Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday (Day 25)

     Metaphors, Synonyms, Antonyms, and Spelling Words review.

     Today, I had to prepare for my second Supervisor Observation.  Each time my supervisor visits, I feel that I am under an enormous amount of pressure.   He only comes for 30 minutes and in that time I have to be the best of the best no matter what happens!  It is really hard to plan for because he is only getting a glimpse of what I do on a daily basis.  When my Collaborating Teacher observes me, he can pick what lesson he wants to critique.  So, he has weeks and days to choose what he wants to score.  But my Supervisor gives me only one chance.......and in those few minutes, I must shine!
     *I am not complaining because, when he left, he told me I did a wonderful job and I received all positive marks!

Counseling-Every Friday until November 2nd

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday (Day 24)

I finally completed my scarecrow door decoration!  I think I may eventually add a large hat on top just so others will recognize what it is supposed to really be.

Specials: Planning Period

Writing/Reading: Worksheet reviews and Reviewing Science Fiction books

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday (Day 23)

     Focus on Spelling Words

*Spanish-This schedule is not consistent.  Our Spanish teacher's schedule has been split between two schools.  Some days we have it and some days we don't.  I honestly do not think it is good for our students to receive only a small bit of instruction in a foreign language. Our students really need to be exposed to this and it feels unfair that our students seem to be left out.  (Especially since I know other schools are receiving daily foreign language instruction!)

     Worksheets: Fluency, Vocabulary, and Sentence Structures.

     For Science today, I had almost two full classes in my classroom.  Since the other student teacher across the hall had to tape her lesson, and some students didn't bring their permission slips back, she had to send some of her students into my room.  I had to tailor my lesson plan so that all of the students would still get instruction and learn at the same time.  I read some of the chapter with them and then gave them some workbook pages to complete.  At the end, we reviewed them to discuss the different answers some of them could have given. All of the students were respectful and gave me their undivided attention!  It was wonderful! But I sure wouldn't want 35 students in my classroom on a daily basis!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday (Day 22)

Morning Specials & Planning.
    Planning went well, we addressed some concerns about turning in lesson plans on time and guiding our team members instruction.
     We went over some useful tools for instruction and I had to zone in on this one:
KHAN Academy~It has thousands of lesson plans and videos for teaching all subjects!
Website Link:

     We began to read "Zathura" for our Science Fiction unit.

Math centers continued.
    Warm-up: Adding and Subtracting Decimals 

Social Studies-
     I was provided with a late version of the Civil War test that my students had to take.
     Students were given my Reconstruction Pre-Test.

     Students learned more information about learned behaviors and instincts.

*Faculty Meeting*

*Common Core Math Meeting*

Monday, September 24, 2012

Macho Monday! (Day 21)

 Today is the day that I began to teach all subjects!  Everything went smoothly and I felt like a Macho woMan! (Get it? Macho Man? -__- )

Grammar- Spelling Worksheet
      **New week of Science Fiction!!**
     -Who Says Robots Can't Think?
        Cause and Event Review - Students learned a new way to write the cause and events that occur in a story by using something similar to a timeline.
Monday Math Centers:
     Focus on Rounding Decimals and Review
     ~Maintenance-roll dice and record numbers, get largest numbers
     ~Maintenance-round largest numbers
     ~Intervention-Math multiplication cards, Multiplication and Division string key card review
     ~Exploration-Brainstorm cards, math manipulatives: to show how many different ways they could make specific decimals using what materials they had.

