As I was walking in to Target and saw the school supply banners hanging near the carts suddenly it was like summer was on fast forward. I feel like I have to plan, plan, plan!
I know I have a good chunk of summer left before I go back for teacher workshops at the end of August but I have been thinking about school a lot lately. Like at 4am. Ugh! I even had a dream that it was the first day of school and my principal came in and told me I was switching grade levels!
I have a few things that I'd like to change in my classroom and I'd be ever so grateful if you would share your ideas with me. For a little incentive, I'll pick a random comment and send that person some teaching goodies from Target. How about it?
First- attendance. How do you do it? I've tried the Popsicle sticks in cups, a list of choices with velcro that the kids stick their names on (see photo)...what do you use? If it makes a difference, we usually have three lunch choices (home lunch, hot lunch, alternate lunch).
Next- helpers. In the past when I've looped first and second grades I usually have groups of helpers that change daily in first grade (we call these their color groups and there are usually about four kiddos in each group). Whenever something comes up during the day, I just ask that group of kids to help out. The following year I have a boy helper and girl helper each day. I put all the boys names on a ring and the girls names on a ring and just flip them daily. It usually ends up being a different combination of kids which is nice! How do you use helpers? How often do you rotate them?
Word Work boxes are also tricky for me. I use Daily 5 and have for many years. I find that the older the kids are the less they want to practice their spelling words with the boxes I have. I have tried play dough, Wikki Stix, stamps, whiteboards, scented markers, letter tiles, etc. I want the kiddos to be more accountable for working during their Word Work time. In the stamping box we have a sheet that has headings of "Stamp" and "Write." I think most of the time they just color or stamp people's names. Any ideas on how I can improve these boxes and accountability?
My biggest overhaul will be Writer's Workshop. It ALWAYS gets put on the back-burner for something else. I need to be more consistent and have a plan of action. Can you recommend any books that I should read before school starts? Or have any ideas? We've been asked to use 6+1 Traits and we do grade three writing prompted pieces based on the traits (one prompt per trimester). We also have a writing curriculum embedded in our basal but it is d.r.y. I want kids to love to write!
Okay- think that those are my three questions for now. At least they were the ones that kept me up from 4-5am this morning.
Thanks for your help! I will choose a random comment on Friday morning and send out some teacher goodies to that lucky duck! Be sure to leave your e-mail address for me so I can contact you! (A little tip- if you want to keep your e-mail safe and avoid any spammers that may be lurking about, just enter your e-mail address with spaces in between and "at" instead of @. For example "janedoe at gmail" or "teacher at hotmail dot com.")