My brain is so tired. I have so much respect now for self-contained multi-age classroom teachers. I have previously taught mainly ELA and Social Studies. I am enjoying the advantages of seeing the same kids all day, but also drowing in my goal to get organized and wrap my head around the best way to plan for multi-levels. I think the blogging world has and will keep me sane...if I still am. I know I overdo it and overthink and over-research and overplan. I need to focus and simplify and take it one step at a time. But I am an analytical list-maker who likes details and big-picture plans and contingency plans.
I have revised our weekly schedule and am figuring it out as I go...which I know is what we all do. We are currently reading No Talking by Andrew Clements. In the book, a group of fifth grade boys and girls have a No Talking contest and can only speak if an adult asks them a question. They only are allowed to respond in 3 word sentences or phrases.
There is an activity in the book where a teacher has them create a story by jumping around the room with each student saying 3 words of the story at a time. It is a fun activity if you can get your students to cooperate. I would probably model it with a few sentences and then either try it in small groups before trying it as a whole class. A responsible class can handle it, but the stories get silly and students keep interrupting because they get confused. It is also fun to have one student be the scribe and write the story down.
I also had my students write about their weekend using only 3 word sentences. We created an example together like "I got up. I brushed teeth. I ate breakfast. Then got dressed." The sentences are choppy and not always completely correct, but it is a fun activity to get students to thinking about being concise and choosing words carefully.
I started really looking at the CAFE book more closely. So we have been working on self-monitoring and checking for understanding. We practiced creating questions on what we read using the question words and then answering the questions. I want to introduce my four-box note-taking strategy to my students as well as talk more about summarizing. So I created an organizer to give them that I am sharing with you. This is a reading note-taking I strategy I use where students make four boxes. Three of the boxes are for before, during, and after reading and the fourth box is for visualizing. I like having students draw what they visualize during read aloud. This helps the fidgety kid who can't sit still. It is a good way to regularly review prediction before reading, monitoring comprehension through questions or description or connections during reading, and summarizing or answering questions after reading. Click here to download.