Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Sometimes my insomnia is beyond frustrating, but sometimes it yields exciting new classroom ideas. I'm thankful it's the middle of winter break and I don't really have anywhere to be until around noon tomorrow because my brain simply will not shut off.
I have a million ideas bouncing around in my head for the new year.
I have my next bulletin board picked out. They're going to write constructed responses about the themes in their latest novel. We're going to type these responses, thus giving extra computer practice for those who need it.
I will then take the two novels that we've read as a class (Esperanza Rising and The Lightning Thief) to model comparing and contrasting how the authors arrive at similar themes (family, loyalty, bravery) using the characters. (CCSS/NVACS RL 5.9. Yes, we've renamed the Common Core Standards the Nevada Academic Content Standards for well, in my humble opinion, ridiculous reasons.)
I'm excited to start using music for transitions in my classroom, especially at the end of the day.
I'm excited to start teaching more mapping skills, geography, earth science, and most importantly, the return of the map:
Oh yes, we'll build it up again from scratch. There was a disagreement within my grade level about how to approach maps. I understand the idea of starting with the 13 colonies, but I also stand by my approach of teaching regions.
We're going to start with what they know: Nevada. From there, we'll do the surrounding southwestern states. We'll talk about things these states all have in common and I'll introduce the concept of a region. From there, we'll explore the other states in a quasi-reverse Westward Expansion kind of way. We can also connect the map with the settings from Esperanza Rising and The Lightning Thief, which will bring in an exciting literary aspect.
But perhaps the idea I'm most excited about shall be called Teaser Tuesday.
I'll take fifteen minutes or so after lunch to read aloud the first chapter or two of a book. Read alouds are a pretty common thing in my fifth grade classroom, but here's the new twist: It'll be a mystery. I'll have the book cover and title hidden. I'll read just enough to get them interested and of course, stop at a good part. From there, I'll have them do a written reflection on whether or not they'll want to continue that novel independently.
I've already brainstormed using the following novels:
Number the Stars
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
The Bad Beginning
Steal Away Home
The Red Pyramid
Any other ideas fellow teachers? Must read novels that are super interesting to ten year olds within the first few pages or chapters?