Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Closing In On The End Of The Year

The school year is coming to a close soon.  Is it me or do school years fly by? Another summer is on the horizon.

I must admit this group did an amazing job and their effort was fantastic.  I know they'll continue to soar in fourth grade!

I always try to take any spare time in the final week to get ready for next year's early days.  Yes, September will be here before you know it, and a new class will embark on their educational journey, but it's nice to have some key things done in preparation.  A few minutes each day right now will save a lot of time in September.  These are some ideas that seem to help me:

Sharpen as many pencils as you can now as students gobble them up the first few weeks of school.  Here is a great sign for your sharpened and unsharpened pencil buckets that I will be using next year.  I got this cool freebie from Donna at Peace Love and Learning.
Click here for freebie
Go through one section in your file cabinet and ask yourself, "When was the last time I used this paper, pamphlet, copy or packet?"  

Make copies of the "must haves" for the first week of school  The copiers aren't as busy right now, but in September the lines will wrap around the office.

Take a quick inventory of some supplies you might hope to see on sale over the summer.  This might consist of highlighters, pens, pencils, erasers, folders, etc.

Jot down a few lessons that went really well this past year.  You can always go back and refer to your list at the beginning of the next school year.

Is there a read aloud book you want to showcase in the first few weeks?  Put it aside and it's one less thing you'll have to worry about later.  Here is what we will be reading next year:

When you close your door for the summer and return home, put your feet up, sit back and relax.  You earned it!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"How To" Writing Brought to Life

Have you ever done "how to" lessons with your class?  I believe these lessons and strategies teach the students transitional or temporal words as well as the importance of sequence.

I taught my students various methods of writing a "how to" informational piece.  The students had the option to select their own topic, but they had to actually do the "how to" in front of the whole class, while following their own steps.  I know this idea has been floating around for years, but I never had the students carry out the actual "how to" in my own class.

The students followed my "how to" lessons and they completed their final drafts. The class has been doing the "how to" lessons all week and I am amazed with the creativity.  Some of the students called up volunteers to see if their sequencing worked with other classmates.  Their accuracy was amazing. This is a lesson the entire class enjoyed.

Here is a list of some "how to" ideas from the week:

* make a fortune paper
* play a song on the piano- Thanks to the piano in the cafe!
* throw, catch, and hit a baseball
* shoot a basketball
* blow up a balloon using baking soda, vinegar, and an empty bottle
* making slime This student made her own video with the necessary steps!
* origami- Shirts and pants

* how to make an origami star

* card tricks
* washing hands
* make animation
* yoga
* dance
* use a tennis racket properly
* wash your hands properly
* be a model citizen in the class
* skateboard safety
* make a volcano

Some of the highlights from this lesson included student creativity, actual demonstrations, class participation, follow-through, speaking, listening, patience from the students and overall success.