Next School Year is Right Around the Corner! What I'm Keeping, Losing, and Trying!

Hello there!  It is so nice to see you again!  Welcome to this week's prompt:  What will you keep/lose/try this coming school year?





Next year....

     I am already thinking about what next year will be like.  In Massachusetts, I have heard that the desks only need to be 3 feet apart vs. last year's 6 feet.  I am anticipating wearing masks again as the amount of cases here is on the rise.  Plus, my students are too young to be vaccinated.  

What I'll keep...

     My students LOVED directed drawings last year so I'll definitely keep up with this activity.  Last year I reinforced  what we learned in class with a comparable directed drawing.  I have the kids draw and label the drawings.  In addition, I have them include important information.


 Here is an example of a Wampanoag long house.  You can even find the directions here for free!

     Morning Meetings are a must-have that I will always keep.  Kids need practice learning how to greet others and have conversations.  Listening is another super important skill that I model and emphasize to my students.  Most kids claim that their parents are "always on their phones" or "too busy to listen."  Morning Meeting time becomes even more important and necessary!

What I'll lose...

     I want my students to spend less time on the computer.  Before the pandemic, we used the Chromebooks twice a week in school for one hour each time.  I want to return to less dependence on technology for learning.  

     Last year most of my students had never used a dictionary or heard of encyclopedias.  I know they can look everything up online, but it's also helpful to learn of the "old-fashioned" way for finding information.  There is a comfort in holding a book and turning the pages.

What I'll try...

     Next year I am very excited to dive into our own new reading program:  
     

     



If you are currently using this program, I would love to hear any advice/tips.  I am so excited to offer a new reading program to my students!

     New year we are also starting Fundations in third grade.  We have had one training in June, but I still need to adjust and learn how to use something new.

     Please let me know if you have any insights into any of these activities.  I would love to hear from you.  Thank you for visiting the blog today!





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Communication: All Are Welcome!


Hello friends!  Thanks again for visiting the blog for this weekly link-up sponsored by Hot Lunch Tray!




All Class Virtual Day on Wednesdays!

Every Wednesday, I always signed on to Google Classroom at 8:15.  Class did not start until 8:30.  This way students and/or parents could pop in for a quick check-in or question. It was actually a very nice, casual atmosphere, and we would just chat about whatever the kids wanted.  Plus, parents and other family members were quite curious about online learning and enjoyed listening in.

In addition, I offered a snack story time during our online day on Wednesday.  I even invited siblings if they wanted to join us and listen to the the story.  I would borrow ebooks like Scaredy Squirrely by Melanie Watt and other fun titles:


The younger siblings especially loved being included.  I was happy to oblige because I love reading, and if these kids are happy for 10 minutes, this time makes a difference!  

Remind

This year we used Remind to contact parents.  Remind sends messages directly to the parents' cell phones.  Rather than sending home newsletters (although I did do a few), I sent quick and relevant messages to the parents.

I read many articles last year about how parents felt overwhelmed with the technology and online learning.  I tried not to add to their burden.


Online Conferences

I know that I LOVED having this option.  The parents seemed to like having a scheduled Google Meet set up just for them.  Of course, teachers had to go to school to do conferences due to the contract, but I was happy for the parents to stay in the comfort of their own homes.  


In closing

 A while ago, a student's father remarked how "at this age, you pretty much live with us."  Visiting online gave me the opportunity to have a glimpse into my students' lives and families.  Of course, I would prefer to communicate with my students face to face, but I think we all made the best of a difficult situation and became more resilient in the process!  






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Terrific Technology To Try!: Week 4: Summer Blog Challenge

Hello there!  Welcome to another weekly installment of this Summer Blog Challenge!  Thank you for visiting today!







Screencastify!

While we were fulltime remote and later in hybrid learning (from September until the end of March), I read a chapter from a book every day as part of "At Home Work."   I borrowed ebooks from my local library.  I would then read a chapter and record as I read on Screenscastify.  To ensure the kids had listened and understood, I made quizzes.  I would screenshot (I bet I have broken a lot of copyright laws) a passage and ask a question on a Google Form.

     Here is an example from a Poppleton book.  I love and cannot live without the snipping tool which allows me to make these screenshots.  I still use the snipping tool and highly recommend checking it out if you have not used it!

       Thanks to all my videos, I got recognized in my district by Screencastify.  This is the first time I am telling anyone about this because I don't think my family would even understand (even though they hear me reading and acting out the voices).



Next up is:  More About Google Forms

     A lot of my At Home Work I assigned was made on Google Forms.  It is self-correcting, and I know right away who still needs to finish work.

