OLW in Fifth Grade

I have found so much success with One Little Word, I decided I wanted to share OLW with my fifth graders.

After reflection and goal setting for the new year, students decided on their own word.


Then, I asked them to do a quick write explaining why they chose their word.  Here are some samples:















Happy New Year!

Academic Parent Teacher Teams

Thanks to our Literacy Coach the entire third grade team (three classes) is participating in Academic Parent Teacher Teams.  You can read more about these teams at our coach’s blog, BigTime Literacy.  We decided to focus on reading data and strategies this year.The idea behind them is to share data and give parents strategies to help their kids.

At our first meeting we gave parents their child’s reading level and strategies to help with inference and character traits.  We noticed while doing the initial F&P testing that this was a major weakness across the grade.  You can see our presentation here.

Last week we had our second meeting.  Ten out of our twenty-five families were present.  We shared the student’s reading data, information about Standards Based Grading, and strategies to help students with evaluating texts.  You can see our second presentation here.Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 3.19.57 PM

Parents were able to learn strategies and set goals for their children.  Most parents were able to see that their child met the goals they set in the fall.  So exciting!  Our third meeting is set for May where we will focus on ways for parents to help prevent a summer slump.    We are not getting paid for these meetings, they are not part of our contract, and they require a huge amount of preparation and planning.  However, the fantastic progress students are making is worth it!

New Year, New Beginning

Sitting in a PD the other day, the presenter said something about teaching being special because we get a “do-over” every year.  It is sticking with me because the kids will be back in less than two weeks, but it is a whole new group.  I have a chance to start over and do everything better.  What will I do differently/better this year?

  • Although we did a lot of interactive modeling regarding behavior during indoor recess, we didn’t focus enough on putting the games away.  Yesterday the game cabinet was a mess.  My son came to school to help, but after taking everything out he quit and started playing instead. I was left to tape up the boxes, sort through the games and reorganize by myself.  Not totally done, but I’m thinking we’ll add a picture of how it looks to remind the kids.











  • More consistent conferring and small group work during writing workshop.  Last year was my first year with writing workshop.  Now that we have a better handle on the mini-lessons and units, I want to work on shorter more consistent conferring with students.  I also want to work on pulling small groups with similar needs to do reteaching/strategy work.  I found myself spending the whole work time with one student some days and I know I need to work on that.
  • Math!  After spending four years as a reading teacher, our reading block was pretty solid.  LC helped getting the writing workshop going.  However, math needs some work.  Throughout the year I gained more confidence with my math instruction, but I know this is the subject that I need to focus on the most.  My first step was to create this bulletin board (green one) where we will place clue words for word problems.  Each triangle will be for a different operation:  addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.  We will add words as we discover them as a class.
I just need to add the labels for each section.