~My blogging has been getting shorter as of lately.  I did not realize how much energy I am drained of after school gets out.  I hope this next week will be better.~

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week in Review

Week of September 17th-21st
On Monday, the students had Math testing to access where they were at in relation being ready for the CRCT testing for spring.  The results won’t be back for a few weeks but I must say that I only think a small handful of my students are on track for passing the CRCT.  Many of my students struggle with Reading and Math.  They need a great deal of remedial work before they can begin to study at the level they should be at.  I hope that this semester, I will be able to get more of the students on track for their testing in the Spring.
Since I picked up Grammar/Readng/ELA as my third subject to teach, I hope that I can begin to give them the practice they need. With Social Studies this week, the students were creating a culminating group activity.  They began to create their projects on Monday and continued working on Tuesday.  Most of the groups were very self motivated.  But on Tuesday, I had to take a group off to the side and talk to them because they were refusing to work together.  I tried to remedy the situation by reminding them that everyone must get along and be mindful of their actions as a group because the process of group decision making and collaboration extends into the world outside of school. After we talked through their problems, they changed their intentions and decided to work together.  I had to talk to the students with a firm tone and it seemed to get my point across.  I am realizing, that with these students, it is a must to change my tone in certain situations because most of them only respond when the teacher is yelling at them. (Which is sad, but that is the only time they know they have done something wrong.
            Wednesday began with my Grammar lesson observation.  I am very pleased on how the lesson went smoothly and how it was received well by the students.  I thought my activities were engaging and fun.  After reviewing the comments you left me, I realized that I failed to put very much emphasis on a connection with other disciplines and a connection to the “real” world.  I am usually very good at this but for some reason I neglected to put much thought into those aspects for this lesson.  It has been so easy for me to connect Social Studies and Science to Reading/ELA and the outside world.  But, I suppose I have never really put much thought into connecting Grammar with other disciplines.  I could have talked about the history of prefixes and suffixes more in depth rather than just simply touching on it briefly.  (I mentioned that they were from Latin and Greek but failed to mention how that impacted our world today.)  Next time, I will be more mindful of this.
            I was very excited to see that I received an exceeding on technology for my lesson.  I have been playing around with the Smart Board and their ActivExpressions for a few weeks.  It has taken me a good bit of time to get used to using these in lessons.  In the spring, I tried to use these in my TOSS classroom but I was not very successful at it.  Even though I am young, I seem to have some problems with understanding technology. Therefore, I am thankful I have a Collaborating Teacher who has an affinity for technology and can help guide my need for technological integration in my lessons. 
            On Thursday, most of my lessons were taken away by our specials and CRCT writer’s workshop.  But I was very happy that the students were able to present their Civil War culminating projects.  I had four groups: group #1 made a PowerPoint, group #2 made a newspaper, group #3 created a monument, and group #4 created a play.  All of their presentations were simply wonderful.  I would have liked to invited Ms.Harmon to visit and watch them because they were so creative and fun.  My students went above and beyond.  They added raps, props, and costumes to their projects and they weren’t even required to.  It was one of the best days that I have had so far a Gideons.  I felt like it is one of those days I will remember forever because it stands for all of the reasons why I want to be a teacher. 
          Field trip Friday! All of the students had a lot of fun and were excited to learn about all of the animals at the  aquarium.  They continuously asked questions and were excited to inform me about the new facts they learned about the sea creatures.  I love field trips and I think they are necessary for all students to connect the outside world with their textbooks.  They need to know that the things in their books are real and important.  ~We also had a new student show up on this day.  He was able to go on the field trip and I think this made his first day one to remember.~

Friday, September 21, 2012

Field Trip Friday! (Day 20)

     Today we went to the lovely Georgia Aquarium!  All of the students who were able to attend school went on the trip.  They all participated in the behind the scenes tour and really enjoyed themselves on excursion.

My students on the Behind the Scenes Tour.  
(Look closely through the glass and you can see the Whale Shark swimming by.)

 My students watching the Beluga Whales elegantly float by.

Some of my students in the middle of the penguin exhibit.  
(They had such a great time crawling through all of the tunnels they could find at the Aquarium!)

Hello, Mr. Scuba Diver!  
One day, I too would like to swim with the "fishies!"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Threshold Thursday! (Day 19)

     Today feels just like Friday because......we have a trip to the Georgia Aquarium tomorrow!  Although it will be a day full of learning, it will still be a fun and exciting day! I can't wait!

