Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Week Down, Nine To Go!

Hi everyone! Well, I made it through my whole first week at Tree Elementary School! I am enjoying it, but its not going quite as quickly as the days at the preschool did. Maybe I'm judging too quickly, since I've only been there four days... and maybe its just because I am more nervous now than I was at the preschool!
The teacher, Mrs. Eagle, is giving me responsibilities pretty slowly. So far I've been asked to take over the putting up of the daily schedule (which basically entails sticking pre-made cards up on the board in the correct order,) collecting the lunch money and sending a kid down to the office with it, and sometimes pulling down the screen for the morning announcement show. (They  have a little webcast type thing each morning.) I've also helped kids with their AR and other reading programs, helped kids with their math worksheets, and observed the teacher doing Running Records with kids. 
I am looking forward to two weeks from now, because that is when Mrs. Eagle says I can take over my first subject, Language Arts! The class does Language Arts in a very simple way. Basically, the teacher reads them a story, and then sometimes they do a little activity, such as answering comprehension questions. My responsibility will be to plan out which stories I want to read, and which activities I want to do along with them. The activities cannot be worksheets or projects anything like that, just a very informal activity. Actually, because of the way my school requires me to lesson plan, I think I am going to be giving them more challenge than they are used to. For the lesson plans we write, we have to include an objective that is connected to the state standards, and assessment. So I can't just say, "I'll read a story." I have to make it a little more meaty than that. It may be hard to balance what the kids are used to doing and capable of doing, with what I am expected to have them do. 
I have already planned out my first week of lesson plans! I cranked most of them out last night, and finished the final two today. I own all of the Skippyjon Jones books, so I decided to do a week of that. The five activities I've planned out involve answering reading comprehension questions, using context clues to figure out unfamiliar words, describing a character, comparing and contrasting two stories, and retelling a story using sequencing cards. We'll also talk about what a "series" is, and on the last day we'll make a bar graph of our favorite Skippyjon books. I hope it isn't too heavy of a week for the kids! I can't wait to tell you more about it  in a few weeks. I'll also post the lesson plans after the week is over, in case anyone wants to use them! 
The week after that, I'm going to do St. Patrick's Day books. I haven't cranked out those lesson plans just yet. And after that... who knows! Anyone have any great books you think kids would enjoy? Keep in mind, although they're in fourth and fifth grade, the highest readers are at a second grade level.I did ask Mrs. Eagle if any of the kids complain about having to hear "little kid" books at story time, but she says the kids seem to enjoy the picture books. So... anything goes, I guess!
Other than that, I don't have much news to tell you. Funniest moment of the week? For me it was when we were reading a book about Abraham Lincoln. One page showed a picture of the Lincoln Memorial, with a closeup of the statue of Abe Lincoln sitting in the chair. When Martin saw it, he asked in alarm, "Is Abraham Lincoln in there?" I had to quickly explain that the statue had been made by carving stone, and they hadn't simply poured concrete over Lincoln's body! 
Have a great weekend, everyone! 


  1. Love the kid quote!

    Have you read "When Dinosaurs Came With Everything" by Elise Broach? It's a picture book, but one that I think older kids would enjoy. Would they like a unit on dinosaurs?

  2. My students are preteens and teenagers, but function at around a preschool level academically, so I have that difficulty with "easy" books that aren't too "little kid." We do a lot of nonfiction books, which they love (their favorites tend to be on science subjects). You can find interesting nonfiction at a lower level easier than fiction, I've found.

    I'm also considering trying out simple chapter books with my kids - doing one chapter at a time as I would a series of picture books. I got some great ideas from Eat Pray Teach. I haven't started it yet, but I'm hoping to try it out soon.


  3. Haha I love the quote as well, kids are just too cute sometimes! I completely understand where you are coming from in regards to having a disconnect between the lesson plans our program requires we write and what works in the format of the classroom and with our cooperating teachers. Definitely a bit difficult but you seem to be working through it!


Do you have something to share with the class?