Saturday, August 31, 2013

The First Few Weeks

   The first few weeks of 3rd Grade Science and Social Studies have been off to a pretty good start!  I have covered Scientific Method, did a mini-unit on the the American Flag in conjunction with the reading teacher and tied in to Timelines, covered Parts of the Globe, Parts of a Map, and Landforms.  I will follow this post with more details on each of these topics including the SNB (Sci/SS Notebooking) pages.
   My kiddos are doing a beautiful job with stations - which now that I think about it, I will also try to follow up on how those looked during the first couple of weeks - especially once I had my ducks more in a row.  I learned in Kindergarten and am being reminded in 3rd Grade that kids can do anything you ask them to do (stations in particular) as long as you set them up for success by modeling, modeling, modeling.  At least my older kids can read directions for the most part whereas my Kinders needed pictures for everything!  In both cases though it is a lot of work which is no surprise to anyone.
   So all was going well and I was in my groove until this week when I had a conversation with my principal which sent me into a tailspin.  Throughout our school system, elementary schools are being asked to focus on 3rd Grade Reading and pour all resources into making sure that 3rd Graders are reading on level.  Therefore, my principal wants me to get in the Sci/SS skills while also being "a second Reading teacher."  During the last two years I've known that God has been trying to teach me to be less of a control freak and I feel like I've really grown.  But let me assure you that this sent me into full panic mode!  I had a plan ... and all my routines were in place ... and my kids were just starting to get trained ... and AHHHHHH!
   I felt so completely lost for two days!  I am used to juggling a lot of "stuff" and I'm pretty good at it but this week I just hit a wall.  First of all, while I incorporate reading skills into my lessons (I think that's a given for all of us), I knew that this meant I needed to up my game and all my routines would change.  I usually love change because I can adapt quickly, make new plans in my head, and take off without missing a beat.  This was different though because I have ZERO resources for teaching reading.  I don't have enough books and our copies this year have been slashed.
   The turning point this week came when my principal approved my request for the school to buy subscriptions to Scholastic's Super Science magazine.  I am so grateful!!!  My new plan of attack is to do a whole group Sci/SS lesson for 20 minutes, then students will do 20 minute daily rotations of stations, project time, and small group with me where we will focus on close reads of the magazine articles.
   I hope this new plan is one that I can make work and I really am excited for the challenge!  This week I will re-train students on the procedures and get the ball rolling.  I'll try to post soon about how it's going!

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