Sunday, October 6, 2013

Where did September go?

Oh man. You know those 'blink and you miss it' moments? September was one of those for me. I can't believe that I didn't sit down and blog at all. I know how you all feel, back to school month is generally one of the most stressful. Parents and students alike are finding their way, communication is at an all time high (for the good and bad) and the demands of administration are often adding to what we already have on our plates. But..we survived! A few highlights of my September:
Kicking off our (in)courage group for teachers. Our community is small but supportive and I am blessed to be a part of it.
  • First field trip - hello Greenwood Furnace! 
  • Starting my mentor course via PSU - they offer a once a week class to new mentors to assist in training our interns, it has been amazing
  • Getting to know my students as learners
It wasn't all good, never can be, but overall I finally feel that we are settling in to our routine. I'm excited to share two lessons/activities with you that we are working through right now. The first is a lesson that supports the CCSS argument writing. We did a lesson on cats vs. dogs to introduce the language of claim, evidence, reasoning. It was so much fun! Here are some images from that lesson:

Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning Vocabulary based on Common Core definitions

I started by telling the class how much I LOVED my cats, and that we should all write about how awesome they are. I gave them 'evidence' to support my claim. And wouldn't you know...none of them agreed with me! 
Then they had time to work as tables to 'fix' my claim. These are some examples. We decided as a class to choose the opinion statement to work on the next day. 
Our final product, we worked together to create supporting evidence for our new claim. Finally we wrapped it all up in the reasoning statement. We will continue to use this language in all of our subjects. 
The second is that my intern and I are starting interactive math journals with our students. I picked up the amazing pack from from RundesRoom. If you haven't visited her website please go now. She's outstanding.
If you need ideas for math journals, go buy this now! Don't wait!
We started by modeling with the students our stations. There will be 3, and we are only doing them on Monday and Friday to start. Monday stations will be: guided teaching with me, IXL for independent work (great site if you need a math site for students!), and journaling with a small group and a student instructor from my homeroom. Friday stations will be: guided teaching with me, additional practice with my intern, and the journaling station to complete entries for an independent station. We set up our notebooks last Friday, modeled moving around the room, modeled what it sounds like...and now I just have to squish A LOT in the first day (doesn't that always happen!).

If you are in need of any teaching ideas, feel free to hop over to Pinterest and follow my Classroom Ideas page. Most of my pins are for 6th graders (or can be adapted). I pinned RundesRoom's interactive journal packet on there if you want to check it out. It is completely worth the investment.

And finally, with October starting, I hope that you have settled in and feel slightly more in control than you did in September. If you have parent conferences coming up, like I do, I wish you the very best. May all of your parents come in with open minds and a willingness to work together in the best interest of the student. I'll be back soon (I promise to post more than once a month!). Happy teaching!


  1. Darla Kneebone-HartOctober 6, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Agreed! September was a blur, but a pleasant one. En

  2. And it involved some color running ;)