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Sunday, September 13, 2015

The First Four Weeks

We made it guys. We are now four weeks into the school year. At the end of each week The Hubs always tells me how many weeks down, and how many to go. It's kinda cute.
So I wanted to focus today's post on what is working in my room, what is not, and what I am going to do about it. So first, let's start off with what IS NOT working.

What's NOT Working
My small groups. Last week I used these plans:
And while these may look super organized, I was not. I was fumbling through pages trying to remember what I was talking about. No good. So this week, I am going to color code post it the pages and try to be more organized that way. I also noticed that the guided reading activities for the red group were still too hard. So I need to find a different resource to use with those kiddos. I am going to give it one more week this week and see how it goes. I think they need something that repeats more.
What resources do you use for your small groups?

What's NOT Working
My writing station. It was garbage. I was using materials from another teacher, who is more experienced and must have modeled and prepped her students better than I did. She just gave them a blank piece of paper, half of it a rectangle for a picture and half of it lines. Her students were to just draw a picture and write about it. My kiddos were not ready for that. No way. Hello disaster town. Hello draw a really nice picture and then write nothing. NO GOOD! 
So to change this, I knew I needed to give my kiddos more direction and more modeling. So, I got out my BTS Question of the Day Packet.

This packet gave my kids SO much more direction. Specially with the graphic organizer at the top. I modeled how to fill out the graphic organizer, and then wrote my little story. I left my example in the writing center and will continue to do this for a few weeks, at least until we get into a routine and really know what the expectations are.

SO much more direction. SO much better!

What IS Working
My class last year was rather advanced. Most of my students came in knowing how to read low level books, and quickly moved into more complex texts. They also quickly picked up on math concepts, and had single digit addition mastered in a week. This class is not as advanced and I had to remind myself of that. I have to meet them where they are. So I did. We have done a TON of phonics stuff. Lots of word building, red word tapping, and letter sound fluency activities. I have used this pack at my phonics station:

This has been fantastic. Not only are the kids practicing their sound pattern for the week, but they are engaged with the words. They LOVE using the cubes to build the words and then showing off when they write it in a sentence. For serious. So impressed with these little ones. 

What IS Working
Sign Language. Everyday when we go through our sound cards we show the sign for the letter, then after I spell words in sign language and they have to figure out what word it is. They LOVE it. I love it. Everyone is happy. I hope to use this great pack that I bought last year with these kiddos later in the year. 

I love teaching the kiddos sign language. It is SO fun, useful, and totally NOT in our curriculum! :)

What IS Working
Computer lab time. We LOVE getting on these Chromebooks! My students have a certain amount of minutes they have to spend on IXL and RAZ Kids each week, so we have computer lab 3xs a week. The kiddos love it! Plus they get to practice finding all the keys and how to type their names to login. 

What IS Working
Brain Breaks! We LOVE GoNoodle! My kiddos specially love the Zumba videos. 

It makes me really sad that we have to have resources like this to help us get through the day, but at the same time I am so thankful we have a FREE resource like this to help us make it!

I am sure as time goes on, all of these things will change. Education is an ever changing beast that I love and hate at the same time. 
I would LOVE to hear about what is and isn't working in your classroom! I added an InLinkz for the first time EVER and would love to hear about what's going on in your classroom!

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