Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rocking It Old School

I haven't really done a proper update in awhile. Sorry about that. This is going to be a long one so go grab a cup of tea and get ready for a visit.

Go on.

I'll wait.

Got your tea?

Okay then, here goes...the last few weeks have been a whole lot of crazy. They have felt a bit like two steps forward and three steps back.

It has been like September all over again with students exhibiting very annoying challenging behaviours as they test out the new space and try to figure out just what they can and can't do.

Routines that worked just fine in the old school haven't been working AT ALL in the new space.

And the talking. Geez, the talking. What can I say about the talking? Well, if I could find the on/off switch I would be in heaven. They talk when they should be listening and talk when they should be talking. They are a very social group.  It is crazy, crazy, crazy!!!!

This past week I hit the wall with the chitter chatter. I decided to wait them out and see how long it took the whole class to notice that I was standing at the front waiting to start. Wanna guess how long it took?

Come on, make a guess! Thirty seconds? A minute? Two??

Nope, not even close! It took over five minutes for each student to notice that the others were not talking anymore! One by one they s-l-o-w-l-y noticed that the class was getting progressively quieter and stopped talking to look to the front.

And, believe it or not, the last two talking continued their conversation for at least a minute while the other twenty students and I were all silently waiting!!!! They didn't even notice that we were all silent!!!!

So, we no longer have desks in groups. We are rocking it old school and sitting in rows. I can't remember the last time I had a set up like this (or if I ever have!) but I am so, so, so glad that I changed it up. Every year is a different school of fish (or children as the case may be!) and what worked one year, does not necessarily work the next.

This set up is soooooo much better! They are still a chatty bunch but, let's face it, that is unlikely to change unless they all have personality transplants (and that would be very sad indeed as they are a wonderfully fun and creative bunch!)


Sitting in rows they are not talking as much! Yay!!!!! And I am able to work with more of them one on one during seat work time. Double Yay!!!! And I am able to separate more students from each other which also cuts down on the chatter. Triple Yay!!!!

I also moved all of our math stations and levelled books into the DaVinci studio. We are using the yellow studio for our Morning Meeting and Choosing Time. I was finding the math tubs were just too big a distraction. (Plus, the Smartboard is on the fritz again so I am rocking it old school with the chart stand as well!!!!)

The group area in the DaVinci looks like this now...

See? I am rocking it with the pocket chart, too!!! I am just one rockin' teacher, huh?!?!

The past three days have been so different from the three weeks before them. It feels like we are finally finding our groove. Yay!!!

In other news...we started a study of the Gingerbread Man. So far we have read three versions. We read the classic, The Gingerbread Boy,  by Paul Galdone...

And then we wrote about our favourite part of the story. Here are a few examples of their writing...

Today we re-read The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
and wrote about how the book ends. Then we put our writing into our Gingerbread Man folders. They are so darn cute! Check out a few...


 They are made to look like they are in a bottle. There is a cute poem about keeping the Gingerbread Man in a jar so he won't run away again. We had so much fun making these on Monday. I love how each Gingerbread Man (or Girl) is as unique as the student who made it.

And we read the Hawaiian version today. It is called The Musubi Man and was first given to me by a student who went on a trip to Hawaii around the same time as we were doing a Gingerbread Man unit. It is such a cute story and has a surprise ending which I love!

This week we also did some sewing. We made decorations and donated them to the craft sale tonight at the school. All the money from the sale of these decorations will go to our sister school. Such a good cause. My fingers are crossed that lots of money got raised!

I saw this ornament at Pier 1...

and thought...I can do that!!!! So, off to Michael's I went for supplies. Some felt, a needle and some threads with a jingle bell to be festive and the class made these!

They turned out so well. All the kids did such a great job sewing. I am determined to have the sewing centre up and running after the holidays. Know anyone with an old coffee table they don't want anymore? I still want to make one of these:
found at this site here

I know that they would love to sew on it and it would be so beneficial for their fine motor skills. Fingers crossed that I find one soon!

So I have now spent much of my evening writing this post and I just looked at the clock and it is past my bedtime! Yes, I know, it is very sad that my bedtime is a couple hours earlier than my teenage daughter's. I wish I could get by on 6-7 hours of sleep but it just isn't possible!

If you have managed to stay for this whole, long winded post, thanks! Hope you enjoyed the update and that your tea didn't get cold!!!

Ms. Hughes

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