Friday, August 28, 2009

We survived the first full week!!!

I started to type "I" but changed it to "we" because we are all in this together. Just me and fifteen 8 (almost 9 as they constantly remind me) year old boys. This was our first full week of school and boy was it long. I think we got a lot accomplished though.

And as I was glancing at my assessments from today (fancy word for tests for you non-teachers), they looked pretty good. But even without them, I could tell there was some good learning going on this week. We read four chapters of our novel...and we learned all about maps and the planet/continent/country/state and city we live on/in.

I feel like we are finally getting in a groove with the schedule and I am starting to learn their personalities and get to know them better. They are really a funny, sweet, smart group of young men and I really look forward to teaching them this year.

I am also adjusting to the new grade and the new principal. Lots of changes at our school this year. But I am always up for a challenge.

Well it Friday night, and I am out of school mode and ready to enjoy a little down time before I have to get working in finishing lesson plans for this week.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Daniel X- Watch the Skies!!!

As a teacher, I always look forward to the start of a new school year, and a fresh set of young readers to teach. I also look forward to keeping up with my students from previous years and seeing how they are doing as they move up in school.

Last Friday, throughout the day I had visits from 4 of my boys from last year in 4th grade. They did not stop by to tell me about their summer, or ask how my group of 3rd grade boys was doing this year...nope...word had gotten out that I had a copy of the new Daniel X book by James Patterson (okay, I sort of let the cat out of the bag to one of my former students).

You see, last year I had read and reviewed the first Daniel X book (click here to read that review). And it was so good I used it as a read aloud in my 4th grade all boys class. They LOVED it! And when I say LOVED I mean LOOOOVVVEEEDDD! Several of them borrowed it and read it on their own.

So I was very excited when I heard the newest Daniel X book was out, and I was given the opportunity again, to read and review it here on m blog. I read the first 30 pages immediately after the Fed-Ex guy delivered it to my house this summer. And quickly polished off the book within a day or two, and decided to read it again. It is THAT good!!

In this latest book, Daniel, a young Alien Hunter, continues to take on wildly interesting characters from other planets who come to Earth to destroy the human race. Daniel has superpowers which he uses to defeat these unsavory characters, including the ability to conjure up a group of friends who help in in the fight, and his parents (who were killed by the infamous Ergent Seth in the beginning of Patterson's first Daniel X book).

Daniel tries, sometimes unsuccessfully, to fit in among his peers on Earth bu attending school, ad dating, but these attempts often fall short as Daniel's battles with aliens must take precedence.

Patterson uses vivid language and descriptions, along with lots of action to hook his readers. What 9, 10, or 14 year old boy can resist a story packed with a plethora of outlandish aliens, out of this world weaponry and references to the electronics, language, food and places of today's pop culture.

Research shows that around grade 3 o 4 boys began to lag hind girls in reading. When asked why they on;t read as much as they play video games, listen to iPods, text their friends, etc. most boys will s it is because there is nothing interesting for them to read. Daniel X provides a great reading experience for boys from grade 3 on up.

As a teacher, I think one o the greatest benefit to reading these books to my students and getting them hooked on this series, is that the chapters are short(usually 2-3 pages) and boys can get a quick sense of accomplishment after reading less than 20 minutes.

I am already reading the first Daniel X book to my current class of 3rd grade boys, and plan on reading the second book to them as well. That is when I get it back from my 4 students from last year who are already lined up to borrow it!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 1 down....179 to go!!!

Just is going to be a long year if I am already on the countdown (after Spring Break is another story!)

Today actually went pretty well. I keep having to remind myself, my boys are sorta still 2nd graders. I have 17 on my roster but I think I will end up with 15. Two no-shows today. That means the next few new male 3rd graders will go directly to me.

We will ease into instruction between now and next Monday. Today we did a little writing, some reading and lots of ice breaker/getting to know you activities.

Today we played "Big Fat Liar"....I bill this as they only time I will let you lie to me and get away with it. I start out by telling them 4 things about me (I also write them on the board). I intentionally select one thing of the four that is un-true. For instance I told them:
1. I have a dog named Ella
2. I was born in Greenville
3. I have lived in Alaska
4. Before I became a teacher, I had my own bakery

So, can you guess which one is the lie? It is #2- I am not a Greenville native..I was actually born in Virginia. Two of the 15 boys actually guessed correctly. Most of them thought that #3 was the lie.

Next I had them come up with 4 things about themselves (and one had to be a lie). They came up with some great ones...I will be reading them to the class over the next few days and see if they can guess which one is untrue. I also did a "getting to know you" scavenger hunt. They had to go around and find a class mate who matched the description/statement, such a A person who visited Mexico this summer or A person whose favorite ice cream is vanilla. It forced them to get up and move around. talk to their class mates , and find out new and interesting things about them. I think it was very successful.

Dismissal was a bit crazy, but all in all we had a good first day. Tomorrow we have school-wide procedures day. We'll also give some math, reading and social studies assessments. It is going to be a busy one.....

Signing off...will check in later!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to School.....with 17 Boys!!

The first day of school is only 2 days away...YIKES!! I would love to say I am ready for my boys, but that would make my nose grow! I am excited about a new year, and new classroom, and working with my new 3rd grade team....and yes, my 17 little 3rd grade friends, all of the male gender!! I love the first days of school, new books, pencils, clothes, is going to be a great year! I can feel it!

I saw my roster Friday. And while it is still subject to change, I saw lots of familiar names. Many of the boys I will have in class this year were in the single-gender program last year. And they were in class with my son Noah. Noah will be going back to our neighborhood school this year. But I feel like I already have a bond with many of these boys because I know them through him. I am also excited to have the brother of one of the boys I taught last year in 4th grade in my 3rd grade class this year. I already have an established relationship with his family and while I know both boys are different, I know this one already from having his brother last year. They have a younder brother in 2nd grade and hopefully I will get him next year as well.

So ready or not...the school year is started. It is ging to be a wild ride, so bookmark my blog and follow us on our adventure....