August 3, 2012

So Far, So Good!

I've been a third grade teacher now for two days... and, I'm still alive! It's honestly been a pretty smooth first few days and I don't think it could have gone much better. I officially have about the sweetest class ever. They're seriously adorable.

We've been doing a lot of procedures and a lot of explaining how third grade runs. But, we've also been doing a lot of team building and making friends. Like I said in my last post, I used some activities from Babbling Abby's Back to School for Big Kids unit. You can find it right here. The kids loved all the "Find a Friend" activities. We had a serious discussion today about who could moonwalk (answer: no one) and who thought they could moonwalk (answer: everyone). 

Another activity we did from the unit were Third Grade Backpacks. Instead of just writing about tools for success in third grade, though, we did a few other little pieces of writing, too. We wrote our goals for the year, a list of new friends and what we were excited about in third grade. I think they turned out pretty cute and they're perfect for our Open House next week :)

Here they are hanging out in the hallway. I tried to make sure they matched the pennants that are (shhhhh!) hot-glued to the bulletin board.

Here's a close-up.

How awesome are this cute kiddo's goals for this year?

We made a class promise on Wednesday. It turned out great because the kids wrote it and came up with it themselves. They signed their name on a handprint and decorated it and I stapled them around the promise as signatures. We recited the promise this morning in our Morning Meeting and will do so every day.

We also made an anchor chart today about what we expect from each other: what I expect from my students and what they expect from me. This was a good activity to talk about respect and expectations.

Okay, so have I mentioned my hatred of pocket charts on here? Because, seriously, I hate them. They're big and bulky and ugly and I hate the stands that they hang from for all the same reasons. Other than my calendar, I'm trying to be pocket chart free. So, I made this for my centers this year. It's just like the one I made for my guided reading groups. I saw the idea somewhere on Pinterest. Instead of using those silver clips that I would have had to go buy, I just slipped zip ties in the holes and
wha-la! A center chart!

I'll probably post about my centers again once school gets going and I get it all worked out. It's kind of Daily 5... but, with Book Clubs added in. I'm going to try it. It may BLOW UP in my face (and probably will) but, I want my kids to be REALLY excited about reading and I think Book Clubs are a good way to do that. So, basically, one or two groups of four will be doing book clubs at one time while the rest of the class are doing literacy centers. Then, as each group finishes the Book Clubs, I'll switch them with four other students and they will go into the literacy centers. The clips will be for students to make choices. They can put their clip on any center that has a sticker still available, but they have to go to each center each week. Like I said, there are some Daily 5 elements... but, it's not the whole system.

I made another clip chart this week. (I love me some clips... in case you couldn't tell.) This one is for behavior. I know everybody in blog-land has been using this for years. But, I've always just had a stop-light. Green, yellow and red. No nonsense, ha. I think third graders are maybe a little more mature, though. And, I think you can reason with them a little more and they can reflect on their behavior more than first graders can. So, I'm going all in. We're moving up and down and all around! It's madness.

Don't look too closely! I stuck this baby together at the VERY LAST MINUTE Tuesday night before the kids came on Wednesday. In fact, it's on the back of my previous behvior chart because I didn't even want to leave school to get some more poster board. I didn't want it to be polka dots and stripes and stuff but that was all the paper I had!

Okay, you can look closely... and laugh at me! Because, I'm laughing pretty hard right now at how terribly put-together it is. It's all kinds of crooked and the sides are HORRENDOUS. Oh well!

I did let the kids decorate their clips this year to help give them some ownership. They were pretty darn excited. It doesn't take much :)

Last BIG CHANGE I made to the room this week was I put the kiddos in groups instead of rows.

I know, I know. Everybody puts their kids in tables and I'm a horrible teacher for liking rows better. It's just that:

-tables make your room feel more crowded

-it's harder to get around the room when they're in tables

-tables encourage talking and I don't want them to talk all the time

-I don't like it when kids aren't facing me

-it's easier for me to see what they're working on in rows

-they are directly facing their friends in groups while I am trying to teach

Obviously, I've thought about this a lot. Ha. And, every year, I say I'm going to just put them in tables and just deal with it. But, usually by about the 5th week of school I can't stand it anymore and back to rows we go!

I'm actually liking the tables right now. It helps that the kids are older and more mature. And, third grade is really geared towards group work so I'm trying my *very best* to keep them in tables for as long as I can. (We did a TON of group work in first grade, too. We just did it all on the floor. If I have to put them in rows, the group work won't stop. They'll just do it on the floor. Just wanted to clarify...)

So, tables it is!

(For now.)

I probably won't blog again for a few days. I'm completely exausted. I'm doing ZERO school stuff this weekend. I need to just relax. I think teacher's work harder the few days before the kids come than they do all year. I'm planning on visiting my parents this weekend and playing with my poor little puppy. Her world has been ROCKED this week! But, she's awesome and she's going to get lots of lovin' this week. So don't feel too bad for her :)

Have a good weekend!!!


Mrs. Wathen said...

I TOTALLY move them back and forth. I find in math, they need to be facing front. I do put them in partners so they can work together when needed.

I have to say I feel such GUILT about it as I want them in groups!

The Resourceful Apple

Abby said...

Omiword, I laughed out loud at the moonwalk discussion! Ha! And, the backpacks?! SO CUTE! I love the scrapbook paper!!!! Good luck in looks like you're doing GREAT!!!!

Marianna Dunn said...

You have gotten so much done! It looks like you had an amazing first few days! :) I love the backpack ideas!

Delightfully Dunn

tcbooth said...

I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Come on over to Teacher Talk to claim the award. Congratulations!

Beth said...

I LOVE this post!! I am starting Grade 3 for the first time in a few weeks and I may just copy all of this!!!
Thinking of Teaching