     Since students were all excited and could barely concentrate for their morning work, I am very glad that they had Music and P.E. this morning.  That way, they were able to get all of their "wiggles and squirms" out before they had to come back to class and focus.  For spelling, they took their final quiz over this weeks words.  Most of the students did very well but there always seems to be that handful of students who forgot to study.  Next time, I will try to do an end of the day activity that reminds them to study for their spelling tests.  Maybe like a spelling word search or BINGO?  :/ 
     I was very excited for our Social Studies lesson today.  All of the students have been working very hard to create their presentations on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments.  Many of the groups made raps about them and performed them in front of the class.  It was a great learning experience for all of the students and they seemed to have a lot of fun.  They love making projects and I think this project is one they will remember.  They had some very catchy tunes that will definitely stick in their heads when it comes down to testing time!  I am still humming the tune to some of them right now! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wacky Wednesday! (Day 18)

     Today, I felt so chaotic and wacky because I was really stressed out about my Grammar lesson being observed!  I thought about it all night and fretted over the thought that something or anything could go wrong!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Truthful Tuesday! (Day 17)

     Today is Truthful Tuesday because I am preparing my lesson on simple subjects, simple predicates, fragments, suffixes, base words, and root words.  (Get it? Truthful includes a base word and a suffix!)  I am trying to find information that would help me create an even better lesson for my supervisor's visit.  So, I am looking up ways to "spice" up my preplanned lesson.  I have found a website dedicated to Reading Fun for 4th-5th graders and I will be exploring it shortly.  I am hoping to find something interactive and engaging that includes technology to make my lesson "pop."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Math Assessment Monday (Day 16)

     Math Assessment Monday: All fifth grade students were required to be assessed on their level of math skills. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week in Review

Week of September 10th:
     At the beginning of the week, the students were very engaged and excited for the review activities I provided.  They were excited to show that they remembered the information and challenged each other to see how much they could recall.  I always have 100% participation when we review our previous lessons.  I also used short video clips as a transition from direct instruction to activities.  One day, my teacher's computer was not available for use.  He showed me a way to connect my iPhone to the Smart Board so I could still share any videos I had.  I am grateful to know alternative ways to show videos in case of my computer or his computer malfunctioning.  The video transition worked for most students, but not all. 
     My students really have trouble with transitions.  They seem to lose their concentration and begin to talk about non-school related things.  This weekend, I will be looking for various ways to transition successfully for my students.  I hope to find at least two ways that will work best for my students and that can be easily implemented.  One instructional classroom management policy I introduced was the "Ask Three Before Me" rule.  If students have a question, they must ask three others before they ask me.  This encouraged students to ask questions and answer questions within their circle of peers.  It has also cut down on the amount of times I had to repeat instruction and it increased the amount of time I had to actually help students with their activities.  Many students enjoyed this new policy because they wanted to show me how well they could work with others.
     This is the first week that I have also tried to use a Flip Chart with ACTIViNSPIRE.  (I had the program downloaded on my computer so that I could create Flip Charts from home.)  I really enjoyed using the interactive Flip Charts and I am beginning to love teaching with technology.  The more that I use this technology, the more comfortable I will become with integrating it into my lesson plans.  There are some really amazing things I could do with this program but I feel that I would not have enough instruction time.  Social Studies instruction is only 45 minutes and my Science lessons are always being interrupted by school programs and testing.  I actually wish the students spent a little more time at school because I really think they need it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Transitional Thursday! (Day14)

Transitions, transitions, transitions! My class needs so much help with transitions!  When one subject is over, their minds seem to wander to another dimension!  I really need help finding some type of transition that is right for them.  If you have any suggestions, please post below!
     And now for my daily post..... 
Today was an easy going day.  For some reason, it seemed to go by very slowly.  Maybe because it is the day before Friday? Ah, who knows!  :)   This morning I had a lot of planing time so I was able to type up Social Studies and ELA lessons for next week.  I like the feeling of having these completed early because I don't have to fret over them during the weekend.  However, I am always a last minute person and seem to want to modify something right before the lesson!  I would like to think that it is inspiration that causes it and not pressure.......because I always seem to worry if my lessons are ever "good enough."  I am very excited to begin teaching another subject!  This means I will have been at my placement for four weeks.  I can not believe how time has just flown by.  I feel that everything is moving so fast and I am barely getting to enjoy all of the experiences I am having at my placement.
     Social Studies lesson:  reflection coming soon.
     Science lesson:  reflection coming soon.

