Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Week Ending September 23rd


It was a busy week in our classroom!

We are still reviewing routines, but things have fallen into place... well, okay, I'll admit: Some days it seems things are falling elsewhere!

We are doing word sorts in "Word Study."  Our District doesn't have a formal spelling program, so we do Sorts and I try to differentiate.  Some kids were responsible for learning meanings of new words (as part of Daily 5 work) as well.

So many "big kids" today don't have a strong grasp of phonics.  And don't get me started on their spelling!  It was pretty funny to see them concentrating so hard, murmuring "ch, ch, ch" and "zsh, zsh, zsf."  Maybe next week "shure" and "mesher" will look closer to the original!  I've attached the sort in case you have the same problem!

In Language Arts, we are working on interacting with the text, so we annotated different excerpts and asked questions of the author.  I tried a "game" called "Say Something."  Students walk around with their texts, and each time I ring the chimes, they stop and discuss their questions about the text with the person standing closest to them.  We also started a Read Aloud.  It's an "oldie-but-goodie" called Heads, I Win by Patricia Hermes.  It touches on respecting differences (socioeconomic ones, in particular).  Kids love the author's sense of humor (which can be a little over the top, so I have to censor occasionally).  It's great to see something that holds the attention of 34 kiddos for longer than 2 minutes!

We're still working on linking decimal quantities to fractions.  Using the colored dot dice I mentioned in a previous post, we play one of several variations of a game called ZAP.  The object is to get one whole frame filled with tenths and hundredths before you roll a ZAP.  You need to exchange (1 tenth for 10 hundredths) as you accumulate pieces--and sometimes break them apart when you need to subtract.  It was loud, but fun, and some of my strugglers are beginning to catch on.

We are working on geography before we study ancient civilizations in social studies.  It was AMAZING to me that very few kids could name the continents and oceans--and that Orlando, Texas, and China had apparently been designated, without my knowledge, to continent status!.  Here's the song I taught them to try to cement these details in their brains.  It may be primary (great for second or third grade), but we'll call it review and move on!

We also started Literature Response Logs this week.  Each week, the students write a letter to me in their Response Notebook (AKA spiral!) about their reading.  It works out to 8 or 9 kids each day) and I write a few notes back.  I can already tell I will be a maniac trying not to fall behind on this one, but some of them were really excited about writing letters.  I guess that just proves you never know what will catch their interest!

I'm looking forward to a new week of learning together...

Here's the link back to the Linky Party..

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