Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Checking In on My Daily 5

If this were a perfect world, I would have nothing interfering with my teaching schedule and could do reading and math all day long without having to worry about anything else.  But I live in a world of state standards and county expectations- so that's all there is to it.  I am making do the best I can though with a foundation of Daily 5-ish choices.

I have one mini-lesson, four reading groups to meet with each day, and nooooooooo transition time.  So it gets a little hairy, and mostly feels like a circus act on a daily basis.  But the world still spins, so must I continue on.

Turns out, I had to make more of a Daily 3 choice chart.  I just grouped items into similar pairs, and ideally, they would choose at least one thing from each category, but I haven't even forced them into that yet.

So I have their student number on the side, and then I put their names in the next column,  In the third column I have which meeting times they are with me or out of the room at ESOL or what not, this helps me know not to call on them for their choice.  To date, we have this process down to under a minute and a half.  I do not wait for them to say "ummmmmm....." I skip them immediately if they do.  That had trained them to know ahead of time what they are choosing.  I just write 1's in their choices for the first rotations, 2's for second and so on.  BkFx is my listening to reading station.  All my CD players went belly up, so they have been watching  and reading along with stories on Book Flix.  I only have five computers though, so there is a limit to who can pick this station at any given meeting time.  And going to the library is the choice I paired with it.  I'm only allowed to send three kids at a time- so I make sure I review the sheet  from the day before and give every student a chance to go over a two day period.

One nice thing about keeping the sheet is that I can see patterns in what the kids are choosing, and have a record of their work.

We also made a couple of different i-charts for two of their Daily 5 choices, they keep them in their book baskets for reference.

Again, both were generated with student input.  They decided on the language, and the rules.  It helped them own it.

Daily 5, overall, has freed me up while I meet with small groups for guided reading.  A time when I do not want to be disturbed.  Thus far, it is by far the best management tool I've ever used.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing Workshop Anchor Charts

In the midst of this storm I am trying to maintain my blog schedule.  Which is sort of nuts, as power outages are imminent.  They are actually calling for a potential blizzard in my part of the woods too.  Unbelievable.  But I also got out of the habit of blogging on a regular basis, and have started to experience a touch of guilt. 

I wasn't super pleased with my Writer's Workshop last year.  It was my first year with a school that was truly devoted to the Lucy Calkins model, and then I had been out of the loop for a couple of years anyway, and arg!  It just didn't go well.  But I have to say, I've been enjoying myself immensely this year.

For one, I utilized a bit of Daily 5 management magic and developed this Writer's Workshop I-chart.

We created this as a class- the students telling me what they felt belonged where.  I used the eye symbol for "what it should look like", the ear for "what it should sound like", and the heart for "what it should feel like".  Overall, I'm pleased with it.  The students have a copy in their writing folders, but also, since I have it on a flip chart for my promethean board, I can often just have it projected on my wall during writing workshop time unless we have an additional skill that needs highlighting.  I just don't like cluttering my walls with charts.

We've also done the Calkins' lesson on "When you think you're done".  Now, the kids at my school have had Calkins' style workshops since Kindergarten- so as soon as I begin this phrase, they instantly chime in with the ending.  Only thing is, they don't always know WHAT TO DO when they think they're done.  So we made a chart to help us along.  I did some guiding on this one, but they really took ahold of the ideas and were able to own their options for when they think they are done.  I also make sure that when I "finish" my sample writing, I go through the chart and they help me decide what else I could do.  Very rarely have they told me to start a new piece.  They generally find something else I could do to my work.  And therefore I see them apply that to their own writing as well.

We have also done a lesson on what we should write about when we have no idea.  Somewhere out here in blog land I found a heart map lesson that broke it down into what to put in your map to get started- and now of course, I can't find it.  So if you know where this post came from, or know it's you, please let me know so I can add a link to your page.  But this is what I did with it- This page is also printed out for the kids and kept in their writing folders.  I flash it up on the promethean board whenever somebody says they don't know what to write about.  And, we've said the phrase so often, the kids automatically tell the person who shouts out that they don't know to "go look in your heart!"  Granted, some kids have detailed hearts, and others did not want to be bothered with the exercise.  Mostly boys, why we create such men afraid of emotion I don't know, but at least they have the list of what they could pick, and that sometimes helps them think of something to write about.

And to end for today, here's the example heart I made about myself during the lesson.  I had big plans of actually transferring it to paper and making it more colorful, but I never got around to it.  I suppose I still can.  I might revisit this lesson again with them actually to see if some of those boys are willing to be risk-takers and show their sensitive side now.  Or maybe we should just naturally update our hearts once a quarter. Hrmmmmmm, something to consider.

