Task Cards were perfect for reviewing my classroom procedures of course, but also handy in teaching my kids how we use task cards! I know we'll be using them all year long, so it's great for the kids to get practice with this routine now.

We also played this fun get to know you activity I came up with. My kids played "The School Supply Headband Game" with these school supply cards I made. Kids picked a card, and held it to their forehead. They broke into partners, and they gave each other clues about their picture until they could guess what was on their card. To add a little challenge, I had a rule that each clue could only be one word. When kids guessed their card, they got a new card and switched partners. The kids loved it!
I'm actually making permanent headbands in case we play with other cards
later in the year! The kids loved it and asked to play again later.

I didn't think up all new things and make up all of my own materials, of course! There were still some tried and true activities that I'd learned about on blogs that I hadn't had a chance to try last year. I saw the activity "Saving Fred" on Ideas by Jivey last year and though I'd give it a try. It turned out great! 

In the end, 4 out of 5 of my groups were able to save Fred in the 15 minute time limit I gave them! The kids had a blast, built up some teamwork skills, and everyone enjoyed a gummy worm in the end! 

I was also able to use an activity I first learned about and tried a couple years ago that I thought went really well. I started by talking with my kids about how the things we say and do can have lasting effects. Then we read the book Mr. Peabody's Apples (by...Madonna). Afterwards I gave each kid a tissue paper heart and had them crumple it up. I told them that the wrinkles in the paper were like hurtful words being said. I asked them to apologize by smoothing out the heart. They quickly realized that it was impossible to completely smooth out the paper, kind of like how it can be really difficult to completely erase the hurt we cause other people's hearts when we say or do hurtful things. I think it made a big impact on them, and I'm hoping they'll remember this activity all year long.

I started launching my reader's workshop early in the week, and read The Name Jar the first couple days of reading. The kids really enjoyed this book. And it was perfect because I really think that my student who moved here from Korea just days before school started really believed that I picked it out just for her! If you haven't read this one yet, check it out! And be sure to grab up this book packet from the Collaboration Cuties to go along with it.

I started The Year of Billy Miller on Thursday. This is a pretty good book to start off the year for a few reasons. Billy is starting a school year for one. It has a great message. And it doesn't hurt that it is kind of short. So we'll be ready to start a new book right around the time we're done launching our reader's workshop and in the swing of things. 

All in all we're off to a great start! I'm really excited about the possibilities for this year! It's great to have one of the smallest classes I've had in years (just 20 kids!), and I'm excited to be teaching just 4th grade this year because it means that for the next two years I'll be doing a 3rd then 4th loop. That means I'll be able to pull all of the best parts of the past two years and tweak them rather than reinventing the wheel completely!

How has your first week gone? Check in with Doodle Bugs Teaching to see some more Five for Friday posts!

1 comment:

  1. I think my class would love playing Headbands. What a great way to review for a content area.
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans


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