Well, I’m not even going to discuss how I completely skipped over December and moved right along into the New Year. Not yet, anyway. I have been in creation-crossing stuff off the list-spending time with family-exercising-trying not to eat *too* much crap-organizing the house-wondering where Christmas vacation is going (????)-mode. So, December is leaving us tomorrow and I want to do a little reflecting on some things I have done that have worked this year or in previous years that I think may be beneficial to Reintroduce in the upcoming year.
So, I am sitting here tonight trying to add some new photos onto Pinterest of units or resources I have recently created and I have the following thoughts:
1) Why are these photos not organized?
2) Seriously. This isn’t a new need. Why is it so hard for me to organize photos?
3) This is why I procrastinate. Things need to be organized. Why didn’t I organize them?
4) Oh, but I need to do x, y, z. (the cycle continues)
5) Just upload these charts to your blog so that other people in the world can benefit from them.
6) So what are you going to say about these charts? Why are they important now? You’re just going to upload them and let the world make sense of your thought process? Why can’t you just organize yourself?
Sigh.

You see my problem? As I was looking at some of the photos and things we have done this year, specifically in Reading & Writing I wanted to share because I have used and will use these charts/resources in various parts of the year. As teachers, we feel like our “New Year” begins in late August/Early September. (I am so sorry if your school starts earlier than that.) But, then we get this WONDERFUL break in the middle of the year to recharge, rejuvenate, and reset to handle what the second part of the year may bring.
The kids I have this year are sweet. But they are needy. Needy in a way that sends me through 20 different emotions I didn’t even know existed throughout the day. Though I haven’t admitted it until now- I miss them. And they need me. What they will need for sure when we go back on Tuesday is a refresher course in 4th Grade. Without further ado, I am going to share with you some charts, units, and resources that have helped me this year. Plus, there is a FREEBIE if you haven’t snagged this already.

1) Independent Reading Anchor Chart- This is a go-to conferring Teaching Point for me.  All too often, students can read a short passage and comprehend but struggle holding on to the plot of a chapter book.   I have students put a Post-It note at the end of each chapter as a reminder to stop and think about what they have read.

Independent Reading Anchor Chart

2)  Post-It Do’s & Don’ts (I have a feeling I misspelled that.)  I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t have students *STILL* making paper airplanes, passing notes to one another, letting single, blank, unused post-it notes trickle down to the floor throughout the day.  I am not going to pretend that I don’t feel my head exploding into smoky dollar signs as I remember how much those REAL Post-It brand pieces of adhesive paper cost. This will be a topic of conversation on Day 1 after break. 🙂  Please know that all of the thins on the Don’t list are things that I have witnessed.  I hear you chuckling because you have seen these same things. I love how at the beginning of the year my kids always laugh hysterically when I begin the conversation by telling them these things they are NOT allowed to do and the reason I am telling them is that because someone HAS done this before.  “Who would actually DO that?!?!,” they laugh and gasp.  You. You would do that.

*Please note that I did not come up with #1 on the Don’t list.  Apparently, that has been an issue so I’m going to go ahead and add that to the list.  Just so we’re clear.*

Post It Do's and Don'ts3)  Theme Anchor Chart- I love teaching Theme! Now.  I did not love it before.  But I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what it means and how to teach it.  So, now I love it. 🙂  You might find these Reading Notebook Anchor Charts useful as well.

Theme Anchor Chart4) Turning Point Anchor Chart- This also goes down into the list of things I did NOT know how to teach before, but now I do.  So I love it.  I just taught this before the break and it was one of those lessons my students GOT.  This is a pretty deep lesson.  I am going to go ahead and candidly admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what defined a “turning point.”  And I am embarrassed by that because sometimes I feel like I love Reading and Writing so much that I kind of *assume* I know what certain things are when it comes to ELA.  Well, now I officially do.  And so do my students.

They love gestures when it comes to noticing things we’ve talked about in Reading.  For example, whenever we hear time signal words in the Read Aloud, they give a thumbs up.  I made a big deal at the beginning of the year because setting and time is something my students have always skipped over.  This became especially important as we read a historical fiction novel (A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith).  I taught this in September.  They still give thumbs up.  Every time.

So for this lesson, I reread Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelt.  As I was reading, they made a gesture when they noticed the story was taking a new direction.  (Picture finger and head turning as if you are telling someone to turn around or a turning your finger in a different direction.)

Turning Point Anchor Chart

5) New Year’s Writing Resolutions-This is from my Narrative Writing Unit.  We’re going to go ahead and revisit that at the beginning of 2016 next week. 🙂 New semester. New goals. Plus, I think it will be even more effective at this point in the year!

 

New Year's Writing Resolutions

 

6) January Morning Work– I love this morning work.  Not just a little.  But a lot.  Such a fun routine and gives me some breathing room in the morning. This is also available for 3rd Grade.January Morning Work

7)  Guided Reading Strategy Cards- Guided Reading is definitely not one of my strong suits, but I TRY really hard.  I am eager to get better at planning and running my strong groups.  I made these Guided Reading Strategy Cards to help me AND my students focus better on the skill that we are working on that day.  Each student has a card for the lesson to help them focus on the skill or strategy.Guided Reading Strategy Cards

8) Just to keep it even! Homework Pass Freebie!  My students will move mountains to earn a Homework Pass.  I needed to revamp and update my Homework Passes and am excited to share them with you! Click on the image to download.  Happy New Year and as always thank you for stopping by!

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Happy Teaching!

-Jessica

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