Friday, October 21, 2011

Gotta Love Landforms

***This template is not my creation, therefore I can't share it. If you are interested, go to AIMS and purchase it. ***
I think it is worth $1!

I really love the landform unit. First we discuss the different landforms, look at pictures, and watch videos.

Next we make a flipbook that showcases a few of the landforms. We talk about the kinds of animals that can be found in and around each landform. As we discuss the animals, we look at some of the creature features from National Geographic.

Finally, we make a 3D model of landforms. We make flags to label our landforms. They stick their flags into their clay landforms before they dry. The next day we painted them. The kids were so excited and happy to do this project. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gotta Love Stations

I started doing literacy stations last year in my classroom and I love it. The kids love it and they are learning. Here is how I have my guided reading block set up:

20 minutes - individual reading time
20 minutes - reading buddies
20 minutes - literacy stations
I am pulling guided reading groups the entire time.

At the beginning of the year I had grand plans of rotating the kids. That didn't work too well. Some kids were at literacy stations while others were supposed to be reading. Let's just say that very little reading was being done. So I switched it back to how I was doing it last year.

I like it this way because for the first 20 minutes (ish) things are quiet. I know that if they are talking, they are not reading. Then they get to work with a buddy and talk about their books, which they really love to do and it is so good for them to do. Finally, they get to go to stations. This is their favorite time of day. :)

My stations:

  • 5 Computers: iStation, Garage Band for fluency practice, Starfall, Tumblebooks
  • 3 Laptops: same as above
  • 3 iPods: literacy and math apps
  • Big Books
  • Class journals
  • 3 eReaders
  • writing on their white boards
  • Promethean board

I am also happy to say that I got to see Debbie Diller at a workshop two weeks ago. She was great. I love her practical ideas. I have been teaching the kids some games that I am going to put in math work stations. I have some kids who really need some small group time, so I am very excited about doing about a 15-20 minute small group(s) and math work stations in the afternoons. I am hoping to get that started as early as next week.

Right now I am working on getting the board set up, rounding up the last of the supplies that I will need, and teaching the last few games.

I will take some pictures of my literacy stations tomorrow and post them. I will start to blog more often! We have been working like crazy, but I am finally feeling like I have a good hold on things. We are halfway through our 2nd Six Weeks and the fall is zipping by!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homework Troubles

Can I just say that I am not a fan of homework? It is always a headache. I hated dealing with homework last year, so I made some adjustments for this year. Here is how homework works in my classroom:

Homework Journal

The kids copy their homework into their journals. We only do homework 3 days a week. Tuesdays is usually responding to a writing prompt and then drawing a picture. Wednesday is spelling practice. Thursday is math practice. It is never more than a page. This way their homework is all in one place and I don't have to make any copies. 

Notecard Clipboard

I give each child a check mark if they have completed their homework. They only get credit if it is completely finished and returned the next day. I do not take late homework.

Lottery Tickets

Each student who has a check mark for all three days gets to choose a scratch off ticket on Friday. They really like doing this. I think it is partly because they never know what they are going to get.