Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mayor Hubble is in Trouble!

I have found that the current reading curriculum wasn't quite challenging or engaging enough for some of my students... students who at the end of October were reading at the end of the 2nd grade level! 
Even though it is extremely important that they read the same stories as their classmates in order to retain the same phonics skills, I wanted to make sure that they continued to stay engaged. So, today I started Literature Circles. The kids were so excited (don't tell them, so was I!)

With just four students I choose a novel that I thought would keep them engaged. When browsing through Scholastic Book Clubs I found some perfect books... INCLUDING: 

I have a couple Weirder School books in my library but this one looks like a blast. I can't wait to see how the story unfolds. 

 Today I passed out the student's Literature Circle Journals (click the title to buy them for $1.00). We talked about the jobs and started reading. I created the schedule below but did not complete it... I'll keep you posted on my success. If you have any ideas or have done lit. circles, I would LOVE to hear from you! 

Literature Circle Schedule

20 minute rotations/ 2 days a week = 40 minutes a week

Day One:
1. Assign Jobs- allow the students to review the instructions for their job during the week 
            *There are four jobs and each students will receive a new job for each chapter.
TIME:  2 minutes

2. Read Story- Round Robin Reading, Sticks-each student reads a page until
            *The goal is to read one chapter in 15 minutes. However, this may take longer at first
            *The teacher can start by reading a page to demonstrate fluency and expression for the students
TIME: 15 minutes

3. Student Practice-work on assigned jobs
            *Students will have to complete the rest of the job during their free time
TIME: 3 minutes

Day Two:
1. Story Map
            *Pass out stick notes. Each student will be assigned the task of writing down the story elements:
            Every Time
            -main idea
TIME: 10 Minutes
2. Student Presentations
            *Each student will have 2 minutes to present their job
            *Then the teacher will discuss anything important that may have been missed.
TIME: 10 Minutes 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Where Is the Time?

Do you ever feel that you are running out of time? You have a to-do list that grows and grows and grows. I dream of the day where I become the teacher that has everything planned and does not have anything new to create. (Unfortunately, that will never happen.) When I start one project, my mind goes a mile a minute and I think about 20 other projects. Balancing teaching and graduate school keeps me busy and never seem to find a way to get ahead of the game. I got lucky and had two days off school last week, but did that help... NO! Why? Because I kept taking on more projects... They never stopped.

However, I have three things that I was able to finish with some extra time and the start of my fifth class.

The first project I tackled was a basic Weather Journal. For one week, student's have to observe the weather, temperature, and clouds. You can grab this freebie at my store, just click the first image below.
Click here

The borders came from Graphics From the Pond http://frompond.blogspot.com and the fonts came from http://www.kevinandamanda.com/fonts/freescrapbookfonts/. (I forgot to include a page with these credits.... SORRY!)
The second project I created were literature circles. I am getting ready to teach my students how to use them this coming week, and will post a specific blog next week! You can grab this mini unit for just $1.00 at my store also!
Click here to purchase this mini unit!
The third project that I created was a reusable Story Map. I was inspired by many Pinterest users. I will post a picture once it is laminated! I plan on using it with my literature circle groups! 

After I took a break from assignments, I am back to them.... I love my class (despite the countless hours of work).