     During hybrid learning, I wanted to make sure that all my students read the Morning Message, so I turned that into a reading assignment:


This way all students got to read the message and answer the questions.  I always had 5 questions, and one of them was the answer to the Fact of the Day.  My Morning Message also reviews something we learned the day before.  When we have time, I like to ask questions that relate to what we read in the message.  Reading the Morning Message is the last part of our Morning Meeting.

     You can read more about Morning Meetings here.


More About Pear Deck

     I am a HUGE fan of Pear Deck.  I spent so much time teaching myself how to use this add-on and how to use it in breakout rooms.  Here is a link  to a blog post I wrote about Draggable activities.  

      In addition, you can even earn badges!  Badges must be the new thing because I have created a folder for them!

     As always, I appreciate your visit and comments!  





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Currently: Just July and Summer!

Hello there!  Thank you for popping in today!  I am linking up with Anne in Residence for her monthly link-up:






Eating

Now that it is summer, I am trying to eat more vegetables.  My new favorite is spring mix lettuce, strawberries and feta cheese with balsamic vinaigrette.


Feeling

A week ago we had extreme heat:  95, humid, sunny.  Then the temperature dropped to 55 and rainy.  On Friday, I was shivering and put that down to the big drop in temperature.  At night, I rotated between shivering and sweating.  The doctor had me do all this blood work and a chest X-ray.  This cycle started 5 days ago, but I'm feeling/hoping like my fever might have broken last night.  Also, the blood work showed that I have anemia.

Anyway, yesterday I went in the pool to vacuum, and this insect paid me a visit!  I looked it up, and a praying mantis is a sign of good luck.  I'm hoping that I will started feeling better very soon!


Going

My husband and I are going to Block Island in Rhode Island during the last week of July.  We are staying for 3 nights.  I have never been so I am excited to check it out!

Click on picture to read more!



Ordering

My daughter is getting married next June which means I need a mother of the bride dress.  I have learned from my sons' weddings that finding a dress is no easy feat.  Dresses that look great don't always look good in real life.  This dress ~ I fell in love with but waited until it went on sale to buy it.  The dress arrived a few days ago, but I haven't had the energy to try it out.  I am hoping for success!




Realizing

I live for the summer!  I love going in my pool with the sun shining on my sunscreened back looking at the tall, green trees and the bright, blue sky.  I love reading books!  I highly recommend this one:

Click on cover to read more at Amazon.

This book kept my interest, and I read it in two days!

Well, this is all of my news for now.  I am wishing you a happy and healthy summer!  





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Week 3: Summer Blog Challenge: Additional Supports for Students



Hello there everyone!  Happy 4th of July and Happy Summer!  I am delighted to link up for the third week of Hot Lunch Tray's Blog Challenge!






Student Supports

     The cohort part of the year (from September to the end of March) made transitioning back to in-person learning easier.  I met with each student every day multiple times to check in and to help academically.  We spent a lot of time reviewing; even with new material, the students needed more opportunities to retain their new learning.  In the past, I would do centers, and this year, it was each student learning on his or her own.  Luckily, I was able to actively help due to small class size, but then... 

     My students needed even more empathy and support from me.  When we went from cohorts to full-time learning at the beginning of April, the kids were miserable the first week:

"We're so tired."

"We're starving."

"We need the bathroom."

     We had additional class meetings (other than our usually scheduled Morning Meeting).  We thought of solutions to their problems.  One students asked if she could have a second snack during Quiet Time after lunch recess.  Many students jumped on that bandwagon!  That definitely helped with the hunger issue.  The fatigue and need for the bathroom adjustments were fine after that first week.

A support I really missed:  my rug!

     During normal times, my students and I spend a great deal of time on the rug:  for morning meeting, read-alouds, sharing,...  Our rugs were removed to make more space so that the kids could sit 6 feet apart.  I wanted my students to have a change of scenery, but they had to stay at their desks.

     Instead of going to the rug, we had a morning stroll around the perimeter of the classroom.  This was during the cohort part of the year.  We walked for about 5 minutes.  I called it the "train."  Kids would hop on as I passed their desks, and we would just walk.  Special teachers knew we walked at 11:30 every day so they would pop in to join us.

Directed Drawing

     Last year my students and I did a lot of directed drawings.  I tried to make them go along with what we were learning.  I even made my own because I could not find one on how to draw a longhouse!


      While reading over this post and thinking about last year, I can't believe we did it!  Even with all the supports, the success depended on resilience, teamwork and problem solving.  I am so proud of all of us for getting through each day because each day was an adventure!









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