Saturday, September 13, 2014

Five for Fraturday??? LOL!

I'm here, I'm here!  Hahaha!  How many of you feel like you are still trying to find your groove?  I know that I am.  My family is starting to complain that I don't spend time with them when I am home because I am always on my computer or making something for the classroom.

Honestly, I thought it would be easier since I had a nice groove going before I left the classroom.  But Oh My Gosh!!!  I was wrong!  It definitely feels different...  New math standards, team leader role, new teachers on team, team that loves each other, staying within schedule, inclusion instead of resource for special ed kiddos, PLC meetings outside of conference period, writing every day...  It is just cumbersome during these first few weeks!  AHHHH!!!  LOL...  BUT... I LOVE IT, and am so glad that God spoke to my heart and led me this way!


I've decided to go ahead and link up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party.  I haven't linked up for a while now, it is Saturday, but I am now!  LOL!

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My kiddos LOVE to read!  I have really been pushing them to find "Just Right Books" to read in the classroom and at home.  It hasn't been too much of a chore for me, and for that, I am grateful!  One of my toughest kiddos came to me last week and said he finally found a just right book that he really enjoys.  Mind you, this was after I repeatedly handed him books to try out.  

Our stamina is up to about 14 minutes with our goal being 45 minutes.  They try really hard, but I can still see some of them getting restless when we get close to the 14 minute mark.  I also have kids read 2 chapters each night.  I have never done this before, but it seems to pay off.  I'm finding that the kiddos are finishing their books with this plan, and are moving through chapter books more quickly.  This will really help when we get deep into fiction.

Yesterday we visited the school library for the first time, and this was too large of a task for them.  The requirement was 3 fiction chapter books and 1 free choice.  Many of the kiddos stayed in the graphic novels section - not very big at all - and had a hard time finding books on the fiction shelves.  I will have to figure out a better way for this weekly visit so that my students feel confident in selecting books for themselves.

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I have had several conversations in my head about our interactive notebooks.  I understand that we are only going into the 4th week of school, but they are still struggling with putting things in the correct place!  Even when I tell them TEN TIMES where to put it.  Many of them are getting used to me now saying turn to the NEXT BLANK PAGE in your notebook to work.  Why is 5 pages after that last thing the next blank page - I don't know!!!  LOL!


I also have been finally introducing different components in our notebooks.  We started our reading logs this week.  I have to constantly remind them to make sure their books are in the reading log.  Next week when I begin conferring and small group instruction, I will be checking their reading logs.  

In addition to reading logs, we have started collecting words in our word study notebooks, writing entries in our math notebooks, and gluing, gluing, gluing in our science/social studies notebooks.  We have used so much glue lately!

One thing I have noticed is little 3rd graders have a hard time writing notes in their notebooks.  Many of my students do not have good writing fluency.  That is something we will work on this year, but for now, I have decided to start typing the notes with some fill-in-the-blanks for them to complete.  I think their writing fluency will improve as we move through the rest of this 9 weeks.

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Getting through the Launching units for reading, writing, and math have been difficult.  It isn't hard to teach, but rather hard to fit it in while also teaching student expectations.  Math has been the most difficult.  Beginning with place value in 3rd grade is very challenging for us - we started teaching it day 2 - and for the kiddos who just aren't mentally prepared.

In any case, I'm happy to report that we are moving forward with our independent practice.  I'm very impressed with my students and their progress with writing.  The first week, I had mostly 1 sentence stories written in their little journals.  Because we have been reviewing that writers long and fast, and writers reread to add more, they are really starting to pick up their speed with journal writing.  

This past week, I modeled selecting a seed idea, writing long and fast, and rereading to add more.  It's so cute how the kids are picking up on my writing style!  LOL!  I think it will begin to change once we introduce different leads, but for now, my style is definitely adding voice to their writing!  YAY!

I also started peer sharing.  We share our ideas for writing before we write.  Then, we share our journal entry after we write.  The writer reads their journal to a partner, and the partner can ask 3 questions.  I have taught the kids to respond with that is a great question - I will be sure to add that detail to the story next.  It's super-duper cute to watch them do this.  I'm thinking that they think this is great!  Even my most challenging writers share, and are now starting to write more!

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I received my SLANT box last week!!!  YAY!  It was such a great surprise to grab when I got home one night this week.  Haven't heard of a SLANT box???  It's similar to a penpal program, but with a teacher across the country.  You are paired with 2 teachers - one who sends you a mailprise and one who you send a mailprise to.  It probably wasn't wise to join the first time during back-to-school month, but definitely worth the treat!

Jameson from Lessons with Coffee creates the list, the theme, and does the hard work.  All you have to do is sign-up, get to know your pairings, send a box, and post to social media and blogs.

I really enjoyed getting to know Jessica and Jessica (yes, was very interesting having both of my pairings with the same name)!!!!!  

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I'm also going to link up with Mrs. Willis from Mrs. Willis Kindergarten for Peek At My Week!  Lessons plans for next week are finished!  I am going to be out on Friday, so I had to also create sub plans (and finish my sub binder).  Below is a little peek into my week next week!  I've been wanting to do this for a while now, but haven't gotten around to it yet!  It could be better, but this is good for the first one!  :)

Anyways, I hope that all of you have had a great weekend, and I'll be back next week!

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