Friday, August 23, 2013

Daily5/CAFE - Handling Student Choice

Have I told you how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Daily 5! After 18 years of teaching I am always pleasantly surprised when I come across something 'new' that just makes my teaching that much better/satisfying.

As I'm getting ready to head into school next week...yup! I'm one of, what seems are, only a handful of bloggers that are still on summer break...I'm reviewing the structure that's in place for Daily 5 in the class and seeing if anything needs 'tweaking'.  Know what?....there isn't much.  My teaching partner and I always reflect, in amazement, at how WELL this structure worked in our class last year! Uh-mazing!!

The biggest change that will happen with Daily 5 is actually the assessment part (CAFE), as we are moving towards using the online CC Pensieve that the Sister's have created.  My partner and I already use the online Jupiter Gradebook.  When you share a classroom, having access to your student data becomes crucial...especially during report card time.  It just made sense for us to move from a paper pensieve to an online pensieve.  We both have iPads, which we will use when conferring with students.

Last year, our biggest challenge was how to handle student choice during each round of Daily 5.  It took a bit to come up with a system that was equitable (to the students) and didn't take a chunk of time.  Here's what we did and plan to continue to do in Year 2:

  • Students gather at the carpet for each round of Daily 5 (we do three each day)
  • After a short mini lesson (Reading Comprehension, Reading Strategy, or Writing) I would pick a name using student popsicle sticks)
  • Students would then declare what their choice was (read to self, read to someone, word work, or writing) and where they would sit (and with what special: ie. director's chair, cube, MacGilla Gorilla, pillows...)
  • As students made their choice, they would quietly go and start whichever activity they had chosen while I recorded their choice on the Daily 5 Check In Sheet
  • Read to Someone's (limit of 6 students each round) stayed behind and chose a card with a symbol on it...they would read with whoever had their matching symbol.  We implemented this as a way to ensure that students weren't always reading with a BFF!
This system worked pretty well and it will be interesting to see how it will work with our new group of kids (although we have half of last year's kids returning).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

B2S Goals 2013-2014 Linky Party

I am linking up with Jess, of I {heart} Recess for her Back to School Goals linky.  

 Personal I commute about 55km (that's about 34 miles) to school.  I'm usually at school at least an hour before school starts and don't leave until usually 5 pm, which wouldn't be so bad if I lived closer.  But ...commuting makes for a long I don't arrive home until 6 ish.  So my goal is to leave school by 4pm.  Ironically, my husband and I commuted for a few months last year and it forced me to be ready when he picked me up at 4pm.  so I know, I can do it! :)

Organization  My classroom closet starts out decently organized at the beginning of the year, but inevitably becomes a dumping ground for stuff I'm not sure where to put or I'm too lazy rushed to put away properly.  I need help in this dept!

Planning  My province has Prescribed Learning Outcomes which I'm pretty sure are the equivalent of US Common Core Standards.  Last year, I felt that my writing lessons were a bit 'scattered' (I tried to fit them into Daily 5 mini lesson time) so I'm currently working on a more defined scope and sequence for those mini-lessons.

Professional  I've had my SmartBoard now for a year and LOVE it, but feel I could use it much more and would like to focus on developing my own SB lessons for the subjects/activities we do in the classroom.

Students  Reading is my passion, so I want my students to leave my classroom with that same passion.  I spend a lot of time ensuring that my classroom library is diverse enough that there are books that will appeal even to the most reluctant readers.  

Motto  Perseverance seems to be going the way of the dinosaur it seems?...especially in this immediate gratification society we live in today.  I find students just don't/can't persevere, so I'm going to try and infuse this motto throughout everything I/we do this year in class. :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Monday Made It!...finally!

I'm linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!

Yes, I'm aware that this isn't anything 'new', but I am so, so proud of the fact, that I have finally made my own Teacher Toolkit! (It's only taken me about a year since it first graced Pinterest to actually make my own. . . LOL) I was debating on whether to paint it or not, but knowing my lousy spray painting ability my inexperience with spray paint, I opted to keep the blue (which WILL fit in with my decor), plus it's my teaching partner's fav colour.  I'm lovin' it so much that I think I might want to make one for my study at home! :)

Labels courtesy of Teaching With a Mountain View

I also finished making labels for my classroom library book baskets.  At the end of June, I had started reorganizing some of the book baskets and had to relabel them, but didn't get to the Non-Fiction or Author section,, I finished them and now I can scratch that off my to-do list! Yeah!

And last, but not least (and I'm not even sure this counts), I finished re-doing the look of my blog.  That was a bit of an ordeal, as I wasn't intending to do it until 'later' (which, of course, could mean any where from one day to one year, with me! LOL) but started messing around with it, totally screwed it up, so basically was forced to re-do it anyway! Ha, ha, ha....ya, I can laugh about it now!  I have to admit, I quite like it, though. :)

Well, that's it for my very FIRST Monday Made It...I know...strange but true

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Apologies...ReDecorating in Progress

Sometimes I wonder WHY I do the things I do WHEN I do them?!  Redoing my blog was not on my to-do list...AT ALL!  But here I am, messing changing things around when I could/should be doing a myriad of other (teacher or personal) stuff.  And boy, have I messed changed things around! So please accept my humblest apologies as I try to fix this mess create a new and improved blog!