Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week One....DONE!

Thanks for all the words of encouragement this week, especially from my "still on summer break teacher friends"!  Yes, I just loved getting the phone pics of you all poolside as I sat in my sauna-like room at the end of a long hard day. HA!  Let's just say your time will come!

Anyway, I'm just glad the first week is over and done with. It's good to have gotten a chance to meet the new crew and get to know them a bit, but the first week is always too much of me and too little of them.  I find myself talking WAY too much.  There is so much I need to go over and train them on. Seriously, I get tired of hearing my own self talk and  I do believe I started sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher after a while.
 I'm hoping to start running a somewhat normal schedule next week and getting more into instruction.

I did start working on reading strategy training and began by reading a long time favorite.
I know that Chrysanthemum is a popular book to read at the beginning of the year so I was glad to see that yet again my group of third graders enjoyed this well loved story.  It is actually the book and word that I use to model the "chunking" or syllable breaking decoding strategy with.
Before even showing the book, I just show the word: Chrysanthemum.  I tell them that third grade is just full of big words and that good readers are good chunkers.  This is where we grab "Chunky Monkey" off the board and I demonstrate how to decode the word "Chrysanthemum" by breaking it into its 4 syllable parts.
We read the rest of the story on the look out for other multisyllabic words to use chunky monkey with.

I like getting these decoding strategies taught early  so that students can practice applying them all year long .  I teach these in a whole group setting and then coach those kids who need it during guided reading sessions.  Even the strongest readers in the bunch can benefit from practice in breaking three and four syllable words.

After reading Chrysanthemum I gave each student a list of their classmates' names. They insisted I add my name and so we did.  Sweet.
They cut out the names and I gave them the task to see how many ways they could think of to sort these words.


These kids are thinkers!  They came up with lots of ideas like: by syllables, in ABC order, by common letters, by vowel sounds, etc. etc.   This was good prep for upcoming spelling word sorts plus it helped them to become familiar with saying and reading the names of their new friends.  

I've got some real thinkers in this room...check this out:

I also used this book during math time to get a general idea of their level of number sense. I demonstrated with my first name and together the students and I thought of many different ways to get to the number 5. We used tally marks and a clock face. We thought of 3+2 but then someone else bumped up the thinking quite a bit and offered up: 100-95. We thought of so many for mine that we ran out of time for theirs and they ended up taking it for homework.

You can find a free download of this sheet here:
Here is another math sheet I used to get an idea of what they could do with numbers:

Find this one here:
I love hearing what everyone else got accomplished week one!  Please share!