Blogger friends!! I survived my first week of fourth grade! Not only survived, but I absolutely love it. :D
This is the first year that I've really felt like I have a stronger handle on my classroom management system. I did so much research over the summer (and thanks to some of you for sharing your wonderful ideas and serving as inspiration!) and really hit the ground running!
Last year Angi and my first-grade teammates introduced the clip-chart system to me, and I loved it! The thing that I love most about the clip-chart is that you can tie it in nicely with any other behavior systems, such as schoolwide systems, or even integrating it with my classroom economy system like I want to do! So I am still incorporating the clip-chart in my classroom this year.
However, with learning more about whole brain teaching, I'm also incorporating elements of that with my classroom. I created my own set of class rules, but much like whole brain teaching, I make it a point for my class and I to recite the rules every day, and I also tied in some gestures to go with the rules to help us remember them.
I'm also using some of the "chants" (for lack of better term) from whole brain teaching - day one, I introduced "class-yes" and "hands and eyes" and oh goodness, I so wish I had known about them YEARS ago! Honestly, "class-yes" is the most basic idea ever (for those of you unfamiliar, you teach your class that whenever you as the teacher say "class", the students have to respond with "yes" and then be silent and ready to listen to what you will tell them next) but it is by far ALREADY super effective at bringing my kids attention back to me when necessary. I do have a few chatters (haha, what year have I not?) but I've already noticed the positive peer pressure from other students to encourage them to kick it in gear and get on board with the rest of us. Love love love this idea the most of all. Honestly, try it, and I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised as well! :D
I am loving the difference between first grade and fourth grade. My kids can already read, and can already express their ideas through writing. We can get to the meat and bones of stories now, really thinking about what is happening and the devices that the authors are using, instead of just working on decoding words. In math, (most of) my kids already understand how to add and subtract (one I'm not too sure about...poor sweetie) and even have experience with multiplying (dividing is still a little shaky). I introduced silent reading and talked about the behaviors we should be using during that time, and today (after only 2 days of practice) we sat and read...actually READ...for 20 solid minutes. My kids were engaged with their books, and we were working on writing down predictions as we read. I was able to walk around and give individual attention to some students who needed a little extra help. SO NICE!!
And my team of fourth grade teachers...no, I take that back, basically all the staff at my school... are so WONDERFUL to work with. And SO extremely willing to help me out with whatever questions I have, even if I've already asked them the same question 5 times in a row for 3 days straight. Haha. Friends, I have NEVER felt so much at home in a school setting...and this is STILL just the first week! Even after the first day, one of the other teachers asked me how things were going, and she said it just looked like I was "radiating happiness". I'm head over heels with it all. :)
I want to leave you with my first funny... we took a math pretest before beginning with the first lesson in the book, and I didn't realize (because I wasn't the one who typed up the page) until I went to check over them that there was a typo on one of the problems. The question should have read "are these lines perpendicular and INTERSECTING" but instead said "perpendicular and INTERESTING". One student really considered this as she wrote her response: