Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Narrative Writing~Winter Stories

We have been working hard on our writing lately.  I was excited to find this Winter Friends Craftivity from Amy Lemons.  You can get it {HERE}  It has the template for the friends and the writing paper.  She is super talented!  We spent one day filling in a graphic organizer with characters, a setting, a problem and a solution.  Then they began brainstorming for their story.  They were to have 3 paragraphs, introduction to the story, a winter problem and a solution.  They did a rough draft on notebook paper then we did our final, edited drafts on the paper you see in the pics.  The kiddos were so excited to make their "peoples" after we finished all the writing!
Click on the pics to make them larger.

 Our "I Can..." Statement

A look at the whole class!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year...Reflection and Goals

After recharging over winter break, we are going to spend some time the next couple of weeks working on reflection and goals.  I truly believe that third graders are fully aware of what they can do and what goals would be appropriate for them. 

Having said that...they can play us!  Right?  You know what I'm talking about.  "Fake" reading, not completing classwork or homework, "losing" things that need to be completed.

So, here are some ways I'm combating this epidemic:

I post homework completion.  I know some people don't agree with posting things, but it is just a simple X if they turned it in.  No scores.  Completely in their power and it motivates many kiddos.

I send home homework progress reports every couple of months.  This is just a word document with their name, reminders about homework expectations, and that they turned in homework __________ weeks out of _________.  Parents have told me that they appreciate the communication. 
Get my freebie off Tpt {HERE}.

I use tables not desks.  No lost papers.  Organized and neat.  I know you may not have this option.  I requested tables for several years before I got them!

I have students keep all their papers in their cubbies separate from their desk.  Thankfully my firefighter husband enjoys building furniture on the side.  Yay! For me.  I can check their cubbies often and they keep all of their work books and journals there.  Any loose papers go in a "work to finish" folder.  They have a "book box" for their books that they are reading, 3 classroom-good fit books and any library books or books from home, bookmarks, and reading response journal (they must write in their journal after each book they read).  They go "book shopping on Monday and Wednesday and get new books if they need them.  This solves my pet peeve of kids hanging out at the bookcases during independent reading doing guess what?  NOT reading!
Nothing gets lost in their cubbies or book boxes.

I keep a folder with a class list attached in my "Turn in Box".  When students turn in their work they cross their name off and put it in the folder.  I can quickly look and see who is finished/not finished and students get a sense of accomplishment when they finish an assignment.  You know...crossing stuff of their "to do" list.  I also keep a Turn-In Basket Sign that I got off TpT reminding them to check for their name, if everything is complete and if they did their best work.  After they check they highlight their name and turn it in in the folder.  This has dramatically cut down on "no name" papers.

Maybe some of these ideas will help you too.
My next goal is to work on a data board and/or folder for students.  This will help them with their reflection and goals.
Does anyone have any good strategies for posting, sharing and goal setting using student data?