A New Year and Decade: A Stronger Teacher
A new year, and a new decade, has made me particularly ambitious about my teaching goals this winter. I dedicated part of my winter break to making a plethora of new materials for my fourth grade classroom. Here is a preview of what I will introduce to my students this coming week when they step through the door of my classroom.
This entails reading skills charts, math and science charts, a vocabulary book, task card boxes, a Cruising Through the USA board, iPods, new books, a new classroom microscope, and a student reading handbook. Hopefully, these resources will compliment our new classroom enrichment center as well as heighten my students' interest in studying science and social studies.
Reading Skills Charts:
One of the most important resources I am creating for my students is a flip chart booklet revolving around reading skills. These lessons were written based on selections from magazines, strategies from Mosaic of Thought, and chapter books my students will be reading in class like Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
The chart "Waves of Terror" is for a mini-lesson I will soon teach to my students that correlates with the January 2010 edition of Scholastic Storyworks. The skills reinforced in this lesson are: schema, locating text features, main idea and supporting details, locating facts that include numbers, and summarizing.
The chart "Red-Eyed Tree Frog" reinforces these skills: context clues, author's purpose, subheadings, and making connections. It references the book Animals Up Close, published by DK Books.
The chart "Young Grass Snake" reinforces these skills: questioning, noting important facts, main idea and supporting details. At the end of this lesson, students will compare and contrast the young grass snake with the red-eyed tree frog.
Math and Science Charts:
This is a question many students missed when taking their most recent Thinklink math assessment. Discovery Education's Thinklink assessments are administered three times a year to every student enrolled in the Hernando County School District. When you log on to Discoveryeducation.com and look at student reports, you can click on an interactive report to see the problems your students missed.
I designed a vocabulary book for my students with categorized words. Since we call strong vocabulary words "Million Dollar Words" in my classroom, the title of the book is Million Dollar Words with the design of a penny on the cover. I purchased this $10.00 blank book as well as black and bronze acrylic paints in the craft department of WalMart.
The following pages were designed using extra scrapbooking stickers, papers and photographs I had around the house:
I am still in the process of making the task cards, yet here is a preview:
On the Cruising Through the USA board, there will be two brochures students will look at every week: one having to do with a place of interest in Florida and the other having to do with a place of interest in the United States. Students will then place post-it notes with information they gathered from the brochures every week to earn extra credit points as well as a ticket to go in our monthly A-Inators drawing.
I purchased the mini science fair board pictured below at JoAnn's Craft Superstore.
January is also opening up the opportunity for me to introduce our five classroom iPods. When one logs into iTunes, the opportunity to upload podcasts for free comes up. I uploaded video podcasts from Dragonfly TV (PBS) as well as CNN Student News and ColeyCast (from Brent Coley's fifth grade class in Murietta, California). Besides uploading podcasts, I ventured to Mr. Coley's fifth grade website, where I uploaded sets of iPod flash cards. I of course uploaded podcasts from our class as well. Our list of student podcasts will be growing in the second half of this year since the iPods are now available in our classroom. A mini science fair board will also be available for students to write Post-It notes with their thoughts. Here are some images regarding our classroom iPods:
Some sensational new books are going to be introduced in our classroom as well. With the help of a Barnes and Noble gift card as well as books that have been stockpiled in our classroom for a few months, approximately 15-20 new books are going to generate a lot of excitement this next week. Here is a picture of our new book board as well as a one of my favorite new books:
I am introducing a new classroom microscope as well:
Last, I created a reading handbook for my students focusing on the mini-lessons we are completing between the months of January and March. I write some of my own fiction and non-fiction selections that focus on specific comprehension skills. Besides that, I gather reproducible pages from Storyworks, skills charts from http://www.readinglady.com, and other pages from recent popular movies produced by Walden Media. Below is an example from the website for Journey to the Center of the Earth:
As stated, I am very ambitious for the new year and decade! I hope this year brings you sensational ideas as well.
Robert Frost said, "I am not a teacher, but an awakener." Ben Sweetland stated, "We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." So in the year 2010, find ways to "brighten your path". Believe you are a person your students can deeply, respectfully, and honorably admire.