What can you expect in our classroom?
The daily schedule can be found in the links on the left on our class website. Each day, we do our best to keep the same schedule and follow the same routine. Any changes will be reviewed at Morning Meeting or in advance.
When students first arrive in the morning, they will need to come in and part of their morning routine is to copy down assignments from the homework board. Before going to lunch, students will need to have their assignment books on their desks open to their assignment page so that I can initial it for completion. The expectation is that students will then bring it home to you for your initials as well. Please review their assignment book to ensure that they have completed their work.
You can expect some assignments to be the same each day or week. Students are expected to read for 30 minutes nightly, complete two KidBiz articles each week at 75% or higher, nightly math homework from their math teacher, and completing their weekly assignment (geography, language arts or math) that are due on Mondays. Students will also have a quiz on the weeks that they have word study on Friday, so Thursday night studying of words is suggested. Kidbiz and the weekly assignment may be completed in school, so check with your child. Students are also able to complete more than two Kidbiz each week if they choose. Some weeks, there may be an additional assignment such as Khan Academy or another activity to complete at home. Please check your child's assignment book for these.
I often compare reading (and writing!) to playing video games or playing soccer or learning a new dance. You can watch a great player or dancer to learn from them; you can listen to a great coach or teacher to help you; you can go to soccer games or dance recitals to see teams work together; you can read or watch tutorials about how to get better. However, for actually learning to do those things, you have to DO them! Video game players get better by video gaming, soccer players get better by playing, dancers get better by dancing...with the help of a good coach or teacher or mentor. I firmly believe that reading and writing are the same...you have to do the reading or writing, with someone coaching you, to truly learn it! So, expect your child to do A LOT of reading and writing this year!
Readings Logs: Students will be required to keep a reading log for the month of September. This will help me to understand them as a reader: Do they finish books, or read lots of books without finishing? Are they reading at home? Do they read JUST 30 minutes at home or do they read more than what is required? Is there any kind of book that they seem to read? All of those questions can be answered from from a reading log in conjunction with conferring with the student and a reading survey. For reading accountability throughout the year, they will have different tasks to work on that will keep students on track with their reading.
Reading Expectations: Students are expected to read at least 30 minutes each night. I understand that some nights are busy and they may not get to their reading; I do ask that they find time to "make up" for that 30 minutes of reading on another night. I need your help in ensuring students are reading daily at home; this should be as important as completing written homework for any other subject. At-home reading is much less structured than what is done at school, so you shouldn't expect a ton of at-home reading "work" to be done beyond the nightly reading. I'm less concerned with the book levels of student at-home reading than I am with the actual act of reading at home! So, while they occasionally will have some at-home reading work to do such as jotting or a Reader's Notebook activity, I simply want them reading something that they want to read! If you want some suggestions for at-home reading, please let me know!
Reader's Notebook: In this notebook, students will have a section for our Read Aloud, Writing About Reading, and Minilessons. The Read Aloud and Minilessons section will be completed at school with me; the Writing About Reading will have questions or responses for students to work on, and that would be the reading "work" that I referred to above that might spill over from school into homework on occasion. All Writing About Reading will have to do with our Minilesson for that day.
Choosing Books: Students should have a book that they are reading at their just-right reading level, plus a back-up book in their book baggie (book baggie supplied by me). Students should be sure to have a back-up book! It's so important that they have something ready to go when they finish whatever book they're reading. Students can choose from my book bins, the library, or at home. Sometimes students will be assigned a book to read with their book clubs or book partnerships. They should keep that in their book baggies.
Book Clubs and Partnerships: Sometimes students are working with others in a group or partnership. This is when they are assigned a book or are given the opportunity to choose a book to read with others. The group or partners set what is being read together - in school! In the case of an absence, students should read at home, but otherwise, all Book Club and Partnerships reading should be done in school. This guarantees that the reading and its work are completed and not left at home for the group meetings or partner talk. If a student finishes their required reading for their group or parntership in school, they must have their back up book to read! That's why it is so important to have their back up book with them in their book baggies.
