#EduChat, 2013 to 2014, 4th grade, Gifted Education, Planning, Teacher Evaluation, Using Data in the Classroom

It’s Monday…and 5 1/2 Weeks left until school starts. So let’s set some goals! #4thchat #edchat

It’s Monday, the 1st of July.  There is just over 5 weeks of summer left!  With a new school and the ability to teach all the subject again…to say I am excited doesn’t seem enough.

Just take one giant step at a time!
Just take one giant step at a time!

So what do I have to do the rest of summer?  

A mixture of personal and professional goals.

  1. Get in the habit of exercising!  I truly want to lose weight and become more fit.
  2. Spend some wonderful time with my family!  These last 3 years, moving back from England, have been incredibly fast and furious.  My family has allowed me to focus more than normal on adjusting to new standards and expectations.  In the past 3 years, I have been a 5/6 teacher, gifted and K-2 Science, and 4th grade reading, writing, and social studies for 44 studentes.  It’s been a whirlwind.  So this summer…what’s left…is going to be filled with fun and exploration.  (But, there will be learning involved…so I’ll share.)

    I feel a little overwhelmed..but with 5 weeks...it's all possible!
    I feel a little overwhelmed..but with 5 weeks…it’s all possible and I have friends to help!
  3. I want to get back into the NGSSS and CCSSS rubric I started for ELA.
  4. Begin an annual plan for math, science, social studies using the district pacing guides – so I can look at areas to integrate the ELA standards.  (I really want to integrate!!!)
  5. I have pictures of my new room…and have been reviewing class setups.  I want areas for collaboration, quiet spaces, and an outdoor learning space.  I want to consider colors, boards, spaces, organizing tools – the nicks and knacks I’ll need.  For example, I have a wall of chalk boards and I am thinking of having a a developing picture each week that students craft to show learning.  (More on that later.)
  6. I want to get my lesson plan book up on-line and my paper grade book going so my thinking is organized from the start.
  7. I have been working on lesson plans for Florida’s CPALMS.  The 4 lessons I submitted link to the NGSSS for Science.  I want to use these at the beginning of the year.  One is on bioluminescence!
  8. I need to get a handle on the annual assessments required by the state and our district  – not just to know the time frame – but to have a plan on understanding the data they will give me and how to use it to enhance student learning.
  9. I want to review 3rd grade FCAT reading and 4th grade writing samples to get a sense of where my students can be (that was just one day)…so I can guide my beginning of year plans.
  10. I want to have a strong Assessment for Learning process.  I learned a lot last year from working to implement the Daily 5 (loved it), DIBELS, and more.  I want to get my assessment binder reader.
  11. I want to have a better picture of how to monitor children who are on progress monitoring.
  12. Just take one giant step at a time!
  13. I am going to Flip areas of my classroom – but I will rely on http://www.LearnZillion.com again!
  14. I need a plan for how to integrate technology – using what I will have available and what is useful for my students and families.
  15. I want to have student portfolios…
  16. I need to finish at least one ESOL class.  Ugh..I offered to help run a NASA ZR Robotics Camp at the last minute, and it totally rerouted my focus from these!
  17. Last…I want to have a strong communication system with my parents.
  18. And…I want this all to be simple, efficient so I have more of a balanced life! (I know it can be done!)

There must be more…but I’ll look at this each week. And it’s not lost on me that 3 goals are family goals and 15 are education related (I am such an EduNerd!)

Any ideas or recommendations you would like to share?



Chapter 3 of The Daily5 – Book Review #d5chat

“Children are honored and respected for the types of books 
each needs to read to move toward the goal of being a better reader.” p 33
Welcome to week three of The Daily 5 book study…our host this week is Mrs. Freshwater’s Class.

This week’s shared reading: What’s the Difference?: Key MaterialsConcepts, and Routines For Launching the Daily Five

What “rings” true for you in this chapter?

