My Week of Teaching in Review: November 18, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What a week.  With Thanksgiving break closing in, the energy of the students in my classroom is high.  The energy of their teacher, however, is waning.  I'm jealous of all of you that have started your Thanksgiving break already.  We still have two days with students this week, but I'm excited to spend those days doing some fun activities!

This past week, we continued learning about area and relating it to multiplication.  The first day we tackled area of irregular shapes was a disaster, but we came back the next day with some crayons, which always seem to help.  My students were able to break apart the shapes into smaller rectangles much better with the help of some color coding!  I will be sure to start with this activity next year!







Next week, we're going to design our dream houses and find the area of the entire house.  Some students have already told me they're ecstatic about adding Lazer Tag rooms and a space just for their dogs.  I can't wait to see how they turn out!

I also had some extra time this week to sneak in a few phonics focus groups, based off the spelling assessment we gave last week.  My school uses the Developmental Spelling Analysis (DSA) by Kathy Ganske to assess phonics knowledge and provide Tier 3 interventions.  Below are examples of what my data summary looks like.  The first image shows my entire class' data.  It's nice to look at it and see, at a glance, our areas of growth and success.  And, of course, I love color coding it!  The green tells me that my students have mastered that skill, the yellow needs review, and the red needs direct, explicit instruction.


As you can see, I have a wide variety of learners in my classroom.  I use guided reading to meet all of their needs!  I used the DSA data to create phonics focus groups, which students who are working on the same skills.  Take a look at the next photo - it shows one of my groups.  The post-it note is the area of focus for that group.  This group in particular is working on consonant blends and digraphs.



Interested in learning more about how we utilize the DSA or other literacy assessments?  Let me know!

I will probably be taking a break next week, since it's such a short week (and Thanksgiving!) - I hope you enjoy the long weekend and take some time to rest and relax.

Best,


My Week of Teaching in Review: November 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017
It's been a while since I've written a blog post.  To be honest, I have a hard time coming up with ideas that I think might be of interest to you.  But I love writing, so I decided to start a weekly post called My Teaching Week in Review.  I love, love, love the time I spend with my kiddos each week and I can't wait to start sharing that with you.  Here's a peek into what we did this week!



Literacy is my absolute favorite subject to teach and I love using Pixar shorts to expose students to new concepts.  These short videos are not only extremely well made (uh, hello, Pixar!), but they're also usually dialogue free.  Students have to use their inferencing skills to figure out what is going on.  This week we continued learning about central message and talked about character motivation.  To help us understand what motivation is and how it affects a story, we watched Partly Cloudy, a film about a cloud who creates babies to send to Earth.  It is such a cute story and my students LOVED watching it.  Plus, it helped their understanding of character motivation so much and they were able to apply the concept to the story we were reading.  I can't wait to use La Luna next week!  Check out the full list of Pixar shorts and literacy strategies here.  I apologize because I found this list on Pinterest years ago and I'm not sure who or where it came from.  If you know, please do tell so I can give credit.

My students completely engaged during a viewing Partly Cloudy.

We got to have a board game party this week!  My school implements a school-wide behavior incentive program called PAWS.  If a class or student is caught showing exceptional behavior, they earn a paw and the class in each grade level with the most paws for the week wins.  For every 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 10th time you win, you get to spin the wheel of rewards - and this week, we spun to win a board game party.  Thursday afternoon we took a field trip to the cafeteria and students got to choose from a variety of games to play.  They had a BLAST!  It was a nice break from the normal day-to-day routine, plus it allowed them to work on social and cooperative skills... which some of them really needed.  ๐Ÿ˜„  In addition, it allowed me to see some of their strengths and skills outside of the classroom, which I always love!

Since today is Veteran's Day, we also had a visitor from the Army National Guard come to our classroom to speak about her job and other military jobs on Thursday.  She is the mother of one of my students and my class loved asking her questions about how difficult her job is, the food she eats in the military, and more.  I was very proud of how respectful they were, even if their questions were a little weapon heavy sometimes.  ๐Ÿ˜’

Army National Guard Member Sturtivan visiting our classroom for Veteran's Day.

Finally, I spent most of the week assessing my students using the Developmental Spelling Analysis.  It was developed by Kathy Ganske.  We took this assessment when school started back in August, so it was great to see how much growth they've made since then.  I'll admit, I'm a bit of a nerd, so I loved pouring over the data and creating new word study groups for my students.  I'll let you know more about that next week!

Oh - and the best part of the week - I got to spend a night out with my teaching besties!  We enjoyed a night or dinner and fun.  It was nice to step away from the classroom for a little bit and spend time with each other.  We should definitely do it more often!


Enjoy your week, teachers!


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