Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Beginning of the School Year Ideas

Greetings Bloggy Buddies!!

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer!! I can't believe it is almost half over. Wow, time flies. :)

We have a new addition in our house. Samantha Rose was born June 7th weighing in at 7 pounds 4 ounces. She is healthy and beautiful and we just couldn't love her more. I unfortunately came down with C-Diff in the hospital so I have been VERY ill the past 3 weeks. That is some serious business!! I'm feeling much better now with the help of family, rest, and strong medicine. :)

I'm very fortunate and plan to take the fall off of school this year to spend time with the new baby and be a stay at home soccer mom. I can't help but be a little sad about missing those first back to school days in my classroom though. I have to admit the beginning of the year, that fresh exciting start, is my very favorite time of the year. I've been looking around and thinking about how to help my long term substitute have the smoothest beginning possible. I have collected lots of ideas throughout the past couple years on my Pinterest pages.

 Gift/Snack ideas

Scavenger Hunts

Get to Know You/ Art Ideas

Bulletin Board Ideas

I plan to lay out some fun beginning of the school year ideas for my substitute and let her put her own spin on things. This way she has pictures and ideas of how to have a fun successful beginning of the school year. I feel bad just handing her a stack of my favorite books to run with. :) 
Of course she will get a copy of the Daily 5, CAFE, and other wonderful resources that she can follow and rely on. But that is for a different day and a different post. 

Check out my Pinterest pages to see if there is anything to help your room start off with a bang of fun!!

I would love hear about any ideas/resources that are your favorite go to's for the beginning of the school year!! Leave a comment below with links or ideas so I can come check out your ideas. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Response To Text / Tracking our Thinking

Hello out there bloggy buddies! It's been a long time! Life over at the Lutton house has been busy and rather exciting. Since I've talked to you last:

1. Rich (my husband) scored a new job as a full time fireman.
2. I looped up to the 4th grade with my wonderful class.It's going     well. I will post more on that at another time. :)
3. My Kids started at their new school. They love is. (shewie)
4. My baby started kindergarten.
5. Baby Lutton # 4 is on the way!!! CrAzY!!! ExCiTiNg!!
 BTW it's a .....................................................GIRL!!

Life in the fast lane just got faster!!

I recently stumbled upon a site called TweenTribune. It offers news articles geared towards tween aged kids. The articles are short and attention grabbing. 
I went on and created an account for my class. Each student is given a log in and password. Right now I'm using this site to take tracking our thinking while reading a step further. Students track their thinking on post its while they read and then use those thoughts/post its to compile a writen reaction to the article. Fun right?! At the end of each article we can read the reactions/comments of other kids their age. Then, my kids can log on and write their own comments. There is no greater motivation than seeing their writing published online! Of course as the teacher I have the power to check and ok all the comments before they actually get published. 

We have already discussed tracking our thinking while reading earlier in the year so the students are very familiar with this concept. But, I have noticed lately they are having trouble transferring their thinking into their writing. We do reading response logs and this area is one they struggle with.  

Here is what I did:

1. Picked an article I knew they would have serious opinions about. (Should We Have Summer Break?) Gathered them on the carpet around the chart paper with the ipads and had them all log on to that article.  

 2. We read the article and tracked out reaction/thinking on the chart paper as we read. 

 3. When we were done reading and discussing we looked back at our notes on the chart paper and compiled them into 4-5 coherent intelligent sentences that captured our thinking/reactions.  

4. We then checked out writing for things like using specific names, using proper grammar, punctuation, detail, etc.   

5. I plan to use this activity to give out both a reading and writing grade.  



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