Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Learning

Well, my first year as a reading teacher is officially over. As always, I found myself thinking about next year and what I want to do differently as I packed up my room. Last year I was put into this position unexpectedly and had no time to plan and prepare for the year. Now I have time to plan. So here are some plans and thoughts.
Summer Learning
I'm currently enroute to ISTE.  (The picture above is from my train ride to Philly.) I have several sessions in my planner that deal with tech and elementary reading so that's where the summer learning begins. Besides the sessions I'll be learning from my PLN as well.
Next up will be two days spent with the other reading teachers in my district. We'll be aligning current technology, websites, and apps to the skills we have to teach. I'm the only one that uses tech so I think it will involve quite a bit of teaching and sharing on my part. I'm not sure what type of document I'll put this into yet but I hope it helps next year as I plan lessons.
I use a wiki for my class web page. It needs some work to make it more attractive and this year's work needs to go on one page and off the side bar.
Next year I'm moving out of my closet sized room and into a larger room. I'm thrilled I'll have room for some of my thousands of books and room for us to move and be more active learners. Part of my summer will involve setting up this new learning environment.
Thoughts for next year
Increase use of tech in meaningful ways.
Invite parents to stop by at open house and at that time explain and hand out permission slips for pictures on the internet.
Plan more lessons that involve movement.
Let kids creativity shine, just not sure how I'll accomplish this yet.
Send home monthly notes to parents with websites, apps, books, and how to help at home ideas.
At the end of the year burn kid's projects to a CD.
Think about an end of the year project for parents to come on and see.
Well, I think that's enough ideas to keep me busy for awhile. What will you be doing to make next year an even better year?

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Second Grade Research Reports

When I taught in the classroom I did research reports every year with my students. I decided to give it a try in the reading room. You can read more about it and see the finished projects here.
Next year I'll continue to begin the project in May. Even though there were a lot of test days June was no better. Next year I need to do more modeling of writing sentences about I want to learn about my topic and talk about not making therm so specific its hard to find an answer or ask questions they already know the answer too. It was obvious I didn't do a god job on this. My modeling of opening/closing sentences was a little hit and miss with the groups. Next year I should start a list of good opening/closing sentences as I read to them and from the books we read throughout the year. Overall I was pleased with the project. The highlight was watching them make their animals. Some of them were so creative. I'm convinced I have to find more ways for the kids to show their creativity next year.
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