August 18, 2013

First Few Weeks...

Two weeks into the school year, guys! It's flown by. So far, so good. Those kiddos are starting to have more good days than bad days... except for Friday. Whew, that day was rough. Ha! But, overall, we've gotten a lot done and I'm starting to feel like those kids are mine.
Here's a little recap of the last few weeks...
1. Instagram Dump
I'm just going to post some of my favorite Instagram pictures from recently. Because, who doesn't love a good Instagram picture?

I'm obsessed with Throwback Thursday. So, I posted this a few Thursdays ago. It's my absolute favorite picture of me and my brother from when we were babies. And, it comes with a story. Right after this picture, I literally dumped the kid off the picture platform. Onto the floor. So, if you ever needed proof that you can suffer a traumatic fall as a baby and still become a professional athlete, there it is. Oh, and check out the comb over on his head! Ha!
Last weekend, at my mom and dad's, I was trying to get a picture of the guest bedroom my mom had just finished redecorating. I set Finley on the bed to keep her from running out of the room. And, she proceeded to pee all over that white bed. Like, all over. Yeah. She really doesn't ever do that. She spends pretty much countless hours every week in my bed. But, this night, she did. It was awful. Sorry again, Mom!
My mom went to Goodwill in Franklin last weekend and came home with this - a shirt from my school! I mean, really? I'm still trying to find out who gave away their shirt, ha! It was a staff shirt. I'm pretty sure whoever gave it away is probably mortified because I posted this picture on Instagram and Facebook! But, in the end, it's okay because my mom was super stoked to get a Cole shirt :)
Pretty sure this little mutt needs a haircut, right?
Love, love, love.
2. Writing
This year, we've been using the same writing program as we did last year. It's basically where you teach the kids to make brainstorm lists of topics and then they choose one and do "quick writes" where they just write independently for 20 minutes or so. It's honestly the best 20 minutes of the day. I bring them all to the carpet, make sure classical music is playing, turn the lights down and they just write. Now, this class is a little more, shall we say.. squirrely? that last year's group. So, they've had to work a little on building their stamina. But, I'm seeing progress and kiddos are filling up almost entire pages of their authentic writing. Awesome!
I let them decorate their writing journals and I think that helped a lot to get them excited about writing.
It all makes my teacher heart happy. I wanted to take some pictures of their writing. Especially the little girl's who wrote about the differences between Freddy and Jason. Ha! But, it kind of felt like a violation of their privacy to post their personal writing in their journals on the blog. But, you can trust that when we publish some writing, I'll let you see.
3. Morning Message
Our district and school has put a huge emphasis on Morning Meeting the last two years. I'll be honest, it was struggle for me last year. And, I sometimes still struggle with wanting to just get the day started and getting right to work. But, I know there are benefits for my kiddos so I'm trying my best to do meaningful activities during that time. I've been using the Morning Message this last week to teach nouns and verbs, long vowels with silent e's and character traits!  I'm pretty positive that these are absolutely nothing special and nothing you haven't seen before. But, I want to remember stuff that I do for next year, so I'm going to post them. (As a side note, I've already pulled up my blog at least 4 times this year to remember things that I did last year during the school year. I knew I blogged for a reason! Ha!)

And, yes. I do call them Snickerdoodles. I always have. It just came out my first year of teaching and it's stuck. I can't not do it.
4. Character Traits and Providing Evidence
I blogged pretty extensively last year about my character traits unit. You can find that post here. It goes more into detail about each activity we did for our two week unit. I did a lot of the same stuff this year.
One day, we  read Strega Nona and we charted the character traits of Big Anthony. I read it aloud, stopped every few pages, brainstormed traits with the kids and then let them talk with their partners about the evidence. Then, they wrote on a paper that looked just like this their own evidence. I didn't write on the anchor chart until they shared their evidence. They really did a great job with this and were right on with the evidence each time.
Another day, we read Strega Nona and focused on the woman herself!

And, we used the basal story The Trial of Cardigan Jones to work on finding evidence in the story. We all know how important evidence is to Common Core so this was a helpful lesson!
5. Classroom Additions
I've added a lot of odds and ends to the classroom since school started.
This is a new addition to my room. We had a training on the Constructed Response Math Assessment before school started and we were shown this model. It's basically a way to encourage kids to show their work in word problems in different ways. As we go over math morning work, we add awesome work up to this board. I need to draw examples of each on the headings but I just haven't gotten to it yet. I really like having a way to encourage them to do more, though.

We've started adding words to our word wall!

I've also posted our Daily 5 charts now that we've made them. And, on that big blank awkward white space, I'm going to make cards for all the phonics skills we learn so that the kids have a place to go to reference them.

And, you've gotta' love a good Class Promise!
6. Tug of War
Matt and Blakely came to my parents' last night and the pups had a full on Tug of War with Finley's blanket! I mean, you should have heard all the snarling and growling!

It's so weird, but Finley's obsessed with her blankets. She goes and gets them out of her crate and brings them into whatever room we're in. So, she was NOT HAVING IT when Hampy started trying to play with them, too. Ha!

But, when it was over, this girl was worn out!

Alright, that's all I've got tonight! Hope everyone has a great week!


Marianna Dunn said...

Looks like you are off to a great start!! Love the variety you used in your morning messages. I always feel like mine get really monotonous!! :)