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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thinking Outloud Here

Okay, I am so excited about the new semester that it is sort of ridiculous. But first I'll start with confessions: I am overwhelmed and exhausted and more than a little bit crazy all of the time and I've survived but I've done a lot of teaching by default and finding the materials and then matching to a standard. Oh, that just goes against everything I've been taught. *sigh* We have a staff meeting on Monday and we are supposed to tell how we are going to prepare our students for state testing. Well, I've never experienced state testing before and have no idea what to do to prepare really. Seriously, I have never taught 3rd or 4th before. I have taught 3rd and 4th guided reading, but I largely carried out plans designed by someone else and have never taken and seen practice tests or any such thing. So I'm feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. Yep. Anywho.... I need to track and see what I've taught (and taught successfully to mastery) and see what really still needs conquered and then map it out. Yikes. To me that sounds like an all-summer chore and I have from now until Monday to get it figured out as well as practice my resolution~ balance~ and spend time with my daughters and do things at home as well as finish the massive re-organize/re-arrange my classroom, which I started the other day and now it looks like a tornado came through there and MUST be put back together. Okay, I just discovered Mr. Greg.... oh em gee.... what have I been missing?! Here is what I am watching right NOW, which brings me to another thing I am thinking about.... theming my days. What?! Okay, my first year teaching we had Fantastic Fridays which also meant Flexible Friday because our schedule often changed on Friday and we'd practice our flexibility. And I want to have math days and reading/LA days. Why? Well, maybe the biggest reason is that I have an extra body in my room for 35 minutes or so on Tuesday and Thursday morning which means I have more opportunity for successfully teaching guiding reading groups those days. I see, here I go, talking too much and not really saying much. Where I am going is here: Along with Fantastic Friday which will be more of a student-led/independent day in a lot of ways (and really, most days are full of a lot of independent work time), I want to have MATH MONDAY, or maybe Manic Monday, or Manic Math Monday.... but it will have a heavy emphasis on Math, leaving reading to reading about math and/or during sustained silent reading time and independent work (which is not completely defined yet due to the fact that I am restructuring my days, but will probably be some kind of center-type of self-directed study). This is also what Wednesday will look like and I am thinking this will be Wild Wednesdays or Wild and Wacky Wednesday or maybe even We-Got-This Wednesday.  Thursdays I need help with. I looked up describing words and here are few ideas. Please help me figure this out. Oh... Thursday will be structured like Tuesdays~ Terrific Tuesday~ and the emphasis will be on READING and language arts. So here are the great things I found to describe Thursday: Thinking Thursday, Think-about-it Thursday,Theatrical Thursday (and maybe do reader's theater on Thursdays?), Thankful Thursdays, Therapeutic Thursday, Thunderstruck Thursday. Help! What a lot of great ideas, but I am not sure which one to use. What is your vote? Help me decide please! So we will implement Fantastic Friday as well. It will include some free choice activities and we'll do science on Fridays and we will do presentations. Students will choose a research topic out of a grade level choice area on the first Friday and will have time to start the research. Throughout the following week when they finish their required work they will have the opportunity to work on, complete, edit and update their research. Then they will present on Friday and choose a new topic for the following Friday. I'm hoping this will keep Friday's FANtastic and fun. I am thinking about doing a foodie-Friday too. I would do it every other Friday on the weeks that we don't have P.E. on Friday. This may be on hold until next year or later in the semester because I haven't really thought it through too much yet. Will they choose the foods? Or will they have limited choices? Will it derive from student research? I can't tell you the details because I just don't know them yet. But I am getting excited about this upcoming semester and all the fun we'll have.  HERE WE GO!! And please.... comment, email, or message me about ideas for the names for our days!

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