Gettin' my groove on!

Today I feel really good about the things I have accomplished. While my plans aren't written in my plan book, I feel I have a better outlook on the rest of the year. I rewrote my daily schedule with more little mini-lessons thrown in, rather than trying to lump it all together. I have felt so bound by my TE's the last couple years that I am going to try to branch out a little and see if I can make it make more sense to me. I am also going to do more little things with my read alouds to make them more meaningful. I figured that if I can't fit my author studies in the way I want, then I will do something else for fun. So, here's my thoughts...let me know what you think!

Read Aloud "study": For the stories during the week I read to the kids, we will look at the following things with each story (I do this anyway, I just want it to me explicit rather than implicit): characters, setting, prob/solution OR beginning, middle and end. I think the kids have a good idea of the first part, but the b/m/e throws them off and they are tested on sequence of events on our next benchmark test! Yikes! I also want to use more of the comprehension strategies we have in our anthologies with the read alouds - stories that they kids actually like hearing rather than some of the boring stories we have. Again, it's the stuff I already do, I just want to make it "more".

Math journals: I am going to give the kids a math journal and then give the a problem they have to draw out to solve. Our old math series was really good with this, our new one not at all. I figure I can explain it to them and then have them work independently while I work with my lower kids who still can't count. I bought some lined paper at Staples (in the $1 rack this week) and will hopefully get them made on Monday morning. Nothing like waiting til the last minute. Once the kids do their journals, they will move on to math centers. But this will be a 15 minute thing each day. I hope my mind can think about new problems every day!

Writing mini-projects: I hate teaching writing. There. I said it. I don't feel strong in writing, so I don't like it. I feel like a complete fraud when it comes to writing. I don't know how to explain it to the kids beyond writing a personal narrative. That's our one tested area, so I can teach it. I need to learn how to teach some other, more interesting types of writing, but no one in my grade level cares to share their ideas. So, I am just going to start jumping in blind and see where it leads me. Actually, I am going to start having my kids learn about writing a descriptive story about an animal. I got this idea from my friend who uses a word web to jot down ideas and then has the kids write each idea into a sentence. I'll see how my kids this year handle it. Any other writing ideas would be great!

I also had an epiphany about my file cabinet. I asked the principal a month ago if she could look for a new one for me, and I haven't heard a thing. So, I am going to organize it a bit differently than I have in the past, clean out some things I haven't used and won't use for a while (and save, of course), but then actually throw some stuff out that I don't want to have collecting cobwebs. I know it isn't natural for teachers to throw away things, but I want to start decrapifying as much as possible. Yep. It's my new word for the year: DECRAPIFY - to get rid of all the crap laying around that you really don't need! Now I just wish I could go to school and get it done before Monday, but, no it isn't in the cards!

I have already told my hubby that I will be home late on Monday. I am so motivated to get things reorganized and start fresh that I want to be able to spend as much time on Monday getting things done before the rest of the week hits me like a ton of bricks. Plus, I will have my daughter to pick up 3 days out of the week by 4ish, plus now we have soccer one of those days, and really, I shouldn't be living at school. I need to come home, exercise (hahaha) and spend some time with my family. Oh yeah, I told myself I was going to get up at 'o dark thirty to exercise before work. I'll let you know how Monday goes!

Well, time to go and sit on the couch and read my book. Gotta find out what happens next in the story and finish it before vacation is over. I told myself I wanted to read 3 books over vacation. If I get this one done, that will make 4, which is good for me. I just picked one up I had ordered at the library, so I will have to read that one quickly or check it out over and over again. Ahhhhh, 2 more days left of vacation!

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