Making Over Third Grade!: Prepping for Back to School Night, Citizenship, & Other Things...
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Prepping for Back to School Night, Citizenship, & Other Things...

I can't believe how quickly the school year has gone by already! Day fourteen today (and I was out recovering from a migraine) and Back to School Night tomorrow night. So many changes have already occurred this year and so many more ahead, I just know it! I have two (yes, two) blog posts in draft mode that have been that way since before school started...have to remind myself to take those photos of the walls and set up to add to the posts so that I can share them with you!

This year as I embarked on teaching with iPads from day 1 I knew that I was going to have to change the way that I approached things and how to manage my classroom. The first thing I did was get rid of the kids' desks...now they are called their "home base" and while their name tags are on these desks and they keep their backpacks there, as well as their things in their seat sacks they then move about the room as needed throughout the day. I LOVE THIS!! I think I love it even more than I thought I would.  When they are not giving their attention to me for direct instruction they are working independently or with others in collaborative pairs, groups, or triads throughout the room or in other "work stations".  The kids are flourishing in a way that I have not seen happen so quickly in the past and I am convinced that this is due in part to the new set up, but also due to in part to their forced independence.  While I have always had the catch phrase, "Problem solve it! You are in third grade!" (or second as the case may have been).  I find the kids using it even earlier on their own this year.

We have been working on what it means to be a good citizen. Again, while I have been working on this each year that I have taught, doing so the way we have been this year seems to have brought a new vitality and meaning about it for the kids.  With our iPads we have completed several graphic organizers and then copied and pasted the information into paragraph format. As such we have written three (3) paragraphs!!! On day 14 no less! That is something I have struggled with getting my kids to do each year.

Our role on citizenship we have replaced our need for the "blurt box" and "recess academy" with the simple reminder..."Is that showing good citizenship?" or "Are you being a good citizen by doing that?" It has resulted in students self-monitoring in a way that is sweet to see so early in the year.  They have decided the best response to blurting is to apologize to the class for blurting out and stopping the instructional time! How cute is that?! And how absolutely wonderful too!

My kids get compliment points whenever anyone gives them a compliment, after 25 points they earn a popcorn party and then the next party requires five additional points. Most years I have had, at the most, 2 parties. They usually don't earn the first one until near December or February.  This class? Well, they already have 20 points and it looks like they will have earned their first party before mid-September.

Each year I fall in love with my class and I love each child in my care but there are always those handfuls that can make a day difficult or that try your patience on some days. Well this class is a dream! I have not had a class like this one in 6 years and I am having the best time ever! I always love going to school, my classroom is one of my favorite places, and this year promises to be an AMAZING year. I am ready for the adventure to begin!