You're welcome to use any of my charts.  If you've got a promethean board, I don't even mind e-mailing you the flip chart file.  Just shoot me an e-mail.

Stay safe in this storm everybody! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Morning Meeting Magic

I actually look forward to Mondays.  Sort of amazing, but I do.  I enjoy my Monday Morning Meeting that much.  As I enjoy alliteration...but anyway.  We start off our meeting with this great YouTube clip from Sesame Street.

Never mind that I loooooove this song.  The kids love it even more!  I was afraid at first to play it, because I thought they wouldn't like that it was from Sesame Street.  So I actually slipped it in about three weeks into the school year by telling them that I had a favorite song I wanted to show them but I was afraid they'd make fun of me.  They absolutely promised and crossed their hearts and pinky swore that they wouldn't.  So I played it.  And one of my tough kids yelled out all of a sudden "Hey! My old teacher used to play this!"  And he got up and started dancing.   So then everybody did.  And we haven't looked back.  We play it at least once everyday- and they ask for it as a reward as well.

They sing along and do the dance moves.  It makes me happy.  And it puts us in a very positive frame of mind as we begin our day.

I keep my class meetings in a flip chart for my Promethean Board. I have to keep them in a binder as well for the Administration, so I just print it out after we're done.  I like it in the flip chart because we can easily look back at the week before, and see if we have to revisit anything. 

For the past two weeks, my kids have been talking about a problem they have pushing and shoving when they get in line.  This is a problem they came up with, and not one that I mentioned at all.  I can't say that I'd even thought about it.  I had kind of thought it was just sort of natural.  But they brought it up, and actually wanted to spend meeting time workshopping the issue.  So the first week they decided to try  three different "tools" they'd learned in guidance lessons to solve the problem.  They picked ignore, don't sweat the small stuff, and stop and think.  I did not interfere with the decision.  Yeah, I could see how the first two tools were not going to fix the line problem, but what good is it if I tell them?

So we went through the week, and the pushing and shoving problem did not go away.  When we met again last Monday, I asked - is it fixed?  And they said NO.  Did your tools help?  And guess what, without me telling them, they said the first two were no good.  And then one of the boys said, the last one should have worked.  And after they talked a bit, they decided the problem was what to do when they stopped and thought.  So, another meeting spent workshopping the line issue.  But, I have to say, it went better this week because we had something specific to practice.

And another great thing about having it on the board is that I can bring it up whenever we do have to line up so they can look it over for themselves.

Sadly, I am missing my Monday Meeting because of Hurricane Sandy.  Stay safe everybody.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The B In My Bonnet - Behaviorally Speaking...

So, I was blog surfing a week or two ago and came across a little gem of a post by Nikki at Teaching in Progress concerning how she will never use a clip chart again!  Explosive stuff, I tell ya.  But it was an explosion I was right there with her jamming down on the detonate button. Huge response to her post spurned on a great linky party, which I was invited to link up with and gratefully do so. 

Why do I hate greatly dislike clip charts and card turner systems anyway? 

One, they are completely subjective based on your emotional investment at the time.  It bends to what you find annoying at that single moment- and as human beings, we are flawed by having our level of annoyance vary by the degree of which we already find the other party annoying in the first place.  Squeaky Clean Suzy made a silly joke during a lesson!  Well, shucks, she's soooooo good most of the time though- so we'll just give her a verbal warning. 

But dang it if  Super Annoying Andy didn't make a ridiculous joke and got everybody laughing.  Turn your card ANDY!  See?  Don't pretend you're not guilty.  I have not met a single teacher yet that this hasn't happened to.  Does it ever stop Andy from his antics?  Of course not.  Why else would you have a nickname for him already?  Why else would you groan a little inside when everyone is out with the flu but Andy has shown up to school because he has the immune system of a god?  (Fact:  The most disruptive child always is the most healthy)

Two:  It's a system of shame.  "Andy!  Go move your card!"  Aside from the fact that he's going to argue with you.  Aside from the fact that he's going to drag his feet to go do it.  Aside from  the fact that he will mumble the whole way over there and the whole way back.  Aside from the fact that he's going to get back to his seat and either throw his head down OR more than likely, make sure he does something EVEN WORSE to get under your skin -  Andy has been made the center of negative attention to an audience of his peers.  Those that hold the card system sacred are going to go home and tell an Andy story to their parents.  Who will, in turn, create in their minds a negative opinion of Andy. (Andy is never going to get a date in this county...) And you will have no control over whether or not they repeat that negative story to other parents or even Andy's parents.  You are directly affecting Andy's reputation out in the community because you didn't care for his joke in the middle of your magnet lesson.

