Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How Can It Be December 31?

It doesn't seem possible that tonight is the end of 2014!  There were definitely some moments of stress this year.  Anytime there is change there is stress, too.  I get that.  There were many days where I felt disillusioned.  I had expected every school to be like the school I had spent my last 16 years.  There were so many days that I cried but there are also lots of moments that are cause for CELEBRATION.

As I sat down to write this, the first thing that I did was to look at what I wrote on my final newsletter in 2013.  I wrote about ROUTINES.  Taken from my Classroom At The End Blog:  "The power of the routine was instilled in me early. I like routine because it is what I know. It is what I am used to. I must admit though that the veering is good, too. When you break from routine, you learn new things and learning IS fun! While many of the things we did this week were part of the routine, we also did things to  change it up. As you celebrate the holidays, remember to do those  things that are rituals but also dare to be adventurous. Try something new! Learn something FUN!"  Man were those great words of advice.  I needed to read those words.  These last 4 months have been hard on me.   I've been pretty hard on myself.  I need to celebrate that I took a chance.  I broke from my routine and I changed things up (BIG TIME!).    Today I celebrate the great possibilities that lie ahead.  I saw one of my students at the hockey game on Sunday.  I got a phone call from another because she was excited to share good news.  I saw 2 4th graders at the basketball game last night and I got to hear all about how much they are enjoying their holiday break.     I can do this!   I can own this new adventure and I recognize that there are moments worth celebrating.  This is a bit of rambling but it all leads to where I need to pick my word for 2015.  You can find a list of all kinds of possible words HERE.

So I head into 2015 with this word:


May you choose a word to help you through each day of 2015!  We've got this.  Shine on!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Reading Goals

My reading pile is pretty large but I'm confident that I can finish these by January 5.  What do you think?  Do you have books ready to go?  

The Happy Reader Program begins in January, too.  Even though we won't be back at school until the 5th, start keeping track of your reading minutes as soon as 2015 begins!  I'll be keeping you updated over break on how my reading is going.  You can also find out more about my reading progress by finding me on Goodreads.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Monday that will Motivate You

I don't know what tomorrow's lesson will be like but it will be what it is....  In other thoughts and reflections:  Today was one of my best days at Winskill.  Even though it is the final week before Christmas break  I felt like the 4th graders were engaged and learning.  Behaviors were in check and I walked the class out at 3:15 with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  THIS IS THE ME I KNOW!  So what was different? 

First of all we spent more time on the carpet than we normally do.  I really like the circle (or rectangle in our case) approach to talking.  We could all see each other and everyone was listening intently.  I also loved getting to share our video from Santa with the class.   You can check it out HERE! 

For reading we assigned roles for our reader's theater.  It is going to be FANTASTIC.  We went through it with Mrs. Stimpson's help today and we will be practicing it a few times tomorrow.  If you would like to come and see it performed, you are welcome to join us in the presentation room at 9:45 on Wednesday Morning.  All 3 classes will performing something different.  We plan to have all 3 groups done by 10:45.

 We also got to read the responses to our Santa Disguise ideas.  Check with your 4th grader to find out about what their letter said.

In math we focused on remainders.  After a one minute table talk about remainders, we turned our attention to what remainders mean in word/story problems.  When we have a word problem we have 3 choices for what we can do with the remainder:  1-ignore it, 2-report it (as a decimal or fraction), or 3- round up the answer.  Tonight's homework and remembering will be a great study aid for our math test that will be on  Thursday morning! 

We are also seeing a burst in 4th grade blogs!   I'm proud of those who were inspired to start them on their own.  As soon as we have done a few things together, we will begin sharing the links for our individual blogs.  Great things are happening as we go Running Through 4th Grade!

**If you haven't signed your 4th graders' midterm envelope, please do and send it back to me.

** All school Sing A Long on Friday Morning at 8:30.

** Classroom Party on Friday at 2.

Today was a day that has me feeling excited to be back at school tomorrow!  It was definitely a Monday that Motivated Me:-)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Check out Our Newsletter for the Week

Click HERE for this week's newsletter.

Did you see the midterm reports in today's Friday Folder?  Let me know if you have any questions.  Next week will be a busy week.  Rest up and take care of yourself

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is your Sweater Ugly Enough?

Teachers can have a little fun at school just like the kids.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Review

We missed our It's Monday! What Are You Reading? this week, but we have some fabulous things to share on this Terrific Tuesday.

For many of us this is the time of year for comfort food:  the rich food that tastes oh so good.  For me I have come to look for comfort in books like so many others.  Fortunately books don't cause me to get all pudgy on the couch the way the cookie dough would.  Boy can I devour books, too!

Reading is comforting on it's own, but it's even better when we get to share it.  Sharing it with our class but also sharing our thoughts with the author.  Today we got to talk to a real live author!!

The class had some GREAT questions for Kate.  She was such a delight to listen to.  If you are looking for some of her books, here are a few.  We've been reading Capture the Flag in class.  It's the first book in a trilogy.  Luckily for me, my plate of good books to read next is VERY Full!
 We also enjoyed reading the 9 new cards that arrived from our holiday card project.

It was a great day as we went Running Through 4th Grade!  We will be back with more details about our school days later in the week.  Until then, Shine ON!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Card Exchange

Earlier this fall I signed up for a Holiday Card Exchange.  We had such a great time creating cards and getting them ready to mail.  We've also started getting some of the cards back.
We will have a post later this week all about where our cards were sent from.  Check back!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Weekly Recap

I am really struggling this week.  Okay - let's be honest, it's not just this week.  I'm struggling this whole school year.  Will we get through it?  I sure hope so.

There are great things happening amid the not so great.  Our class earned the Golden Spoon Award at the Winskill Monthly PBIS Assembly.  That's pretty great.  We've started receiving holiday cards for our Holiday Card Exchange.  It's always exciting to get mail!  We are getting a little farther along in our read aloud (Capture the Flag) and we can't wait to Skype with Kate Messner (the author) on Tuesday.

We show up each day and we will smile through the struggles.   We will remember the lessons from our Hallway Christmas Tree:
Be a Light in the Darkness.
We All Fall Over Sometimes.
You Can Never Wear Too Much Glitter!
Bring Joy to Others.
Sparkle and Twinkle as Often as Possible.
It's Okay to Be a Little Tilted.

And as we close our school days let me close this post:
    Hip hip Hooray!
    Hip hip Hooray!
    Hip hip Hooray!
Fourth Grade Rocks!


Check out the note that is Friday Folders!