Thursday, September 26, 2013

Number the Stars

This week we began the pre-reading activities for one of my favorite books to teach from: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  I haven't taught from this book in several years because I had a few years where most of the class had already read the book.  Alternatively, I taught from The Giver instead.

I cannot express just how excited I am to get their hands, minds, and hearts intertwined with the characters and storyline and I hope that they love it just as much as I do!

What's your favorite book to teach from?


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A New School Year is Under Way!

I am so blessed to have one of the best jobs in the world!  This year, I've taken on some changes and I couldn't be more excited.

We're a month in; interims have already gone home.  This year is different, though, because I have volunteered to be the only fifth grade teacher who teaches all subjects.  We went down in numbers for the incoming class and no longer needed 8 fifth grade teachers.  Since we're departmentalized, this meant one option could be that one of us would teach everything and we would continue to switch for leveling and needs-based instruction.  I JUMPED at the chance.  

I've been teaching Reading/Language Arts/Social Studies for all five years of my school's existence.  As much as I enjoy those subjects, I was missing something.  I didn't really know exactly what it was until one day while teaching a cross-curricular lesson that incorporated science I got to see it.  LIGHT BULBS!  In fifth grade, with the level of readers I've had for three (going on four) years, there was seldom something that really lit up their eyes after struggling to 'get it' and it was robbing me of a lot of the joy that is teaching!

With the changing curriculum and evolving of Common Core, I don't think I could have selected a better year to make the change.  I have the most wonderful students and I'm not beating my head up against the wall because I all of a sudden have to teach a certain concept in math that I've never had to before.  They are ALL new concepts for me (except the ones that have moved up from fourth grade standards because I taught all subjects in fourth grade prior to this school opening).  YAY!  

So now I'm always looking for ideas that will help drive a concept home for my students who struggle with math. This is SO much fun when it means that I get to see light bulbs when they GET IT!  WHOOT!

I hope everyone's years are off to a great start!

XO, kvk
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