Three Yays and Three Boos

This year has been a bit rough. I love my kiddos (90% of the time) but it has been a rough transition for them me us to move to third grade. I am spending some serious time thinking about next year. Guess why. Because my naughty little buddies are moving to fourth with me! I bounce back and forth between excitement about being back in fourth grade and terror at bringing my best buds with me. They are a lot of work and I have found patience that I didn’t know I had.

Amber from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher is hosting a great linky party. She’s asking us to reflect a little on this year and blog about three things that were yay and three things that were boo. 

Here’s my overall reflection: 

Some days I left work and thought, “YAY! I’m kickin’ butt!” as I skipped to my car at 5:30, and some days I left work and thought, “Today kicked my butt! BOO!” and I crawled home, hanging my head dejectedly. 

These are some of the great things from my butt-kickin’ days:

1. Guided Reading.
I kicked guided reading’s butt this year. I was more consistent than I ever have been. I had kids reading at a kinder and first grade level and they’ve made lots of progress. We still have a lot of work to do, but we got a good start. You can see how I organize guided reading here.

2. Math Stations
I don’t usually use stations. I generally work with a group of struggling students who needs a lot of support to work through content, and letting them loose too early causes real problems. They needed a lot of direct instruction. However, this year, I set up a variety of math stations to use in a specific way and I’m really happy with the way they turned out. I used them as a review after the content had been introduced and practiced until I thought kids were ready to help each other. They rotated through several stations in teams no larger than three (four = mayhem) and I stationed myself at the most difficult station and worked with students through the content. When I had special ed. support, I stationed that teacher at another station, and students had a nice teacher-student ratio.
This is a post I wrote about math stations for fractions:
Fraction Frenzy

3. Integration
I have a real problem when it comes to teaching all the standards in my grade. There are, like, eight thousand social studies standards and is hard to squeeze them all in to any real level of mastery. Why waste my time with fly-by instruction? So I integrate to give kids the multiple exposures they need. I blogged about one of these muy integrated units here: Erupting with Science, and Earth Day Every Day! In science, we were working with fast changes to the Earth’s surface (earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami, etc.), and I integrated it with expository writing, reading nonfiction articles about volcanoes, characteristics of poetry, and map skills. 

And now for the boos. 

Boo # 1.
Boystown. I need to do a WAY better job of this next year. I started out the year okay, but I didn’t follow through on teaching all of the social skills, and boy, do my naughty babies need them. This summer I’m going to put together a proactive plan for rolling them out with time built into my schedule (I don’t know when! There isn’t really any extra time!) to introduce the skills and practice them. I also need to schedule time with the counselor to meet with some of my naughties on an individual basis consistently. Key word: consistent.

Boo # 2. 
This may seem a little redundant, but I need to be great about consistent positive consequences. I’m pretty decent about class-wide consequences that are positive (we earn time to work with our little buddies in other grades) but individual positive consequences are what my naughties need and what I need to be more consistent about. I started out with a sticker reward system, but I flaked out partway through the year. I’ve been pinning and hunting for great behavior ideas for individual stuff, because I tried the green-yellow-red thing and I’m not crazy about it.

And since I have a bee thing, everything will be bees and hives. Cause I’m a stickler for a theme.

I’m interested in filling buckets. 

Behavior Bingo. Maybe my naughties will like it.

Boo # 3.
Collaborating. I love my grade level. I’ve taught with some of them for years – nine, to be exact, and we work very well together! We share, we talk, and we help each other out. We were even fruit for Halloween.

I was a pineapple! My hunny called us Fruit of the Loom rejects. Aww. He’s mean.

But being fruit for Halloween doesn’t help you plan! LOL. We do share a lot, but I think we need a dedicated time to plan. It was difficult – all of us are on different campus teams, and we’re called to work with them, work with parents, work with kids, but next year I really want to establish a specific, consistent time to meet to plan and share so we can really do some different, creative ways to meet our kids’ needs.

So now it’s your turn. Think about your Yays and Boos, and go link up at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher!
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  2. I love the behavior clipchart, if you haven't tried that. It has the green, yellow, red- but also positives above that, which have been SO huge for my class this year. I also have done team points in the past, and I have a little frog that travels to the best group and sits there. (Easiest reward ever, but they love it. Mine are a bit younger, though.) A friend of mine does tickets, as well- when you see someone doing something right, you give them a ticket and they write their name on the back and put it in a jar. You can draw a ticket at the end of the day, or tickets at the end of the week, and give a reward.

    My favorite, maybe, was one we added on at the end of the year a few years ago. We got a tiny Nerf basketball hoop, put it on the door, and anyone still "on green" at the end of the day got to shoot a basket.

    I liked reading your yays and boos! Good luck in 4th next year 🙂

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

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