Sunday, August 21, 2016

The First Day of School PLUS My Class Schedule

I love getting to see other teachers' classrooms. Almost as much - I love to see their schedules. It's amazing to me how different all of our schools and classrooms are. So tonight I wanted to share my new class schedule for this year, along with what my 1st day of school looks like.

A little bit of background - I teach 4th grade math and science. My students have 2 teachers - 1 for math/science and 1 for language arts/social studies. So I have two instructional blocks. This year I have 20 students in each class. Our school day is 7:40-2:55.

The First Day of School

7:35-7:40 When students come in, there is a word search & a pencil at each spot. The word search has everyone's name in it. 
7:40-7:45 School announcements
7:45-7:50 Discuss hallway behavior
7:55-8:45 Specials - Art
8:45-8:55 Bathroom break - discuss expectations
9:00 Circle Up morning meeting - everyone will share their name and one word to tell about their summer
9:15 Technology lesson (we are a 1 to 1 campus - each student will get an iPad): go over iPad trust card and consequences for misuse of iPad
9:45 Brain break - play the clapping game (1 student goes in the hall, the rest choose 1 object in the room - when the student comes back in we have to help him/her find the item by clapping when they're close. No talking or pointing!)
10:00 Snack & Read Aloud - I'm reading The Most Magnificent Thing 
10:15 I'll show this clip on failure and have students connect it to the story. This will set the stage for our work on growth mindset later in the week. 
10:30 Sort school supplies - I use a slideshow that I made to help students know how to sort all of their supplies. This is my least favorite part of the day!
11:30 Rules - we'll have a class discussion about our school rules and the consequences/rewards that go along with them. 
11:45 Get ready for lunch (more rules!)
11:55-12:50 Lunch/Recess
12:55 Students are going to make a time capsule - they'll fill out a sheet about themselves that we'll add to a class time capsule. 
1:45 Switch classes - my other class will come in for an hour. We'll sort supplies and repeat the read aloud and failure video from the morning. 
2:45 Switch classes and get ready to go home
2:55 We made it!! 

I'm exhausted just thinking about all of this....

Okay here is my regular class schedule for 2016-2017:

7:35-7:40 Students arrive, unpack and read
7:40-7:45 School announcements
7:45-7:50 Circle Up (like a morning meeting, but following a district mandated format)
7:55-8:45 Specials (Art, Music or PE depending on the day - this is my planning time)
8:50-9:40 Personalized Learning Time (this is our intervention/enrichment block. This is when students who receive special services like G/T or dyslexia get pulled)
9:45-11:45 Instructional Block One 
11:55-12:50 Lunch/Recess
12:50-2:50 Instructional Block Two (math/science with the other class, an hour for math & an hour for science)
2:55 Dismissal

What does your schedule look like this year? Tell me in the comments below!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Going Digital with Google: Student Portfolios

The last two years I piloted student portfolios for my district. After some trial and error, what we found to work best for student portfolios in upper elementary school was to use Google Slides.

Our grading period is made up four 9-week periods, so we had our students select a piece of work for each grading period. My district really emphasized that students should have ownership of their portfolio. We talked a lot about how to choose quality work, but at the end of the day the kids had complete freedom to choose something they were proud of.

We created a template for students - you can check it out here. At the end of the 9 weeks the students selected a work sample. Many times this was something digital that they already had saved in Google Drive. If they selected something that was on paper, they took a picture of it. Then they had to reflect on why they chose that piece of work.

The whole process didn't take more than 30 minutes and at the end of the year, they had a collection of 4 meaningful pieces of work. It was great to share at Open House and spring conferences.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Peek at My Math Workshop

I feel like there are a million and one different ways to do math workshop. I *love* seeing how other teachers structure their math block, so today I want to share what my math block looks like in my fourth grade classroom. Hopefully, you'll take away some tips you can use in your own classroom. Just remember, every class is different! So do what you know will work best for your classroom.

So what does my math block look like?

Warm-up (10 minutes)
We spend the first 10 minutes working on a spiral review sheet and fact fluency. We use a Texas resource my school purchased for spiral review. The kids complete half a page and then work on their Fact Master on Moby Max.

Class Meeting (5-10 minutes)
After the 10 minute timer goes off (*hint* use a timer to stay on track!), the kids meet me at the carpet for a class meeting. Depending on the day, I use this time as an introduction to the skill, to explain the workshop activities or do a quick mini-lesson. I don't let this time go over 10 minutes.
Tip: Start a stopwatch when you start your meeting so you can quickly see how long you've been talking.

Workshop time (35 minutes)
This is the bulk of my math block. For my math workshop, I put all of the student directions in a Google Slide that I share through Google Classroom (read more about that here). The students work through the activities at their own pace. I try to follow the concrete -> pictorial -> abstract model for student activities. I also build in extension activities at the end for students who are early finishers.

While the kids are working, I pull small groups. During my small groups, I teach differentiated guided math lessons. I keep these lessons to about 10 minutes each.

A few more notes about workshop time:
* All of the students start workshop by watching a video lesson that I have previously recorded. They have an anchor chart they have to fill out as they watch the video. This way I know every student has heard the lesson before they start any of the activities.
*I give students 2 days to complete the activities for a skill. One day they'll spend part of their time working with me and the other day they'll have the entire 35 minutes to work.
*Every year I have students who have more difficulty working at their own pace. I give them some modifications to make sure they stay on track with the activities.
*Want some help finding materials for your math workshop? I've got some resources available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can find them here

Closing (5-10 minutes)
After workshop time, we clean up and come back together as a class. During this time, students may reflect (individually or in pairs) about their learning that day, complete a quick formative assessment, or we may do a small lesson together (especially if I saw them struggling during workshop time). I have found this closing time to be crucial so I always make sure to include it. If the beginning class meeting goes long, then I do a quick closing activity.

A guided math group

Student working during workshop time

Watching a video lesson

Creating a video during workshop time

Workshop activities

A partner activity during workshop time
 In the comments tell me what your math workshop looks like!