Monday, June 24, 2013

Reflections...and would love your help!

It is official. I am on summer break. It took me wayyyy too long to finish packing up my classroom. I guess it was because last Monday we still had a teacher workday even though the kids got out that previous Friday. Teacher Workday?! Yeah right! As I spent most of that day adding more paperwork to records that I thought were finished...nope. So of course I had no time to really work in my classroom and get things packed up.

I of course had to return on Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday to get my classroom in a packed up manner. Well technically if I was really "dumping" and "stuffing" I could have been done on Tuesday. But I wanted to take this "extra" time to actually go through stuff and organize so everything is neater for the upcoming year. While doing this I did not use as many boxes as I have in previous years, yes we have to pack up our whole classrooms each year... especially when the principal doesn't tell you what grade you will be teaching next year!! Frustrating. But I packed to stay in my current classroom, so fingers crossed.

The one thing I enjoyed doing while "packing up" was organizing my literacy work station materials. How do you all do it? This was the first year that I completely did LWS in my classroom. Like I wouldn't budge even to go back to our boring reading program stations. I did literacy work stations all year. However, I did slack off on a few key activities that my kids loved to no end but they of course got me back on track. But I LOVED stations and the way everything worked out this year. When I first began planning for stations back in July while I was blogging and checking out everyone else's ideas, I did not have a clue how to really "start" stations. You know, starting by having the conversations about rules and procedures... there really isn't a script around that can tell you all that you need to know. I did start off with three stations at the beginning, as I was trying to follow our "boring" reading program, then every 3 days I would add on another station. For the first two weeks I think the kids 4 stations they were rotating out of. And each week it seemed as if I would add on another station thus ending with 9 stations before I introduced computer station as last. I just knew that my kids would fight to get to computer station even though they did the same programs over again. Anyone have any other literacy websites your students use on your computers? We mostly used and (only on Fridays). In total, I had 10 stations, with one station on each rotation not being used. I still have to figure out how to truly call my students to my table as I was not a station.
This summer I need to think of other ideas to make several of my stations more fun and exciting... I always love any ideas anyone wants to share. Those stations are:
-library (not just reading a book, but what else can they do?)
-magnetic station (I need to implement the ideas from Make, Take, Teach to enhance my station)
-pocket chart station (This was the most dreaded station...even if I tried to have poems, sorts, etc in which they could practice previously taught skills... trying to add in a recording sheet wasn't making it better either.)
-listening station (I just need to perfect the task cards and better model the recording sheets)

**Deciding what I want to really keep and what they can really take home every week. Because I was left with a lot of things that I did not have a date for and really had no clue what they were talking about (library and listening station recording sheet). Plus, I need to fit in a sharing time... where do I really find the time?

As reflections go, I just need to figure out how to be more organized. In addition, I also "TRIED" to do math work stations. Were they successful? Somewhat. Now those stations I definitely slacked off of and that was due in part to testing that always comes up at the end of the school year. I didn't really realize that I had been skipping math work stations until one of my students asked (pointing to the math area of the room) "how come we don't go over there anymore?" At first I didn't understand what she was talking about then it dawned on me. So we had been missing it enough that she not only forgot what we did over there but asked why didn't we go there anymore. Alas, I want to do better with that too. So my to-do list is not long but it is definitely broad categories that I need to tweak or figure out a way to implement for next year.

To Do List:
-Tweak literacy work stations
-Re-organize math work stations (I kind of like Kindergarten Works' ideas)
-Implement a writing program!! (my grade level does not have a good program we all follow, it is just random things put together. I want something in place that tells me concept by concept of writing my students should doing each month and where they should truly develop with their writing by the end... any ideas?)
   -math journals? (a bust this year)
   -writing journals? (fell off the way side around March)
   -poetry/word study notebooks (wanted a place for spelling tests to go and a place to work on our poems too)

That's enough reflecting for now... on to making some things work. Oh don't forget that Google Reader disappears July 1st so head on over to Bloglovin and let them download all of the blogs you follow. And Follow my blog with Bloglovin It is simple but if you need a tutorial check out it out here.


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