Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Things to improve on for next year (part one)...

As the year goes by you tend to see things that make a lot of sense and you wish you had implemented them to begin with.  So here is my list of things that I hope I can prepare for next school year...well part of my list!

1.  I love the way Kelli from Tales from a Traveling Teacher uses her journals.  You have got to check them out.  She currently has 21 posts dedicated to them called everydayPORTFOLIO.
I tend to have high hopes at the beginning of the year and then just fail all together.  BUT with the organization Kelli has shared, I'm sure to do better!

2. Over at Dishing It Out all things K and 1 there is a post about cutting composition books in half.  It's such a great idea!  I tried it with spirals and it has been working just fine for our research in inquiry...but I hope to make use of it for the whole year.

3. Right now I am in the process of reorganizing my mentor texts.  I decided that there should be 7 bins, one for each of the comprehension strategies.  I also decided that keeping them in a cabinet, using them and then putting them back wasn't fair to the kids. I want them to enjoy them whenever they please!! So I am going to make it accessible to them. A typed label will be on the outside of the book to tell which strategy (s) I use it for. (Look for pictures and labels to come!)

4.  I'm going to give up centers.  When I visited Sue Kempton's {A Literate Kindergarten} class, she did not use centers.  Each child had a stack of books that were just right for them and they read them quietly while she pulled groups. All of her class could read and write like nobodys business! Read her book, its worth it.  She was just amazing and I hope to become the quality literacy instructor that she is.
Student book stacks 

5. More relfection time is another piece that I gained from being in Sue's classroom.  They way she asked questions during reading reflection was beyond.  She pulled vocabulary and understanding through question after question.  I will post about this again but one child showing one picture would prompt at least 15 questions from her (not in rapid order but patiently).
Me and Sue
Sue's classroom with tons of science based materials

6. My intern began using math workshop in our class.  It developed over time and became two groups of students.  One group starts out on an activity for 30 minutes, while the other group is learning small group with me.  Then they switch.  It has made it so I can really help and understand my students.  I will definitely keep this for next year!  Thanks Emily :)

7.  I want my room to be as cute as the rooms I have posted on my Pinterest board called Classroom Decor! I need some school girl style, pronto!!  But I plan on still using blue, red, and black because I have so much already.  Now I just need to think of how to incorporate it all :)  I'm thinking less western, more polka dots.

I'm sure this list will continue, hence the part one.  I just can't seem to get it all down tonight. It might be that I have a hot date ;)

I'd like to hear your ideas about next year too.  I'm always up for better ways of doing things!


  1. OH MY GOODNESS!! You made my day!!!

    First: thanks for the sweet words about my wedding photos : )

    Second: I was so delighted when I went to my reading blogs, there was a picture of one of my portfolio ideas!!! I am so happy you like it!

    Thanks again Jen! I am also going to check out Sue Kempton.

    Tales From a Traveling Teacher

  2. Hi! I Love your brochure for families. I downloaded the editable one, but it's not working. Can you maybe e-mail it to me? mills_ch@aps.edu
    Thanks for your time. : )