Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm linking up with It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Currently, I'm reading books to get a suitable selection for my fourth graders to read as a book club related to Civil Rights. We will be completing project work focusing on the following essential question: How can conflict create change? I thought the kids would be able to really dig deep, thinking about this question through the lens of historical fiction while they are studying the Civil Rights Movement in social studies. I've read Glory Be, which is a keeper for our book club. Now I'm reading The Lions of Little Rock, and I'm loving it!

What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions for our book club? If so, leave them below as a comment.

Friday, March 3, 2017

It's Friday

I don't know if it's just my kiddos, and I will say this week has been better, but they've had a tough time coming back after the holidays. It has taken us over a month to really get back on track. We had behavior issues constantly. Kids not doing homework. Kids not being productive in class, and some just being disrespectful. I feel like we've finally made it back to where everyone is back on track, but we have one more week then parent-teacher conferences. With that, the kids have a half day and then a day off in the middle of the week. I have a feeling we may backtrack again. I feel like it is a rare week when we don't have some type of interruption to our schedule. It makes hard to keep routines going and hard to keep the kiddos on track. But, that being said, it's Friday:)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Good Intentions

I had good intentions of keeping my blogging life going, but I got kind of burned out. With the SoL challenge, I'm hoping to reinvigorate my writing life. I've written some with my students during writing time, but not enough. I've thought about different posts to write, but haven't written them. Now is the take action and "Just Do It."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Slice of Life Challenge

I wasn't planning on participating in SOL this year as an individual, but I did plan on having my fourth and fifth graders write slices for the month of March. After introducing the Slice to them today, we went onto Kidblog and everyone wrote their first post. Students only wrote short posts today, but they all made sure to revise and edit their writing before publishing. They were so incredibly excited about this challenge, that they made me change my mind. I will write with them every day, as well as here. My students' enthusiasm about this challenge is so exciting to me - excitement about writing every day?? I'll take it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Taking Care of Problems #SOL16

I'm joining with Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.

Yesterday I took a personal day. I had scheduled to get my septic pumped. The guys came and there was bad news. My septic was draining properly. Turns out,  I have to replace the first 12 feet of the field line, called the header. I did this nine years ago. Should I really have to replace this already? I called the guy who did the work. He said text him my address and he'll let me know when he can come out. He mentioned something about today, but I haven't heard back from him. So my poor mom is put on alert. When the guy calls me, I call her, and off she runs to my house. Then we had quite a bit of rain last night. While I was watching tv and relaxing, I begin to hear a dripping noise. I discovered a leak in my roof. When it rains, it pours - I guess. Houses - blessed to be able to own one, but boy is it a pain in the neck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Project Presentations - Slice of Life

In my fifth grade social studies class, students have been working on researching a variety of topics related to Westward Expansion. The students worked in pairs based on their topic of interest. Today, groups presented on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Louisiana Purchase, and the Trail of Tears. The kids did such a great job. The group that presented on the Louisiana Purchase wrote a readers theater script that the class performed today. They included information about Madison, Livingston, Jefferson and Napoleon, how the negotiations took place, how the country changed because of the acquired land, and the effects on expanding westward. The class loved performing the reader's theater. The second group presented on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the creation of the Corps of Discovery, background information on Lewis and Clark. They informed us about the interactions with the Native Americans, the important stopping points along the way, as well as information about some of the flora and fauna they discovered, like the Lewis woodpecker. The last group that presented today taught us about the Trail of Tears. This group wrote letters from varying points of view, such as Native American children and mothers, as well as from Andrew Jackson. They did a great job including relevant information use in a persuasive form, especially when they wrote to Jackson. The class really felt for the Native Americans and their enormous loss.

As I've implemented project work in my social studies classes this year, I have discovered that with each project my students delve deeper into their chosen topic. They have become more curious, gotten better at questioning, developed their research and note-taking skills, and used more creativity in their presentations. I am looking forward to tomorrow's presentations!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Educator Collaborative Gathering April 2

I am linking up with Margaret Simon who hosts DigiLit Sundays on her blog, Reflections on the Teche.

Yesterday, I participated in some fantastic PD and all from home in my pjs. Can you get better than that? Chris Lehman put together some wonderful superstars in his The Educator Collaborative Gathering. If you didn't know about this or weren't able to watch the webinars yesterday, they are archived and you can go watch and learn when it's convenient for you - just follow the link, The Educator Collaborative Gathering.

I began with the keynote by listening to Smokey Daniels and Sara Ahmed. I was fortunate enough to hear them speak before at a conference in New Orleans in January 2015. These two are fantastic and really explain the importance and relevance of inquiry and collaboration in the classroom, the importance of listening to your students, and really following their interests. Speaking from personal experience, I know if my students have choice and voice, then I don't have to work on buy in. It's there and their level of dedication, involvement, and investment are off the charts.

Another session I listened to was Notebook Time: Bringing Discovery and Play Back into the Writing Classroom with Rebekah O'Dell and Allison Marchetti. I really enjoyed this session. They talked about the first 5 - 7 minutes of class time being devoted to notebook time and what that looks like. They said there was lots of modeling that went on at the beginning of the year, so students understood what risk taking looked like, with a gradual release. They used free writes, poems, sentence study, data and images. The only thing I don't currently use is data. I find this really intriguing because they said one thing they hear from colleges is that students don't understand how to interpret statistics. I thought this was a great take-away and I plan to implement using data this week into my classroom. I love the idea of having students look at and interpret data. I think this will be a great spring board for both conversation and writing.

There were so many fantastic sessions yesterday. If you weren't able to participate, it's well worth your time to take a look at the archived session. I know you'll come away with something new to try in your classroom.