Tuesday, September 2, 2014

From Hopes and Dreams to Rules

One of my favorites things to do at the beginning of the school year is to have the students come up with their hopes and dreams for the school year.

It's always so interesting to see what they want to accomplish!

We use our hopes and dreams to come up with our classroom rules, which the kids are completely responsible for. I feel like this gives them ownership of the rules and the classroom.

I can't take any of the credit for this-this is all Responsive Classroom! They are amazing and I highly recommend training if you have the opportunity!

This year, I started introducing it by reading the book Big Al.
I have also used Matthew's Dream to start this off.

Before I started reading, I asked the kids to think about what Big Al's hope and dream might be.

After we figured it out (to make friends), I stopped and asked them what different things Big Al did to help he reach his goal (lots!).

We talked about how Big Al tried so many different ways to reach his goal, and that he keep trying (he persevered!), and how we should also keep trying different things.

After we finished reading and discussing, I had the students come up with their own hope and dream for the school year (and yes, I made it clear that it had to be school related :).
The next day (yes, this is a multi-day process-I've found it works out better that way, although you could do it in one day if you chose), I had them gather on the run again.

This time, I asked them to remember what their hope and dream was, and what rules they think our classroom needed to help them make this hope and dream successful.

I write down everything they read on sentence strips, and then I cut them up-which is important for the next step!

I reread the rules, and we decided that we could probably combine some.

We talked about how we could separate them, and we came up with three categories.
Then, I reread the rules again, and put them under each category.

Now for the fun part! I challenge the students to come up with one rule that can sum up all the ones underneath it.

I wrote what the students first said in red , amendments in purple and the final rule in blue.
I added in an extra rule (which I borrowed from Whole Brain Teaching), about having fun learning and keeping me happy-just to cover all my bases!

After a quick type-up, sign, and some taping, we now have a rules posted along with our hopes and dreams-after all, we wouldn't have our rules if we didn't want to reach our goals!

Smiles and Sunshine,
Kaitlyn


Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Day! :)

It seems fitting that my 400th blog post is about the first day of school!

I only wish I could have shown this-but SMART Board projector is still broken...

I have 16 cherubs and all showed up today!

We completed The Marshmallow Challenge to help us with our group work and creative/critical thinking.



 All of them fell once their hand support were taken away when the marshmallow was put on, but then one group rejiggered it and...
Success!!

We also saved Fred for the 3rd year in a row! (That worm needs to go to boat school!)



This led to a mini-lesson on perseverance, and how we would need to keep trying at things this year.


We started our Hopes and Dreams-which is a precursor to creating our classroom rules.

I started with this book
And asked them to think about what Big Al's hopes and dreams might be. Once we had an answer, we talked about alllll the different things Big Al tried in order to reach his goal.

Then it was their turn to create their hope and dream for the school year!

We have a little left to finish before we come up with our rules!

We ended our day with the fabulous The Dot lesson that I found on The Teacher Studio.

We talked about what lessons we could learn from the book.
We came up with quite a few!

Then it was time to paint!



 I think their favorite part was the painting! :)

Then we had the Opening Day BBQ (I stayed at school since it would have been pointless to go home), which wasn't really a BBQ since the budget was cut-more of a potluck!

First Day outfit (which got TONS of compliments!):

Dress: Eshakti.com
Shoes: Nine West through 6pm.com


Smiles and Sunshine,
Kaitlyn

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meet and Greet

We had our meet and greet today-school starts tomorrow!

Unfortunately, I only had about 1/4 of my students show up-but I'll meet them all tomorrow!

I had everything perfect set up-with a treat in the middle!
That's a whole packet that parents need to fill out!
Created the sign myself!
I wrote the little poem myself :)

And with some glow sticks from the dollar store (as well as containers) and these FAB labels from The Third Wheel, I was all set!

Of course, there was a trick to make them all stick up...
double containers! :)

Ready and waiting to meet my new students!

Smiles and Sunshine,
Kaitlyn


Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Made It

Well, school has finally arrived. I'll be spending my day in meetings-learning about all the wonderful things that are going on.

It's also supposed to be one of the hottest weeks we've had so far-doesn't it figure?!



My first, biggest accomplishment this week is that I finished my square blanket (joined together and everything!), as well finishing a stash buster baby blanket.
It's 54 different squares, joined together with white. Now I just have to sew in all the ends!

I think they turned out well!
For my next made-it, I whipped up some fun magnets (both for home and school!)

AC Moore had these cute mini canvas stickers, so I stuck a magnet on the back of each of them. They really brighten up my fridge!
Michaels had these really cute glitter clothespins (larger size), so I glued magnets onto the back of them as well! They'll help me hold papers on the whiteboard (except for the green one-that one is holding coupons and menus at home!)


This last made it is probably my favorite. I made a new sign for outside my door-with things I like to do!
Just have to glue some tacks on the back!
I decided to do my full name (because the stickers made it look so pretty!), so people can find my room easier. I can always tell them what I like to be called :)

Enjoy your Monday!

Smiles and Sunshine,
Kaitlyn

Friday, August 22, 2014

Social Studies Love

Well, we've come to the end of Teacher Week! Sadly, this means I start back bright and early on Monday. Bye, Summer!

Since my thoughts lately have turned to back to school, I've thought about what subjects I love to teach.

I truly enjoy all the subjects (most of the time! ;), but I really get excited about Social Studies!

I've created most of my own resources for Social Studies, from Abenaki Lapbooks

State Map with different tribe areas colored in the middle
to Explorer Articles
with our Sea Journey

 To Colonial America (with some interactive websites and SMART Notebook files!)

and the American Revolution with my fill in the blank foldables

Social Studies is definitely one of my very favorites to teach (and I majored in it as an undergrad!), and I think I've made it fun for the kids too-they all said they enjoyed it this year!

*No, none of these are for sale-I don't have a TPT store (yet-maybe someday!)*

What subjects are your favorite?

Smiles and Sunshine,
Kaitlyn

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Day

A day in the life of me!

I usually arrive at school around 7:45ish-time to make any copies if needed and prep for the day.

Once the students arrive, my day goes a little like this:
(Ribbons by Lovin Lit)
 Students start trickling in at 8:30, but I have some that come as late at 8:45-8:50. Band and chorus also meet in the morning, which can cut my numbers down.

For morning work, I do the monthly math packets from In the Math Lab
Common Core Daily Math for Fourth Grade - September Edition
as well as weekly language from Got to Teach
Daily Language Review {4th Grade}
We also do Morning Meeting when we have time (and a good number of students!)
Once everyone arrives, we can get started on our day! We switch off between Social Studies and Science.

Our team switches for Science, and I teach States of Matter and Weathering and Erosion. One of my teamies teaches Weather, and the other teaches Health & Nutrition.

For Social Studies, we teach map skills, our state history, Explorers, Colonial America and the American Revolution.
In Math, I always start out with my fabulous SMART Board Calendar that I got from Downeast Teach.
Common Core-Aligned SMART Board Math Calendar for Grades 4-5
While we are working on calendar, the students are also having snack :)

Then, we move into the main math lesson.

We are starting our first year with Math in Focus

Our days run on an 8 day schedule (no M-F special schedule!) We have 2 Gym, 2 Art, 2 Music, 1 Library and 1 Spanish. I have this time free for planning (and any meetings that may pop up!)
We have a short time between our specials and lunch, so I use this time to do spelling, catch-up and our Mentor Sentences, which came from the wonderful Jivey.
Mentor Sentences Unit: First Ten Weeks
My kids LOVE doing Mentor Sentences-I highly recommend them!
Kids have about 25 minutes to eat, and 20 minutes to play. We have a rotating recess duty schedule (the only duty teachers have other than meetings), so it varies between 20 minute duty, 10 minute duty and no duty.
We have the whole afternoon blocked out for literacy.

Usually we have about a half hour for whole group lessons, and then the rest of that time is for guided reading groups and independent work.

The series that we are supposed to use is Literacy By Design.
But none of us are very fond of it. Shhhh! One of my teamies and I are going to teach the skills differently (focusing in on CCSS), and use the book as a resource (NOT the end all be all). I will be using a lot of task cards this year (mostly from Teaching With A Mountain View!)

Time to go home!

I'm always surprised at how quickly the day flies by!

Usually, there is some sort of meeting after school, be it PLC, staff, or something else.

Hopefully, I'm out by 4 (which I was very good at last year!), and getting ready to do it all again!

Smiles and Sunshine,
Kaitlyn