I have also finally finished my "POET TREE" that I have been working on.  It contains leaves that have student written poetry on them.  (They are all diamante poems about Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis.)  Have a look!
The "grass" at the bottom of the tree is represented by 25 different types of poems (with definitions and examples).  The information to the left also talks about different types of poems and provides students with some vocabulary words associated with poetry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whimsical Wednesday! (Day 13)

     Today, my class was out of this world!  Mr.Mitchell had to attend an SST meeting so I was able to teach the class ELA while he was away (with Ms.Thomas watching the class as well).  In the time we had we were able to successfully complete 3 review worksheets, grade the review sheets, and read chapter one of our new chapter book to the class.  They followed my instruction and it just felt so whimsical!  I could have never imagined our students being so cooperative and respectful!
     I also led the Numbers Talk activity for Math because Mr.Mitchell was running late.  The students were able to talk within their groups and successfully give me the correct information that was needed in order to solve the problem three different ways.   I was able to describe the F.O.I.L. method to them and most of them understood the concept.  I am super excited to begin teaching Math on September 24th!  When Mr.Mitchell returned, he went over the Lattice method and showed the students two tricks on how to find the multiples of nine.  I have never seen these methods before:
      First you write               Then you write the numbers 0-9              Then when you put them
the numbers 0-9                      in the opposite direction                               together side by side.....
           0                                                9                                                              09
           1                                                8                                                              18
           2                                                7                                                              27
           3                                                6                                                              36
           4                                                5                                                              45
           5                                                4                                                              54
           6                                                3                                                              63
           7                                                2                                                              72
           8                                                1                                                              81
           9                                                0                                                              90
                                                                                                      get the multiples
                                                                                                                               of nine!
There is also a trick to counting the multiples of nine using your hands and I will insert a link to a site that gives a great example of it!  

 For today's Social Studies lesson, I used a flip chart.  It was my first time modifying and presenting a flip chart using Active Inspire.  The program is easy to navigate and the students enjoy how interactive it is.  But unfortunately, we did not have a working Promethean pen so I had to use it as if I was simply showing a PowerPoint.  (Expect the Unexpected!) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Triumphant Tuesday! (Day 12)

     Today was Triumphant Tuesday because..............I have finally been assigned a supervisor!  After weeks of waiting, I finally have someone I can turn to if I have any University related Student Teaching questions!  My supervisor is Mr. Pete Robertson.  I am looking forward to meeting him and working with him this fall.  I have already heard so many great things about him!
     This morning we had specials, as planned, but we were also thrown a curve ball when they announced that the fifth graders would be completing their online testing.  I had to say "bye, bye" to classroom instruction from 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM.  That time lost in the classroom just supports my reasoning behind the public school system requiring longer days.  As each day goes by, I seem to lose more and more time for implementing lesson plans.  Not to mention that today we also found out we would have another field trip in October!  

 Originally, our essential questions and standards were on the board written together in the blue boxes.  I thought that it looked messy so I decided to type up the standards and place them to the left of the essential questions.  Now they are easier to read and understand!  How do they look?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mellow Monday (Day 11)

     Today was a casual day that progressed very slowly.  The morning was filled with worksheets and so was the afternoon.  Unfortunately we could not use the Smart Board today because we did not have a computer connection.  (But I was able to use my iPhone to show my Lincoln video during Social Studies.)

New Door Decorations, for my classroom, focused on Whole Brain Learning!
(Taken from a post on Teachers Pay Teachers.)
Top poster on the door decor.

