This past week we continued with our Character Study. Our focus last week was on how the setting impacts the character's traits, actions and motives.

Monday I read aloud The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi and modeled how the setting impacted the character in the beginning of the story. When I approached the middle of the story, during the read-aloud, I stopped, and students turned and talked discussing what the character was doing and how the setting impacted her actions and feelings. When the book was finished we summarized the story using the SWBS strategy (Somebody, Wanted, But, So) and finally recorded the character's feelings at the end and discussed how they changed from the beginning to the end. Can I say this was a wonderful read-aloud! We will definitely read again for future lessons such as: theme, sequencing, and cause and effect. This book would also make a great read-aloud to compare and contrast cultures.

Here is the anchor chart found on Pinterest that I used with students to introduce how to summarize the plot.

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Finally and most importantly this week, we have been working on building our stamina. After our read-aloud, students grabbed their "Just Right Book" and silently read. Our goal for this past week was 6 minutes, which we accomplished. We are moving to 7 minutes next week! Our goal is 20 minutes by December. On Mondays and Tuesdays students only silently read and on Wednesdays students respond to their thinking using the graphic organizer for the week based on the skills taught in Reading.

Next, week's Reading focus in on PLOT if Tropical Storm ISAAC stays away from southern Louisiana. Although, it doesn't look too good for us here.

What a busy week it was!

The first full week back to school was filled with lots of learning from a Character Study, to a sample writing prompt, review of punctuation, and ending with a "Yarning" the Globe activity.

      Our focus in Reading for the first nine weeks is on Elements of Fiction. So, I kicked it off with a lesson focusing on Character Traits. The student's learning goal was to identify and describe the protagonist in the story by paying attention to what the character said, did and thought throughout the text. Monday, I did lots of modeling with the students using the mentor text Mr. George Baker by Amy Hest charting my Think-Alouds and having the students turn and talk with their partner. Tuesday and Wednesday I used the story "Astronaut and the Onion" from our basal. Also on Wednesday, students worked independently reading the first chapter in their "Just Right" books and responded to their reading paying attention to what the character said, did and thought. Here's a pic of the Anchor Chart Pinterest inspired that  I created from Fabulous Fourth Grade.

Thursday we practiced how to take a 4th grade Reading Comprehension test using the UNERD strategy. 

Underline the Title
Number the Paragraphs
Evaluate the Questions
Read the Passage
Determine the Answers

Friday they took their assessment.

Students also did a writing sample this week, which took place on Monday and Tuesday. Students were given the prompt on Monday, and they brainstormed and wrote their rough draft. On Tuesday, a former student's essay was projected and students chose two good things about the essay and two things that needed improvement. Then students were given a slip of paper to find two good things and two things that they needed to improve on in their paper, and they did the same with their partner's paper. Finally, students were given time to write their final draft.

Students will focus on Map Skills for the first nine weeks, so we began with teaching parts of the globe. I found an awesome hands on lesson called "Yarning the Globe" that students enjoyed. Here are a couple of pictures of the students laying out the latitude and longitude lines.

The first two days Back to School have been filled with
  • rules/expectations
  • procedures
  • team building activities
  • text to self connections
  • picking a Just Right book
  • Getting to know you activities
  • exploring technology in the classroom
Students really did a great job of becoming acclimated to the WBT Class Rules/Expectations. We practiced, and practiced, and practiced, and taught our partner the 5 class rules. We also reviewed certain rules (like Rule #3 Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat), when students broke them.

We reviewed procedures throughout the day such as sharpening pencils, our designated time to use the restroom and how we walk to and from the restroom, lining up for lunch and PE, switching classes, and finally coming to the rug with our partner for Shared Reading.

Students participated in a team building activity. They worked exceptionally well together! I was pleasantly surprised. However, I completely forgot about the Saving Fred activity, which students reminded me of at the end of the day. We will definitely have to fit it in our schedule sometime next week.

After reviewing rules and expectations of our shared reading time, students were assigned their first partner and were given a designated area on the rug. I began reading First Day Jitters and modeled making connections using sentence starters posted on an Anchor Chart.

On Friday, I read Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians with a focus on exploring different genres and the 5 Finger Rule.

Finally, students were given a chance to explore centers.

Here on the rug, you can see students cutting, pasting and sorting the Rules under the following headings on a Tree Map- Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible. In the Back of the picture, you can see my student teacher assisting students with choosing a Just Right book. 

Here are a few students exploring the apps on the iPads. Temple Run seemed to be the most popular, among students. However, they were given instructions not to spend their whole time playing games and to explore as many apps as possible. They did a fantastic job exploring!

Students in the next two pictures are creating their first "All About Me" Wordles.

Looking forward to a full week of Instruction!

I can't believe we are already into August and school is about to begin for the 2012-2013th school year!     I am linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade and hope you will too! 271 people have linked up so far, which is AMAZING!

The first day of school for students is soon approaching! I begin on Monday & Tuesday with Professional Development and Wednesday is Classroom Set-up Day. The students begin on Thursday. So, as I await their arrival my brain is overwhelmed with ideas and activities to do with them on the first two full days of school. I can't shut my brain off at night!! (I'm sure you feel my pain.)

So, here is my tentative schedule for Thursday, which I am sure may change slightly because I'm sure I'll find another fabulous idea from one of my blogging buddies.

First Day of School

1. The first activity that  my students will encounter upon their desks is a Word Search I will create with class names using PuzzleMaker. Having students working quietly will allow me time to speak with their parents, and for me to stand at my door to greet new students entering.

2. Next and most importantly is teaching the Class -Yes and the 5  WBT Rules! I am really looking forward to this because this is something new for me. Love these rules I printed for Free from Tales of a Teacher.

3.  Then I plan to introduce how we will conduct Shared Readings in our class and give students their first partner who they will then conduct purposeful conversations with for the next two weeks. I plan to read First Day Jitters with students with a focus on Making Connections and engaging in Purposeful Talk.

Love this Anchor Chart for Purposeful Talk!

4. Then students will fill out a Classroom Job Application for the classroom jobs for the first week of school. Here's a look at a few of the Classroom Jobs. I can't remember where I adapted this from to give credit. 

5. Next, is a fun team building activity that I found from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies. Students will participate in a puzzle race. You can check out what the puzzles look like on her site. I bought the exact ones from Target at a $1 a piece. I really like this activity for the fact that it will give me another opportunity to observe students engaged in discussion. We will of course review the expectations for Purposeful Talk on our Anchor chart before we begin.

6. Then students will learn how to create an "All About Me" Wordle.

7. Next, I will distribute their first homework assignment, which is a brown bag activity. Students will fill their bag with things that Represent them. Check out this site here for an example of this activity and other wonderful first day of school activities.

8. Finally, we will end the day with a Read-Aloud using Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

Tomorrow is my last day of summer vacation! I begin back at work on Monday and the students return on Thursday. My room is done, lesson plans for the first week of school are done, and I have completed the ELA scope and sequence for the first nine weeks. Now it is time to relax and enjoy my last week day with my boys before things really start to get crazy.
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