Reading Comprehension and Close Reading: Throughout the year, students will be responsible for completing reading comprehension work and close reading activities. These require students to read or listen to the text carefully, use strategies for comprehension, and respond to their reading in a written format. These responses will either be in their Reader's Notebook or papers from me.
Writer's Notebook: A student's writer's notebook is a place for ideas. It's not a place for rough copies or good copies! It's a place to plant seeds of ideas, take some notes, and a safe space to work and try out new things that we are learning in writing. First, we will spend a lot of time gathering ideas. From there, we write, and many times we do fun activities and exercises to practice what we are learning. In their Writer's Notebook, students have the opportunity to start something new, look over something old, change something that they've written before, or finish a piece that was previously unfinished. While it sounds like an unstructured notebook, each activity is quite purposeful and meaningful in helping your child grow as a writer.
Journal: Students will be required to write in their Journal once weekly. They have a variety of prompts to work from, including narrative, expository/informational, persuasive, and freewrites. The objective of this kind of writing is to give studetns the opporotunity to get their pencil to the paper and get ideas down. While they have expectations - best work, answering the prompt, best handwriting, etc. - this is an un-graded assignment. I am looking for completion of writing each week. They will have teh opportunity to take several of their writing pieces to the next level of publishing several times throughout the year, but until that time, I'm not worried about the details of their writing!
For their journal, the important stuff is...
- best spelling, punctuation and mechanics that they know how to do
- independent work - please use this as an opportunity to allow them to sit and write
- an opportunity to complete low-stakes writing - no adults nit-picking over every little error, as this can be the "thing" that turns students against writing
- maybe begin to foster a love of writing, or to give those who already love it a chance to write some more!
- encouragement for students who may feel stuck while writing...you can help them come up with ideas, or to choose a different prompt to write from.
- Please...check for completion, but this is low-stakes and later, when we publish, we will work on some of the things that might be bothering you about their writing :)
For their journal, the important stuff is NOT...
- editing - please don't correct notebooks for spelling, grammar, mechanics, punctuation. It's not the time or place for it just yet!
- revising - please don't correct their ideas, ask for more details, or point out glaring issues. It's not the time or place for it just yet, either!
Students will be responsible for completing any missed schoolwork at home for homework. Generally, this should not be an issue, as students have ample time to complete work during the school day. If student behavior or focus is causing a problem for a student's work completion, I will be in touch.
Students are expected to follow the schoolwide positive behavior expectations that include being ready, respectful and responsible. These expectations encompass a majority of the school day behaviors and expectations. Students are also expected to follow the Bobcat Pledge at all times of the school day.
Student electronics, including cell phones, must remain off and in their backpacks for the duration of the day.
We strive to maintain high expectations for student behavior inside and outside of the classroom. One way to make that fun are a few of the management activities we have:
Tickets: Students can earn tickets for being exceptionally read, respectful, or responsible throughout the day. They turn in their tickets to the raffle bins to earn prizes such as sock day, gum day, comfy chair for the week, etc. Raffles are on Friday afternoon!
Compliment Paws: We track compliments on behavior from other adults in the building. Once we reach ten compliments, we choose a class prize: extra recess, class sock day, etc.
Bobcat Brags are always fun to earn, too!
Students will have a variety of CE activities, including band and strings lessons this year! I will let your child know when their band or strings lesson is (by Day number) and I encourage them to keep it on a sticky note on their desk. It's important that you remind your child to bring their instrument to school each day as part of their growth in responsibility.
CE is also a chance for students to work on a variety of activities such as remediation and enrichment in various subject areas. We typically spend two days a week on reading/writing, and two days a week on math, with one catch-up day. Students will be working on activities on their just-right level for both language arts and math. These 'just right' levels may be found using Kidbiz or Khan academy, reading levels, the MAPs learning continuum, or classroom observations and assessments.