First Day of Summer School!

I had two weeks off of school, and here I am, back in the classroom ready to teach. Well... not ready, but here! I'm not kidding you - when my alarm went off this morning, I seriously questioned why I signed up to teach these next four weeks. But here I am and the kids are ready to learn! I brought a big Coke with me, so surely by mid-morning, I should be moderately awake and focused, right?

This summer, I've decided to set up a mini writer's and reader's workshop in my room. I have 20 3rd and 4th graders in attendance. This is the first time in a long time I'm trying something like this, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best!

We started off with our Morning Meeting. I start with a greeting activity, share time, a game, and then we read the morning message and talked about it as a group. This summer, we're talking all about leadership and the first week my focus is on being a good group member, including others, and helping people in need.

For Writer's Workshop, I'm using a read aloud (or other mentor text) for a mini lesson in order to show students some examples of great writing or good ideas they can use in their own writing. Today I showed them a book by an author most of them probably know already, Mo Willems. I shared the book You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons. He wrote this book during a year of traveling around the world. He drew a picture each day and wrote a short blurb about what happened that day as a way to track what he was going an thinking about. This is a not a book for kids, so I shared a few specific pages and showed kids what he did. We then talked about how they could adapt that into their own writing and use his ideas to create their own book LIKE Mo Willems' book. I also passed out a list of a ton of ideas of things to write about to get kids started. In the future, I would have students come up with their own lists, decorate their writing notebooks, and have more ownership of the ideas from the beginning, but I didn't have the materials for that today and I wanted to get the students started. It went well and they had lots of ideas to get going!

For Reader's Workshop, I'm planning to read a book that relates back to our leadership theme for the week. For the first day, I chose Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts. It's about a boy who wants a pair of fancy shoes but ends of giving them to another kid so that he can feel included. The kids loved the story and had a good discussion about examples of good leadership.

Each day, I'm also going to share with the students the book that I'm reading during silent reading time. I want them to be aware of what I'm thinking about as I'm reading and see what kinds of things adults read. I plan to read varieties of genres and texts (we'll see how that goes!). Right now, I'm finishing reading To Kill A Mockingbird, which is a great opportunity to talk to kids about classics, what they might read in the future, and talk about re-reading texts.

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