Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust.....

When I came across Amber's Linky Party at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher, I just had to join in - I am constantly critiquing what I am doing, so an end-of-the-year reflection is perfect! 
 Although I still have four weeks of school left, I can already tell you what went really well, and what I'll need to work on for next year. So let's start!

The Good

1. Team Activities  This year my teammate and I vowed to incorporate more team building and group activities. We did a ton of awesome stuff this year:
  • Beginning of the Year Get-To-Know-You Team Builders (Cross the River, Human Knot, etc...) 
  • Making tie-dye t-shirts in our team color - Go Team Yellow!
  • Liquid Nitrogen Ice-Cream Making with a guest speaker from Cryo Tech
  • Hoot Pancake Breakfast with Cocoa before our Christmas Break
  • Storigami Storyteller Christine Petrell Kallevig
  • Mythapalooza Toga Party! - Students performed Pluto Takes a Bride & Perseus and the Sea Monster. Then we enjoyed some Greek food and watched the Percy Jackson movie.  :-)
  • Wordle End of the Year Student Gifts (yet to come!)
2. Class Dojo   This revolutionized my classroom management. Students were more involved and really working toward those positive points and trying to avoid getting negative ones. with any behavior management system, it works best when I'm consistent with it.

 3. Teaching Blog & Collaboration
When I starting this teaching blog, I had originally intended for it to be a place for reflection, and to share some strategies and resources through TpT. I didn't fully realize how much I would enjoy sharing and collaborating with other blogging teachers.  And I didn't realize how much I would learn and gain from others - Mother's Day printables, insights into implementing the Daily 5 and CAFE, and especially Charity Preston's advice at TBTS.  More locally, I've been lucky to have an amazing Teaching Assistant for most of this year. She is fully involved, jumps in with insights and explanations, happily helps with grading, brings humor to the class, and has become a terrific friend. I can only hope that we are scheduled together next year as well.

The Bad

1. New Spelling Program
We switched to a high-frequency focus this year with 50 words that all sixth-graders must master by the end of the year. Every two weeks students would focus on four words they personally missed on the pre-test, completing one homework assignment. That wasn't the bad part. The bad part was trying to efficiently keep track of which students were working on which words each week. Also - they had "Spelling Buddies" who would theoretically help them study and quiz them. But very often, they couldn't find their paper telling them which words they were doing, their partner could not pronounce the word accurately, and and if they got just one wrong, their grade was a 75.  And with only 4 words every two weeks, few of my students took it very seriously or ever really studied.

2. Individualized Student Interventions
With the switch this year from 80 minutes of English Language Arts to trying to fit in both ELA and Social Studies into 100 minutes, I've been scrambling to cram in the full curriculum of both subjects and have not been great at making time to meet with students individually. My students have grown this year, but not to the extent that I'm happy with. I really hope that the Daily 5 and CAFE will help with that next year.

The Ugly

3. Organization
Supplies, filing cabinet, desk arrangement, wall design, lack of coherent units....... EVERYTHING needs a tune up next year! Again, I think the Daily 5 and and CAFE will help with organizing classroom routines. I'm moving more items to binders and working on unit plans based on the Common Core. Here are a few ideas I want to try:

So how did your year go? Stop on over to Amber's Blog and link up!


  1. I have never heard of Class Dojo, I will need to read up on that. Organization was on my improvement list too. Looks like you had a wonderful school year!
    Special Teaching in the Middle

  2. Thanks for commenting Alana! This year has been a little trying sometimes but this helped me realized just how much happened that was positive.


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