Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh what a week!

It's been a long week but Friday is finally here!  :) The kids have been pretty good this week, we have just had the same old problem...they like to talk...ALL the time.

Thursday is got a bit out of hand.  We have this time during the afternoon on Thursdays where our whole team goes to a meeting called collaboration.  During this time, there are parent volunteers who come and "teach" our class for about 40 minutes.  Well, I went to the meeting yesterday and I told the kids before I left that if I heard a good report back from the aid that I would make time to read our book that I've been reading to the class. (We're getting near the end of the book and they BEG me to keep reading reach day). The meeting went well and on my way back to my class, I could hear my students all the way down the hall.  That can't be a good sign.  So I walked into the doorway and just stood there, staring them down.  And they STILL kept misbehaving.  The aid was up front trying to continue the skits going but they rest of the class was just goofing off, not even paying any attention.  It was awful.  As soon as the aid left, I had the kids pull out their planners, write in them, and then lay their heads on the desk for about 10 minutes.  One kid still decided it was time to goof off and threw a wad of paper across the room at someone else!  Oh boy.  After the 10 minutes was up, we then grabbed all our stuff and lined up at the door.  As they stood there waiting for the bell, I explained that I knew that not everyone had been misbehaving when I walked in but since the majority was (probably about 90%), I had to punish everyone.  I felt like the world's WORST teacher ever yesterday by the time they left.  I'm pretty sure some of them hated me as they walked out the door but I had to do something!  So needless to say, yesterday was not such a great day.

Today, however, was FANTASTIC!!!  I don't know what it is but the last two weeks have followed this pattern....Thursday is a problem and then they're GREAT on Friday.  Well, this morning before school started I decided to put up a sign outside the door, above the coatrack, and on the whiteboard.  The sign read:

        "Today is a silent day.  Please come in quietly and follow the directions on the board.  *If I catch you talking, you owe me 1 Bee Buck."

This worked like a CHARM!!!  They came in and immediately started "shh"-ing each other and got right to work.  This gave me enough time to get things ready for the day and give spelling tests to the different groups at the back of the room.  We then went to rotations (my kids went to PE while I took another 4th grade class to the library) and then came back for an assembly.  As we lined up for rotations, I told the kids that the silent day was a test to see how quietly they could come in and get to work because we've been too loud lately.  I also explained that we will most likely have more throughout the year (especially on days when my voice gives out or they were too loud the day before).  Then during the assembly, my class was a bunch of angels during the assembly even when the rest of the school was getting super rowdy.  After the assembly was over, we moved into Guided Reading time.  This is where I meet with certain groups of students on a specific reading level while the rest of the class works quietly at their desk or reads silently.  They usually get pretty riled up during this hour of the day too but you could hear a pin drop in there!  It was great!  I had even taken the signs down so I expected them to get noisy again but nope!

The rest of the day (which was shorter anyway due to early release time on Fridays) went smoothly and I'm now QUITE a fan of random silent days.

Just a quick funny story to leave you with...we had to choose two student council reps from each class and the students had to write an essay about why we should pick them.  First of all, my class is pretty hilarious, even when they don't mean to be.  And one girl in her essay wrote: "If you need help, I will help you.  Because your confidence is my confidence."

HAHAHA not quite sure how that even makes sense but it definitely made for a good laugh on a Friday afternoon, after the kids had all gone home.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Some New Pictures

Hey Mom, here's a closeup of the cabinet doors in the back of the room.  Each bee has a letter of the alphabet and I'm working on making word cards to hang up that have the vocab for Math, Science, Social Studies, and a few other things. 

This last week, we learned about graphs and we made bar graphs in groups.  Here's one of the groups' graphs.  They did so well, and it really helped me to know how they are understanding the lessons.  :)

This is the 'Missing Work' thing I was talking about in my last post.  In this crate, I will have file folders with various assignments that we have completed.  In the folder, there will be a couple extra copies of the worksheet so that if any student is missing that assignment and can't find their copy, they can grab a new one and work on that.  I also made a poster with the title "Missing Work" that is being laminated.  I'll hang this on an extra cupboard in the back of the room so that when I know that certain students haven't turned something in, I can write the assignment name and their name on the poster.  That way they don't always have to ask me if they have already turned something in. They can just check the chart.  I'm excited about this and I sure hope it works!
(Oh and the Cursive Worksheets are worksheets that they will complete on their own time sometime before the end of the year.  There's a couple of them but I won't be teaching them how to do cursive, they should already know how to do that.  This is just to help them practice.)
 And finally, my artwork wall!  :)  A few of those papers are mine to help me remember rotation schedules and then there's the job chart, but the rest of that is all from my students!!  :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Almost Two Whole Weeks & One Observation Done!!!

