If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.

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A New App on the iPad

This week was a short week, but we were able to accomplish so much.  The students are in a great routine with our Daily 3.  We determined that trying to squeeze in three rotations each day is too much, so we are narrowing it down to two rotations each day. We will start this routine next week.

Students completed their graphic organizers for our next writing assignment.  Students will be writing an expository essay explaining “how to” do something.  We are also going to do our drafting process on Google Docs, so that the students know that they must use the writing process for all of their published posts.

We introduced a new app on the iPad today.  It is called Pop Words.  We tried it out together in class, and the students really enjoyed it.  If you have an iPad at home, it is a great app to download.

The students also gained stamina this week in their reading and writing.  They have continued to work on their word work using the dry erase boards and the computers, as well.

We have finished our first reading assessments for each student in the class.  We will begin to work on specialized reading strategies during the 2nd nine week period, when we introduce the next step in our new program, CAFE.



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Tweeting is a process

Students have been enjoying tweeting weekly in class.  Silvia Tolisano has been coming in each week to teach the process of tweeting.  She developed this info-graphic for us to follow.

We are developing a routine in class so that students are able to tweet on a regular basis.  We start with a “paper tweet”.  Students write down their tweetable moments on an index card.  We check our followers (3 times a week), then we check who has mentioned us.  If we have a question, we answer it, and then, finally, we write the tweetable moments.  We have twitter directors in class, and it is their job to type in the tweets.  We have to be sure our tweet  is 140 characters.  It is a new way of writing, and the students are improving each week.  We are working on developing tweets that target a global audience.  We have discussions in class to determine if the tweet is geared to our audience.  Recently, we tweeted a teacher in Singapore who will hopefully make it possible for us to tweet students regularly in Asia.  The students have been intrigued and motivated to connect with other classes globally.

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Words, Words, Words

We introduced the final rotation to the Daily 3, Word Work.  Students discussed all of the different types of Word Work that they could complete in class.  We named all the reasons for working with words. The students are looking forward to improving their vocabulary and their spelling. Students are able to use the iPads for word games, the computers to work on spellingcity.com and wordlywise.com, and they can work on spelling patterns using our dry erase boards.  Finally, students can work in their wordly wise books, their spelling books, create and solve word searches, crossword puzzles and more!

We modeled the appropriate behavior for word work.  Next, students all practiced using our first word game on the iPads.

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How do we assess spelling using the Daily 3?

I am thrilled to have started the Daily 5 in both classes, however, one of my concerns was grading.  This program is more of a process, showing data over time,  and difficult to grade assignments regularly  for the sole purpose of being able to put grades on report cards.  I have gotten a handle on the reading (students write reflections and book ratings), writing (we do weekly writing topics) and vocabulary (using the Wordly Wise series), however, my big question was SPELLING!  I didn’t want to do the same thing I had done in the past, which was introduce a new list of spelling words each Monday, test students on Friday and so on and so forth.  I found that many of my students knew the words on Monday, and they found no value in preparing for a test on Friday.  So, after much thought, I decided to create a pre-assessment using a few words from each Spelling Unit.  I created one for 4th and 5th graders using Spelling City.  After administering the assessment (which I explained to the students that it was only a pre-assessment so I could choose words for them individually based on their needs), I highlighted the ones missed and developed an individualized spelling plan for each child.  Each student will be assigned spelling units based solely on the skills they need to develop and practice.  It took me several hours, however, I felt so good when I completed the last list.  I also felt relief knowing that I will be providing students with meaningful work.  The students will be able to use the spelling books that were purchased this year, work on the skills they need, and have proper assessments, as needed.  For the students that master the words earlier in the year, I will provide more challenging words.  Duringword work (one of the rotations in the Daily 5), the students will be working on their own spelling words & vocabulary words.  Here is an example of one of the student’s individualized spelling plans.

The checks indicate which units they will work on.  Once they master that unit, they will mark it off and proceed on to the next list.

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Tweet tweet tweet

After naming our class bird Tiffany, fourth graders had their second twitter lesson. We looked at our followers, and also made decisions on who we should be following.  We created a tweet for Mrs.Hallet, our librarian, after she complimented the class on using the Daily 5. The students learned how to condense their tweet into only 140 characters.  It was quite a challenge.  We were thrilled that we had chosen two  “twitter directors” to complete the task. We also had our producer, another student, taking pictures.

We continued to make progress with our Daily 3.  Check out our class hard at work on writing.

While the students were writing, my assistant and I were able to conference with students individually on their writing.

We will launch “Word Work” some time next week!

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Writing is so Exciting!

Students brainstormed reasons for WHY we write.  Check out all of the great reasons why my students will be writing daily in class.

Next, we discussed WHAT we could write about.

We discussed WHERE we would write in the classroom.  Students decided that they would write at their desks, the computers, the carpet, or other comfortable places in the room.  The supplies they need for daily writing include their journals, pencils, and graphic organizers.

Finally, we began to model the appropriate behaviors for writing. Of course, we had the inappropriate way modeled too.

Once we finished all of these steps, we began our first day of writing.  Due to time, we managed to write for just under 10 minutes.  Once we begin our full rotations, students will be writing and reading for up to 30 minutes daily.

Check out our successful first day of building stamina with writing.


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