1.  Why is a gathering place important?

 This was an instructional strategy I learned and used England.  Teaching was from the
floor.  Students were closer so I
could monitor not only behavior, but I could better assess and observe learning.
Students could easily interact easier from the floor and they were closer which allowed me to connect with a variety of students quickly.
I have used a ‘gathering place’ with students up to 6th grade.  Here in the US they weren’t as comfortable at first.  However, over time they sort of resigned themselves to it (since I also was on the floor) and we just got on with it.  In England, students came up through the grades that way and they settled in without thought.
I like the term “gathering place” and intend to use that term rather than “meet on the floor.”  I do intend to buy a bright carpet.  The one in England had the right size squares so student even had their own ‘space.’

2.  How can I best support students to pick appropriate books?

Teach and model I PICK.  I love the book marks found on Treasures for Teaching (see below).
I will also send home a newsletter before school starts to ask for books and share the IPICK strategy so we can ‘launch’ it from the first day!
I will do the ‘shoe’ lesson and ask the librarian if she wouldn’t mind using the same IPICK language.
image from Barnes and Noble.com

       What are my concerns?

Supporting students to pick a book at the right level.  I may need to read  “Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy” by Irene C. Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell

3.  What rituals and routines to I need to teach this structure
to be successful?

  • How to use and keep full their book box.
  • Developing anchor charts and referring back to them.
  • Modeling good and wrong behaviour.
  • Bringing students back to the gathering place if they get
  • off task to soon.
  • Consider my signals and procedures for Checking In.
Treasures for Teaching
I also intend to use the IPICK book marks found on Monica’s Treasures for Teaching!
IPICK Bookmarks by Treasures for Teaching

     Will I need to adapt any?

The thumb over the heart seems good…  I need to think about how it will work with my AFL thumbs up/thumbs down though.

Don’t forget to join Mrs. Freshwater’s Class and Jan from Reading and Thinking Out loud for the blog hop!


Chapter 2 of The Daily5 – Book Review #d5chat

from The Daily 5
“Stay out of the Way” was changed to Respect and I added Resilience to Stamina because I think children learn and need to develop both.

First, Jordan you are in my prayers.   And Mel, although I do not know you, you are in my thoughts and prayers as well.  Blessings and Hugs…so so sorry about your loss. T


Submitted as part of my Daily 5 Book Study on Seusstastic Classroom Inspiration by Mel D.   I am excited to use some of the Chapter Two ideas shared there!  You need to check them out…the timer, the stamina necklaces and charts!  Too fun!

—————-Here are my Chapter Two responses ————————-

1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2?

  • A. for students to have a strong understanding of their learning targets and a sense that they can help direct their own learning.
  • B. to incorporate students’ interests so they can develop a life-long foundation for how to learn and explore.
  • C. To develop independence and trust in our class community so we can communicate clearly learning needs.
  • D. To have a cooperative community so I can provide interventions or enrichments so all students achieve a years worth of learning gains.
  • E. to be able to clearly track rate of improvement (RI) for reading and writing.

1b.  What support do you need to do this?

