Thursday, September 6, 2012

The View from Saturday & Geography

I am super excited about starting a novel with my class.  Before we get into Reader's Workshop with self-selected books I am modeling how Reader's workshop will work. I'm using this whole class novel and modeling using sticky notes and responding to what we read each day.    Each day we have a mini-lesson on the elements of fiction.  So far it is going great and I am glad I started Reader's Workshop this way.

In social studies I just finished teaching The Five Themes of Geography. I made a great review game on the smart board that seemed to work well.  I will try to post it on here for anyone who wants to use it.  Everyone did great on the quiz today so I am very excited about how things are going so far.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lessons from the first week

My first week of teaching flew by.   It was nothing like I expected it to be but awesome nonetheless.  What I once thought about teaching sixth graders was completely wrong.  I had this idea that because I know all kinds of behavior management strategies and am organized myself that my kids will be able to follow along with me.  The failure to even understand organization was my biggest surprise.  I required my students to have a 3 subject notebook for language arts in which they will keep daily grammar, reading and writing mini-lessons.  For social studies I required them to have 3 divider tabs for their binder so that they could put their bellringers, notes and assignments in their own place.  The other two tabs that they get in a pack were to be used for science and math.  Next year I think I will just require a binder for my own classes and have students keep everything for me in one binder.  I couldn't believe how hard it was for students to grasp that language arts grammar bellringers go in the language arts notebook, not the binder.  I am hoping that over time they will start to put things in the right place.

Another big surprise to me was how long it takes students to copy notes.  It seems like it takes them 5 minutes to copy one sentence.  I never have students take more notes than what would go on a simple anchor chart so it really shocked me at how much time we wasted while waiting on everyone to finish copying.  I think I will be providing guided notes for my students to glue into their language arts notebook and then fill in while we are going over it.

Overall, I had a great first week getting to know my students.  I think that they will be a great bunch and I am hoping that they learn as much as I have already learned from them!
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