New Welcome sign I put up for my class!
(Found on Teachers Pay Teachers.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week in Review

Week of September 4th-7th
     This week, I really focused on vocabulary review from lesson 2 in the Civil War Unit. After these reviews, most of the students knew the terms.  They really enjoyed the personal connections I gave to the words.  I think it made them understand the terms a little bit better and gave them a better idea of what these terms meant to those who lived during the Civil War Era.
For Guided Practice, I tried to have students read from their Social Studies books and ask questions.  I asked many interactive questions so that the students would understand what they had just read.  The students followed the directions I gave during all of my activities. They enjoy doing hands on activities and I think it is great way for the students to express their own ideas and opinions. Although, the hands-on activities did not get completed during the amount of time I had allotted.  I need to work on the level of activities I give, the amount of material that is given, and time management.
     One day, I used a game to promote learning and friendly competition between the students.  I think using games as a form of learning with this particular group of students is most effective. During my lessons, I also showed short videos that were long enough to get the main idea across and short enough to keep every student's attention spans.  But one of the videos did not have sound when I put it on the Smart Board.  I had just automatically assumed the video would work perfectly and became frustrated when it didn’t.  But I did not panic, I simply decided to play the short video clip and provide commentary on the video during the parts that I remembered.  From now on, I will be sure to check the videos and sound on the Smart Board before my lesson begins. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Relaxing Saturday.

     Go Blue!  This Saturday is going to be dedicated to watching football, researching fun materials for school, and reeeeeellllllaaaaaxxxiiiinnnnng!  I really need this stress free day to reflect on my week and to prepare myself for next week.  Next week, I will be picking up another subject.    I have chosen to pick up Science!   Science is such a wonderful hands on subject.  The information in the scientific world is ever changing and I can not get enough of that!  I love to create hands on activities and labs so I think this subject may become my favorite to teach. :)

This weekend I would also like to find materials to help those students who struggled on various subject areas when taking last year's standardized tests.  The main materials I would like to find are for Math instruction.  This is the area that my students seem to need the more review and practice on.
(A few class stats)
Percentage of students from my class that met or exceeded the state standards tests:
Language Arts     82%
Math     60%
Reading      81%
Science      77%
Social Studies     73%

Check out Atlanta Public School Employee News here @ APSupdate

Friday, September 7, 2012

Furious Friday!!! (Day 10)

     For my lesson today, Mr. Mitchell wanted to "test" the students to see how they responded if he were to leave the room while I took over.  Everything was going fine until the very end of the lesson.  While I was collecting review papers, I turned around to find one student standing on a chair!  I was immediately shocked and angered!  Yet, I calmly, but firmly said, "Get down from that chair.  You could get hurt."  She immediately stepped down and started to laugh. At this point, I was not a happy camper.  I reminded her, with a level head, that putting herself in such a dangerous situation is no laughing matter.  After this I was at least expecting an "I'm sorry"  but alas......nothing! I shrugged it off until, on our way to lunch, I heard her joking about the situation! She obviously did not take it seriously enough and  I had to remedy the situation by directing her straight to the Principal's office.  
     Now, I am usually one of those teachers who gives students lots of chances but from now on it is going to be three "strikes" and "You're Outta My Classroom!"  I am also not one to "make examples" of students for others but I do hope that the other students in the class realize that I am serious and I will not tolerate tom-foolery during my lessons.  After this, I know these actions will not be repeated.

     After school, the teachers worked on putting up the student letters about asking for loans in the hallway.  They backed them with some nice paper and added some flair to the hall display.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Techy Thursday! (Day 9)

I am dubbing today "techy" Thursday due to my day revolving around technical issues and encounters!  None of my videos or PowerPoint would work today.  I am going to have to go home and figure out what's wrong with my computer!  And learn more about how to properly use and connect my computer to the Promethean Board.

