Saturday, October 4, 2014

Monday Routine - Intros, intros, intros...

Before I begin, my teaching partner, Shane, has recently started a blog.  Unlike me, he has spent his entire career in 4th grade (20 years I think).  Like me, he is endlessly looking for ways to making teaching and learning more exciting and effective.  This year he is focusing solely on math.  I highly recommend heading over to his blog and checking out his posts.  I especially like his list of math review activities that he uses in his classroom.

Two weeks ago, we took half the afternoon to attend a professional development session to help us with our newly adopted ELA series, McGraw Hill Wonders.  Although the session was supposed to be focused around the online portion, our presenter started with an overview of the series.  She was an excellent presenter, but her take on how to structure the series into our weekly routine was only slightly more realistic than the series itself.  If you are using Wonders, which I assume you are if you've read this far, you know what I mean.

The students would have whiplash if we frantically covered so many facets of ELA in each day.  My schedule used to have ELA chopped up into a few smaller teaching blocks, but this year I have one solid 70 minute block.  Since I teach this three times each day, it's all I have to focus on.

Most days we start off with 10 minutes of writing in our spirals, but then we plan to go in depth in a different area each day of the week.  Mondays however, are different.  There are a lot of introductions this day.  I'm pretty exhausted at the end of the day Monday, and think this is how I would feel everyday if I followed the Wonders structure.

We spend about 10 minutes looking over the Essential Question for the week.  I project this on our Smartboard.  This is a great time to review and practice the speaking and listening goals.  I then go into our "Weekly Phrase" and mini biography.  This is something that I added.  I love quotes, and spent a day this summer pairing a quote (or proverb) with each week's theme.

Another 10 minutes is spent with the interactive read-aloud in Wonders.  I like the idea of working with students' comprehension of something they only hear, and can't read along.  I've tried to come up with a quick response for students after I read.  I give each a post-it note to write their response, and then stick up on the board.  (Below went with Week 2)  Students cover up their number with their post-it.  It then makes their answer anonymous to classmates once it's up on the board, and we can discuss answers.  Also, it's a quick way to see who's post-it is still needed.  I forgot to take a pic after the post-its were up:(

At this point, we usually take a GoNoodle break.  However, my first group usually needs this sooner. I just finally started using GoNoodle this year, and would highly recommend it.

Then I pass out their Weekly ELA sheet.  This is something I made to organize their spelling, vocab, reading log, and other goodies.  We spend a minute or two going over the parts, and a quick overview of the spelling focus for the week.

LAST THING is vocabulary.  If I'm able to stick to my sketched out timing for the above items, that leaves me with 20 minutes.  I use the online vocabulary interactive page in Wonders, and students complete a page I designed as we go.  We start with the "Example" and students try to use context clues to help figure out the word's meaning.

Next, we look over the "Routine" tab.  Students are encouraged to write down a definition for themselves that they like.  I've been impressed at how well students are coming up with good meanings for the words.  Then, we decide how the word is being used in the Example sentence, and add the word to our Vocab Wall, and they add it to the chart on their paper.

Believe it or not, I almost got everything done in the last two Mondays!  I had from 2-4 vocab words left in each class to finish up the next day.  I'm still spending more time than I should going over our ELA sheet and other routines, so I'm hopeful that we'll finish this coming Monday.

To my blog readers who are teaching Wonders, please feel free to let me know what you think, or what you are doing.  I created this blog in hopes of it being a vehicle for good discussion of implementing Wonders.

Next up...Tuesday.  A day we focus on using the Workshop story to learn or review RL or RI standards.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Mary! I am excited to see what will happen after we've been using this series for a few years. My routines are very similar to what you're doing and I would imagine 3rd grade is similar, too. It think it will really benefit our students to have a consistent ELA structure. Thanks for sharing your routine! I should do a similar post one of these days...

    EduKate and Inspire