Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Update!

I haven't updated in a while because school (and life) have been SO. CRAZY. Being a first year teacher is no joke.

I can't believe how fast this year is going- before I know it, it will be Christmas, then 2nd semester, then the end of the year! Whew!

Here are some things I've been working on lately :)

We've just started really pushing using sticky notes. (R2S means Read 2 Self). They haven't had a ton of experience using sticky notes in the past, so we are starting small. Right now, I just want them to mark parts of their book using these flags (or whatever else they decide). The main purpose is to get them thinking about their own thinking and becoming actively involved in their own reading. We will also use these stickies during reading conferences- I can flip through their book and ask them to tell me more about a part they had marked. They will also be able to use their stickies when sharing with their reading partner. I had noticed that when it came time to share about their read to self books, they would say 1 or 2 things to their partner and just sit there, saying "I'm done." The plan here is that they can find a sticky note and tell their partner more about it- maybe they can help each other figure out unknown words, talk through a confusing part, or just share a funny part together. They will at least have something to get their conversation going. 
So far stickies are going really well! I'm excited to get going and build onto this skill throughout the year. 

Here is my Vocabulary bulletin board (with a guest appearance by my glitter pumpkin!)! 
This past month, we have really been working on character traits- identifying them in our read aloud (Esperanza Rising), in picture books, using them to make connections with other characters, etc. I found some great resources online (like this awesome chart that we put into our readers' notebooks) to help give them words to use besides "nice" or "mean," but I noticed that they didn't know what the most of the words meant! So each week, we have 10 new character trait vocabulary words. They are posted all week, we discuss them within our read aloud books, and they add them to their own personal character trait chart as we go. We think of a character (book, movie, real life) that reminds us of that trait, and write it down next to the word. That way they aren't copying definitions, but instead, making a meaningful (and personal) connection to the word. We choose a character altogether, but they are always welcome to write down a character that makes sense to them. 
At the end of the week, we do a quick matching definitions assessment to see what they learned. We're on our last week of words, and I've been so impressed with their expanding vocabularies! I've heard kids use words from past weeks in our discussions and in their writing. I'm working on getting this mini-unit ready for Teachers Pay Teachers so keep your eye out for that soon! 

I just made this Fractions Anchor Chart as we start our next chapter in math. Fractions, yikes! As 5th graders, they've had several years of experience with fractions, but it still takes a little bit of reviewing for everything (or almost everything) to come back to them! 
I have to say, I'm a huge fan of anchor charts- I love directing kids to the charts when they have questions, and seeing them look up at them while they are working is just wonderful. I'm a teeny bit of a perfectionist when it comes to charts though, so I'm laminating all mine this year to be re-used in the future!

On a more personal note, I just ordered and received these shoes, and wore them for the first time today. I think they're really cute but they are going to take some breaking in for sure. I've been on the hunt for a super comfortable pair of winter appropriate shoes for the last few weeks. Up until recently, I've worn a super cute pair of gold Birkenstock sandals as often as possible. I do wear other shoes, but Birks are SO comfortable, and I'm on my feet almost every minute of the day. I really would like to keep wearing Birkenstocks, but last week I wore my sandals and one of my girls said, "Miss Leslie, isn't it too cold to be wearing sandals?" Ooops, busted. I thought I might just get the close-toed Birkenstocks, but those make it look like I'm wearing potatoes on my feet, and I'm just not going for that look usually. 
So I got the Sperry's. We'll see how they go- I doubt they are as comfortable as Birks, but you never know. I never thought I'd be the type of person to put comfort above almost everything else in a shoe. Being a teacher makes you do crazy things :)


  1. are the sperrys as comfy as the birkenstocks?

  2. The reading sticky notes look awesome! I would love to introduce this to my students. What standard do you think this would apply?

  3. Love this idea and want to work on it with my kids. Okay if I use your idea?

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