19 September 2012

Ten minute challenge

I'm taking up a friend's challenge to write for just ten minutes then post.

This morning was just another Tuesday. Headed upstairs at 7am to put my bits and pieces away and squeeze in a little grading before lessons started for the day. Back downstairs at 7.28 for bell time at 7.30am after which it was back up the stairs with my munchkins. A quick stop on the 3rd floor to remind some 3rd graders why we don't run in the building, then on to the 4th floor. Oops, the delay on the 3rd floor meant some of my kids had already interrupted the Khmer class to put their backpacks away. Sorry Mr Dy and 6th graders. That sorted and attendance taken, it was straight into work with a quick math test. Marked those this evening and discovered some areas I need to review. Next comes two hours of Language Arts (half the class doing English & half doing Khmer for one hour then swap).

Hooray, it's recess time and no-one has to stay in today. After that my students had music, so I got busy with some grading and organising for the next lessons. Also went to track down the self-adhesive contact I'd ordered for covering books from the classroom library to enhance their longevity. Soon the children were back and it was into Maths, followed by some silent reading, and house-keeping (mostly homework related).

Lunch (no duty today, so a quick meal then back to get ready for Social Studies). A fun Social Studies lesson looking at lines of latitude then it was time for swimming. 30 girls, and almost all of them were swimming again! Yay. Went more smoothly than last week as we'd reorganised the groups and got some extra spotters. I had 9 girls in the deep end and they all did really well. 30 minutes later and it's time to get out. Saw the students out the gates, then it was back upstairs for some book covering, marking papers and getting ready for tomorrow. Just as I was about to head home it started pouring rain, so I delayed a while.

And my time is up! Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of my day.

10 September 2012

Welcome back to Grade 4K

Almost 12 months ago I posted Welcome to Grade 4K. It's been by far the most popular of all my blog posts with 902 page views at the time of writing. Now it's time to welcome you back to Grade 4K for the 2012-2013 school year. Come on in and take a look around.

Before you come in, you might like to look at our bulletin board.
The two posters are about myself and Mr Dy. In a few weeks time the board will be covered with posters that the children have prepared about themselves.

I found these bright coloured foam stars while I was home in Oz.
The children had great fun decorating their own stars with markers and glitter glue.
Every child in Grade 4K is a star and is encouraged to shine as brightly as they can.
On your right as you walk in the door are two sets of shelves, divided into 24 boxes. Each child has his/her own box to store workbooks, homework folders and work-in-progress. It does take a little time getting books out for lessons, but as the children become more familiar with the books they get quicker.

Above the shelves (or cubbies as the children call them) is our Star Helper wall, the Kindness Box, and some posters encouraging the children to do their best all the time. I love the bright colours and the encouraging messages. The pile of folders on the end of the shelves are for testing. They give each child his/her own space, and it helps me know that the work I get on a test is the child's own work.

Four tables, six chairs at each table. Sometimes I really like individual desks, but I'm used to these now, and have learned to make them work well.

Foam mats make the tiled floor a little softer for sitting on, and add another spot of colour to the room.

Books, books, and more books! I love encouraging my students to read.

A new set of Go For Green pockets was needed this year due to a slightly larger class size, and I was delighted when the lady in our local copy shop produced the clear pockets that I've used this year. Students know their own number so names are not necessary, make this reuseable!

For some reason Mr Dy's desk is almost always much tidier than mine!
I love these language arts posters. I inherited them from the previous 4th grade teacher
and they are perfect for 4th graders, especially as we work on various aspects of grammar.

I was fortunate to get these two new whiteboards in place of the one I had previously.
The board on the left has the weekly homework plan on it, which students copy into their Homework book. The right hand board has the daily schedule, date, and working space.

The column of words on the right were made by my 3rd grade students about 18 months ago. They are words students and teachers can use to encourage each other when someone has done a good job.
The noise meter is still working well.
The white posters in the centre show how to use some templates that I keep on hand for when the children are working on posters or displays.

So that's the Grade 4K classroom. I hope you enjoyed having a look around. Be sure to come back soon and find out what's happening in Grade 4K.

02 September 2012

Ready, set ...

This time tomorrow the first day will be over! Am I ready? Well, as much as I'm going to be. I do have a plan for tomorrow, which is a good thing. Hopefully it's a realistic plan, although better to overplan than underplan I say, especially where kids are concerned. If you have a plan, you can always diverge from it. If you have no plan at all, then you set yourself up for failure. The key to having a plan is to be sure it's flexible. Yep, you heard me correctly! The plan has to be flexible. There are so many variables on the first day of school, not the least of which is the children. With 23 children in my class for day one it's going to be a very full classroom. It will be really important that we have homes for everything, and that everything is returned to its home as soon as we finish with it. So check back tomorrow, or in a few days to see how that first day of school went, and whether we stuck to the plan or were flexible or both!