I guess it's back to reality and posting about real school stuff. At least for now. I was going through some pictures I have taken this year at school and realized how much I have done differently this year. It made me feel better about myself for a bit. I am going to keep up with what I have been doing and do even more!
One thing I have done more of this year is charts. I am starting to make charts for everything. Well, I haven't done many for math, but that will be a new goal of mine to start with. I have been doing them mostly for social studies and science, but I am starting to do more with reading and will add math slowly.
Here are a couple I have up for reading, just as a reminder to the students. It helps them remember if they forget!
I have them for the long vowels that include the magic e, vowel pairs, etc. We will be starting long vowels next week when we go back, so those will start going up, too!
For my writing at the beginning of the year, we focus a lot on the subject (noun) and predicate (verb). We make charts with the words on them for the kids to use, but as the year goes on and I need my board space, the charts are lost to the side to never be seen again. I have never been one to use the little dictionaries, but I am wondering if I should start using them. Has anyone used them with good experiences? I am afraid it will turn into the kids who can use them won't need them and those who need them won't use them and then it's a big waste of money. Let me know your stories with those! Thanks!
I use a lot of charts for science. We will make word webs, graphic organizers or simply listing information we have learned. The kids use them a lot for their writing. Here are just a couple of examples:
There is a chart for matter listing things under each type, a list of information about apples and then a word web for weather. I think I am going to start making them more "shapely", using the shape for what we are talking about. For me, that's a big step since my creativity is at like a 1 on a scale of 1 to 100! But, we;ll see how it goes!
When we start next week, we will begin a unit on animals. My principal had told me, when I was panicking about getting it all in, she said we really didn't need to focus on the social studies as much as the science, since that is what's tested in 5th grade. I guess the district scores in science overall are pretty low, so they want to boost science. I can do that...it's more interesting than social studies to me. So, we will begin our animal unit which will last several weeks. We'll start out with birds, but I am going to start that with penguins and then we can compare and contrast penguins with other birds. I have started planning for penguins, but not fully there. This week though will be my planning frenzy week! I think I am going to make a big penguin and write the info we learn on it and then make another kind of (easy) bird to write info on it and then we can make a venn diagram to compare. Great ideas, but so little time. Hmmm...when to do it all! We'll see!
As I was trying to go to sleep last night, I had this vision of rearranging my classroom. Like big time. And in my head, I liked it. I have to think about it and play around with the idea some more, but it might work. I have been wanting to move things around, but I don't know how it will all work out. The things we think about at midnight!
As I read through the other blogs, I am shocked at how far ahead other states seem to be in terms of reading and math. It seems a lot of people have been on long vowels forever and we haven't really touched them. And for math, everyone is into fact families when we have barely covered subtraction. I am feeling very behind and need to push my kids more. Yikes! But, then I have to take a step back, think and go with the pacing guide and know that we get it all in and my kids do well in spite of what we throw at them!
I am going to start introducing fact families when I get back and give them a little bit of practice each day with them, along with their new math journal activities. We'll see how it goes.
I will be working on a few changes this week, and will post some of my ideas as they get solidified in my head. Please let me know what you think so I don't think I am crazy! Happy Monday!