Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

I see that so many teachers have already been able to work in their rooms, getting them ready for the upcoming school year.  My principal does not allow teachers back into the school until pre-service week, which begins next Monday.  Fortunately, we have most of the five days to work in our rooms and plan with our teams.  This is my 26th year teaching and my tenth year in fourth grade, so I think I can handle it.  I've been blog stalking and scouring Pinterest all summer, so I'm rip roaring and ready to go!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Teaching My Friends!: Staples, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Teaching My Friends!: Staples, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
 Nancy over at Teaching My Friends has found out about a change to the Staples teacher discount program.  Please read her post to learn more.  I am suggesting a email campaign to get Staples to change their policy back to the way it was so that we teachers can continue to supply needy students with what they need to be successful with money from our own pockets.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Recommendation

As I ease back into school tomorrow, I thought it would be helpful to ease my students back into the school routine as well.  I developed a quick and dirty book recommendation form that I will introduce to them tomorrow.  I plan to copy the recommendations onto bright paper and give two to each student.  My goal is for students to think about two particularly wonderful books they have already read this year and then think about what other 4th grader at school would be a great match for the book(s).  After working through a sample together, explaining and modeling how you would give a quick 2-3 sentence description of the book without giving away anything crucial as well as giving a reason for the recommendation, students will have the rest of the week to complete the two book recommendations for homework.  Recommendations will then be given to the students they were written for.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What are YOU reading in 2012?

As we begin 2012, I wonder what other bloggers are reading. 
Professionally, I'm reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  I know I am WAY behind most other teacher bloggers, but if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!
Personally, I'm deciding between starting 33 Men - Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners by Jonathan Franklin or The Kennedy Detail written by the Secret Service Agents that were with President and Mrs. Kennedy on the day JFK was assassinated.
Leave a comment and let me know what YOU are reading.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I LOVE this book!!!

Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco is one of my all-time favorite books!  It can be used for many different lessons in the classroom.  Of course, the most obvious is the importance of reading.  But there are many others. 
If you don't show the pictures, it's great for visualization, especially as students picture the different ways the townsfolk used books at the beginning of the story or imagine the scene as the Triple Creek Dam breaks and floods the town.  As with all of Patricia Polacco's books, this one lends itself to the word choice trait.  This book is great for cause and effect.  Perhaps its best use is for inferring.  Many students do not make the connection between the former town librarian and Aunt Chip.  It's wonderful to allow the students who have made the connection to explain how they inferred that the two women were one and the same.
If you are not familiar with this gem, be sure to check it out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Great Choices for Word Choice

Steven Kellogg is one of my favorite authors, and his books definitely lend themselves to the word choice trait. I particularly love to use Kellogg's versions of Chicken Little  for word choice since you won't find the word "said" anywhere in this book. While I read the book aloud, students list words used instead of said on an index card. Then we share out and make a master list. On a subsequent day, students work in partners or small groups to categorize the words from the chart. I allow each partner/small group to determine the categories themselves. This leads to interesting discussions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Choosing a "Just Right" Book

This week I found a "new" book to use at the beginning of the school year.  I say "new" because it is a few years old, but I just came across it.  The book is Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians.  This is a wonderful spin-off of the Goldilocks story, only this time the three bears are all librarians.  Goldie explores the house while the bears are not home and uses the "5 finger rule" to fine a "just right" book before she is discovered by the bears.  Enjoyed by my fourth graders!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Me by the Numbers Posters

Thanks to Jennifer over at Lifelong Learning for a great back-to-school math poster project!  Students used numbers to share information about themselves, and they needed to include one digit, two digit, and numbers that were three or more digits.  Jennifer included a rubric, which I used with my math class, so that students can sure they include all necessary information.
My math students LOVED this idea, and it made a great display in the hallway for Back-to-School Night.  Check out some pictures of the finished products below.

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Has Begun!

Yikes!  I forgot just how much time and effort went into getting a school year started!  Arranging the classroom, setting up my own space, bulletin boards, planning, copying, and that's just to get started!
Well the 2011 - 2012 school year has begun, and even though it got off to a rocky start, we made it through the first week.  The earthquake during preservice week and the hurricane over the weekend made thing interesting, but we met the school year head-on and with gusto.  We are settling into a routine and started switching for math classes the second day of school.  Students were excited to set up their binders and didn't even seem to mind homework. 
Once I get my head screwed on straight and make it through Back-to-School Night on Wednesday, I will post some classroom pictures and some freebies.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beginning a Blog

Welcome to my fourth grade blog!  I've seen many blogs for primary grade teachers, but not many for intermediate grades.  So as I get ready to begin this school year, I decided to get my feet wet in the wonderful world of blogging.  My main goals for this year are to dip my toes into guided math and math centers and to get myself more organized (one of my goals for the last 25 years!).