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Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Day Our Way!


One of my wonderful blogging buddies, Amelia had a wonderful idea to share "A Day Our Way". I'm always tweaking how my class schedule goes, and I'm curious to see everyone's schedules too! Here is a quick peek at my schedule and a further explanation below.


7:55-8:10: Students arrive for the day. Reminders are posted on the Apple TV about what to get ready for the day, upcoming events for the day, and that morning's morning work.

8:10-9:05: Reading Period 1. This period has students going through 3 rotations (each about 16-17 minutes each). One group is with me working on the skill of the week or book extension. The second group is with a paraprofessional reading through a novel or nonfiction work. The final group works with the special education teacher for additional phonics work (we use Rewards). This group structure is fast paced, but it's held the student's attention well, and they are getting more out of the class period than our whole class approach at the beginning of the year.

9:05-10:00 Reading Period 2. This is a large class period. Our reading is based mostly on novel studies, although I've supplemented with complementary nonfiction texts. Students come in and get started by logging on to My Big Campus. The days events are listed as well as the literature circle roles. The class dynamic is just really fun. This group is generally my guinea pig group, and I try new apps on them or new ways to use apps before implementing them in other classes. There is a lot of small group and independent time in this class period.

10:00-10:55 Communications Period 3
12:15-1:05 Communications Period 4

Both classes are set up the same. Students come in and begin on their Mentor Sentence task for the day. The format of the class changes; I try to be as active and hands on as possible. Often there is a pretest for the skill being covered on My Big Campus. Mini-lesson, student practice time, centers. However, I'm not a super scheduled person (well I am, but it's not evident in this class write up!) to have everything broken down; I alter the day's schedule to fit the tasks at hand.

10:55-11:20 Independent Reading. I try to read with a few students each day and keep them on track for their reading goals.

11:20-11:25 Wash for lunch, fill out reading log, line up.

11:25-12:00 Lunch and Recess

12:00-12:15 Homeroom time. Bathroom/drinks, fill out planners for the mornings events. Then in the last few minutes read, work on homework, sometimes have choice of a few different apps.

12:15-1:05 Communications Period 4-- Explained earlier

1:05-1:35 Cruise. Cruise times are for reading interventions. Whether that be small specific phonics skills or larger groups working on fluency and vocabulary. This is my first week working with vocabulary, I normally have a small phonics group, so I'm still figuring out the best set up for our little bit of time. More on this part of the day later.

1:35-1:50 Recess!

1:50-2:50. Elements. Students go to 2 different elements classes each day. Music, PE, Technology, Library, Art, Flex and Counselor. The schedule is set Tuesday through Friday, with Mondays alternating. During this time, we have collaborative planning for an hour each day. We are lucky, I know. It's a great time to get things done!

2:50-3:10. End of the day. Pack up and usually end the day with a read aloud or the occasional birthday party.

That is a brief look at my day. Be sure to link up a day your way too!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Last Chance for Giveaway

Insert bad blogging friend status here.

I thought I had this post scheduled to post earlier in the week... but that wasn't the case. My sweet blogging buddy Maria is celebrating one year of blogging. I found her blog close to its start, and really enjoyed the recipes she shared over the summer with a linky I hosted.

There are just a few hours left to enter Maria's massive 1 year giveaway. Prize packs are divided K-3 and 3-5 so you can enter for the pack that would be the best for you.



Be sure to enter and leave some blog-i-versary love too!



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Back to School...Eventually & New App!

While I did finish up my grading before break, I procrastinated a bit in forming actual plans for this coming week. I had a rough idea of things we would do, however, writing down these ideas, just seemed to signal the end of break way too soon.

Then the call. Due to -25* and below windchill temperatures, no school tomorrow!

I'm hoping with my new found no-school energy I can crank out plans for the next couple of weeks. Just to start the year off on a well prepared foot. We shall see.

http://mrslaffinslaughings.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-peek-at-my-week-1-05-14.html

It's been a long time since I've joined in with Jeniffer's linky. Way too long, but I thought I would share an idea or two for the coming week.

