Monday, July 29, 2013

What Happened to July?!?!

Holy smokes!  It's July 29th and I am about 10% prepared for school to start!  YIKES!  We've had construction begin at school, and we're getting carpet installed in the classrooms, so we can't go in to work until the carpet's in...and school starts on August 15!  Uh-oh...and on top of the craziness happening at school, I decided that summer would be a great, less-stressful time to move...until that move-in date got pushed back until LAST FRIDAY.  So, I've been spending all of my time, and my money, moving in, painting, cleaning, etc.  No money left for school items and decor!  Good thing I'd bought some things earlier in the summer!

My theme this year is pirates.  And there's not a whole lot of pirate decor out there for classrooms.  I've made a wreath for my door, but came home to find it had exploded.  The duct tape had come loose and the ends of the fun noodle popped apart.  Talk about frustrating!  Now, I have to repair that, too!

As mentioned earlier, I'd consider myself about 10% ready for school to start.  HOWEVER, that 10% breaks down to mostly...pinning ideas on Pinterest.  I have some MAJOR work to do!  I hate this unprepared feeling!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stained Glass Summaries

(I just saw that I never posted this, and meant to back in the fall!  This project was one of my FAVORITES from the year!  I loved how they turned out, and got lots of compliments on them from other teachers.  They were amazing! But, I'm too lazy to rotate the pictures right now...)

We just finished reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen in our Shared Reading.  It's one book that I remember reading and loving in elementary school, and I can officially say that it still holds true today.  Everyone in my class loved it.  I do recommend getting the audio book version and listening to it with the kids.  There are subtle sound effects that add to the story and the narrator is sooooo good to listen to.  It was so amazing to look out across the classroom and see every single student following along and turning the pages at the exact same time.

I gave my students read aloud logs (see previous post) that asked them to respond to one question or statement about the book each day.  I would then take 4 or 5 responses and add them to a Smart Notebook file.  It sparked some interesting discussions about how Brian changed throughout the story, predictions, questions, and observations.
I recorded their response exactly as they shared them!





After finishing the book and taking some time to reflect on the story, I gave my students a Story Summary Flow Chart.  It had 6 boxes with arrows pointing to the next box.  As a class, we decided that the first box should be that the pilot has a heart attack while flying the plane, and the last box should be that Brian turns on the emergency transmitter and is rescued.  Then, we made a list of events that happened in the story and decided if it was a major event or a minor event.  Students then chose what went into the remaining 4 boxes.  In each box, they had to draw a picture of what happened during that event.  Then, they had to take the events and write a summary of the story.




Today, I had to do some testing on kids, so I came up with an idea to extend their summaries and to include practice on quoting from the text.  I call it, "Stained Glass Summaries."  I had my kids take a blank piece of water color paper and draw 2 lines in the middle.  They could be slanted or straight, whatever they liked.  













Hmm...It's Been Awhile! And New Info on Social Studies Notebooking!

Wow!  I can't believe that  I haven't posted anything since Halloween!  I really meant to post more things, at a more regular rate, but the year got busy!  Seriously, the school year flew by so fast!  And now I can't believe that I'm in my 4th week of summer vacation!  Oh, no!  Summer slow down!

I've been spending a lot of time this summer working on my Social Studies notebooking units for next year.  I loved notebooking this year, and I learned a lot!  Next year, it will (hopefully) go a lot smoother, and it'll be much more organized!  I've been creating units and posting them on TeachersPayTeachers.  So far, I've posted a unit about Native Americans and Explorers of North America.  I created these units to work for me, but they can easily be used in any classroom or for homeschoolers.  What drives me crazy about some products on TPT is the lack of thoroughness.  If I'm using a packet of worksheets, I want to have good directions!  So, my packets have directions and comments about how I use notebooking in my classroom.

What I discovered to be the most important part of notebooking was the discussions that my class had about each topic.  I would have students volunteer to read paragraphs aloud to the class, then we would stop and discuss it.  We'd talk about how different the schools in colonial times were, the differences between Aztec and Conquistador armor, how the horse made a difference to Native American tribes, etc.  My students loved connecting the past to today through these discussions, and would bring up details in later conversations.  Yes, sometimes they got a little animated, but I figured that they were INTERESTED and ENJOYING learning about history!

Right now, I'm working on the Colonial America notebooking unit.  That should be available in the next few weeks!

Now, to get some rest, because I have to be at school meeting for our new reading curriculum at EIGHT O'CLOCK in the MORNING tomorrow.  Seriously?!? It's summer!  8:00am?!? Oh well, I'm excited to find out some more info on this reading program (Good Habits Great Readers), so I can start making plans for next year!  Oh, did I mention that next year I'm teaching ONLY Reading (with some Social Studies) and Writing!  Yahoo!  I'm so excited to do this, though I'll REALLY miss teaching science (some of it at least...), but I get all of the fifth graders during the day and I don't have to teach math!