Saturday, August 22, 2015

First Week of 4th Grade!

School started on Thursday of this week after an Open House Tuesday night. ALL of my kids in my homeroom came to Open House where I had the chance to meet them AND their parents or guardians. After leaving Tuesday night, I knew we were ready for a great year!

This post will be a Frankenstein's Monster of pictures and reflections! Enjoy!

My husband took an idea I had and brought it to life by making me this Signpost!
 I did the writing on the boards, but everything else was all him and I'm obsessed with how it turned out.

I wanted my classroom door to reflect what we will be working on when it comes to building a classroom reading community. I added the "spines" of the books I read this summer and as students finish books in class, they will add the spines to the "bookshelves" on the door. I can't wait to see this filled up as the year goes on.

I have some great colleagues in 4th grade this year. They came up with the idea of doing some sort of social media board in our hall and then after a few discussions and some Pinterest browsing, we came up with this. Our Math teacher did all the labor on this one and I loved how her idea came to life. We will change out hashtags and photos, stories and drawings as the year goes on.

Our classroom library is the epicenter of the room and two days in, it is already getting a lot of use! We have gathered here to share stories this week and a lot of people gravitate to this area to work. 

Our first teacher day was Monday and it left me finally feeling prepared to start the school year. I didn't make it up to school as much as I usually do to prepare, but things went off without a hitch. After two days of schedule tweeking and getting used to my new daily duty as the Social Media Director (LOL) I think we finally might be in a groove for next week!

So, two years ago when I first went to fourth, I started chatting with my now reading bff, Lisa from Fourth and Ten. She was so helpful that first fourth grade year and gave me lots of ideas and support. She is the one who encouraged me to read Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna in the first days of school. We read the book and then did her Toothpaste Words activity to go along with it. We talked about how the toothpaste is like the feathers from the story. Once they are out, it's hard to get them back. This is always a hit each year (this is my third year doing it) and it leaves a lasting impression. It also proved as an excellent connection to Each Kindness, which I shared on Friday and we will do an activity with that Monday. I'll be sure to share.

I think taking the time to share these stories and build this community makes a huge difference!

Speaking of our community, the last book we shared for the week was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This book was shared with me from another friend, a third grade teacher in my building. We read the book and then watched the video. We talked about how books can help you escape reality and make you feel lots of different emotions. One student even added: 
"A book a day keeps reality away." Nailed it.

A little reflection: These kiddos feel like babies compared to the big bad 6th graders I just let go mere months ago. They are so cute, kind and SWEET. They are so sweet! I am loving my time with them already and I know this year will be the best yet. I am so excited to get back to work on Monday.

I hope everyone had a great start to the 2015-2016 school year. If you're not back yet, I encourage you to think about really spending some time with your kids during the first couple of weeks to get to know them and build a strong classroom community. You will reap the benefits all year!


  1. This is my first year in 4th grade and I agree-they are SO sweet! I just love their personalities and their positive attitudes in the classroom. I look forward to seeing all of your wonderful ideas that I can incorporate into my new classroom. Hope you have a fantastic year!

  2. I was wondering if you could email me a copy of the Donalyn Miller quote you showed outside of your door on a picture you posted on Twitter? I'm following you now and can't wait to share ideas! Thanks so much!!!


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