Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Break My Heart... My Achy Breaky Heart

Happy almost Valentine’s Day...

It’s a popular legend that there are 2 types of Valentine’s Day people.  There’s the sappy people who get all worked up about the holiday and then there’s the anti-Valentine’s Day people who get worked up about the day but not in a good way.  This year I find myself in the in-between party.  I am all about holidays, duh… that’s half the reason I’m an elementary teacher!  But I’m also an elementary teacher who’s significant other is practically a million miles away.  So instead of focusing on the distance I’ve decided to get more focused on the classroom. 

Since I got back from break I started a few new things in my classroom that seem to be working quite well.  There’s been a new seating plan, post lunch work, and a focus on writing. 

The beginning was a new seating plan.  Something about my new seating arrangement has made things a little bit nicer when it comes to students getting along.  I know we’re supposed to be all about groups and working together, but who says partners can’t be a good alternative.  Also I’ve noticed the pairs I created have, for the most part become quite symbiotic.  I love when the academic decisions help making things socially 10x better!

Post lunch work came next.  All last semester I was struggling getting my kids back to focusing on working once they’d gotten all riled up at lunch.  Our school doesn’t have the equipment, space, or resources to have an outdoor playground so students finish their lunch and run around the gym.  Poor dears need a lot more time and space to get out that energy, but I don’t have the funds lying around to help them build anything.  Instead I put my money into creating a grammar folder.  Grammar Minutes are a great way to do a quick lesson on the parts of speech, proper sentence structure, etc. and still have them back on track for writing.  The kids took less than a week to get into the grove of getting their folders out and ready to work on the next 2 “Minutes” (We spend 10 to complete them. :/ )

Finally, one of my goals this year was to help my kids become better writers.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that my students are all ELL students and are struggling readers and writers.  But, that does not mean they can’t learn to become excellent readers and writers.  Here’s where the focus on writing comes into play.  I wanted my kids to get excited about writing, but felt miserable trying to teach it.  Thankfully I have a wonderful mentor that took the time to teach my class a lesson on creative writing.  I don’t know exactly what she did to get the kids SOOO motivated to write their little hearts out but she got several of my kiddos who wouldn’t even normally pick up their pencils to write a 4-sentence story about a snowman!  


Below are pictures of a pretty amazing fish that some how ended up in my classroom. My class wrote 2 whole papers about the fish. One was an expository prompt and the other was more creative.  I've never seen kids pencils move so much during writing time!

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