In other news......I would like to post some pictures of our fifth grade hallway.  Our focus on Effective Citizenship and the Civil War is underway.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Witty Wednesday! (Day 8)

     All throughout the day I couldn't help but feel witty.  I was awake, quick on my toes, and super in-tune with the lessons that were being taught today!  I felt as if I had the answer to everything and that nothing could go wrong!  And.......nothing went awry!
     When I arrived in the classroom, early this morning, I decided to write up the Journal topic and the Math warm-up problems for the day.  For the journal, I chose a topic that related to Social Studies:  Write a paragraph explaining why the North and South had different views on slavery.  For Math, I chose three problems that related to our new unit:  1) List the factors of 30 and 36.  2) List the factors of 44 and 64. 3)  Circle the greatest common factor of 94 and 64.  As students arrived, I watched them begin on their journal and Math activity.  I gave a few pointers for the journal topic and noticed that some students were confusing factors with multiples in Math.  I tried to lead these students in the right direction and give them pointers on how to tell the difference between the two.
     After the morning activity, students headed out for Spanish class.  During this planning time, I reviewed what I had planned for Social Studies and made sure that all of the technology I would be using was in working order.  I also took some time to review what we would be covering in Math and ELA for the day.  When students returned, they were instructed to take out their Grammar Workbooks and turn to page 144.  Mr. Mitchell reviewed action verbs, direct objects, present tense, past tense, and future tense (helping verbs) with the students.  After a short review, I passed out the ACTIVeXPRESSION pads.  We used these to review direct objects and action verbs.  I stood at the Smart Board and asked questions of the students and had them answer individually.  After everyone had sent their answers in, we checked their answers and reviewed the correct answer.  This activity was helpful because it was engaging and it also served as an assessment.  It showed me who was really paying attention during the lesson and who desperately needed help.  (I really think that I am getting the "hang" of the Smart Board!)
     When the engaging assessment was completed, Mr. Mitchell began to read Honey, I Love and a short story from Tales from West Africa.  Both stories were interesting and whilst he was reading, he asked questions that related to the previous grammar activity.  Then, he had the students to review their song of the week.  He reminded students they would need to memorize it because they are required to be tested on it.  In conclusion of ELA, Mr. Mitchell informed the students to memorize the song of the week and complete a few pages of grammar for homework.
     Next, we transitioned to Math with a short Number Talk activity.  Numbers Talk:  a.) 420/7 b.)630/90  c.)Word Problem.  Students discussed these in groups and were encouraged to write down their thoughts and answers to share with the class.  Then, the focus shifted towards factors and       Mr. Mitchell showed the students an easy step by step trick they could use to find factors.  Step 1: Write the factors.  Step 2: List the factors. Step 3: List the factors from least to greatest.
Example:   Find the factors of 16. 
Step 1:    2 x 8, 1 x 16, 4 x 4
Step 2:       2, 8, 1, 16, 4
Step 3:       1, 2, 4, 8, 16
By taking these steps, it helps students to see if they are missing any factors and it will also help them when they begin to identify the greatest common factor between two numbers.  After Mr. Mitchell's presentation, I reviewed my morning Math problems with the students.  We went over the answers together using the steps they had just learned.  This was a good review for their next activity.........Jeopardy!  The students split off into four teams to play another factor game (similar to the one played yesterday on multiples, least common multiples, and greatest common factors).  When a "winner" of the game was declared, the students directed their attention to to board for an interactive multiples review.  My CT used a numbers chart to circle the multiples of the numbers he assigned.  He asked students questions to get them thinking about number patterns when finding greatest common multiples.
     Now on to Social Studies!!! :)  I am thrilled to say that my second day of teaching Social Studies went smoothly and was a great success!  Here is how my lesson went:
       -PowerPoint review and introduction to the vocabulary in lesson 2: I reviewed the words Civil War, Uncle Tom's Cabin, abolitionists, debate, treason, and secede.  Many of the students knew the terms and this was just a short interactive review.  They really enjoyed the personal connections I gave to the words.  I think it made them understand the terms a little bit better and gave them a better idea of what these terms meant to those who lived during the Civil War Era.
       -Brief intro of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Since I reviewed the term in the PowerPoint, I simply mentioned what Uncle Tom's Cabin was and informed them that they would be watching a short video about it.
       -Short video about Uncle Tom's Cabin:  Students watched a short clip called Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Politics and the Pen.  It was long enough to get the main idea across and short enough to keep every student's attention spans.  
       -Guided Practice:  I read the beginning of page 31 from the Social Studies text book and I had one of the students read the third paragraph to the rest of the class.  After the student read the paragraph aloud, I asked, "So what was Uncle Tom's Cabin?"  Some students had creative responses like: "It was a book that the North used for war." or "It showed how slaves were important."  I understood what these students were trying to say but I tried to respond by saying, "Yes, it was a book that showed people the cruelty of slavery.  It caused tensions to rise between the North and the South and that is why Lincoln thought Harriet Beecher Stowe was the "little lady who started the war."  Then I directed the students to help me analyze the impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin via the Harriet Beecher Stowe website.  I summarized the content found on the web page and had students help me analyze its impact.
       -Work Time:  Students followed the directions I gave for the mini-book and were able to begin work right away.   All of the students enjoy doing hands on activities and I think this activity was a great way for the students to show their ideas and opinions about the vocabulary words.  A lot of the students did not complete much of the book and none of the students were able to share their books.  This made me a bit upset because I thought they had plenty of time to complete one or two pages.  Since no one was able to share, I thought it would be best if I assigned it as homework.  (I really feel that our instructional time for Social Studies is not enough.)
       -Quick Check Question:  I used the quick check question as an ending assessment activity.  After reviewing student answers, I found that many of the students had a good general idea of Uncle Tom's Cabin and a few of the students didn't know anything about the topic at all.  I was not surprised to find that those students who had little knowledge about the topic were the ones who struggled in other areas or failed to pay attention during class on a daily basis. 
       -I think that for my next lesson I will provide more work time for the activity.  Many of these students are slow workers and need the extra time to gather their ideas and to process the overall concept of the activity.  Other than that, I feel that my lesson went very well and I am looking forward to my next lesson. 
     Last but not least, Science!  Today, we had a science lab that included all of the fifth grade classrooms.  My CT gave a presentation about microorganisms, provided a short video, and had students actively participate in a Q and A comprehension assessment.  It was a great way for all students to get to participate in a lesson together and it was an efficient way for the teachers to know that they are on the same pace when teaching a lesson.  
     Overall, another WONDERFUL day!!!!! :) 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Transitional Co-Teaching Tuesday! (Day 7)

