Monday, October 31, 2011

Yet Another "Wha Wha Whaaaat?"

I am a teacher who is willing to do anything it takes for my students. I want them to learn in the best environment possible. I want them to excel. However, I feel I have been thrown in a lot this year. And it is all out of my comfort zone. First, were the centers. I am quite comfortable doing those now. I have no issues with those and I'm glad I had to do them. Now, it is more individualized/differentiated instruction. With so much emphasis placed on value-added, this is the only way our students can truly gain a years growth. It makes full sense. If boy can't read at a fourth grade level, why continually give fourth grade stories for him to read. It only frustrates him and eventually causes him to give up. This entire concept is new to me. It seems so overwhelming. I have to find 4-5 pieces of work for EACH day?!?!?! Thankfully I have two absolutely wonderful teachers who teach reading with me that have been lifesavers. They are more geared to teach this way so it comes naturally for them. I have no idea what I would do without them.

Today was the first day of this new instruction. We were teaching Fact and Opinion. First teaching as a whole and then different leveled worksheets were passed out. This was done today despite me having to miss it :( I was sick at home, in bed. I came down with a possible strand of the flu late Saturday night and there was no way I was going to school today. I am not one that misses school so it was killing me to be at home today. Thankfully, I am feeling better and will be returning to school tomorrow.

Because I am so OCD, this is my very clean and organized desk. I am sure when I get back to school tomorrow, it will NOT look this way. That is one thing I hate about being out of school and having a sub!!!

Hanging from the ceiling is what we call our "Good Reader Steps" or GRS as the kids call them. They were designed to help students read a story and complete the questions.                  
Step 1: Read the questions                                 
Step 2: Box the Title                                      
Step 3: Read the Story                                    
 Step 4: Nonfiction: Circle one key word in a paragraph and write two details                        
Step 5: In the questions, circle the verb and any key word to help answer the question.                                                        
Step 6: Check over work             
OOOOH--And look in the background, see those NEW dry erase boards?!?!  I am soooo waaaaay excited to have those! I absolutely hate chalk so when the makeshift dry erase boards came, I was elated! :)

Here is something I found on Pinterest (although I cant remember who to give the credit to) and it sums up my whole perspective on individualized instruction :)


Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Centers

I realize I haven't blogged in a while. The busy times of school have taken over and when I am not busy, I am sleeping. The cooler weather has moved in and the leaves have changed and are starting to fall off the trees. I wouldn't mind this time of year if I didn't know winter was coming soon! :(

I have continued using centers and am getting used to doing them more. It was rather helpful this past week when I didn't feel well and knew I wasn't able to talk loudly to an entire class. Last week, I did centers with my fifth graders on Summaries. Here is a group reading a story and then doing a summary to follow:
Another group read a story. They wrote the main idea on a tree trunk and the details on leaves.

In fourth grade, we did homophone centers. I found a great game (and I wish I could remember which site I found it on) that used a domino like structure for homophones.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wake me up when September ends...

Where did the month of September go?!? I blinked and it was gone. It's hard to believe we've been through a month of school. Our first night of conferences is already next week, although we've had a couple so far.

I'm getting more comfortable with my centers. Ive done them for two weeks now. This past week didn't go as well as our first week did but I'm trying to make them work. I asked the kids how they felt about them and they all seem to love doing centers. Even though it is so far out of my comfort zone, I must do what is right for my students. This week, fourth graders are doing centers about homophones and homonyms and the fifth graders are having centers about main ideas and details. Pics will come at the end of the week

Recently, a soldier in our area was killed in Afghanistan. On the day of his procession, our school was given permission to stand along the road and pay our tribunes. I guess I should have a lot more confidence in my students than I do. I was worried of their behavior and their lack of understanding. While they had many questions, they did a super job!

When we came back into the classroom, the students wanted to proudly hang their flags on their cubbies. 

This is a very busy week for me. I have meetings or games after school almost every single day! I will be ready for the weekend!!!!