Three: Look at your clip chart or card system at any given moment of the day- are you concentrating on how many cards/clips haven't been moved?  Or are you thinking about the ones that have, and how you have to write a note home to the parents, or make so-and-so sit out at recess?  It concentrates on the negative.  It puts you in a negative frame of mind each time you look at it.  Oh, but I'm going to reward those kids who never have their card moved!  Hey, sport, good for you.  But, uh, trust me, they've already been rewarded ALL DAY by your praise, attention, positive statements, and occasional mercy by not having them move their card.  But your repeat offenders...they don't believe you will EVER reward them.  Because you haven't noticed yet the excruciatingly painful two minutes Andy kept completely still, hoping you would notice.  Two minutes was all he had in him, and you totally missed it.

And then here is my major reason as a mother:
I've got three kids.  My little girl is the "perfect student"- I snort at this, since I get the opposite at home- but for whatever reason, she is a pleaser at school.  She will bring her teachers flowers and candy and write love notes.  She will study, make sure her homework is perfect, raise her hand for every question, try to help everybody with anything she can.  Her school uses the card system.  Ok, so she went to Kindergarten, and I told her teacher specifically to make sure her card got moved- early on and often.  Wow, am I a horrible mom,or what? (Well, not in this situation, anyway)  No!  I was trying to avoid our third grade snafu.  She needed to get it over with so it wasn't a big deal.  She needed to get it over with so she could empathize with the Andys of the world.  But, alas, her Kindergarten teacher thought she was perfect.  So in first grade, I told her teacher to move her card, early and often.  But again, she was perfect.  Already at this point in her life she's bringing home the Andy stories, and the little chant "I've never moved my card!" (And no, I'm not ever going to let her date Andy) Second grade comes along - Please for the love of God move her stinking card.  But no, she was too perfect. 

So here we are- third grade.  I didn't even bother saying anything to the teacher this year.  But lo and behold! I come home from work, and where is Squirt?  Hiding.  She is hiding from ME, and sobbing in the most dramatic princessy way. (Which, I have noooooo patience for)  She's been this way since she got home two hours earlier, and now I have to wait another hour to get her to pull herself together so she can tell me her card got moved because Andy told her a joke and she thought it was funny so she laughed really loud.  (On Andy's behalf, he's learned to whisper the jokes by now.  Good strategy, Andy!) 

Dudes, this is my CHILD that is traumatized.  Mama Bear mode ACTIVATED.  Why is she crying?  She thinks I am going to HATE her. My kid thinks that her own mother is going to hate her because of a stupid stinking card.  I'm going to be paying for therapy for years.  I told her I do not care about the card.  I told her I thought it was stupid. (Yes, I did, and I really don't care if she goes back and tells her teacher that- since I'll have my fifteen minutes on parents conference day to go over it myself).  She still does not believe me. It's been over a month now. This is what she says to me "But you're a teacher!"  Yeah, buddy, I am.  But why should that mean I hate a student?  Why does she think getting her card turned equals being hated?  Because of dang Andy, everybody!  The kid is an outcast at eight years old.  And Squirt is PETRIFIED of that happening to her.  And now I am thinking about Andy.  Does Andy think his teacher hates him?  Does Andy think his mother hates him?  Does Andy's mother think the teacher hates him? Sooo disturbing.

Let's think for a second about behavior that we turn cards for.
Kids talking while we're teaching.  Yeah, It annoys me too- but, um, check yourself out at your next staff meeting.  Tell me you haven't started whispering to your teammate or started to draw nasty pictures of somebody that's kissing up? 

Disruptive calling out.  Hey, I know I've cracked sarcastic jokes at staff meetings.  It's thrilling

Kids getting out of their spaces without permission.  I've gotten up while someone was speaking to go to the bathroom.  I'm an adult, why should I wet my pants in front of everybody? (That kid in your class is very possibly making the same decision.)  I've also left because I decided a phone call I wanted to make was more important than hearing about one more assessment I should be giving.  It doesn't matter that I'm an adult and this is a child.  Children are learning independence- they are going to attempt to make decisions for themselves.  So in the midst of them attempting to be independent, we smack them down.  But then get mad when they don't get up and take care of their pencil instead of just sitting there not working at all.  Kids don't get the nuances of decision making.  It's all or nothing with them, and we are sending seriously mixed messages.

