Monday, September 1, 2014

A Look at Last Week!

I'm still here!  I've made it through the first week of school!  Phew!  I came home after 7 most nights last week, went up to the school to work on Saturday for almost 10 hours, and spent most of yesterday working on materials yesterday after church...  It's been a long haul, but I think I have found my groove!

I love my kiddos - they are all so sweet.  But...  (and there is always a but!)  They are so antsy and talkative!  I'm going to have to really work hard this week on whole group behaviors and transitioning behaviors and workstation/independent practice behaviors.  I have tried the "return back and let's try this again" so many times!  One day in the cafeteria, I had them return back to the lunch table FIVE TIMES!!!  Needless to say, that took up some valuable classroom time!  In any case, it's time to get serious in third grade!  :)

So, last week was pretty much spent learning routines and procedures.  I did manage to teach a few lessons!

Reading - We set up our interactive notebooks (available through TpT here) and explored the classroom library.  We learned about the following:

  • Metacognition and made a reading salad.  I used Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting to model my thinking for students.  They then created a t-chart and sorted behaviors between real reading and fake reading.
  • Monitoring Comprehension.  We read Charlie Anderson by Barbara Abercrombie to practice monitoring our comprehension.  I also reviewed the word attack strategies for decoding.  We created an anchor chart that included both word attack and comprehension fix-up strategies.  They created a foldable of the word attack strategies for their notebooks.
  • Schema and Making Connections.  I read Don't Laugh at Me and then we listened to the song as well.  I was supposed to do the schema rollers but didn't get to it!  We did talk about our connections to the book and discussed how it is important to use our connections to better understand the message from the author.
  • In addition to those lessons, we continued to build our classroom reading community.  We are building a graph of our reading stamina every day.  We have only made it up to 5 minutes and 30 seconds!  I've never had this before, but we will get there!
Writing - We also set up our writers notebooks.  These notebooks are looking great, and I can see great value in them.  However, they are a lot of cutting and gluing to set up!  This week we worked on our heart maps and creating a seed list of ideas to write about.  We also completed an on-demand writing assessment so that I could get a glimpse into the kind of writers I have.

Math - This is the thorn in my side right now, but I'm determined to get past that feeling!  Because Texas has their own standards, the state reviews and revises them every so often.  This year is the year of math standard changes!  And boy can they be confusing!  So much of our time is spent trying to understand the standard that we are struggling even more with what we are going to do while teaching!  UGH!

In any case, I did start teaching place value this week.  Our little ones only learn up to the hundreds place in 2nd grade, so making the jump into the thousands period can be difficult.  So, we start with looking back at the ones, tens, and hundreds.  I don't know where I read about this activity, but I had the kids use the ones blocks to build a "house" of 8.  They worked together with a group to build it, and it was easy for them!

Then, I told them to build a new house of 24.  They liked this number better because they could build more of a structure!  This number was manageable with the blocks.  However, I then told them to build a house of 356 and they all began to dump their buckets of ones blocks!  Some were saying this is too hard, and I probed why.  They said the blocks were too small.  So I asked how it would be easier, and one bright young girl said to use the tens blocks.  Thank you, it worked!  We then had a discussion about how we can exchange 10 ones for 1 ten.  OR we can change 10 tens for 1 hundred.  This made building the houses much easier, but we still had to have the same number.  It was interesting that some groups used all tens, some used hundreds and tens.

This then led to my next lesson of our system of 10s.  I also introduced the names of periods showing that each place is 10 times as the place before.  I am going to extend this concept this week as we look for patterns in places and deepen our understanding through the hundred thousands place.  We also made a foldable of just the ones period and another foldable of just the thousands period.  We will glue those in this week right next to each other in our notebooks.

Overall, I can't complain about the week!  I was frustrated with myself for not being fully ready to teach these skills, but they came through.  This week is a new week, and boy do I have my act together now!  Watch out little third graders - we will be flexing our brain muscles!!!

I hope you have had a fab week!  Check back later this week for a glance at my anchor charts!

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