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Chapter 2/ Beginning of Year
Old 06-12-2006, 02:35 AM
 
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Hello All! I hope no one will be offended that I am beginning our discussion this time. My precious DD thought she should get up at 6:00 am so here I am! As I was rereading Ch.2 Here are a few questions that I thought we could ponder:

- What are some activities/rituals that you do in your classroom to create a sense of classroom community?

-Do you have a Beginning of the Day/End of the Day song and what is it?

- On page 22, Debbie Miller discusses releasing responsibility to the students. Do you have classroom jobs? One for each child? What are they? Do they keep them all year/month/week?

Those are some questions I thought we could discuss. I will answer them after DD goes down for a nap. Again, I hope it is OK that I began this discussion. Happy Monday!

Lana


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Some Ideas
Old 06-12-2006, 06:13 AM
 
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- As far as classroom community...I am a looping teacher and go up and down from 1st/2nd. I feel community is CRUCIAL in all circumstances, but esp. in my case. I really do not have any specific activities that I do to build community. I try to encourage lots of teamwork and to really make the kids listen and treat each other with respect. I am going to add more pictures in my classroom this year of the kids at work/play and I want to do the self portraits as well. One teacher this year on my team did the portraits like mosaics with construction paper scraps and they were PRECIOUS. She hung them from the celing and the kids clipped work they were proud of under their pic.

-I had a BOD/EOD song, but really want to change mine. Two years ago I used Lean On Me as my BOD song and want to try that one again this year or I thought of Don't Worry...Be Happy. I really like to use songs that the kids may hear on the radio instead of "school" music b/c I think they can connect to it better. Maybe we should make a list of possible songs...Anyone up for that? We could start a Song Thread.

-I stongly believe that students need responsibility in the classroom. This past year I did not have set jobs, but want to do that this coming year. I did have 2 students that I trained to check off reading minutes and 2 who recorded the lunch count and took it to the cafeteria. By giving them responsibility it made them feel even more special and allowed me time to be meeting with my struggling readers. What other jobs to people have? Do you change or keep the same ones?

Well....I guess I have rambled on enough. Those are my thoughts on Chapter 2. Have a great day!

Lana
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:35 AM
 
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I didn't use songs this year but normally do. Our school uses Tribes and we are going to be starting each day with a Tribes activity. I do assign jobs. It's a "big" deal to my children. It gives them ownership of the classroom. They are so cute about keeping up their "jobs". If I forget to change them at the beginning of the day on Monday, they get very worried. I think it is important to them. Now I only read Chapter 1 so I'm going back to read Chapter 2!!!!!!! Oooops. See ya later.

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Old 06-12-2006, 02:00 PM
 
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I haven't read the chapters yet, but I am going to get there.

I have never really used a set BOD or EOD song. Actually I haven't really thought about doing that.

At the first of the year, I have children bring in a small bag with three items to present to the class. I also write each child a postcard during the summer right before school starts to welcome them to my class. I have been told by parents that the children really love that.

Classroom jobs in my room change every week. I try to have a job for everyone, but the choice job is calendar leader which changes everyday. Calendar leader goes through a list of questions and leads updating the calendar for our day. Some of my classroom jobs are: Floor sweeper (in the cafeteria), Table washer (in the cafeteria), Lunch box carrier, Messenger, Substitute, Paper filer, Teacher's Assistant, and Prayer leader (I teach in a Christian school.) I know there are others because I usually have about 15 students, but I can't think of them of the top of my head right now.
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Another Idea
Old 06-12-2006, 04:11 PM
 
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Hello, I've been lurking, but decided to join in when I can. I have read the first few chapters and will be reading Mosaic of Thought too.

Anyway, one thing I do is send a letter to the children over the summer right before school starts that tells them about me. I include a separate page that has them tell things about themselves such as favorite sports, t.v. shows, song, movie, what they want to learn about, etc. They are to return it on back to school night and then I take the pages and bind them together to make our first class book! It's the most popular book in the book bins. You could make copies so you have a copy for each book bin. The children love it every year. It's a great way for them to learn about each other without feeling self conscious. They even enjoy looking at the previous years' books.

