Frequent readers of this blog know I often
choose my summer reading based on student recommendations. Several
girls at school and church have been reading this series. I quickly
read the first three books and am currently devouring the fourth. Yes, I
have to willfully suspend my disbelief to read a book about high school
spies in training, but it is worth it. This series is fantastic for
upper elementary and middle school girls.
Did you know that the Central Intelligence Agency has a site that is great for classroom use? In addition to maps and pictures of flags, The World Factbook gives updated information about the history, government, economy, and other issues for "267 countries or entities." For me it is a good replacement for the set of encyclopedias I started my teaching career with. (Yes, I have been teaching a while.) As someone who enjoys spy novels, I probably like the idea of using spy resources more than I should.
Several of my students recommended that I read a Big Nate book, so I added this one to my summer reading list. I have to say that I wasn't impressed. I can't be the only educator that is tired of books aimed at students that poke fun at school. I find it difficult enough to get students motivated to take their learning seriously. I will not be buying this book for my classroom library. There is enough sarcasm and disrespect in the world without my having to promote it.
Today is the ninth day of the school year and I wanted to report my progress toward implementing the Daily 5 in my fourth grade classroom. After reading The Daily 5 , I discovered toward the end of the book the authors recommend only using three of the five in an intermediate classroom: Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Work on Writing. As my students build endurance, I have been able to give my students a quick screening tool and begin running records. I am currently reading The CAFE book and I have begun building my assessment notebook.
I would love to hear about other teacher's successes and challenges using this program.
In case you are not familiar with Math Spies, this is a website I write for my students. Each mission has a series of math problems the spies must solve. I am currently working on Episode 4. Each episode has seven missions. The math concepts are most appropriate for grades 4-6.
I hope you have a chance to use this resource with your students. My students enjoy solving the scenarios and have even made suggestions about the situations the Math Spies should encounter. Please leave me questions in the comments.
My students often complain that I don't have enough ghost stories in my classroom library. This summer I discovered a ghost story that I would be willing to have in my room.
Avi writes quality historical fiction with interesting characters. The main character has been brought up in a very scientific home. He is apprenticed to a photographer who is more interested in getting money from his wealthy customers than working at his craft. When the photographer wants to fool one of his customers into believing he has taken a picture of her dead daughter, Horace notices something about the image that can't easily be explained.
The first day of school I have a ritual I have stuck with for as many years as I can remember. I have the students look at the name tags and tell me if that is the name they want to be called. I make a big deal about how a sign of respect is calling someone by name. We discuss nicknames and how some show that you belong and others are insulting. This year I added a time in our morning meetings where students challenge themselves to go around the circle remembering each person's name.
Over the summer at a family reunion, I was called by a name that makes me cringe. It's one of those childhood names that one sheds when they get older. No one else calls me this name. I hesitated to correct the family member.
It did cause me to think about my ritual and the way I want to show my students that I respect each of them and that I want them to respect each other in this way.
As I have said before, a nickname not agreed to by giver and receiver is name-calling.
Have you checked out my poetry blog Poems of Silliness? I started this site because I did an April Poetry Challenge a couple of years ago where poets write a poem a day. Last October, I challenged myself to post a poem today for a year. Along the way, I investigated different forms of poetry and it has become a tool I use for teaching poetry in my class.
I am hoping that other teachers will find this resource useful. You can search for a poem on a particular topic in the tool bar. You can click on a tag to see a set of poems in a particular form.
I can't wait to begin teaching poetry to my fourth graders this year.
Our first day of school is this Wednesday. A few weeks ago a family member began showing signs of serious illness -- serious enough that I wondered if I would miss the first day of school.
In twenty-two years, I have missed only two: my father's death and a case of intense food poisoning. Each of those days, I had an intern that I had prepared who could help cover. Each of those days I had my own first day of school where I set the tone for the year.