Saturday, June 20, 2015

Reflect and Refresh: Part 1 {Link Up!}

Welcome to Reflect and Refresh, a two part linky party where teacher bloggers share their reflections on the 2014-2015 school year and ways they are planning to refresh their teaching in 2015-2016.  Thank you, Mrs. D's Corner, for this linky party~~~what a GREAT idea!

It's really hard to believe that I have been out of school for 20 days!  It feels like yesterday I was hugging my third graders and saying our goodbyes.  I LOVE summer.  It's funny how I look forward to summer every year, so I can relax and have fun with my family-BUT I always find myself thinking about how I am going to make next year even better. What I will do differently?  What actually worked? What new ideas can I bring to my team?  I don't think our teacher-brains actually turn off....what do you think?  So, I am here to share with you things that went well and also what I aim to work on for next school year.
KG Fonts
This year at open house (which is the day before the first day of school), I placed a communication log on every child's desk for the parents to complete.   Even though I can access all this information from the office or from their emergency medical forms, this sheet immediately goes into a binder that is next to my desk computer and phone.  This gives me easy access to student's contact information and I can quickly regard what the email or phone conversation was about.

On Fridays, I would send home weekly newsletters which gave information about the upcoming week.  It would give the parents some insight about what we will be working on in all subject areas, upcoming school events, and random reminders.  Unfortunately, I would find that some students weren't emptying their "mailboxes" Friday afternoon and wouldn't take the newsletter home.  So, I am starting to think more about creating a classroom website where I can post the information.  Does anyone have a classroom website?

My classroom library is HUGE!  I LOVE my books and take a lot of pride in my collection. In years past, though, I would catch myself getting mad because I'd forget certain books that I wanted to share with my students.  So, I decided something needed to be done.  I needed to organize my books in a better way. I spent a lot of time last August organizing the books by author, some by skills, some by genre...etc.   I am not a fan of the way I decided to organize them.   I need to go back in this summer and tweak it a little.  How do you organize your classroom library?

Teaching writing has never really been my favorite.....UNTIL this year!  Throughout the school year, I purchased a lot of different picture books (mentor texts) to use when teaching writing. I have found that the books are a great way to show examples of different types of writing.  We can teach students how to write, give them a checklist & rubric, but we can't expect them to know exactly how to write it unless they read examples.  I think it's important to talk about the mentor texts and then let the students discuss the writing.  For example, the books below are a few of the picture books that I used when teaching students how to write an opinion piece.  

My Big Summer Project:
One of the things I want to do this summer is read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  I really want to make sure that I am creating life-long readers and not just students that need to read in order to pass a test.  I want my students to leave third grade knowing and understanding that reading is full of rewards.  I want it to be enjoyable and not just homework.  I WANT my students to have a love for reading that lasts much longer than just 9 months of the year.  Has anyone read this book and implemented her instructional approach?

Now it is your turn.  Share how you're looking back and reflecting on this past school.  Grab the picture below and link up with Mrs. D's Corner.  Make sure you return on August 3rd to show how you're going to Look Forward and Refresh Your Teaching!  

1 comment:

  1. I love Shark versus Train!! Such a great book! But I would like to borrow Spoon! I have not read this one. I think reflection is always a great thing and blogging helps me to do that!