My Week in Pictures {Sunday Snapshots}

I spent a good chunk of my summer blogging about how to get organized for school. I created downloads, I collected tips, I shared ideas. I was pretty darn proud of myself and oh-so-confident going into the new year. Perhaps a little too confident.

Starting a new year? Piece of cake!

Turning 23 kids into a community of learners? Easy Peasy.

Curriculum Night? I was ready to rock it.

or so I thought.

It was like Murphy's Law kicked it into overdrive and the universe decided to mock me because if there was an ailment to be had, well, I had it. Each day something new and annoying came up ranging from a kidney stone to a raging head cold with a fever that left me sound asleep for 14 consecutive hours midweek. This fine week has culminated with laryngitis that has me on mute. My voice hung on by a thread through my Curriculum Night presentation, but was gone by Friday morning. On any typical October and beyond day, any of these ailments alone would have warranted a legit, stay-in-bed kind of sick day, but since it was only my first full week of school there was no way I could call in a sub. Plus I have a wonderful classroom aide who was really able to jump in and help out and a cohort of kids who have quickly shown me that they are going to make a great team that will be a joy to work it was doable.

I will be spending some time today setting up my Sub Binder and Emergency Sub plans for this year though. If you haven't done that yet, I highly recommend you get started a.s.a.p.

Because while I was able to go in each day, there are plenty of unexpected reasons why you may find yourself in a situation that causes you to be out unexpectedly.

If you created one with me last year all you really need to do is rewrite your daily schedule (in as much detail as possible), update the class list / pictures, dismissal chart, medical info, etc. You'll also want to update the school map to reflect any moved classrooms, the phone extensions if those have changed and add in the names of new teachers if they are part of your day.

And now for My Week in Review and some Snapshots on Sunday:

We focused A LOT on internalizing all those classroom procedures and routines by modeling, creating anchor charts of the expectations, and tons of practice. I really focused on...
{Click here to read the blog post about my all-time favorite way to start the day sure to also check out my Morning Soundtrack idea}

as well as transitions (both in and out of the classroom as well as transitioning between activities. We got really good at Read to Self as well as Reading to Someone.

We completed the annual benchmark assessments in reading and math and I did some fluency assessments and running records as well.

In writing, each of my friends filled in their Writer's Idea Bank. I had listed it as one of my Top 10 Favorite Products back in August and I promise it is so worth the taking the time to fill them in. They will use these all. year. long and I'll never need to hear "I have nothing to write about." I really feel like they appreciate them without even realizing it because in the past I found kids would get anxious about generating ideas and it would cause "writer's block" and a dislike for writing. I really don't see any of that when they have their lists to access.

Writing was actually a big focus this week. We don't start the Treasures Curriculum until next week (we'll kick off Reader's Workshop with First Day Jitters at that time) so I've had some wiggle room to really get Writer's Workshop up and running. 

I snapped a picture of each of my friend's feet. I placed an orange sheet over a desk and extended it out in the front to make a uniform backdrop. I had the pics printed over the weekend and we used them to write descriptive paragraphs about our shoes. It was a great way to review adjectives and introduce the writing packet format that I use each and every week throughout the school year.
As a fun craftivity, we made cats to display with our writing and shoe photos. (If you're a fan of Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwinis, you could probably find lots of ways to tie my School Shoes writing packet in with the book.)

I modeled a lesson on how to create quality illustrations. I drew 4 different versions of the same picture (pencil/stick people/no real details, more details, some color, lots of details/completely colored). That skill became the focus for completing a Back to School Writing Project.

We shared all of the items in our All About Me Bags. I really love how this simple activity really starts to build a community and allows us to learn a lot about each other as individuals. They worked through the writing process again and had a chance to show off their new illustration skills.

I started formally teaching math this week. I wanted to get to know my students as mathematicians this week before launching Math Workshop (I'm super excited to kick that off tomorrow morning). We did a lot of work with Place Value. On Friday I used math centers from my Build a Number packet and created a new math craftivity.

Each friend used paper base ten blocks (the packet contains colored clip art blocks, but I also included an ink-saving blackline master version which I then copied onto yellow construction paper) to spell their first names. They journaled about they experience and will use the value of their name to complete another common core aligned activity (regrouping the value into various sets one ones, tens and hundreds) tomorrow. The packet is differentiated for younger learners as well to meet 1st-3rd grade Common Core Standards (1.NBT.2, 2.NBT.2, 3.NBT.2.)

I introduced Word Study centers by playing Scattergories whole class and used sight words to complete some of the activities from my Activities to Use with Any Spelling Words Packet.

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