Sunday, February 08, 2015

Back to School 2015

Two weeks down, eight to go! Is anyone else counting down the weeks until Easter break? It seems to happen that every year, no matter how much of a relaxing summer holiday I have, the minute I'm back at school I feel like I never left. 

This year I have a great bunch of Year 4s. It has been lovely coming from Year 1, these guys can get started on work right away and don't have to be taught every.single.little.thing! I do miss the enthusiasm and excitement that the firsties show though. My 'fourthies' don't like to dance for brain breaks and I have a few who just don't think for themselves to solve little problems and need teacher reassurance constantly (Am I doing this right? Am I writing neatly? Have I cut on the lines?) when they are obviously doing the right thing. This last bit really annoys me. I tend to say "I don't know, what do you think?" to try and cut down on this. Does anyone have any strategies for this kind of attention seeking, needing reassurance type of behaviour? 

Anyway, with my new year level, I have a new classroom. I haven't taken many photos, but here are some to show the general layout. Since I'm with older kids, I tried to reduce the 'stuff' and keep it very simple. I'm backing everything on black this year, so it isn't as bright as my past rooms. No poms this year either... but if I can find a place they wont' be chewed up by the fans, I might just add some soon :)

This was taken before school started but shows the basic layout. I have five groups of six desks. Behind the groups I have our small group area, an office (that I've made into a small group area for aides to work in) and the entry to our computer lab. I'm lucky enough to have enough computers for half the class to share with my teaching partner in a computer lab connected to our rooms.

This is the front of the room as it looks now. I have my desk here, since I need my laptop to connect to the interactive whiteboard. I felt a bit funny having my desk here but the alternative was a little moon table which I know from experience isn't big enough. It hasn't been too bad though, I keep a stool here and can pull individual students to conference with and can type up my notes straight away on the laptop, which I prefer over writing. 
Over the holidays I went through all the boxes in my garage and found books to use this year (I've also kept some of the chapter books from last year in first for my lower readers). I'm loving my new labels :) 

I also love the supply labels I bought from Maria Manore. I've gotten rid of a lot of the polka dots I've used the past few years, but couldn't pass up the pretty little dots on these! 
 

Nor could I pass up these gorgeous parts of speech posters by Ladybugs Teacher Files. 
 

I made a new alphabet for this year too.You can download it here. It only comes with Queensland red and blue lines.  

 

This photo is near the front side of the room. I keep my big book holder thing here since I need to leave room for those two big doors to open. I have storage shelves in there. 

I downloaded the SMART goals from What I Have Learned on TpT. I ended up typing up my own since there wasn't an included template for Math Facts (which is what we made our goals on). Then I realised there was an editable version.... doh!
 

This is one of the goals. In the arrow, the kids come up with all the ways they could work towards their goal. Down the bottom, they decide on which of those activities they will focus on. We talked about how we learn best, so some kids chose listening to times table songs, others putting up flash cards around their house, writing out booklets, chanting them or playing games with decks of cards or dice etc. 


 
The iPhone selfies activity is by Art with Jenny K.  The kids loved it!

Instead of having jobs that I change out weekly, I have copied an idea I saw on a blog, and have student committees. The kids photos are underneath the committee they are in and they keep that job for the whole term.

I'll update this post when I find the blog where I got the idea from.

I've also started using my Voices board which I use to set writing goals. I also use part of my front board to set up our weekly goals.
 
If you have also headed back to school recently, I hope it's all going well! It's 3pm Sunday here and I haven't planned yet so I guess that is what I'll be doing for the next few hours. I miss having my Sunday's all to myself already.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Whole Brain Teaching Rules Freebie

Last year I used my take on the whole brain teaching rules with my Grade 1 class. You can grab them here
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Whole-Brain-Teaching-Rules-Freebie-1633055
This year I am moving to Grade 4 and couldn't be happier. I know most of my readers are in the lower years, but if you know of any great 3-5th grade blogs please comment so I can follow them.

This summer break is flying by way too fast, I feel like I've only just started to relax and now it's almost time to get ready to go back. Oi, teacher problems :)
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