  • I will be working with our district RTI coach for RI.
  • For the rest, I intend to participate in this book study to learn more about the Daily 5 and I have joined the Daily 5 group on Edmodo (the teachers network) so I can learn from others.
  • I want to start planning for fall to get a sense of others materials I will need.
  • Last, I am teaming up with the third grade teacher ( who is also starting the D5) and hope to collaborate with staff I our school that implemented it last year.
2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter?
  •  What doesn’t? Trust, Choice, Community, Sense of Urgency, Stamina and Respect (rather than stay out-of-the-way) are not only significant for D5 but for a teaching and learning environment and for life skills.  I truly don’t think I could choose one and don’t even know if listening them in order of importance aligns with my beliefs.  
  • Instead, I created the picture above to reflect how I think they all are needed and feed into the higher purpose of education.
3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?
  • Trust:  I feel the teaching and learning relationship is stronger when trust is established on both sides.  In order to learn, students need to feel safe.
  • Choice:  I have always felt the best way and more important way to engage and develop life long learners is by teaching them they to explore their choices.  I want a strong student voice in my classroom.  I want students to learn about what interests them so they can use this foundation to create and problem solve in the future.
  • Community:  We need to help children understand and see value in their home, classroom, community, their nation and our world.  Community is much more than just our classroom but how we learn to work together in class can support learning how to work with others outside.
  • Sense of Urgency:  I always tell my own family I am tired of “I will” and “Paying it forward”.   I want my students to have that sense of  “doing it now” because life moves quickly and we will only be together in class for a 9 months!  I want them to know the ‘why’ they need to learn and how important that is to them.  I already use “I can” statements to share learning objectives with students and ask them “WHY is this important to you?”  I think that is why I am excited about the D5.  It seems to fit what I believe as well.
  • Stamina/Resilience:  Keep Calm and Carry on… We need to move forward regardless.  We all need to learn to hold our focus and be able to ‘do’ something for an extended amount of time.  There are some things that can be accomplished well quickly, but others that need time, practice and reflection if we are to become really good at it!  Oh…and moving on does not mean leaving gaps…stamina is about doing it until we can do is well!
Thank you for putting this book study together.  I am truly grateful because I was heading in this direction of learning and implementing the Daily 5.  Your book study is helping me to truly reflect and approach this new instructional strategy with thoughtfulness and insight.


The Daily 5 Book Study – Chapter 1 – focus on 4th grade

Staring a book review on the Daily 5. I love that I could download it for my NOOK!

I was researching the Daily 5 because I will be implementing the program in my 4th grade classroom next year.

I enjoy collaborating and learning from others so I was excited to find a Daily 5 book review hosted by Suesstastic Classroom Inspiration.  I found some bloggers and some wordpressers to link up with and am excited to learn and gain ideas.

I’m already about pg 55 out of around 90 pages in the text.  So the Daily 5 is not a long read…but it’s full of good information and I love the research links.  (I’m a Sheldon when it comes to researched based teaching and learning.)

This is my first book review on-line.  I don’t always type as fast as I think…so my disclaimer is that the any errors are my own.  Being that this is my reflective blogs/journal…that suits me just fine.

Here are the questions…

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?

This past year I taught science and gifted…but previously I’d say my literacy block was in between.  I did all sorts of small group, changing centers work.  My students became independent for the most part…but I definitely had those wanderers.

How will I change it?  I am going to start the year using the Daily 5 framework as it is recommended.  I hope to supplement instruction by complementing the Daily 5 with Flipping.  So students will be bringing into literacy block knowledge and skills gains from home lessons as well as what we do in class.

What I want to do do better is having students choose their own reading books.

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers?

I integrate reading, writing, speaking and listening into my literacy teaching and learning.  I have students peer and self-assess as well as support.  I try to model what quality work is…asking how it feels, what it looks like and how will they know when they have achieved it.  So as they were at centers, those areas would be built in.  However, I can’t say students had real ownership of the material and what they read.

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?
More student choice and hopefully more time to really develop in students an understanding of personal learning goals.  I guess I’m not sure if I don’t already ‘do’ and have many of the philosophies of the Daily 5 as much as I need to learn how to manage this great plans better.
It’s great to want students to be independent and have your classroom centered around their interests…but at the end of the day…I feel the Daily 5 framework seems to be a proven way to make that happen.  And…I want to NAIL supporting my approaching readers and writers.  I want to have time for them and to have time to stretch my gifted.
 Tomorrow (since they are now in the second week)  I am going to look back over Chapter 2 and consider these questions…
The next chapter begins to discuss the foundation to the management systems used in the Daily 5.  Come back and visit next week!  I’ll be posting my answers to the following questions:
1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?
 2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter?
 3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?