I hope everyone had a marvelous Labor Day weekend!  I spent this past holiday weekend playing with my dogs and writing lesson plans for Social Studies!  It was the first relaxing weekend I have had in a long time but now I am very happy that we are all back in school!

     The objectives and essential questions for this week are:
ELA:  CC5AL3  Determine the theme of a story including how the setting affects character traits.
           EQ~How does the setting affect characters traits?
Math:  MCC5.OA.4  Find factors pairs.  Recognize Multiples.  Determine Prime and Composite
          EQ~What are factors?  What are multiples?
Science:  S5L4  Relate how  microorganisms benefit or harm larger organisms.
           EQ~Can organisms you cannot see harm you?
Social Studies:  SS5H1  Explain the causes, major events, and consequences of the Civil War.
          EQ~How did the conflict between the North and South Create Change?

     Tuesday, as usual, began with a team meeting.  Our fifth grade team reviewed the lesson plans for ELA, Math, and Social Studies.  The original plans for ELA and Social Studies included worksheets and had to be changed because all of the printers in our school were out of toner.  We decided to read from our books and pull activities out of them to replace the worksheets we were unable to use.  I decided to tweak the Social Studies activity to make it a little more interesting (and to put my own spin on it).  For Math, we had to discuss how to put two days worth of lessons together.  My CT accidentally created a lesson for Monday, that is vital for review, and so we had to combine two days worth of lessons in order to begin our new unit.  Even though we had some troubles, everything worked out in the end.
     After the students returned from P.E. and Art, Mr.Mitchell introduced them to the new poem of the week.
This week's poem is actually a song entitled Lift Every Voice and Sing. 

Lift Every Voice and Sing, Till Earth and Heaven Ring,
Ring with the Harmonies of Liberty;
Let Our Rejoicing Rise, High as the Listening Skies,
Let it Resound Loud as the Rolling Sea.

