Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 6th Ramblings: First day back from Christmas Break!

The 2-hour delay this morning certainly helped ease us back into school after a nice, restful break. The dangerous wind chills this week might continue to ease that transition if it gets cold enough for delays or even cancellations!

I'm always pleasantly surprised by my students in January. They start to drag a little bit near the end of first semester in December and you start to feel a little frustrated by the lack of progress. January rolls around and everybody is fresh and my 3rd graders never fail to impress and remind me we HAVE made a lot of progress this year! These kids are halfway to being fourth graders, and most of them are really showing it.

We are working on reading AND writing persuasive texts this week. We'll be analyzing the opinions presented in such texts and highlighting the evidence used to support the opinion. At the same time, students will be developing their own evidence to support their opinions to persuade their readers.

In math, we're heading into geometry. Envision Math starts with solid figures in Topic 10 (Topic 10 and 11 are geometry), and I always seem to forget when I say "Next year, I'm starting with lines, points, and angles. Then, I'm moving to polygons. Finally, we'll head back to polyhedrons so we can discuss them with the vocabulary we learned previously", but once again I forgot and did lesson one today! Oh well...we'll master this material one way or another. I really enjoy a lot about Envision Math sequencing and materials, but this is one example where I don't understand the rationale behind the order. I never feel beholden to a textbook's sequence or methods, so it's not a big deal, but it's always convenient to have the textbook go along with the way you feel something should be taught or presented.

Speaking of textbooks, this is the last year I'm teaching using our book for social studies. I'm tired of seeing one hundred years of history in a paragraph or "Transportation" summarized on a page. Next summer, if I find the time, Id like to work on some materials to cover all the content we need to cover in a more meaningful, interesting way; maybe compiling some primary vs. secondary source material, and raising the interest/relevance level of the readings.

Good (shortened) first day in 3rd grade.

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