In one of my reading classes we will be starting Chocolate Covered Ants by Steven Manes. This will be paired with a nonfiction book Chocolate Wasn't Always Sweet: A History by Marilee Robin Burton. In my second reading class, we will start with the nonfiction book and move to Ronald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The unit plans come from one of the teachers on the 4th grade team. Complete with how to taste test chocolate (an activity I know my kiddos will love, and a perk to working through the nonfiction text).  The icing on the cake... or maybe the chocolate on the ant (?) is a field trip to the local Russel Stover candy factory on the outskirts of town. A couple of the other reading classes have made the trip, and I know there will be mutiny if my classes don't make the trip too. I'm pretty excited to start this unit, and thankful for the collaborative team I work with.

On Thursday, I will be heading for additional LETRs training. A Rocky Top Teacher, recently posted about a new-to-me app called ThingLink. I've created one for my students to look at edible bugs across the globe and journal about if they would try an insect delicacy. If you'd like to take a look at the articles and video the kiddos will be looking at just take a look below.




Speaking of a new app... how are you using iPads and iPods in your classroom? I'd love you to link up your ideas below all month long!












Friday, January 3, 2014

Giveaway!


I am beyond excited to help a couple of my blogging buddies celebrate 1,000 followers for each of their blogs! To celebrate, Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper & Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching are having a week of giveaways you don't want to miss out!

My winter centers are part of the prize for today. I wish I had more action shots of these centers in use, but before break was a wee bit crazy. I still have a couple that will be thrown into the rotation later this week, so maybe I can post some pictures then.



In this pack I have 5 centers that work on subjects & predicates, parts of speech, figurative language, synonyms, and fact & opinion. If you'd like a chance to win, be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter and check back tomorrow to see if you've won!

Be sure to follow these ladies if you haven't already. I truly enjoy their blogs; they both are full of wonderful ideas. While your at their blogs be sure to leave them some love!



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year & Blogging Goals

I hope that you all have a happy and healthy 2014! It's crazy to think how quickly 2013 flew by. It was a year full of memorable moments, new adventures, and a few twists and turns, but I'd say the year as a whole great; and for that I'm truly blessed. This little blog of mine has brought many blessings too, which involves interacting and learning from all of you!

Speaking of this little blog.. I thought I'd take some time to reflect on what I'd like to accomplish in this new calendar year with my little corner of cyber space.

I assume, that fewer goals, with more attainable steps and *hopefully* I will be more successful in achieving my goals. {Not that I want to set the bar low by any means!}

  1. My number one goals is to read and comment on more blogs. I often go through blog posts, find wonderful ideas, and fail to connect with others through commenting. I know I've built many friendships through blogging just via email. I need to be better at leaving feedback and striking up conversations... not just replying to comments left on my own blog.
    • SPEAKING OF WHICH... please, please, PLEASE make sure that you are not a no-reply blogger. It makes life easier to answer questions and hold conversations if comments can be replied back to via email. I know personally, that I don't remember all of the comments I leave, so having the ability to have conversations via email really helps! If your not sure or want to be sure that you can reply via email, check out this tech tip from Jivey!  
  2. Okay, I know that  blogging six times a month doesn't seem like a lot, and it probably isn't compared to many other people I know. However, this coming semester I need to build my masters portfolio. It will be submitted by my birthday this summer. Let's just say, I have a lot to do on that bad boy, state testing to get kiddos ready for, and well a life to live. I want to be sure to give my little blog some love along the way too!
  3. This last goal is something I've struggled with. At times I feel like I just blog to say "buy my products" {which if you do, great! Not trying to discourage that.} I'm hoping to take more pictures, share more stories, along with a few posts here and there to purchase things. I guess, I really want my blog to become a resource for other teachers and I think to be that, sharing what's working (and not working) in the classroom should be highlighted in my posts more. 
There's a look at my blogging goals for 2014. Hopefully, I will have some success! Be sure to link up your blogging goals too. Thanks to Diane @ Fifth in the Middle for hosting this linky!

Along with the New Year.. I am going to be a contributor on a new blog! Be sure to check it out!! I'm pretty excited to be asked to be apart of this group!

http://whoswhoandnew.blogspot.com/



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