But also, I'm featured over at Diane's amazing blog "Fifth in the Middle" for her Friends on the Fives!
She features blogger friends on the 5th, 15th, and 25th of the month. Check out my blog post over there as well as her first friend on the five, The Techie Teacher!
1) I gotta admit. Not a whole lot of school stuff this week. Why, do you ask? Well, we didn't have school on Monday (MLK Day), we had a professional development all day Tuesday (no kids), Wednesday- YAY! SCHOOL. Thursday, oh, just kidding. No school again, too cold. Friday, YAY! SCHOOL AGAIN! If you are keeping track, that means we only had 2 days with our kids this week. One of those days, I had my final observation with my principal and tried to prepare for a sub on Monday because... you guessed it, I HAVE ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT!! I'm about to rip my hair out. Ok, to be fair, I signed up for this one. It's on SIOP to help support my ELs. We have 3 all - day meetings over January and February. I also have a half day sub on Tuesday for a school meeting. Oh, and to top it off, the first TWO Mondays of February are also devoted to professional development- again for SIOP and the other for becoming our Olweus Lead (bully prevention program).
Woof. I know that these trainings will be beneficial for me in the long run, but with all the days out already due to PD and cold days, I just want to be with my students. :(
I leave this message to my subs who will be filling in for me for the next 3 Mondays...
2) One thing I did really focus on the two days we had was revamping our LEAP time. It's our intervention block. Kids go to different interventions, such as an LLI group, computer lab, Reading Corp, Making Connects, etc. Then, because there aren't enough teachers to teach interventions or enrichments, there are some students who are left in the classroom to be "independent workers." My bunch this year is split- some are really hard workers, and will do their best work even though I am not standing over them... others don't put as much effort into it and it reflected in their MAP winter results. I wanted to hold them more accountable so here are the changes I made:
New Board. Before, they had some choice- Math Mondays, they would pick 1 of my math activities up on the board, Tech Tuesday, they'd pick 1 of the websites I had on the board, etc. Nope- I took the choice piece away. They still will get variety by switching to different stations each day, but I wanted more control on what they were doing. I also added a rubric for them to rate their work and effort each day. The code I'll explain more later on down.
News ELA was a website I found from Catherine over at The Brown Bag Teacher. I love it! Check out her post on what it's all about by clicking her link. Mrs. Olson's Choice is something I can fill with seasonal things or needs I notice they need work on.
3) To hold them accountable, they each have a folder now so that I can collect it, look, and give feedback. I'll collect it at the end of a cycle or week. I just did their first one this morning, and even though it was only 2 days- it didn't take long and I can imagine if we ever get back to a 5 day week, it won't add a whole lot of time.
The log has them add the date, the activity (that is where they put the code), if they finished, the time they finished (so I can see how they are using their time) and then they use the rubric to rate their work for the day. So far, most kids have been honest. If they mark themselves as a 1 or 2, I've asked them to write me a post-it further explaining.
4) I've decided to try some center activities as a rotation. These rotations will focus on parts of speech, grammar, vocab, figurative language, etc. The first one they did was one I created myself:
I was surprised how challenging this was for some of my students. However, that is what they need. Some finished this activity, and logged it, others did not finish the sort and the recording sheet. I've taken notes on who to follow up on.
I've made some other resources that will go in this time or during my Mrs. Olson's Choice rotation. I want to try them in my room before I put them up on TpT, but I'm really excited about them!
I'm particularly excited about these resources: My Pick 6 Cards
I've written and leveled 6 short, fiction passages. I then created 6 questions to go with each passage that range in different reading skills. I have a few different options on how my kiddos will use these. I hope to introduce them next week.
5) Last, but certainly not least... our ITALIAN HONEYMOON IS BOOKED!! I'm so excited! I've always wanted to go to Europe and Italy was definitely my first must see. We'll be doing a 12-day tour and leave in early July! Back in December, I was hesitant on wanting to go, because I also really wanted to use the money we've saved to eventually put it towards a down payment for our first home, but really, I don't think we'd ever go to Europe after we get a house and begin to have kids... it would just be too hard. So it's now, or never and we chose now. Not sure if we'd ever get to go back, so we'd rather see as much as we can!
Thanks for stopping by!! Hope you all are staying warm!