I have never had a BOD or EOD song. Something I might consider this year.


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Jobs
Old 06-12-2006, 04:17 PM
 
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Oh, and I do classroom jobs every year. I have jobs for half my class at a time (usually about 12) and switch every 2 weeks. I personally found it difficult to change every week. I make a spreadsheet and schedule the jobs for the first half of the year. My jobs are: line leader, paper passer, paper collector, class cleaner, teacher helper, substitute, board eraser, calendar, librarian, messenger.. I seem to have blanked on the others.
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community
Old 06-13-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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I use songs (in fact, we just did Lean On Me for parents today at our Send Off!). I find, like you said, that if you use more popular songs, then kids will always remember their year in your class. I kind of feel like having them bond around a song, is like giving them a gift that no one can take away. Lean On Me is the best, I think! I teach my kids the "real" version first. We put the words on chart paper, and discuss what we think all the stanzas mean and draw pictures to illustrate, connections we have, etc... After they really know it, I introduce them to the Club Noveau (sp?) version. (If you haven't heard it, it's so cool! Has a funky beat) They make up a short dance to it with really cheesy first grade moves and we perform it kind of like a line dance where we continue to repeat it.

In previous years, instead of keeping one song for the year, I would teach them in about 3-5 week blocks. We dismiss at 3:38, and so at 3:30 each day, we sing the song once. It works beautifully because it can start as a shared reading, you can do mini-lessons on inferencing, making connections, mental images, etc. Then, I usually turn them into a reader's theater, so that every kid has a copy. Once they really really know it and begin to tire of it, we'll start a new one. But you can always go back to those you've learned.

Anyways-- I think that we should start a song thread, because I'd like some other choices. I'll start the thread:-).
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Would love some titles
Old 06-14-2006, 05:33 PM
 
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I will be teaching 2nd grade next year and would love to have a couple of songs for transition and the end of the day. I have one on CD called the Cleanup Freeze. I thought I would use that one for cleaning up after Literacy Stations. Any thoughts or ideas?
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Tribes
Old 07-03-2006, 04:28 AM
 
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I have a friend who used Debbie Miller in a grade 3 classroom this past year. He said that tribes really helped him to create the feeling he needed in his classroom. I think it would be a worthwhile resource to pick up!
Discussion Response:
- On page 22, Debbie Miller discusses releasing responsibility to the students. Do you have classroom jobs? One for each child? What are they? Do they keep them all year/month/week?
I took my reading specialist courses this year and we talked about the gradual release of responsibility model. I think it would work something like this.....(my interpretation of the model)
Teacher models the jobs in the classroom for the first week of school or maybe even the first two weeks. (modelled)

The second /third week, he/she chooses various students to come up and help him/her do the job that needs to be done (shared)

When the teacher feels that the children really understand the jobs and tasks, the teacher decides how he/she is going to allow everyone to participate in those jobs and they then do it own their own. (independent)

Does that model make sense? I try to think that way with eveything I do in the classroom.....modelled, shared, guided, independent.

After you have established that, you can then decide how you are going to work those jobs. I use clothes pegs with the children's names on them. I have the jobs posted in a pocket chart (the long ones you can buy for scheduling) and I use the class list to decide which order the kids will be in. Each day, I look at my class list and move all of the clothes pegs down one job and it works quite well. As you know, children tend to memorize who is before and after them on the class list when you do attendance so they have an idea of when their turn will come. This prevents a lot of fighting! Hope this helps!

Last edited by Smiles66; 07-03-2006 at 04:33 AM..
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Old 07-04-2006, 10:13 PM
 
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For the past 7 years I had jobs, and changed them every week but sometimes I would forget, or heaven forbid if I had a sub on Monday it would throw everything off. I read on one of these postings that someone puts all the names on index cards. Everyday 3 are drawn and they get to do everything for the day. The next day, those 3 people each draw one new card and those are the 3 helpers for that day. Used cards go in a basket until all students have had a turn and then they are put back into the container. I am going to try that this year. but maybe they could be helpers for the week. Everyday seems like a lot to change.


