Sunday, January 11, 2015

What Went Well This Week

Whew - we made it through the first week back after Christmas break! I have to say this class actually really surprised me with how well they got back into the third grade groove.  I was expecting a few glitches or behaviors when we returned from Christmas break. It was so nice to hop back into learning and start some new stuff.  Anyway... what went well:

1.  We started our fifth unit in Math Investigations. It's the first time I've taught this multiplication unit. I have to say, the approach is different than I've used before. I was a little apprehensive about this one because multiplication and division are kind of big deals in third grade ;)  So far, so good. My kids are excited about it. I've been able to have students model a variety of strategies. And so far (knock on wood), the bulk of the class seems to be "getting it". 
2.  In Reading (whole group), we began a fantastic traditional literature unit put together by Ashleigh from Ashleigh's Education Journey. Oh my gosh - everything that girl puts together is FANTASTIC! This is the one we're using and my kids are LOVING it.  We had indoor recess one day this week and the kids really just wanted to keep discussing our fairy tales. WHAT?!?!  That never happens!
                                                   3rd-5th Grade Guided Reading Unit 3 {Traditional Literature} 
3.  To go along with our fairy tale discussion, we also used fairy tales as a kick off to our opinion writing unit. After reading several versions of The Three Little Pigs, I asked the kids to decide if they thought the wolf was big and bad or just a sweet, misunderstood fella.  I let them split into groups to organize their thinking. Then, we spent a writing session having a debate. Yes, I'm aware that an oral debate is not writing, but for many of my students it was very helpful to hear those ideas and opinions out loud before I asked them to jump into the writing process. On Friday, they spent the writing period jotting down ideas they had heard in the debate that supported their opinions. Next week, they are going to take that thinking and work through the opinion writing process on their own.  I can't wait to see what they come up with! I'm thinking that I'm going to have to come up with some craftivity to help them display their published work.
4.  Finally - fun Friday. Sticking with the three little pigs theme (remember I used to be a kindergarten teacher - I love thematic teaching :)  I gave the students random supplies (pipe cleaners, shoe box lids, string, construction paper, tape) and thirty minutes. They had to design a house for the three little pigs that could withstand the big bad wolf (aka me with my high powered blow dryer!). After the thirty minutes, we sat in a circle on the carpet, I chanted the official big bad wolf chant (little pig, little pig, let me come in). I'm sure you can guess what the kids responded with. Then, we huffed and puffed (or turned on the blowdryer) and tested them out one at at time. The kids had a blast. Some kids choose to work with a group and it was a great opportunity for them to practice compromising on ideas and problem solving together. 
Ummm.. yeah. I sort of forgot that I was going to take pictures and got a little
caught up in the moment so this is my only lonely photo. This cute little house
blew over right away (not enough weight) but it was a good learning experience
for this group of girls.

All in all, it was a great week! I'm feeling good about heading back tomorrow. I'm going to try to post each weekend about "what went well" in my classroom each week. I think sometimes as teachers, it's easy to feel like we don't do enough or we don't do things well enough. I'm hoping this will remind me that even if things don't go exactly as planned, some things still go well and deserve some positive reflection. 

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