Sunday, March 26, 2017

Heading into April...The Countdown Begins!

I am officially on Spring Break---whoop, whoop!  If you read my previous post, you know how crazy the last few weeks have been.  So, this break is much deserved!

So, the past few days I haven't been thinking about school at all {insert big eye roll here.}  Of course I have been planning out the month of April....and May too!  We did a countdown on Friday before leaving and we officially have 44 1/2 days of school left.

We come back to school and 3 days later start state needless to say, I want to make this month fun and as stress-free for my students, while also continuing to teach them all they need to know before leaving 5th grade.

How am I going to do this?  Well, to start out a local company is sponsoring an Arbor Day tree planting project.  20+ students form 5th grade are going to get bussed to a local park to help plan trees.  When they get back, the Zoomobile will be stopping by to talk to the entire 5th grade about some local animals and how to help them and their habitats.

My team had a hard decision ahead of us--how were we going to pick the students to go on the field trip?  We pulled together and thought of a Magazine Writing Project (PBL, yeah!)  Students are going to work in groups to create/write a magazine about conservation, Arbor Day, Earth Day, etc.  The students who create the best magazine from each classroom will get to go plant some trees!  We have a low-level, high-interest magazine from our book room to use with students as an example of what to create, as well as practicing labeling parts of a non-fiction text.  This project hits on standards in: science, social studies, writing, reading, etc. WIN-WIN!

Additionally, we just wrapped up our big City of Ember grade-level read aloud, so we needed another book to read.  I put a call out on Facebook and someone suggested Jean Craighead George's book: There's an Owl in the Shower.  I breezed through this book in one day, and decided it was the perfect fit!  It deals with conservation, is a quick/engaging read, and by an author many students know.  We looked at books too, but none seemed to fit:Hoot (too long,) When Eagles Fall (alcohol consumption by a minor,) Touching Spirit Bear (graphic scenes.)

So, naturally, I can't just leave this as a read aloud....I had to create some activities to go with it to draw students in even more!  You can find this for $3 on TpT:

Besides the Magazine PBL/Arbor Day Event, Owl in the Shower, state testing (in science, reading, and math,) my classroom also has the following things going on in April:
  • A mystery skype
  • Limo Lunch for students who fundraised A LOT for our yearly camping trip
  • Key Ceremony Lunch--a classroom management tool I use from Elementary Shenanigans
  • Finish up our Tournament of Books--Final Four are Holes vs The False Prince and Deep, Dark and Dangerous vs Pax (the Global read aloud book)
  • Counselor Lesson
  • Earth Day "stuff"--haven't quite planned it out!
  • Social Studies lessons on JA Biz Town to prepare for our May 3rd Field Trip, including applying for jobs and holding elections!
  • School wide Read-A-Thon
Whew--again, April will be a whirlwind month!  But, I can't forget to complete our monthly synonym/antonym activity...I change these out [roughly] monthly on the clothesline I have in our room.  I think they are a great reminder of word choice to use in writing!

April 6th is also my 5th graders 1000th (or so!) day of school...So we are going to celebrate by writing about what they would do with $1000 {FREEBIE}and list of 1000 words they know {$1}!

And of course, I sent students off with their Spring Break Reading/Writing Challenge, and already have their #SnapshotsOfSpringBreak printed for when they get back April 3rd!

How is your April going to be spent?! We'll just call mine "organized chaos." :o)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Placing students in the at CFTC

Yesterday I blogged over at Conversations From the Classroom, check it out by clicking the link below and let me know your thoughts about student placement :o)

Friday, March 10, 2017

March and Spring...the busiest few weeks!

We are one+ week into March and already my head is spinning!

I sent my colleagues a list of March dates last week for our 5th graders, and just typing it out put me on edge....they/we are SO BUSY!  I was trying to keep our support people informed, but I just gave myself anxiety instead! :o)

To recap just this past week and a half since March started:
Scholastic Book Fair
Conferences with an early release (which means we were working on self-reflection and conference forms)
Read Across America Day
Comfy/Cozy Day in 5th grade and reading time all Reading/Language Block (<--The kids loved this time!)
Conference day 2
All-school assembly with a "Dress Your Best" day
Red, White and Blue dress-up day
End of trimester (GRADES!)
Trimester party

This next week we have:
Various rehearsals for our music concert
10-book trimester challenge party
History Comes to Life Presentation (Charles Shultz)

The following week (last week before BREAK, finally!):
More rehearsals, including an African Drumming Resident coming to teach the students
All school performance and night parent performance
Finishing The City of Ember novel study and watching the movie to compare
1st Grade Buddies

...and when we get back from break state testing starts, we start our month-long social studies unit on economy/citizenship, we have an Arbor Day project to complete, etc.

Are you still with me...or did you close the window just as I close my planner when I start to get overwhelmed?!?!

To keep things fun, especially after spring break with the dreaded T word, as well as make sure they are prepared for testing, I created 2 new resources for the classroom!  I am pumped about both of them, as I know my 5th graders are going to rise to the challenge and create some amazing things!

1) Spring Break Challenge-a reading and writing activity
My students loved when I sent them to winter break with More than a Worksheet's {FREE} reading challenge so I wanted to create something that mimicked that, but then took it a step further!  I added writing challenges as well, to really keep them thinking about literacy as a whole over the break.  Because I know all classrooms are a bit different, and things vary from grade-to-grade, I created an editable version for teachers, and included a reward certificate, reward coupon, and brag tags. Click the image to be taken to TpT.

2) Spring Break Snapshots
After break, I wanted students to reflect on their break and be able to share some of the fun things they did, so I created this activity.  My students LOVE all things photos and hashtags, so I know this will be a hit!  The picture will take you to the product on TpT.

And because it is March, of course we are working on St. Patrick's Day items and inviting a bit of the Irish into our classroom with activities like those below.  My students enjoy doing monthly themed activities, just as the younger kids do!  Because St. Patty's day is my favorite, you better believe it will be celebrated in style!

How do you deal with those busy months/times in the classroom?  I am going to embrace it--to the best of my ability--and smiling through the {controlled} chaos that it is.