When we get down to it- after you've named the behavior you don't like AND given them some options for choices they could make that you would like- why do you need them to turn a card?  You've spoken.  You've said what the important message was.  Why does a card have more merit than your words?  But they didn't do what I wanted!  Then, babes, you didn't offer them enough choices on how to accomplish the goal.  You can do this, I swear.  You know there is more than one way to skin a cat.  Don't give them only one choice.  You're asking for defiance.

Recess time comes a long and you want to make them pay for the disruption by a reminder hours after the fact of what they did.  Seriously- are you still mad at that point?  Why are you carrying that feeling around with you?  Our jobs are stressful enough.  When recess time rolls around, if I've had a bad day, I don't want these kids around me.  I don't want to have to monitor their behavior even longer and listen to them getting angrier.  Maybe their disruption was based on the need to get some energy out.  What sort of afternoon are you going to have if they weren't able to?  And besides, we give more courtesy to dogs than we do our students.  We know that you can't punish a dog after the fact.  We know you can only punish a dog at the moment of disobedience.  And yet we hang on to a child's wrong doing for hours.  Come on, gang, we've got to be honest about ourselves.

So what do I do instead? 

Kids talking during a lesson:  I use an attention getter before I begin.  I'm playing around with whole brain teaching this year, so my kids are loving Class/Yes and Hands and Eyes.  I make sure I talk in short bursts, and have a turn and talk period right after.  Unusual days of strange barometric pressure and they just can't get themselves under control?  I say out loud "Ok then.  I'll wait!"  And I sit down and look reaaaaalllllly bored.  I stare at the floor. Or sigh at the ceiling.  My kids that are teacher pleasers, immediately get all shushied and get everybody else to stop talking too.  And then I start again where I was.  Do I spend time on being angry?  No.  I don't have the time.

Disruptive calling out:  I ignore it and say "I am looking for a student who is modeling raising a hand to speak".  And I do not call on the blurter until they model it correctly.  Generally, they do try it the very next opportunity, so I make sure to pick them next so they can feel that it was worth it.  The joke cracking, or completely off topic shout-out does not get my time at all.  I bulldoze right over it.  If you give the joke any of your attention at all, the joker won. Plain and simple.  They told the joke for the attention, they don't care whether it's negative or positive.  Sometimes my way of ignoring it is to ask them a question related to what we are talking about.  If they can't answer, I simply say, "I'll come back around to you in a minute to give you time to think of an appropriate answer"  and I do make sure I come back around.  They either have an answer that's valid, or they stare at the floor.  If they answer the question correctly, PRAISE the answer.  Follow up with, "can anyone add on to so-and-so's great comment?" Either way- no joke is being cracked.  Winner = ME (and the joker- they've gotten exposure to positive encouragement).

Kids out of their spaces:  Make sure it's on your terms.  Even adults don't sit still all day- don't force a kid to do that.  It's painful.  I make movement part of my daily routine.  We do a brain gym activity on You Tube to start our day.

During writing and reading time, after I've given my mini-lesson, I let them sit anywhere in the room where "they want".  The trick is, I've labeled the other spots available, so they aren't actually "anywhere".  But the ones that don't like to sit at a desk, have NINE other options.  Some lay down on the carpet.  Others sit on crate seats.  Some enjoy the floor with a seat cushion and a lap desk.  And some still sit at a desk, but they're sitting at , someone else's desk, which for some reason THRILLS them to no end. Whenever possible, I do let them work with a partner. 

We start off math with a video that they can dance to.  I've shared a count by fives video in another post,
but my kids are also liking this count by twos video:

They move up and down with the monkeys.  It's also meeting one of my curriculum objectives, so double cool beans for us all.  They actually request this video as a treat.  And after I've done my math mini-lesson, while I meet with small groups, they can sit in other places with their partners.  All of the choice I've infused into my day keeps kids from getting jittery at their seats.

And, yeah, I know there are tons of other behaviors out there that tick us off, but once you put yourself into a positive frame of mind, you start finding solutions.

