Saturday, June 13, 2015

Planning for Next Year Already

As soon as May comes, while I am still in "teaching" mode, I start a bit of planning for next hear.  I make a list of "Tweeks", basically what I want to improve or do differently next year.  I go ahead and make folders with any copies that go inside.  During pre-planning, the copier is hard to get to, since so many people are using it then.  In May, very little is being copied, so I can use it at my leisure. 

I also add to my "August" box, putting in materials I will use at the beginning of next year.  In August, actually try to put those items back after I use them, but it helps to check it over and I often switch out things, such as new read-aloud books I have discovered that year, that I want to read that first week.  Here is a brief list of what's inside my "August" box. 
  • A master copy of all student folders and the copies that are inside them.
  • Back to School forms I use specific to my classroom (parent information packets, information sheet, class lists to be updated, etc.)
  • Open House signs
  • Back to School bookmarks
  • Copies for the first day of school and for the first couple of weeks
  • August envelope of word wall words
  • Read aloud books
  • Crafts we make those first days
  • First week's lesson plans
One of the copy sets I make is for morning work.  For my third graders, I go ahead and get copies made and store them in my "August" box.  These are great to serve as review of second grade skills at the beginning of the year.  They are engaged and allow me to get all those morning duties accomplished.  Since some students don't arrive until just as the bell is ringing for the start of school, I want to give them ample to time to get this work done as well.  Toward the end of we go over these morning work sheets together as student use a red pen to make corrections (no official grade).  I walk the room, making notes of skills that need more work, then I have students put them in their cubby, where papers that go home are put.  Parents appreciate frequent feedback, seeing what they can review with their children. Occasionally I collect them and give out rewards to perfect papers.  This is the incentive they need to always give it their best. They never know which one I will collect.  
Click on the picture below to get your copy of what I use for morning work for my third graders, Daily Math and Language:  August.  If you have your students visiting the library and taking AR tests as their morning activity, you may want to use this as homework.  Due to the nature of common core, and the frequent hands on work in the classroom, there are many times I don't have a skill sheet to send home specific to what we did in class that day.  If that happens to you as well, then that's a perfect time to use this resource.  There are at least 20 activities per monthly pack, so you will have  a new one each day.  These skills grow in scope and sequence through each monthly product, making great homework resources. 
Occasionally I collect them and give out rewards to perfect papers.  This is the incentive they need to always give it their best. They never know which one I will collect.
Occasionally I collect them and give out rewards to perfect papers.  This is the incentive they need to always give it their best. They never know which one I will collect.
Let me know what you think.  I love comments!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Back to Posting and more

I haven't had much time to post this year, due to changing grade levels.  Although I have taught third grade for over 15 years, I feel I need a variety of grade level experiences for possible future career options.  So, when a first grade position became open at my school, I took it.  For all of you that have ever changed grade levels, no matter how long you've been teaching, you know how much time it takes to learn the new curriculum and make other adjustments that are unique to that age group, not to mention the shear volume of teaching materials that need to be moved, or stored away.  Needless to say, I've been very busy!!!  

This summer I'm starting a additional blog called the 1st Grade Grapevine, but I will also continue to design products specifically for third grade and post here as well.  You may want to follow both as many things in education can be applied to many grade levels, such as decorating a classroom, implementing new technology, great book studies or classroom management posts.

My educational pinterest page will stay the same.  There are thousands of great ideas there by many talented educators!  Choose specific boards you are interested in, or just follow me, which will give you updates to all of the boards and notify you of any new boards I create. 

I've been working on many different products this year and here's the most recent. I designed it for my first-graders,  but it would be great for any ESOL students you may have, and possibly for struggling readers or SPED students who have gaps in their sight word knowledge.

The purpose of designing this product was to have something meaningful my first graders could do independently that would also keep them fully engaged.  Wow!  I had no idea how engaged they would be.  You can hear a pen drop in my classroom when they are working on these Color By Sight Words - First Grade, which is nearly never with first graders. LOL  They LOVE these!
Many of you are probably using your downtime this summer to leisurely look for ideas for next year.  Follow me and you'll be notified of my next post, which will feature back to school ideas.  Have a happy and relaxing summer! 

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