Sunday, April 6, 2014

3 qrts down....1 to go!

This was a fun last week of the 3rd quarter!

Monday we had an ORANGE party to celebrate that I wrote for 31 days in March and that ALL my students wrote at least 1 small moment. We sat in groups of 4 and listened to one writer read their story and the others listened and offered a compliment. Then all ate a clementine slice. We all enjoyed sharing our stories and giving postive feedback, a process that we all understand better now is what writers need.

Wednesday we took a fieldtrip to the White House. I was a bit nervous because, due to security, we could not take parent chaperones. So it was 160 4th graders, on 3 buses, with 8 adults. I knew the tour would be fine but then the other teachers wanted us to walk to the Mall and eat lunch and I was nervous about the long walk and limited bathrooms and crossing Constitution Avenue. But now looking back, it all worked OK. And the highlihgt was that while in the White House, the President's helicopter landed and through the window, we saw President Obama board it to fly, we were told, to give a speech in Michigan. VERY COOL!!

When we returned to school, I had them write a small moment about the fieldtrip and I was so proud of them. All started with a strong lead. All included action and special details. All wrote at least half a page and many filled the page. We immediately added this writing to our sleeve in the hallway, covering our Biography Advertisement that had been hanging for a few weeks. Now the school can stop and read about our fieldtrip!

April started and so did my Poetry Unit! I will admit. I never liked poetry. It never made sense to me as a child in school. I didn't get what my teachers meant when they would explain what a poem meant. I have painful memories of reading The Wasteland by T.S. Eliott in High School. But as an elementary school teacher, I have come to LOVE poetry because I read the poems of Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, Mary Ann Hoberman, Nikki Grimes, Judith Viorst, Valerie Worth, and Douglas Florian.

To prepare my classroom, I printed out the faces of all the poets I listed above and a few more - 12 in all - a dozen poets! Under their picture, I placed their poetry books in a pile! And I made a Poetry Log that listed each poet and a box to tally each poem we read by that poet. I told the kids we would try to read at least 5 poems by each poet. The immersion in reading poetry is going GREAT!! We are sitting and reading and enjoying poetry and it is fun!! This coming week I'll teach mini-lessons to get us writing poetry!

Finally, I am excited to just have 5 days and then a week break! I was to have this Monday off to work on the 3rd quarter report cards but due to all the snow days, Monday is now a school day. So I spent from 8am - 2:30pm yesterday at Starbucks inputting my 3rd quarter grades. It really did take that long to add the grades and comments electronically for 27 students. It is pretty crazy how much time it takes outside of the classroom to be a teacher! Of well, report cards done.

This week we will change seats, clean the room well, set goals for the 4th quarter, enjoy poetry, and finish our Civil War unit in Social Studies!

Looking Ahead:
We will have 20 days and then take the Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in reading, math and VA history. I guess we are ready!?!

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