Thursday, June 27, 2013

Third Grade 2012 - 2013: Switching Classes and AR

Last year was a unique year.  Although our school usually has one class per grade, this year our third grade had two classes, for a total of 25 students. (This class is being combined into one class this school year.)  Since it was an FCAT year, and the other (experienced 3rd grade) teacher wanted to teach reading and math, so I didn't teach every subject. I got to teach writing, spelling, social studies, and science.  I loved it! The students switched groups throughout the day. It made for a really interesting, and fun year. 

There were a few things that I had to think about that I'd never had to consider before.  How do you solve the problem of 2 to 3 students sitting in one desk throughout the day? How do you label the names on that desk?  What happens when a student complains that another student is going in their desk?

I decided the only thing in the desk should be shared books.  My homeroom kids had cubbies for their stuff, and all of necessary  supplies like pencils, scissors, and glue were communal.  That way if a student complained about another going in their desk, I would just ask them why their stuff wasn't in their cubby.

I wish I took a picture of the name tags. I used contact paper to put a regular, laminated name tag on a desk for each of my homeroom students.  Then I put two velcro dots on the left and right of the name tag.  I made name tags for my groups out of two colors of laminated circles, with more velcro on the back.  This was the perfect solution to making name tags for students who switch classes. (Although I can't see it working if students switch more often.)  It also made it easy to switch desks, which I do often!

 Here is my word wall, which I talked about a little in yesterday's post.  Here you can see some of the words that we included on it. I love how the wipe-off word wall allows you to add little notes and pictures.

This is a poster that I made based off of Kathy Robinson's writing series.  We used this a lot at the beginning of the year.  I added the books after we read them for more visual learners.  Since I'm teaching second this year, I passed it on to the 4th grade teacher.

Here's another poster I made from Kathy Robinson's Just Write series.

I got this idea from Pintrest last summer.  The little green shapes at the top were our groups.  The students chose their group names (the Billionaires and the Gators).  I made these labels throughout the rooms to help us stay organized.

If you look closely you can see the Billionaire and Gator labels again by the students' writing notebooks.  I love how the students arranged their writing binders in arcs. I also kept my leveled readers for sciences and my fun activities like my games and drawing books here.

Here are where student backpacks were hanged.  (Cubbies are to the right.)  Oops! Looks like someone forgot their Scientist of the Week bag.  This is an awesome idea that I bought at the garage/retirement sale of teacher in Michigan.  Each week two students take home a bag.  They pick an experiment, practice it, write it up in the notebook inside, and present it to the class.  Each bag has an introduction letter, a Scientist of the Week binder, a couple science experiment  books, safety goggles, and a special Scientist of the Week lab coat.

Here is our Star Work door. The arrows tell what each student did to get on the door.  Students could get on the door for things like following directions (especially if they were one of few), using complete sentences, neatness, or using cursive.  I wanted to put up why students got on the door to encourage other students to improve their work and get up there as well.  Next year I want to keep track of who I put up here to make sure everyone gets an equal chance.

Here are several pictures of my library. I had it super organized.  This year I have a huge library, and I can't wait to get into my new room to organize it, too!

The Letters from our Pen Pal book contains letters from our Peace Corps pen pal, Liz.  I love teaching (and learning) about different places, so I try to get a pen pal from the Peace Corps each year.  The past 2 years was special, because a childhood friend of mine joined the Peace Corps, and I was able to request and get her.  It was awesome because my students actually got to meet her twice.  She presented pictures and answered their questions.

Although I have done AR for many years, this was the first year that the whole school got on board.  We leveled lots of books and created some great incentives to get kids reading.
Here is the AR section in last year's library.

More AR books were in our book baskets and non-fiction section, too.

Here is the goal tracking chart that I made.  I searched the web and had trouble finding what I was looking for, so I created this. We thought that it was important to focus on the goal percentage instead of the number of books or points, since everyone's goals were different.  I am definitely recreating this for next year!

I loved their monkeys!

I created this after we had some back-up at the computers because too many kids wanted to look up books and take tests.

 So that's it for today.  I hoped you liked checking out some of my ideas from last year, and I hope it helped you come up with some ideas of your own.  How do you manage AR in your classroom? What kinds of things does your school require you to do when it comes to AR?


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