Monday, October 28, 2013

Reflecting on the Year So Far

I am finally returning to the blogging world after a very long absence.  It's been kind of a rough school year so far. It seems like it has taken much longer than normal to get things going this year.  We've had some changes at school- a new lesson plan system, new curriculum and of course,more paperwork- that have taken some getting used to. In addition to this and  a few behavior problems in my class, I also have a student with special needs (both academic and behavior) who is not yet identified.  Although he's getting some support through RTI, I'm the one who is dealing with him most of the time. And I'm tired!  I've even started to ask myself if it's time to retire. (My husband says it's not!)
So I decided this weekend to stop wallowing in self-pity and focus on what is going right in the classroom and spend some time taking care of ME!  My craft room is covered with school projects, but I put aside my laminator and centers, pulled out my crochet hooks and some thread, and made some Christmas ornaments.

I also took some time to reflect on what is good in my classroom this year.  Reading groups and Daily 5 are finally up and running.  I even added Listen to Reading this year!  I've avoided it for the past few years because I hate dealing with tapes/CDs, headphones and players.  But now I am using my computers- much easier!  We are using Tumblebooks right now and the kids love it!  I'm looking into other sources for online books; please share if you have any to recommend!
I love my math workshop this year!  I finally have a system that allows me to pull guided math groups on a regular basis.  My kids rotate through 10 work stations during a 2 week period, working with a partner.  I pull 2 groups/day, 3 days per week.  Monday is a whole group lesson, usually introducing a new concept or skill, with guided practice.  On Thursdays we usually do a whole group problem solving lesson and worksheet or other activity for assessment.  As with reading, I am finally learning to utilize my 3 classroom computers more efficiently and have them set up as one of the math stations.
Our wonderful PTA purchased a mini iPad for every classroom this year so we have been using it during our guided math groups.  On Friday, we experimented with Educreations to show our work.  Here's one of my friends showing how she solved a subtraction problem.

(I've enjoyed having the iPad so much I wrote a Donors Choose project for 2 more!  Click here to view my project.)

Now I'm off to have fun with bats, spiders and all things Halloween!  Have a great week!

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