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I'm really late in this discussion...
Old 07-14-2006, 05:27 AM
 
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...but my heart is in it! I've been working my way through Debbie Miller's book and finally started reading some of your discussion.

This is going to be my first year teaching first grade in quite some time, so I don't have any classroom routines established (yet). I've been thinking about some jobs that I would like to have in the classroom. A third grade teacher I worked with last year had a "student teacher" in her room, complete with a desk. The student teacher got the teacher guides and checked some of the students' work. While I don't think that will work in first grade, I was thinking of having a student teacher who could manage the hall passes during group time (for those who need bathroom, drinks, etc.), letting that child be responsible for making certain only one (maybe two) students are out of the room at a time. Maybe later in the year this "job" can extend into more responsibility (checking some easy papers, etc.)

I have also been thinking of having a class journal. I thought this would help introduce journal writing to the students, as well as provide a nice "memory book" of the year. I thought we could create a short "recollection" of the day's events at the end of the day on the overhead. I purchased a lined journal and am thinking that one of my classroom jobs will be the "class recorder" and that student will copy the previous day's journal entry from the overhead transparency into the journal. I realize this will be a struggle at the beginning of the year for several of the students (motor skills), but think it may be worth a shot.

I was brainstorming some other jobs...the typical "paper-passer-outer," line leader, messenger/office runner, etc. I'm thinking I'll switch jobs every week or every-other week???

I don't have a beginning of the day/end of the day song. I do, SOMEWHERE, have a good morning tape of "exercise songs" to get the kids off to an energetic start. I used it when I taught kindergarten 7 years ago, and am thinking that may be a good thing to use with first grade kiddos in the morning.

That's my 2 cents worth on the questions posted by Lana. Sorry I'm late in contributing them!
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Old 07-14-2006, 10:42 AM
 
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Hi, Annie!!

I saw something for a traveling journal on one of these boards the other day that I really think the kids would like! The person had a stuffed animal that she introduced at the beginning of the year, and then many days when the kids came in, the stuffed animal was set up looking like he had been making trouble (i.e. sitting in a pile of spilled papers, taking the magnets off the board, etc...) She modeled journal entries about his troublesome-ness and showed how she'd make a picture. It sounds like she did this enough that the kids loved it and word got around to their parents.

When the kids started taking turns having a "sleepover" with it, the journal entries were saying things like, "When I woke up this morning, _____ had spilled cereal all over my seat!" (The parents had set it up) Even those whose parents don't, could make up funny escapades for the class friend.

I just thought-- that is so much better for developing writing style than the typical classroom friend, who is probably going to elicit responses like, "We played blocks. We brushed our teeth. We went to bed."

Just thought I'd pass that on... sorry I can't site the exact poster whose idea it was!
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First Class Book
Old 08-03-2006, 09:34 PM
 
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Hi Deb,
I love your idea about the first class book. Could you attach the form about what you tell the kiddos about yourself and what you ask them. I would love to send this but it needs to be soon. Our back to school night or Meet the teacher night is Thurs., Aug. 10. Thanks. Gaye
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:51 AM
 
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Sorry, I just saw this now. If you email me at debteach22@comcast.net I can send it to you. You could still pass it out on the 10th.
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Question about Lean on Me Song
Old 08-13-2006, 01:33 PM
 
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Is there any place that the original song can be downloaded for free off the net?
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How I Develop Community
Old 10-21-2006, 04:06 PM
 
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I teach kindergarten in Sydney Australia and in first weeks send home a letter introducing myself to parents and children . This is not usually done and some wondered why I was allowing parents to see the more private side of me instead of the professional side I send thechildren a postcard to welcome them .Then we take turns to take home the Star book where each parent writes about why their child is special in their family and then this is shared with the group.This semester as all of the children have had a turn I have asked the paretns to write about what they did as a child ,how school was for them ,what family life was like for them as a child etc.This then comes back and the children listen to what each others parents did . This term we will ask them to write about how their family celebrates special occassions.All of this allows not only the children to mesh as a group but as the book goes home the parents also read about each other and their community.
My school is in a low socio economic area and has children from many cultures so it also educates parents and children as to how each other lives etc
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