First of all, I have to say that I love Amber Polk of Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher. If you aren’t already a follower of her blog, you really should click over and take care of that. =) On top of her blog being super cute and colorful, it’s filled with great ideas. I also have purchased several of her items and they are awesome too. I love finding other teachers like that!
Amber is hosting her first linky party so I had to link up. As we’re wrapping up our years, I think it’s always important to reflect on the things that went well and the things I want to tweak next year. I know, I know… the beach, the hammock, and even the mall might be calling your name (they certainly are calling mine!), but this won’t take very long and you’ll be glad you did it when August rolls around.
I love doing hands-on projects and investigations in reading and writing workshops, but my math projects were definitely lacking because I stuck with our boring math curriculum from the company. Thanks to the fabulous blogging world and Pinterest, that definitely changed later in the year. I mean, have you seen our geometry math castles, PowerPoint games, or fraction art? I’ve made it my goal this summer to work on the fall units to spruce them up too.
I wrote a about book clubs earlier this year. They are just so much fun! AND the students really do get so much out of them. Unfortunately, book clubs can be pretty time-consuming to prepare and our text set choices are limited. In spite of that, I created a few new packets this year and have a few more to plan this summer. You know, while laying in my hammock at the beach after going to the mall. 😉
Talk about professional development! I have found so many new ideas and supportive teachers through this little community of ours. It has not only been great for me personally to connect with so many other super-motivated teachers, but my students have really benefited too. I love you all, for real. =) If you are looking for other third grade blogs you might have missed, click on over to our Third Grade Troop.
This was our first year doing 90 uninterrupted minutes of reading workshop. While this meant taking a little time away from our other content areas, I was mostly pleased with how much more the students got out of reading workshop with the extra 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the 90 minute chunk of our day falls during the time when students are pulled out for IEP instruction. This meant some of my students missed my minilesson and other missed guided reading. I found myself having to teach the same lesson or guided reading group two or three times (often to just a couple students) in order to make sure everyone received the instruction they needed. I also lost my part-time teaching assistant because she had to cover primary reading groups during that time. I noticed a big different compared to last year when my students weren’t pulled out during reading and when I had my teaching assistant during the entire reading block. I’m not sure what I can do to fix it yet because that part of the scheduling is out of my hands, but I’m going to puzzle it over anyway.
I know that it all comes down to money, but the technology in our school left much to be desired this year. I would have previously said that our school was ahead of the curve in this area, but this year it feels like we sort of fell off the wagon. A few years ago, we purchased a mobile lab with 24 laptops that could be checked out for about an hour a week per class. I use it every Wednesday for Spelling City, math games, and writing workshop publishing. In the past, it’s been a great tool because the students can use it independently while I pull groups of students over for one-on-one instruction, corrections, extensions, etc. Unfortunately, the lab is falling apart. Computers are missing because they don’t work at all, others are present but won’t boot or hold a charge, and almost all of the wireless internet signals have to be brought up by manually instead of automatically connecting. By the time I get everyone going (many have to share computers), so much time has been wasted. Then every few minutes the internet drops and I have to start all over. I hate that. We also have two little net books per class, but the remediation aide has to use them so much for remediation that I can’t rely on having those either. I seriously need to reconsider our technology use this summer. Fortunately, our school received a grant to purchase a class set of iPads for each grade level to share. I’m hoping that helps!
Did you notice how much longer the The Not So Great sections were? Maybe I needed to get that out and vent a little after all. I can’t leave things on a negative note like that though so here’s a picture from last year’s trip to the beach. Notice the little guy on the near end? I love his confidence to run with the big guys.
Now head on over and link up.