Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Peek at My Week

Hey! We just finished our second week of summer school! We have a week and a half to go! I feel like I'm really starting to get to know the kids and our curriculum. Our kiddos have such fun personalities! We have one kid who is a total sketch artist! We had a "Draw & Write" activity and he asked if he could draw his own elephant since he didn't really need the drawing instructions! Haha!

During our first couple of days of reading groups I was really struggling! I'm used to jumping into teaching lessons and knowing exactly what we need to do, but that wasn't the case this year. This school picks up where the year ended, and because it's special education the kids don't always go at the same pace as a regular school depending on how well they grasp the concepts. It all makes perfect sense in terms of what's good for the kids. As a teacher, it was super confusing starting on Chapter 8! The book keeps referring to things, but since I didn't teach them, I have no idea what it's talking about. I bring my teacher's manual home every single night to study!

One day, the whole lesson plan was to review different sight words and key words that had been taught using 3 different decks of learning cards. I could only find one of the decks since we changed classrooms and things got mixed up. I had no idea what words the kids learned in chapters 1-7, so I had no idea what to review. I found myself digging through the end of unit summary and writing the words by hand on the board. That night I came home and made flashcards out of 3x5 cards for all the words I needed until I could find the decks of cards.

It all worked out and by the end of the week I hit a great groove with my reading group! In special education, it sometimes feels like your talking to yourself because the kids struggle to focus and concepts take a little longer to sink in. It took a couple days to figure out what motivates these little readers and how to keep them engaged for the whole lesson. On day 4, we stopped in the middle of the lesson for a fire drill, came back in, and the kids jumped right in and were totally engaged in the lesson again! Whoo hoo!

By day 5, we hit an awesome learning zone! I made our lesson completely using the SmartBoard and the kids loved it! I had our story up on the screen and the kids used it for decoding, comprehension, word work, and grammar practice all at once! It was perfect, well aside from the fact that I didn't realize I needed 3 cords and not 2, so I had to write from my computer instead of with the pens! What can I say, I've never had technology in my classroom! I'm THRILLED, but there is a learning curve for all this new fandangled technology!

My math group has been awesome! I get to start from the beginning of the 1st grade book so things make so much more sense to me! I don't have my teacher's manual yet actually, but I've made some great little supplemental materials and the kids love them. I secretly LOVE teaching math!

Now for a peek at some of the fun stuff! I bought these little stick lizards for the prize box and the kids loved them! Then Lauren, my co-teacher, taught the kids how the stick to walls and ceilings! Such a fun last 5 minutes of the day!

This was the straw blowing watercolor art the kids did with the art teacher. I wish I had pics of the kids doing the activity, but I had a migraine that day and it was the last thing on my mind!
Are you moving to a new school this year? Are you familiar with the curriculum they use?
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