Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer reading...I teach a section of 5th grade advanced ELA.  They were required to read Bridge to Terabithia over the summer.  I was struggling with what to do with them and this book.  I did not feel right giving them a test on it...they did not read it under my "supervision", there were no class discussions on it, and some of the kids could have read it in June.  I found a file on my computer that I got off of proteacher.com awhile ago.  It is called "characterbook" and it is a facebook-type assignment.  I know they are only in 5th grade and should not be on FB, but face it, we all know many of them are!  I don't think by doing this assignment, I am promoting FB, as there are very specific directions to this assignment.  I am handing it out tomorrow...I think they will enjoy it.  What do you guys do with required summer reading?

Here is the link to the proteacher page that has a link to the characterbook file and directions.
http://www.proteacher.net/discussions/showthread.php?t=285005&highlight=characterbook
Communication with parents...I am a huge believer in communicating with the parents of my students.  Sometimes, I think I might communicate too much and come off as a pain in the you-know-what.  But I think the more informed the parents are, the better chance their child will have a successful year.  I email the parents every Friday to inform them of the tests and quizzes for the upcoming week.  I also email the parents Friday of any student that did not turn in an assignment for that week.  (We switch for every subject in my school in 5th grade, so this sometimes takes awhile, but I think it is a worthy way to spend my time).  I provide parents with a homework hotline nightly...basically I change my outgoing voice message to include the night's homework.  I also recently started using remind101 nightly for homework assignments. (see previous post for description of this awesome service!).  Sometimes I think I am overdoing it, but I have had several parents tell me they appreciate the updates.  I have never once been told there are too many notices (but then again, maybe they wouldn't feel comfortable telling me that!).  I feel that this communication has saved me more than one time.  The parent cannot say they didn't know what the homework was...all they had to do was make a phone call.  They cannot claim they do not understand why their child's grade is so low...they get a weekly notice of missing work.

How do you communicate with your parents and how often?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I've got a new attitude!  I did not get the 3rd or 4th grade advanced position...I am teaching 5th grade again this year (which I love) and we are switching for every class again (which I don't love)!  I have decided to make the most of it, have fun, and think of the kids!

Have y'all heard of remind101?  It is a website that you create names for your classes, the parents sign up, and you can send out texts to their phones...they never see your number and you never see theirs.  Genius!!! I have several parents signed up and will start using it tomorrow for a homework hotline type thingy.  Check out the website at www.remind101.com.

Do any of you do CHAMPS in your class?  The school wants the 5th grade to do it this year.  The elementary schools do it, so this incoming group of 5th graders already know what it is, all we have to do is implement it.  Share your pros and cons about CHAMPS....and any tips you have.

My classes seem to be a great group of kiddos this year...a bit chatty, though.  I am planning to provide more posts this year...it is part of my new attitude I have gained.  Hope you enjoy it!