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Monday, May 21, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust!

This is the perfect time of year to reflect on my teaching, and Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher created a linky party to do just that! I'm breaking the rules juuuust a little, but I hope she won't mind if I went above and beyond! :)

The Great:
1. The clip chart. This was my first year in my own classroom, and to have the management piece so simple and yet so effective for almost every student has been terrific. I tweaked it to add "Sparkling" to the top, and I love the way it's so positive, focuses on achievement and not prizes, and the way this class has encouraged and cheered each other on with it!

2. My new school. I really liked my old school, but this school has been so fantastic about fitting me in to their groups and projects and ideas. I collaborated in groups for math and science, and a special Holidays Around the World unit, too! My colleagues and principal are so supportive and helpful at every turn, and feeling like they all believe in me (particularly my principal!) has made a huge difference for me.

3. My teaching binder and lesson plan template. For a teacher who's not naturally organized, these have made ALL the difference in my sanity! (Read more about my all-in-one teacher binder here and my lesson plans here- and get a free starter template here.)
4. My projects of the year- the postcard project, pumpkin book reports, turkey landmarks, recycled Valentine holders, writing books, leprechaun traps, eggshell science, Mother's Day gifts, and the lemonade stand- all turned out great.

5. I had a really great class and survived my first year in my own classroom!!! (My husband deserves a lot of the credit for me staying sane throughout!)

The Not-So-Great:
1. Math. I do think I taught it well, but I had such high hopes for a weekly graph, and using the math journal weekly, and doing math centers regularly... and those never happened. Plus, in my efforts to teach it better, I didn't plan ahead of time well enough- and ended up running out of room for our last few chapters. I need to figure out how to best differentiate, too- maybe guided math or adapted Daily 5?

2. Handwriting. Ugh. I always plan on doing it, and then it tends to lose out. We're supposed to do handwriting, but they're working so hard in writing! I could really use a little extra time for ____! Our read-aloud was inspiring some really good conversation so I kept going! Excuses, excuses! I need to figure out a way to fit it in that I find valuable enough to not just skip!

3. Time management, especially when it comes to grading. Finding Engrade was good, but I need to have more willpower and keep myself more accountable!

4. One tough kiddo. At my last job, I was an interventionist, so I thrive on pushing and pushing and watching the data go up. Well, with this one... it just wasn't happening, and there were a lot of factors at play that have made it very difficult to figure out how to best handle the situation. I know there will always be kids like that, and it's not my fault, but it's still one of the things I'm most 'down' about.
5. Organization. Holy cow, organization. There were bits and pieces that worked, but overall- this is just about the hardest thing for me. (My desk looked like this multiple times this year. Not cool.)

Somewhere in the Middle:
1. Writer's Workshop. My kids love writing, and most of them have come a long way- but I need to structure my teaching more. It was honestly pretty random this year.

2. Reading. Guided reading lessons happened at the beginning, and again at the end, but not throughout. Centers were good and manageable, but could surely be better. I loved my classroom library- except the fact that it never got organized. The cheap book boxes have been great! The most important thing, though- most of my kids LOVE reading now, even if they didn't before, and the skills have continually improved.

3. Science and Social Studies. When I did them, they were GREAT- but it wasn't enough. I hope I can plan this a lot better to tie in with our reading stories this summer, and plan ahead so I don't let it fall by the wayside during the year. Science is my favorite to teach, so I need to make sure it happens more!

Extra Things:
1. I have a lot of new followers, so I tried to link to previous posts when it made sense. Click away on pictures or links!
2. I caught up on over 1000 Google Reader posts this weekend, and while I took a break near the end, I shut down Firefox with 70 tabs open... and it crashed. So, um, I guess I'm not making it to those to comment. Sorry!
3. I end school in 3 days, but still don't have it confirmed which grade level I'll be teaching next year. There are 8 of us in 2nd right now, though, and only 7 2nd grade class lists for next year, so someone is probably moving, and if it's me... I want to know already!!
4. My husband hasn't been gone a week and I miss him a lot. I know, it's lame.


Link up with Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher here! I am loving reading these, because everyone is sharing such great ideas and things to think about changing for next year!


  1. Love this post. My desk looks like yours right now. I've got to clean it. I hope you find out soon what you'll be teaching.

  2. Loved reading about all of your reflections. Makes me think I should take the time NOW and do the same. Our last student day was the past Friday. Whoo! Hoo!


    2nd Grade Pad

  3. Wow - now that is a serious reflection. :o) Loved it.

  4. Thanks for linking up! I don't mind you changing it up! Sounds like a great year!!

    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

  5. omg 7 first grades is alot...we have only 5 in our school!!

    love your background so your newest follower..drop by

    Just Wild About Teaching

  6. I'm excited for you! I've been teaching third grade for 9 years and have loved every minute of it. It's a perfect age to really get them working independently in a workshop.

    I Want to be a Super Teacher


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