Tuesday, September 16, 2014

International Dot Day

Have you ever heard of International Dot Day? I hadn't heard of it until it was introduced to us at school last week. International Dot Day is inspired by Peter Reynold's book "The Dot" and is a celebration of creativity and courage. We were told about the book and asked to do a craft project in our classrooms using coffee filters.
Since we didn't have the book, I found a YouTube video of the book so I started off by playing the video to my class. It is a story of Vaski who was inspired by her art teacher to "make her mark and see where it takes her". 

We had a great class discussion of what the story meant and I was pleasantly surprised that my students realized the theme of the story. We talked about encouragement, having courage, and making our "marks" in the world. We used these free task cards to further our discussion.

Afterwards each student made a craft for Dot Day. We handed coffee filters out to each student, let them draw/make their dot, and then sprayed it with water. We let them dry before turning them in to become a school wide art project. They are now hanging in the cafeteria in front of the windows and look SO nice!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Student Showcase Night

This past week we had Student Showcase Night. It was basically like Open House all over again, but with more of a focus on what the students have done for the past month. I decided to have stations set up so that my students could take their parents through the stations themselves. I liked the idea of stations and thought it worked well. Unfortunately, I only had FIVE students from my homeroom attend and ONE student from another homeroom attend. I have twenty five students total. Even though attendance was low, I still took a few pictures to share my stations with y'all.
 
 
1) Make an estimate o how many pieces of candy are in the jar. The family closest took home all of the candy. There were 144 pieces total and two families guessed 150 so we shared the candy with both of them.
2) On the Smartboard I had a review game for our novel "Steal Away Home". For some families, they realized their students needed to STUDY so that was a good eye-opener for some! 
3) Computer Station - Students could show their parents how to take an AR test or work on Reflex Math. I did have a couple of families write down their child's username and password for Reflex so that was a positive.
4) Letters of Encouragement - We have ITBS testing next week so parents could write their students a note of encouragement.
5) Be a helping hand - donate disinfectant wipes and/or tissues. Only ONE hand was taken. Sigh. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five for Friday

TGIF, friends! I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky. And I am actually linking up on Friday! I'm usually a day late to the party. We really wanted to go to a football game {what's better than Friday night football?}, but it's raining, thundering, and lightning. 
 
On to Five for Friday... 
This week we completed our monthly STEM challenge which was to grow the largest creature. We were provided all of the materials and allowed the creature to sit in water for 5 days. Our seahorse grew quite a bit!
This week was our Scholastic book fair. I just recently ordered from a Scholastic book order so I didn't shop too much at the book fair. 
I did grab two Pete the Cat books that I didn't have. I love Pete the Cat!
We had Student Showcase Night this week. I'll share more on that tomorrow in it's own post, but here is a sneak peek. Unfortunately, I only had 5 of my homeroom students come. 
Next week we have ITBS testing so I've had to cover up and take down everything. It seems like I just decorated everything!
I love this quote and it really stood out to me this week. I have a challenging group this year and I have moments where I am just worn down. I am praying that through our moments, my students see God through me.  
Happy weekend! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Steal Away Home

So today I am at home with a sick child - my son has strep throat, but thankfully, he is his regular happy and playful self. While I have a minute, I thought I'd share about what we are doing in Reading.

I love to incorporate Social Studies into Reading. Last year at my previous school, we were able to order any and all class sets of novels we wanted and we had GREAT units mapped out that matched the sequence of our Social Studies units. It went together beautifully.

We didn't have any of those novel studies at my new school, but they did have a class set of novels that I had never heard of. The novel is "Steal Away Home" by Lois Ruby. It is a GREAT book to use in correlation to the Underground Railroad & slavery era.
We are about halfway through the novel and the students seem to LOVE it. We typically read aloud one chapter per day and focus on a mini lesson skill from the CAFE menu. During Read to Self, students choose their own book on their level.
 
Some books that we have incorporated with our novel study is the picture book "Follow the Drinking Gourd" by Jeanette Winter. It was another new book to me, but it went along so well with one of the chapters in "Steal Away Home".
Another read aloud that would go well with "Steal Away Home" is "Henry's Freedom Box". In the story, Miss Lizbet Charles tells the story of Henry Brown (which is "Henry's Freedom Box").
Even though I am not the Social Studies teacher, I love incorporating Social Studies into Reading.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five for Friday on Saturday!

