Sunday, September 29, 2013

I {LOVE} Fall, Y'all !!!

Hello, sweet friends......I hope you have found some time during your weekend to relax and enjoy some calm.  I have not.....yet.....but calm is on the horizon!  After this blog post, I'm gonna grab some papers and watch the Cowboys game with the hubs.  (Yes, I count grading as relaxing {kind of} because at least I get to sit still!!)

First, let me just say.....that I {LoVe} fall!!!  I love the colors, I love the smells, I love the food, and I love pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks!!!  It's an all-around-good-time!!!!

BUUUUTTTTT.....more than I love all of that.....I love fall décor!  I went to Hobby Lobby this weekend (without my husband.....deliberately) and bought Halloween decorations.  His first question to me was, "How much money did you spend?".....he he :) creativity....but, oh well!

Here is a little peek at my ~awesomely spooky~ finds :)
And then, I found this *perfect* Halloween garland at was destiny.....I had to buy it!
Now, on to more teacher-related craziness......
The day after I made my post about how I do ELA (with Daily 5 and Journeys), my team members and I (it was a group decision) decided that we would rather teach in units or themes.  We all thought that with a theme or unit, we could extend the learning into all subjects.  Example: We did Johnny Appleseed last week, so not only did we read about Johnny Appleseed and write about Johnny Appleseed, but we also learned about the life cycle of an apple tree and it's seasons.  We also did some work with maps and timelines that involved Johnny Appleseed's life and where he moved and planted trees along the northeast. 
Needless to say, we were drenched in Johnny Appleseed all week long, in all of our subjects and it seemed like the days just flowed better, ya know?  We weren't jumping around from one subject to another (at least it didn't feel that way), but rather simply connecting our knowledge across the curriculum.  I truly enjoyed it and the kids did too!  They were Johnny Appleseed experts by the time we were through. 
With our math, it was simple.  We added apples to whatever it was were learning.  If I gave them a word problem, it was still 3rd grade math, but it involved orchards and apples instead of whatever other boring nouns we normally find in word problems (books, pencils, etc)!
There is one downside to doing themes/units, though......not all of my kiddos have the same book.  What I mean is, with Journeys.....we were all reading the same book.  The kids got to see and hear the same book, day after day.....and my struggling readers really needed that help with their fluency.  When I taught Johnny Appleseed last week, I didn't have a class set of books.  I read from a fiction and non-fiction book and we discussed a lot.....but my low babies that needed to hear and see that same story over and over....didn't get that. 
Sooooo......I've decided to do both.  No. I'm not crazy.  Hear me out.....
We are going to read our Journeys story each morning, like we have been (I talked about this in an earlier post).  But I'm only devoting 20 minutes a day to it.  The kids will still get that extra fluency practice and we will test our comprehension on Friday, but that's all I'm doing with it.  After we read the story and spend a few minutes discussing key points, we will move on to our unit/theme and really dig into that. 
My hope is that this will help my kiddos who struggle with fluency and still test all of my kiddos on their comprehension.  Any thoughts??  I know I have some expert teachers out there who know more than I do :) 
I'm off to go "relax" and grade some papers!  Have a fabulous week and enjoy this awesome autumn that we're having :)

Keep livin' the dream,

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