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Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Fall Y'all!

My absolute favorite time of year!

I'm linking up with Denise from #teachermom for her fall blog hop. 

The kids are finally getting into their routine, now it's time to have some fun! One of my favorite fall activities is my apple tree paintings:

This is a great activity for following oral directions, and makes a beautiful fall bulletin board display. I've done this activity with 1st-3rd graders, and I'm trying to come up with a way to make it challenging enough for my 5th graders this year. The picture above was completed by a 1st-grader.

Here are the steps:

1. Fold the paper in half, and in half again to make fourths.
2. Paint a tree trunk in each fourth.
3. In the 1st fourth, paint bare branches.
4. In the 2nd fourth, use a sponge brush (I make them by cutting a sponge into strips, folding each strip in half, and clipping it in a clothes pin), to sponge (not wipe) pink "blossoms".
5. In the 3rd fourth, repeat the sponge brush procedure to make green "leaves". 
6. In the last fourth, repeat the sponge brush procedure to make yellow-orange "leaves"; then use the eraser end of a pencil to make the red "apples". 

That's it! Simple and beautiful. It is a great addition to my apple unit:

Apple Thematic Unit for Common Core Standards

Go on back to #teachermom by clicking on the link at the top of the page to check out more great fall ideas!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday's News


Week 2...always better than week 1 :)

Our 5th grade rotates classes for different subjects. The kids stay with the same group, but move to different classrooms throughout the morning. My day begins with a reading class from the teacher 2 doors down...just so happens to be my daughter's home-room class. Then the next class comes in for science and reading. After a prep period and lunch, I finally get to see my homeroom class for reading and science.

I have to say, I was a little excited and a little nervous when we started our rotations this week, but after today I L-O-V-E it! I get to teach my 2 favorite subjects all day long, I get to teach my own kiddo, and the time flies by.

I'm ashamed to admit, but after a very rough first week, I was afraid I would be stuck in survival mode all year long. Things are definitely looking up!

Next week will be our first full week of school, so I'm starting my Latin and Greek root of the week program. I just created it this summer, and I can't wait to try it out!

Check it out at my TPT store, marked down to $8.00 for the rest of September, then click back on the linky party button to see more of Friday's News:
Greek and Latin Roots Super Pack

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Classroom Belongs to the Kids

1 week down...many more to go!

The first few weeks are all about building relationships, and, as you know, week 1 is critical. Our school is beginning the Leader in Me process this year, so I wanted my students to feel that my classroom really belongs to them.

To start with, I used the 6 Essential Questions activity in groups. Their responses became our class rules. I was really impressed with the rules and consequences they thought up.
They also put their names up...everywhere!
As part of the Leader in Me program, our school came up with a new mission statement, and each classroom came up with their own. We read a few examples, and then I partnered the kids up to see what they would come up with. The result was wonderful!
School mission statement

Class mission statement
Of course, all the artwork is their own! Finally, we needed leadership roles to keep the class running smoothly. The suggestion box underneath is to add anything they think we need. I've already had one suggestion in it!
We're really emphasizing the 5th graders as student leaders for the younger kids in the school. The classroom roles are one way to practice. Many are applying for schoolwide roles as well. 

One thing I love is our bathroom procedures. They put their clip on the first available number. When it is an appropriate time to go, the person on number one goes, then calls the next person on the list and moves all the clips up one number. This way, they're monitoring their own bathroom breaks and not interrupting the class.
The last thing we went through was Class Dojo. I absolutely love this program. It is a simple points system, but with the added advantage of immediate parent contact. Kids and parents can log on to their account online or with a smart phone app to see how they're doing. I can also send out class notifications and contact parents directly if there is an issue. 
Next week we start curriculum. I am teaching only reading and science this year, and I wanted to give the kids a preview of what we'd be learning. We'll begin next week with these anchor charts:
The first week is always exciting, and I can't wait to dive right in next week. Have a wonderful school year!