Saturday, August 26, 2017

First 3 Weeks of School

Man...this school year got off to one fast but AMAZING start. To only have been in school for 3 weeks I feel like it has been 3 months. My kids in both classes have almost developed our daily routine. One is a little different due to the friends I have in that class but it's going pretty well. The one word I have to describe these few few weeks is fast! It has been fast, but let's get started.
Week 1 got off to a far better start than I expected. This year my team decided to team teach meaning the student switch classes once during the day. Needless to say we were all a bit nervous about making this transition. I have to say it went smooth. There are two teams so we decided to stagger transition times. My team switches classes 5 minutes earlier than the other team. This was to help elimate the crowding in our tiny hallway. 
The first day of school was one to remember. Knowing that I had inclusion, which meant I'd potentially have non-readers, I decided the easiest way to get my students in class, working quietly while I stood in hall for that dreaded 15 minute hallway duty, I decided to make that time useful. Instead of having a bunch of words on the board I knew those students wouldn't be able to read I passed out the cover of their Math Data Notebooks for them to color. I mean who doesn't want to color on the first day of school? Besides, that was one less thing for me to do another day. First activity of the year was putting together Data Notebooks. Odd I know, but it made a smooth morning routine which hadn't been established yet. After that we established a few rules and routines and then completed our getting to each other activity. A FIRST DAY scavenger hunt I found on TPT. After that we had a class discussion on kindness and using kind words during groups and collaborative conversations. Then it was time to switch and I repeated the process with my second class. (This Math Data Notebook is available in my TPT store)

The rest of the week went just as smooth. We established our rules and routines and literally practiced them EVERYDAY. In that we did a few fun activities. I introduced the class to Google Classroom and got a few beginning of the year pre assessments in. 

Here you can see my kids taking a pretest on Google Classroom. I must say, I'm already enjoying not having to grade papers this year! I must admit getting students signed in initially was a pain in the butt, however, it was well worth it. At this point, half my class understands how to successfully log on without my help :). 

Each year I take the time to teach my students how to behave during workstations. We practice them with nothing to do and practice them with fun things to do.

Here you can see a group of students playing Place Value War. The first week it was tough getting them to work in their centers with quiet voices, but I think they've got the hang of it now. Class Dojo launched their toolkit during the first week of school so I immediately burst out this noise meter and I have to say, it helped my students understand how to use our whisper voices while in groups. 

The second of school we started getting down in dirty in Place Value. We still practiced Rules and Routines daily but it was time to start throwing in a little instruction. Since I've ditched textbooks and worksheets, I have done a ton of hands on, lots of movement activities. 

First up is Groving and Moving. Here I had the students create a 3-digit number and a 4-digit number. They then placed the numbers in a circle around the classroom. Using whiteboards, they walked along the circle until the music stopped. Students had to grab the number closest to them and perform whatever I asked. (Expanded form, word form, give me the value of a certain digit, grab 2 numbers and compare, grab 3 numbers and order them least to greatest or greatest to least) I would then say "lemme see it" and they achieved me their board so I could do a quick check. We then repeated this. Fun right?

Next up is ordering numbers activity. Students were given necklaces with a 3 or 4 digit number. Randomly throughout the day I yelled number order and how. Students had to quickly and quietly order themselves in that order. They switched necklaces and waited for the next time. (Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of my kids without showing a face or two)

Here is a picture I managed to get during workstations of a group engaged in our Fidget Spinner Activity. Students use the spinner as a timer and had to complete the place Value questions before the timer stops. (This activity is also available in my TPT shop)

Third week of school was pretty much test prep. We spent 2 days reviewing for our Place Value test as well as taking some district level pre-assessments. To review we played a few Smart Board Games and even did a Kahoot. Picture of these activities below. 

I hope you all had an amazing back to school and I did. Thanks for coming by!

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