Peak Into My Classroom: My Week in 5

This has been another busy week.  But, I have to say that it was a great week of activities and interactions with my sweet students!  It finally feels like we are becoming more of a family, and that connections are being made between myself and a few “skeptical” (I don’t know if I’m going to like you, new teacher- kids) students.  Learning is always fun!  We haven’t had one dull moment this week.  I really hope that you can say the same for your students, or your family.  Here is our week in 5.

 

Take a Peak at My Week in 5

 

  1.  Math

This week kicked off a brand new unit in math.  Working with numbers to 99, comparing numbers with symbols, and understanding teens numbers in base ten are a few of the focus concepts in this unit.  There are many concepts in this new unit, but thankfully my students seem to have a good foundation.  Thank you, Kindergarten teachers and families!

Just for fun, we had a Comparing Numbers Relay Race.   I divided the students into two groups and had them line in up in single file lines.  After I wrote two sets of numbers on the board, the first students in line would take the Expo Marker, race to the board and circle the least/greatest number (whichever I asked for), and then race back to the line to pass the marker to their next teammate.

It wasn’t about winning.  Anyone that had the answer incorrect was allowed to run back to the board and circle the correct answer.  Such a great way to quickly assess which students know how to compare numbers.  Additionally, the activity is very culturally responsive, as it allows everyone to participate.  No judgement or pressure to be perfect.  Simply fun practice,  a chance to build a sense of camaraderie, and a wonderful way to build our class community.

2.  Reading

We are still using the book, The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neil as our anchor text .  The reading series that we use has extensive focus on each text.  Honestly, it gets to be a bit much after awhile.  I usually create my own activities or skill focus that is inspired by the text.  There are only so many times that we can read and re-read the same story!  :  )  I do understand what the thought process likely was while they were creating this program.  Repetition is important for young readers, but six and seven year olds  do have their limits. LOL

There is a book that I would love to share with you.  It is called Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack.  I must warn you that the book only has 6 or 7 varying words, but it is a great story!  If you are teaching students how illustrations are used to tell the story and/or about inferring, this story is a great choice.  {This is a good way to introduce the concept of inferring to younger students.}  It’s also quite amusing.  Find the book in your school or local library.  If you would like the link to purchase a copy of your own, click on the photo below.  I am guilty of wanting to own “my own copy” of everything.  That is just how much I LOVE children’s literature.

 

 

3.  Science

The Water Cycle has been generating quite a bit of excitement for us.  We used this opportunity to tie in the states of water.  Liquids were the focus of the week.  The looks of shock and of Oh my goodness-faces after I intentionally poured water on the floor were priceless!  Wasn’t it important for me to demonstrate how water flows and does not have a shape of its own?  Teaching is the best!!  .

Additionally, I brought in different size containers to demonstrate how liquids take the shape of any container that they are added to.  When I grabbed a glass piggie bank from off of the shelf and dunked it in a large bucket of water, it threw them into a frenzy!  I was so happy that the teacher next door didn’t stick her head in and give me the “We are trying to take a test” look.  ha ha.  Really, she wouldn’t.  I am just as excited to hear her students excited about what they are learning. as she is for my students.

Anchor Charts Are a Wonderful Tool for Teaching and Built-In Re-Teaching

This sweet student was re-creating the Water Cycle Anchor Chart that we had made. I actually jumped up from the back table, grabbed my cell phone in hopes that I wouldn’t distract her or miss the opportunity, and snapped this picture.  It just about moved me to tears!  She is my darling student that came in to school barely speaking to anyone.  She often was really sure what to do and how to do it independently.  Look at her now!!

My students drew the picture on the chart paper.  I told them that they were going to have to draw the cycle themselves.  I was delighted to see their eagerness.  They did a great job!  It was also important for me to drive home the vocabulary words for the Water Cycle.  Once you hear a student call out, “Constitution” for condensation, you know that you need to re-teach that concept.  Ha Ha Aha.  I needed to re-teach!

 

My heart was so touched to see her sitting in front of the picture drawing her own model.  She could have chosen any activity to participate in, and chose to re-draw our photo.  Heart smiling!  This just might be my favorite picture ever.

4. Teacher Tackles

My Teacher Tackles for this week are, dare I say….. Report Cards AND I am still involved in Parent-Teacher Conferences.  I actually like interacting with my students’ families.  The only drawback is that it makes for a very long day.  On the days when I have 4 conferences in one day- YIKES!  The most challenging aspect of completing report cards is the comment section.  Trying to create a personalized comment that includes academic successes and areas to focus on is daunting.  You want to be as honest as possible, while trying to ensure that parents understand their student’s academic and social abilities or needs.

 

A Quick Tip for Creating Comments on the Report Card

My best advice is to heir on the side of positivity- even if Michael can’t sit still for 15 consecutive minutes.  You can state that he is energetic and excited about learning.  Remember, positivity!  My tip is to highlight the positive at the beginning of the comment, share academic and social growth, and then provide an area that the student could “benefit from practicing at home” (like reading with fluency and in a less choppy manner or sight words).  Finish the comment with your excitement about the school year and/or about what you know the student has the potential to achieve.

If you have concerns about a student’s performance, but you have never shared it with their family previously, don’t place it on the report card.  Surprises of this nature probably will not be received very well.  Think of how you feel about unexpected news.  Perhaps a phone call made in advance of sending the report card home would work well for sharing more delicate information.  Or, save the comment for direct interaction.

 

5.  School Happenings

Along with Breast Cancer Awareness, October is also Anti-Bullying month.  In honor of this, the school asked us to wear orange every Wednesday.  Actually, it is very nice to see so many students wearing orange.  It has inspired very good class discussions on bullying.  We’ve discussed choosing our words carefully, and it has been a great way for me to add that facial expressions and body language have just as much power as verbally spoken sentiments do.

Listen attentively during these special moments, too.  Often, students will share something that they have experienced.  They may not tell you in that moment.  Sometimes being open and attentive gives students the comfort and security to open up at a later time.  Make sure that students feel as though your/their classroom is a safe haven for them.  Continue to build and strengthen those relationships!  We know how important this is to student success.

 

There you have it!  This was my week in 5.  How was your week?  I would love to hear about it!

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A Black female standing in front of three black boxes that are stacked on top of each other. I am wearing a blue, denim dress that is tied at the waist. My hair is in long braids.

Hi, I'm Tania!

I help creative and time-conscious teachers plan student-centered lessons that interest and motivate student learning so that lesson planning takes less time and is actually enjoyable! 

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