I'm almost at the end of two weeks now and I'm still loving being a teacher!  :)  It's so great to hear "Miss Wiser" from 24 little kids every day (although some of them overuse those words!!!  Haha), get hugs at the beginning and end of each day, and see the little drawings they make for me hang on the wall behind my desk.  It's completely fantastic.  :)

Here's some highlights from this week:

1.  IT WAS A SHORT WEEK!!!  lol  We didn't have school on Monday due to Labor Day, so not only did I have extra time planning things for the week but the school week was a little shorter.

2.  I got my computer back!  It took about a week for them to fix it, but its finally back and I got a nice little blue case to go on it.  The kids were a little confused when I came to school with a blue computer today.  I even had one say: "I thought all the teachers had white computers!  Why is yours BLUE??"  I laughed and then explained to them that it is white I just put a blue case on it.  Just like Ms. Leavitt (another 4th grade teacher) has a purple one.  They were all ok after that.

3.  It's Thursday, and I have nearly everything graded for the last two weeks!  Yipee!  :)  I got a lot done last night and a few other things today after school.  So now I just have to work on entering those in to the online gradebook so the parents can check it.  I have also been able to get a few other little projects done.  For instance, we now have a crate in the back of the room, on the counter, for any missing work assignments, or for those that have no name on them.  I'm also working on a chart where I can list each assignment and the names of those who haven't turned it in.  That way, they can see if they are missing it, and if they can't find the original assignment, there will be a few extra copies in the back so they can do a new one.  I'll post some pics of that when I'm done with it all.

4.  The wall behind my desk is getting rather full.  The kids, in their spare time, love to do art.  Whether it be drawing or coloring, or whatever!  And quite a few of them have given me some to put up behind my desk.  I'll also work on taking pics of that so you all can see that beautiful artwork.

5.  And finally, I have had my first observation of the year!!!  One of my BYU professors and my facilitator (Jennifer) came in yesterday during math to observe my lesson.  I had planned this great activity and was planning on using clickers so the students could give their answers that way and the computer would calculate the numbers.  (Kinda like on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire when the audience has a remote where they choose their answer and then it shows a graph w/all their choices).  The lesson was on surveys and it WOULD have been perfect...IF it had worked.  Ms. Leavitt came in yesterday morning to teach the kids how to use them so we'd be all set for my lesson, and they just kept the clickers in their desks until the lesson and then the software just decided not to work!  It was super frustrating but I still got points on my observation for having that planned into the lesson and for trying to make it work.  When it didn't, I had to do some quick thinking on my feet and ended up having the kids use sign language to show their answers (a,b,c,d).  This got me a few more points which was great!!  Overall, the lesson went well and the kids did well.  The only problem that my observers noticed is that a few kids got up, while I was instructing, and got a drink from the sinks in the back.  It was kinda distracting so they commented & marked me down for that.  So that's what the kids and I are working on over the next few days.  I'm trying out a new system for that.  I'll let you all know if it works out.
I was warned beforehand that they usually score lower than normal for the 1st observation so that you have plenty of room for improvement and it was lower than I thought it might be but it was still a good score.  Out of an average of 5, my score for the lesson was a 2.82.  That's about where I ended up after my last couple observations, so I'm right on track and I have plenty of room for improvement.

(By the way, hardly anyone gets a 5 on their observation score.  A 5 means that you did everything perfectly, so I doubt that I'll ever get there this year, but as the years progress, hopefully I will be able to reach a 5.)

Ok, enough of my rambling for now.  I'd better go do some grading before institute tonight!  I'll try to post some new pics this weekend!!  Love you all and thanks for all your support.  It means the WORLD!