Sing a Song Full of the Faith 
that the Dark Past Has Taught Us,
Sing a Song Full of the Hope 
that the Present Has Brought Us;
Facing the Rising Sun Of Our New Day Begun,
Let Us March On Till Victory is Won.

Stony the Road We Trod, Bitter the Chastening Rod
 Felt in the Days When Hope Unborn Had Died
Yet With a Steady Beat, Have Not Our Weary Feet
Come to the Place for Which Our Fathers Sighed
We Have Come Over a Way That With Tears has Been Watered
We Have Come Treading a Path Through the Blood of the Slaughtered
Out of the Gloomy Past Till Now We Stand At Last
Where The White Gleam of Our Bright Star is Cast.

God of Our Weary Years, God of Our Silent Tears
Thou Who has Brought Us Thus Far on the Way
Thou Who has by Thy Might Led Us Into the Light
Keep Us Forever on the Path we Pray
Lest Our Feet Stray From the Places oh God Where We Met Thee
Lest Our Heart Drunk With the Wine of the World We Forget Thee
Shadowed Beneath Thy Hand
May We Forever Stand
True to Our God, True to Our Native Land.

Mr.Mitchell introduced the song by playing a video recording of it on the Smart Board.  After he played it once, he replayed it line by line so students could copy the lyrics.  At the end, he asked students what they thought each line meant.   Many students had very enlightening answers while others did not quite understand the meaning behind the lyrics at all.  As some of the words were defined and described, we slowly transitioned to focusing on vocabulary review.  The students were directed to complete a vocabulary worksheet and work individually.  When everyone was finished, we reviewed the sheet together.  Then we opened our Reading books to continue reading Sleds on  Boston Common. 
     After ELA, students were directed to open their math books and find the definition of a factor. Then, Mr. Mitchell displayed the definition on the board for students to discuss.  He transitioned by introducing a new concept to the students called Numbers Talk.  This activity is all about students seeing different strategies for solving problems.  To introduce it, he demonstrated what steps the students were supposed to take.  The steps are: 1. Look at the Question 2. Talk to Self 3. Talk to Partner 4. Talk to Group 5. Share with class.  He also reviewed the different strategies students could use to find out if the answers were right.  (Such as the property of addition, front end estimation, and rounding.) This activity really got students involved. 

After school, I attended the faculty meeting.  (Gideons usually holds faculty meetings every Tuesday afternoon.)  This meeting was focused on technology, customer service, grading, and ethics. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012


For those students who have liability insurance with one of these organizations, please remember to renew your insurance!  It expired on August 31st and you need it for another year if you are student teaching this fall :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fantastic Friday! (Day 6)

August 31st, 2012
     I had a fantastic Friday!  Yesterday was absolutely wonderful.  I am very happy that my first week went so smoothly.  Even at the end of the week, all of the students had so much energy and were still very respectful and were willing to learn (even though this weekend is a three day weekend)!  Almost all of Friday was set for the fifth grade team planning. The three fifth grade teachers (including my CT), their team supervisor, the Principal, and myself all met to talk about planning for each of the subjects until the end of December.  We worked on the layout for each subject and how much time will be focused on each standard.  The main subject that was focused on was Math.  The template for Math instruction was very confusing since this is the first year using Common Core.  The teachers were very concerned about this because fifth grade is a crucial time to build much needed skills for Middle School.  After a full day of discussion, my teachers left feeling more confident and comfortable about their future lesson plans.

     Today, I finally finished my first door decor and bulletin board! 
~My first door decor was focused on providing words of encouragement and support to the students!~
It says: 
"When you enter this classroom......
You are writers.
You are readers.
You are scientists.
You are explorers.
You are mathematicians.
You are super.
You are the reason why we are here!"
*An idea found on pInterest and the images are from Teachers Pay Teachers*

~My first bulletin board was focused on their new Social Studies unit!~
Top left corner: An image of a Union soldier and Confederate soldier.
Top right corner: I used a stick, leaves, and cotton balls to create a fake cotton plant.
Middle:  Map of the United States in 1861.  It shows the differences between the Northern States, the Territories, and the Southern States.
Bottom:  A timeline of important events from the Civil War.