Friday, August 12, 2016

Meet the Teacher 2016

Another "Meet the Teacher" night has come and gone! Leading up to it we only had two contracted days to work in our classrooms and had a county inservice the day of. So of course most of my colleagues including myself worked many hours outside of that to prepare. 

Meet the Teacher Preparations

I start off with pretty bare walls at the beginning of the year. After teaching for so long I've come to learn that it's best for the students to fill our space after they arrive. Plus it saves me a lot of work before school starts! So my bulletin board simply says Coming Soon. Once the students begin working I'll hang up their work. I didn't even put bulletin board paper up this year. I left the natural background and I kind of love it! 

Meet the Teacher

This was the main table for the night. When families arrived, they signed in and then I handed each family a Classroom Creature Chase sheet. They had to go to different stops in the classroom to perform tasks. I learned a lot about the families just from giving them this assignment. I also learned that incoming 3rd graders can't handle six tasks. So next year I'm giving them four and making them simpler to follow. 

One of the tasks the kids had to complete was to get a library book and find a spot they wanted to sit at on the first day. I am trying flexible seating for the first time this year so needed a way for kids to choose a spot. I placed a Welcome flipbook at each available spot along with a sticky note. The kids placed their books at one of those spots, replaced the flipbook with their book and wrote their name on a sticky note. Then they gave their flipbook to their parent to take home.

One of the stops was getting their picture taken in the photo area. I just put up some yellow butcher paper and made a sign for the kids to hold. The credit for the saying goes to Kristen @schoolandthecity on Instagram. I forgot to take a picture of this area but you can see it in the picture above. Here's a close up of the sign:

The last stop was the wishlist cupcake stand. Families had the chance of taking paper cupcakes that had things I would love donated for the classroom. I didn't have a frame to hold up the sign that goes with it so check out this handy idea I came up with at the last minute. I taped a large dice to it and voila!

After checking their Classroom Creature Chase sheet, I gave the 3rd graders a little gift- glow sticks! This idea (and the glow sticks) came from my teammate who found it where else? Pinterest! My teammate got the glow sticks from Amazon but I've seen them at Dollar Tree too.

I've created a version for grades 1st-5th that you can download for free! Just click on the picture below. Well that's a wrap on Meet the Teacher 2016. I hope back to school season is fun and stress free for you!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to School Class Schedule

It's that time of summer when I canNOT turn my teacher brain off. I go back in a week so I've been working on my class schedule for this year.

I love to see other teachers' schedules for inspiration so I thought I would share my schedule for this year. Of course things might need to be altered if they make changes to my lunch or specials time. But for now, this is what I'll be following.

I will be changing how I do mini-lessons this year and truly keep them MINI. So I will be doing my interactive read alouds right before we go to specials. During IRA I will do think-alouds, and have students turn and talk. I decided to do it this way so it breaks up the amount of time students are sitting on the carpet for instruction. I like to keep them moving as much as possible.

I also have a separate time for Vocabulary because I believe it's important to devote a good chunk of time to it since it is one of the biggest factors in improving reading comprehension. I use Valuable Vocabulary which can be found in my store. 

I have used this for a couple of years now and kids love it and always say they love Vocabulary time. I'm currently working on making all the units teacher friendly. If you are interested in looking at the books I use, you can download the map with clickable links for the whole year here. 

My Writing/Grammar block will be a bit different this year. I really want to teach grammar in a more authentic way so that kids are not only able to identify a part of speech but they are also able to write using them correctly in their own writing. So that block will be a trial and error at the beginning. 

This schedule won't be fully implemented until about the 3rd or even 4th week of school. We practice a lot of routines and procedures in the beginning so our schedule will be off. But it's so worth it in the end because the class runs smoothly and you are able to really dive into instruction.

Teachers go back in a week! When do you get back to reality?