Happy Saturday, friends! I am so happy it's Saturday! I'm in my pajamas on the couch with my little man beside me watching a cartoon while he eats breakfast. Life is good! 
 
I have been a bit absent since school started. Without going into much detail, it's been a tough month and will be a challenging year, but I am trying to focus on the positives and not spread any negativity I may be feeling.
 
I work with a great group of ladies who are super sweet. My birthday was this past Thursday and they had cake and fruit for me during our meeting before school started. They also made sure my husband would be home so that I wouldn't be by myself on my birthday. They are sweet teammates! 
Without further ado, here are some of my positives for the week! 
 
{one} I am in the process of grading about 75 narrative essay's (eeekkk!) and I have several GREAT writer's! I love the great vocabulary they are using, the way they capture their readers attention from the introduction, and their descriptive details. I have several very talented writers!
One thing my school uses in a "Grow and Glow" notepad. Glow is where you write a positive about their writing and grow is where you give feedback about how they could grow as a writer.
{two} I am loving my Erin Condren and have been on the lookout for decorative tape and calendar stickers from the Dollar Tree. I finally found them! Every Dollar Tree is sold out of the tape and they have some CUTE designs.
{three} We worked on Grandparent's Day crafts this week and everyone should be receiving theirs in the mail today! I LOVE this cute, simple, and useful gift. I found the original idea HERE.
{four} Although I don't teach Science, my students had a Science project due this week and I thought this one was SO cute so I had to snap and share a picture of it! 
{five} I saved the BEST for last! Yesterday I officially booked our Spring Break trip! Come on April!! 
Have a fabulous weekend! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

How in the world is day the first day of September?! I have now been in school for an entire month. Wow! I haven't posted a lot lately. Honestly, this first month has been exhausting. Sure, some of it is the normal "first day/week/month of school" exhaustion that we all have. I have a feeling that this is going to be a challenging year, though. We've already had a fist fight in the classroom (first ever in my classroom ... it was bad), I've contacted multiple parents for behavior problems already, etc. I am exhausted. You know how you are told "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?"....you see I haven't been blogging!
 
Anyway, on to Farley's September Currently series!
Listening: Disney Junior ... what else?! :)
 
Loving: I truly needed this Labor Day weekend to refresh myself and recharge!
 
Thinking: I have almost 80 essay's that need grading. Eeekkk.
 
Wanting: Enjoy today! Refresh, recharge, feel renewed! :)
 
Needing: My goal is to finish laundry today and do a little more research on the Disney dining plan. To use or not to use?
 
3 Trips: I would LOVE to travel to Jerusalem one day. I can't imagine being able to walk where Jesus walked. Amazing! My grandmother went and it seemed amazing. I would also like to visit Turks & Caicos because it looks beautiful!! Paris would also be a fun place to visit!
 
I hope to be back soon to share some fun we've had in 5th grade so far!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blog Hoppin' - When Thursday

I'm back today to link up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2014! Today is When Thursday where we tell about WHEN we plan to do things, with a look into our day.
First, let's take a look into my day. It's different than ever before because for the first time I am departmentalized. During all three segments, I teach Reading, Language Arts, and Writing.
 
8:00-8:30 Students arrive anywhere during this time period. They follow a morning list, eat breakfast, and complete an activity that morning - DROPS and a Spelling choice. Since there is such a time difference in students arrival, their morning work is also their homework. This is something that was implemented long before I came to my new school, but it's working well so far.
 
8:30-9:15 This period is called SOAR. We begin this with a Morning Meeting and it's a good beginning to our day. We also check the previous days DROPS during this time and I can reteach material from it during this time.
 
9:20-10:05 Specials
 
10:10-11:30 Segment 1
 
11:40-11:50 Recess (yes, it's only 10 minutes...not by choice)
 
11:52-12:23 Lunch
 
12:30-1:50 Segment 2
 
1:50-3:10 Segment 3
 
3:10-3:30 DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time during dismissal, car & bus rider dismissal
 
3:30-3:45 Bus rider dismissal (late buses)
 

So now that you know my schedule, let's talk about WHEN I plan. At my previous school we had to have lesson plans completed on Friday for the upcoming week so I have stuck with that. Being departmentalized definitely helps with planning because I teach the same thing 3x a day. My partner teacher and I plan together and usually spend 1-2 days on planning. Sometimes we work on it during Specials time or before/after school. She is GREAT to work with so that makes it easy!