In the first few weeks of school, our primary focus will be to build a strong, caring classroom community. My approach to teaching is kid-centered, progressive, nurturing, and highly enthusiastic. You can read more about my teaching philosophy here.
Here on the Weekly Update, I outline my plan for the week by listing my overall goals for each subject along with a brief description of some of the activities we'll be engaging in. I don't always stick to the plan, as you'll find out, but I put it all out there to give students and parents an overall picture of what our week will look like.
Since this is our first week, the main focus of our time will be on getting to know one another, establishing routines and expectations, and building a community of respect, warmth, and empathy. We'll be working on some team building activities and classroom explorations to get acquainted with how the year will run. It's all very exciting!
This Week's Plan
Reading is very important in our classroom. I want students to develop a lifelong love of reading. Here are the goals we'll focus on:
- Reading Survey --I'll get a sense for students' reading habits, genre preferences, and overall enthusiasm for reading with a little survey. As a class, we'll also develop a list of popular, beloved books that everyone in the class should consider reading.
- Classroom Library Exploration --We'll learn about how the classroom library is organized and labeled. We'll discuss what the different levels of books mean so that students can find something right for them. We'll develop a system for checking out books and sharing recommendations. Students can then choose a book to dive into.
- Establish Reading Workshop Routines --We'll learn about the behavior expectations of our reading time, as well as practice finding a suitable spot in the room to read.
- Teacher Read Aloud --I'll read aloud from one of my favorite books, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar. As I read, I'll be modeling all the strategies that good readers use.
I love to teach writing. I know it can be challenging for many students, but I'll break it down into easy strategies. I start the school year just getting to know students as writers and as people. Here is what we'll work on:
- Introductory Writing Pieces --I ask students to write a couple of short pieces about themselves so that I can get to know them better and get a sense for their writing style and skills. The first piece is called, "What You Should Know About Me," where students compose a letter to me describing their interests, families, strengths, weaknesses, and any important factors that influence how they learn. The second piece is called, "A Moment of Summer," where I ask students to write a short personal narrative about a small moment they experienced over summer break.
I hope all students will love math just as much as I do. Here is what we'll tackle:
- Explore Math Resources --Students will explore some of our math materials such as calculators, dice, cards, base-10 blocks, and more. We'll practice taking them out and putting them away neatly.
- Multiplication Review --To make sure students start fifth grade off right, we'll review our basic multiplication facts through 12x12. We'll play Multiplication Bingo, learn some quick multiplication drills, and test our instant recall with some timed practice.
This week we hold off on Science and Social Studies to focus on launching reading, writing, and math.
The launch of the school year is filled with many activities related to getting to know one another, establishing routines, and building a caring class community. Here are some of our focus areas:
- Morning Meeting --We'll launch our daily morning meeting routine where we greet each other, play a short activity, and share about ourselves. Eventually, morning meeting will take about 10-15 minutes each day, but at this point in the year, a morning meeting will run about 20-25 minutes as we learn respectful talk and behavior control.
- Procedures Overview and Practice --We'll practice the basics of quieting down quickly, coming to the rug, using classroom materials respectfully, walking quietly in the hallways, managing our supplies and materials, and much more.
- Group Skills Training --I provide students explicit practice in the art of working with other people. We'll focus on listening, compromising, and non-verbal communication. These skills are essential for the partner work and team projects we do throughout the year.
- Extra (Structured) Recess --To aid in team-building, we'll be playing structured class games such as Zombie tag, Capture the Flag, and Captain's Coming. We'll focus on how to be fair, inclusive, safe, and good sports.
- Technology Intro --Students will be using a lot of technology this year. We'll discuss how to safely and respectfully use technology and set up some important accounts, such as Google Classroom.
Please check the Homework page for more details. Students will need to do the following at home this week:
- Encourage parents to purchase supplies from the 5K Class Supply List.
- Once you're signed up for Google Classroom (we'll do that in class), take the quiz that I have posted called, "How much do you know about Ms. Kimball?"
- Practice memorizing your basic multiplication facts up to 12x12.
Thanks for Reading!
So that's the plan for the first (short) week of school. Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or feedback. I look forward to an awesome school year!