Last thought before I end this super long post.  I've got a boy this year ( and I've had a kid like this EVERY YEAR) that really hates writing time.  I was going through his writing folder the other day and found an unfinished story about how much he hated school.  In the past, I would have ignored it, or even been aggravated by it.  Because I'm AWESOME darn it, how can he hate school?  But my psyche aside, at the next writer's workshop when I came upon him clearly NOT WRITING when he was supposed to be,  I said "Hey buddy, I saw that story you had in your folder about hating school." Immediately his body language got defensive, he thought for sure I was going to bless him out about it.  "You were doing a really great job on that one.  There was lots of emotion, and you were doing this really cool compare and contrast thing when every other page said what you did like.  I'd love to see how that story ends."  His body went limp in shock.  He had no idea what to say to me.  And then I walked away. 

I did not visit his space again to nag him or see what he was up to. Twenty minutes later, he brought me that finished story.  In nine weeks, it's the only story he's written with actual sentences as opposed to two word phrases.  There was an illustration on each page that matched the words instead of just random stick figures.  Winner = ME, but also my little buddy.  Because I am going to use that story as a spotlight author example next writer's workshop.  And Mr. I Hate Writing is going to be a star.  Will he do a great job on the next story?  Not necessarily.  I think there is A LOT going on there aside from just writing time- but he will have at least ONE great memory, one moment where he SHINED doing something that he hated.  And that is not a feeling you can generate with any card or clip system.

If you read to the end of this- wow- you are a dedicated post reader.  I was an English major, so brevity isn't my thing.  And, to be honest, neither is classroom management.  This is my year where I'm really focusing on it as a goal, and trying to keep it positive.  I hope to share my experiences with behavior management on Sundays- so tune in again!

Monday, October 15, 2012


I had planned on doing a writing post for today- but Geezey Louisey I got all wrapped up in writing sub plans. - in a very minimalist way, mind you, because I'm FORCING them to use the binder, by crikey!- Still though, I was being thorough, I suppose.

Anyway- I used this video today in math and my kid LoooooooooooVeeeeeed it!  I have some serious dancers this year, I have to say.  Great things about this video- the beat is good, even no-rhythm me can shake my hips to this one.  It goes over skip counting by fives ( granted, it's just going to be a musical memory tool, and I still have to do the leg-work with teaching the WHY and WHEREFORE of skip counting, but ding dang, if it isn't catchy!) It's definitely a nice little cardio pick me up after any lengthy time spent slowly rotting away at their desks.

Give it a whirl if you've never seen it before. 

And isn't it sweet that the hand model guy is married?  Snarf. Yeah, yeah.  I know, bitter, jaded divorcee rears her ugly head...but it's comical, so I think we'll all just ignore my snarky-ness.  Start exercising, peeps! ;P

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How mediocre is my management?

In any given year, I'm probably a five on a scale of ten.  Which means I'm mediocre in my mediocrity...snarf.  It's one of my goals to get myself better at class management though- so I've been putting in a greater effort this year.  Granted, my kids are gems this year- but I've implemented some changes.

One, I got rid of some of the teachery things I used to do that actually added to my stress.  Like, morning work for example.  It became a pile of papers I never wanted to look at- and actually didn't even NEED to look at, because it was never part of the report card.  So do my kids run wild every morning?  Absolutely not.  Half of them are eating breakfast at their desks.  The other half are either reading a book, writing a story, free drawing, or helping me with a chore.  Just last week, one kid asked if he could clean the desks with baby wipes, and when I turned around, everyone had gotten a baby wipe and was cleaning the whole room.  GEMS, I told you.  Little treasures of skin and bone, each one of them.

Cleaning up in general is pretty breezy because I've put it to music.  It turns out, that they love this song:

It's our "whistle as you work" anthem.  All I have to say is "the room has to be completely clean by the end of the song".  If they finish before the song is over, they can go to the carpet and dance.  Works like magic.  I rarely have anything left on the floor, and my stuff is put away exactly where I told them to put it.  Best part is, I hear them humming it under their breath all day long. Haha!  Makes me snort.

I'm also concentrating on the positve this year whenever I talk with them.  It's all very much about what WE CAN DO as oppossed to what we shouldn't be doing.  Kids can come up with the wrong ideas on their own, they don't need my expertise on it (and I knooooow how to misbehave, my lovelies) but they do need a lot of help thinking up WHAT TO DO instead.  I've found that since I start the ball rolling with mentioning what could be happening, they internally try to do what I suggested since they already know that I like it, and they come up with new ideas when I get all super sappy butt kissy when they do.  Any idea they come up with is always the most fabulous thing I've ever heard.

