Friday, July 25, 2014

Writer's Workshop Part 1

Last year my principal decided that our school wide focus needed to be on writing.  This was partly because of Common Core, and the fact that our students had to answer critical response questions on a Social Studies and Science test, and they did horrible.  So we implemented Lucy Calkin's Writer's Workshop.  For grades 3-5, this meant we departmentalized so we could get the writing component in.  I was lucky enough to be chosen as the writing teacher :)

We had 5 different blocks, that lasted 55 minutes each.  It was tough at first because you really have to get on a good schedule.  I needed a 5-15 minute mini lesson, 35-40 minute writing period, and then 5 minutes of partner time and 5 to share at the end.  If you add all of that up, you can clearly see it exceeds 55 minutes! Some days I had the students share with their partner instead of having a few share to the entire class...so that saved us some time.  But I was having difficulty with the mini lesson part!  I decided to implement a timer, and if I didn't get to a certain point, we would pick up where we left off the next day. At first it annoyed me like crazy because I hated having to quit in the middle of a lesson, but I quickly learned that our writing is evolving anyways, so it wasn't THAT big of deal.  Plus, if I noticed that a student was ready for that particular lesson during our conference, I would go ahead and share it with them and challenge them to work on it in their writing.

I have to admit, I was worried how my students would react to A) having a writing class, and B) writing in general.  They really hadn't been taught HOW to write in a couple of years, because of such a big focus on Reading and Math.  But they stepped up to the plate beautifully! I think it helped that they were able to pick their topics (for the most part) and they REALLY got into it! It will be interesting to see how the upcoming group does considering they have a year under their belt now.

Next time I'll post about our writer's notebooks and folders...it really helped organize their writing!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do I have any followers left?

Holy Smokes Batman! I haven't blogged since last August? I'll be surprised if anyone even follows the blog anymore :( I promise I have a good reason....

If you recall, last April I had baby girl.  She is so full of life, and has definitely kept me on my toes and entertained! In October, our house sold, and we bought our house in November! So we were very busy!! Not to mention, this also happened...



That's right...there are now TWO girls!  14 months apart...yikes! This little bundle was born June 30th (which was my dad's birthday...he passed away the day after hubby and I got married), so needless to say, my days are FULL!! But I promise, I am going to try to be better about blogging, hopefully during nap times, and get some writing ideas out there! I couldn't believe how far my students came with writing in just one year :)

Anyways, I hope you're still out there in bloggy land as a follower...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Anchor Charts

Well...it's that time.  Monday is my day to start back to school.  The kiddos don't come until the 26th though.  I went out to school all last week to work in my room, and I'm glad I did b/c 1- we have a TON of Professional Development next week, and 2- my mom had some mini strokes yesterday so I will be zipping out of work to get to her every day next week.  My room isn't completely finished, but I should be able to finish it Monday afternoon.  At least I hope!

As most of you know, this year I will be teaching writing to the entire 4th grade.  I will have FIVE blocks.  Count em...ONE..TWO...THREE...FOUR...FIVE!  It got me thinking about anchor charts.  I'm not going to have enough space in my room for five classes worth of anchor charts, much less want to write them that many times!  Then I ran across this post from Ladybug Teaching Files. I LOVE how Kristen makes hers on the computer! I think I will do that, and teach them how to use PowerPoint at the same time!

How do you use anchor charts?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Changes all around!

This is going to be quick because I am EXHAUSTED! I went out to school today to work in my classroom, and stayed way later than I had originally planned! But I was able to get a lot accomplished, so that's good news at least :)  Hopefully by the end of the week I will be able to give a classroom reveal!

As you know, I have been teaching 4th grade math for the past few years.  This year, my school is implementing Lucy Calkin's Writers Workshop school wide.  However, with the way our schedule was for 3-5, it was going to be hard for the Reading teacher to fit everything in in the time frame she had.  So my admin has decided to departmentalize us (1 teach science, 1 teach math, 1 teach reading, 1 teach SS, and 1 teach writing), and I will now be teaching 4th grade writing! I am so excited! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE math, but I was ready for a change...even though I didn't want to switch grade levels and learn an entire new curriculum with a new baby at home! So this is GREAT! The best part is, I used Lucy Calkins during my student teaching, and carried that into my own classroom when I was self-contained, so this isn't going to be entirely brand new to me!

The only stressful part is...now I have nothing to go on my walls.  Everything I have had up for the past few years is math...so nothing that I have for writing matches my color scheme.  Guess what I'll be doing all weekend? Ugh....

How do y'all work this at your school? Do you team teach, departmentalize, or stay self-contained?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Claiming my blog

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5671235/?claim=jzc6v67wk56">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

I know I'm late to this party, but I've been out with a newborn! Anyways, I'm claiming my blog and would love it if you followed me on blog lovin! I've got some exciting news to share about this upcoming school year, but I will share that tomorrow so I don't post twice in a day :-)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer is over?

I can't believe that I have to go back to school in two weeks....I have been out on maternity leave since April 12th. 






It is going to be SO HARD to go back! I DON'T WANNA!!! (insert pic of me crying hysterically!)  Oh well, I guess that is life...at least the life of someone who needs insurance! HA!


As you can tell from my blog, I haven't exactly been in a blogging/creative mood this summer.  Usually by this time my classroom is all set up, I have made all kinds of fun and cute projects, and I'm excited for the new year...this year, not so much.  I didn't even LOOK at a blog until a couple of weeks ago!  I did find some fun ideas, but we will see if I actually get around to making them.  I'm focusing on using Math Workshop for my class this year, so the other projects will have to wait! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently!

Wow...I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted! Pregnancy and teaching DO NOT mix well!  I just want to come home, prop my feet up, and relax after work....forget being creative :)  Oh well...not too much longer now!  On to the currently.  I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade









              

Listening:  It's 6:00 so I'm catching up on the news....so many fires around here today! It's sad....one happened last night and a couple lost their lives, and now another house has exploded into flames (that's the words the news used) and they aren't sure if someone is in the house. 

Loving: It's SPRING BREAK!! We had a workday Friday (booooo) but got out early, so I am off from work until Monday the 8th!  AND that is my last week of teaching before arrives! Happy Happy, yet stressed at the same time! I have a lot to do for my long-term sub :-/

Thinking: Speaking of my lil girl, I can't wait to meet her :)  Her due date is the 26th, but Dr seems to think she will be here before then! Which is okay by me!  I've had horrible pain in the pelvic region for the past month thanks to her little head, and swelling in my lower legs and feet....I'm just ready to hold her and for that to be DONE!

Wanting: Cheetos! Commercials keep coming on advertising them, and I want some!!! Should I send my hubby out for some or not?

Needing: to put grades in...they are due next week, but I wanted to get them in this week JUST IN CASE!!

Advice: Get organized and don't procrastinate! I need to take this advice as well...I always start out the school year very organized...my room for the most part still is, but my area, not so much.  This year I'm blaming it on pregnancy brain!  Procrastination though, I hate that!  My hubby loves it...lets just say we butt heads when it comes to that area...like putting the car seat in ;-)

Well there ya have it! Hopefully soon I'll be able to get back into this blog...I know it will be hard with a newborn, but I will need some down time at some point right?