Monday, December 2, 2013

Thankful for A210

I haven't had time to focus on blogging lately, so I apologize for my lack of posts. I've been busy planning, differentiating, enriching, supporting, integrating more technology, and basically just living the dream! Being a permanent sub, I knew that time would be my biggest obstacle, but I didn't really realize the full extent of it. I'm definitely spending a lot of time to make the most of this opportunity, and provide my students with the best learning opportunities I can! I'm so thankful for my students, my school, my oh-so-helpful colleagues, and my position. It's the time of season to express gratitude, and with tonight marking the end of my Thanksgiving break, I truly want to point out how thankful I am for being able to have these things in my life, and I could not imagine spending my time any other way - that's why I love to teach! 

In other news, our room has been busier than ever as I started a HUGE project with my fourth grade students. Two weeks ago, I introduced the 30 Book Challenge to my students. This project is adapted from Donnalyn Miller's original idea from her educational book, The Book Whisperer. When I initially presented this hefty requirement, I really discovered my actors and actresses, as some students pretended to faint, some dropped their jaws to the floor, and a select few even rejoiced in excitement. I do realize that asking 9 and 10 year old students to read 30 books is a lot (probably even more than most adults may find time to read in a year!)  But I ensured them that they would be able to do this, as failure is simply not an option. After explaining these lofty expectations and providing students with their own reading response journals, I really saw their love for reading begin to grow. At the end of the first week, during our Friday "book commercials," I had students begging for more time at the end of the day to share their books with their peers. One of the most common questions I heard all last week was : "Miss S, when are we going to have our 15 minute quiet read time?" Yes, they are insistent upon reading!  I love their enthusiasm for reading that has began to show, and I am looking forward to seeing their continued progress with growing a passion for reading. 

In science, we are still continuing our focus on environmental studies and animals. After learning about various animals, and their habitats, students created their own biome-in-a-box with their table group. Each group was responsible for a different biome (ocean, rainforest, grassland, freshwater, and tundra). They needed to research various animals, animal adaptations, vegetation, plant adaptations, region, climate, and environmental issues and type their information. Each group also had the challenge of using a shoebox and limited supplies to show animals, their adaptations, vegetation, and climate within their shoebox display. I must admit, these biomes came out to be very well put together! I loved the creativity each group displayed in their unique creation of their biome.  

Finished biome-in-a-box display in our hallway!

They painted animals white to show their adaptations to this frigid biome. 

Looking ahead at this week, we are still continuing our 30 Book Challenge, and discussing a new class read-aloud (which is TBD until the class votes, but my fingers are crossed for Roald Dahl's the BFG!) We are also going to be doing some very fun winter projects - I am looking forward to this month! 

Have a wonderful week!

Miss S.

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