A lot of this goes does in the morning meeting on Mondays.  I've really been enjoying them this year.  We always go over the things we think we did well the week before, and then think of some goals we'd like to work on for the current week.  The last thing we talk about is IF anyone has a problem they'd like to find a solution to.  And then we get crafty for a few minutes. We keep it all charted on the promethean board, and then I print it out afterwards and put it in our meeting binder.  How do I get kids to open up and talk?  Heh heh.  I put their name after whatever they volunteer for the board.  They are now crazy to be quoted.  Yes, yes, everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame.  EVERYONE.

The yellow box just mentions anything extra we did that day.  Sometimes we make another slide to go with the meeting, this particular day we had a discussion on how people show that they care, appreciate, and emapathize with others.  Then we made new name tags for their desks and they had to write a sentence about how they could be caring in the classroom.

In November, we'll make new tags and feature a new attitude.

I've also been dabbling in Whole Brain Teaching techniques.  We've got that class/yes deal down.  They looooove doing Mirror.  We just started trying out Teach/OK and they thought it was a lot of fun.  I never did get going with the rules though- but I think I'll be adding that in, even though tardily.  Haven't needed a score board.  And not sure if I'm sold on that part of it yet anyway- BUT overall- I really enjoy it.  And so do the kids.  Which is enough for me.

I think I've decided to talk about management every Sunday as a regular gig.  So I'm going to end for now.  Besides, dinner is ready. Yummo.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Return from The Phantom Zone

Two super duper geek points is the title means anything to you! But let's move forward.

What the Hey, yeah?  I have no idea either.  Except I got completely wrapped up in my job.  Which shouldn't be a bad thing, but it is, sorta sad, on a "You remember you have a family and outside interests don't you?" sort of level.  I did manage to get myself and my kids to a park today though.  Went on a swing set, attempted to go down a slide.  Got a little stuck.  Found out I was a wee bit claustophobic.  Then went down another slide, and thought I would die from the g-force.  Was childhood always so near death?  Or am I just too big for the play equipment?  Which is also sort of sad, in a "you are so fat from your emotional eating, put down that donut and have some self respect" kind of way.  Big BUT(T) here.. it's pumpkin donut season, and I have TOO much self respect to miss out on that.

Anyway- things have been going well.  Six weeks down.  I've had my entire week planned out by Sunday morning for all six weeks. Still mostly organized in the classroom.  I seem to have a pile that travels from my back table to my desk on a daily basis that I can't seem to conquer.  But I think this is my week to be queen of the mountain.  Maybe.  Depends on the donut intake.  Classroom decor, hermmmmm, still not so hot.  I did manage to get myself a high school teacher cadet helper though- so there is bulletin board paper on the back board now.  It's blank.  But it's blue.  So it's calming.

Two weeks ago I started the homework folder idea I had last year.  At the moment, it only has their leveled reading books and some math games in it, but every few days I add something else to it, and if I get it humming this year, it'll be a breeze next year.  Thus far I like the system.  I don't have to assign work on a daily basis, or handle paperwork.  The kids are actually doing the work longer than the required amount of time because they "think" it's their choice.  I am a teacher ninja!

Have my sub folder up-to-date, and it's working out super well- except for the fact that the subs that have been coming into the building seem to feel like I should only be having them sing songs and play games and watch videos all day- so they ignore my binder.  ***big heavy frustrated sigh***  You can lead a horse to water....yada yada.

I'm having mixed success with small group math.  Very successful with one-on-one interviews and taking annecdotal records, and using those notes to create groups.  Buuuuut- I'm behind in my pacing.  By a week.  So it's all about playing catch-up.  And I hate that feeling.

Writer's Workshop is thus far my favorite.  I feel like I've been doing it justice this year.  Have already written two sample stories with the kids, half way through my third.  Made many many anchor charts, have them keeping themselves organized in their writing folders.  Having success with them keeping up with table boxes of writing supplies that are stored conveniently in the crate seats.

Our guided reading schedule is a go, and it's at break neck speed! From 9:50 to 11:00 I am a nonstop reading machine switching between mini lesson and three groups, and then I have a fourth after lunch.  It is not my favorite time of day, since it goes so quickly and I despise not having any transition time.  I feel that circus music theme going through my head every day for an hour. I've been keeping up with my running records folder and all though- so hooray for my new effeciency.

My PYP sciecne/social studies time is a big poopy though.  I have not done it justice.  All of the excitement I had for my econ unit last year is lost this year.  Maybe Econ just needs to be last.  Grr.  Had some great read-alouds though.  So at least there was that.  And we're starting a new unit on Maps this week, so maybe things will get back to normal.

I have hopes of getting back to my blogging schedule.  I even typed up a plan today.  So everybody grab a donut, and settle in for the fall...