Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Classroom Motto: Work Hard, Play Hard

We began the year in August by setting goals using the 5th grade Manifesto by Kelly Malloy.

Besides being a beautiful project, it was a great reflection piece at Open House in April.  Students were able to look back on their original goals and tell their parents how they have accomplished them throughout the year.  Click HERE for more information. 

Reflecting on the 5th grade Manifesto was also part of their "Open House Scavenger Hunt" which made Open House a huge success, because the children were in charge of showcasing what they accomplished throughout the year.  I was just there for a meet and greet. 

Not one parent had to ask me how their student was doing because their student was able to answer that question. 

 We also set reading goals each month, and then reflected on them at the end of the month so we could make new goals.  HERE is the link to an earlier post on how I do this in my classroom.

I am so pleased with how my students progressed.  We used Accelerated Reader to measure our reading each month, and every student hit 50 points.  Many students reached 100 points or more.  On Friday the class celebrated with a pizza party.
I got so caught up into serving the pizza, that I forgot to take pictures.  Along with the boxes of pizza the cafeteria brought beautiful huge strawberries, cantaloupe slices and juice boxes. It was not your everyday cafeteria pizza. It was a special delivery, that the kids enjoyed (and I didn't have to pay out extra cash-- so it was a double win!)

Some of the most rewarding comments include:

  • "I didn't think I could ever reach 100. I think I'll go for 150 next year."
  • "Last year I only reached 5 points and this year I did 75."
  • "Do they do AR over at the other school? Maybe I'll get a head start and read this summer."
  • "I had such a hard time getting to 50, and now I'm at 100!"
We used the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) and all of my students showed growth. About half the class showed two, three, and even four years of reading growth.  Of course I hope it shows up on the big state test, but my main goal is to help students learn to love to read, reflect, and become life long learners. 

Last week I passed out their "Summer Journals".

I am hoping that the students will use these journals for three things:
  1. Jot down things they do and think during the summer.
  2. List the books they read, so they can take AR tests when then start school next year.
  3. Reflect on their summer and make new goals for their school year next year.  
    One of my colleagues suggested I add a book review.  So I did.  This summer journal was given to the fourth grade teachers so I am hoping some students are ready to share their favorite summer books.      

I have included sites they can use to read and practice math. Through our county, students have access to Tumble Books. We also have an account with Storia. If you know of any free online sites, I would love to hear about them.

Meanwhile, here are some free math sites my students love: 

My goal is that my students use these fun websites to play this summer.  They love these sites, but they also learn from them.  They worked hard during the school year, and now they can play hard.

An added bonus to these journals was the addition of the student autograph pages.  Since our 5th graders move on to a new campus next year, we take all 5-6 classes out so they can sign autographs and write notes to their friends.
Pages were included where we added their pictures and spaces to write to each student, and then we had a few "free for all" pages where anyone could sign.

Finally, because I like to color, there are a few coloring pages like this one.
Being a sand collector, I always hit a couple of beaches in the summer. 

What else should be added to the journal? 
Any thoughts? 
I'd love to hear some suggestions.

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