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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jumpstart Student Comprehension in the New Year

Christmas break is probably my favorite time of the school year!  I love teaching, but that 2 week break is for me to recuperate and get a jump start on my upcoming units. I also think about what has worked for my class during the beginning of the year, and what I may need to "tweak" for the second half of the year.

My teacher friends over at The Lesson Deli are all talking about Jump Starting their student learning for the year.  We're also raffling off some great products and highlighting some amazing $1 deals to celebrate the 1st of the year.  Make sure to hop through our blogs, enter the raffles and check out these deals via the links below my post. 

I usually come up with 3 goals for the new year:  1 having to do with some sort of management issue; 1 regarding a teaching improvement/idea to try, and 1 personal growth goal. So, here's what I've decided on for the beginning of 2015:

Goal 1: Control the Paper Clutter

I have to do something with the amount of paper that I have coming across my desk everyday - mainly the ones from my students.  I teach 2 grade levels: 5th grade in the morning (reading, math, religion, spelling, grammar and writing) and then 7th grade in the afternoons (grammar, writing, vocabulary, and reading).  That's a lot of papers to grade.  And a lot of planning and copies. While I don't have the answer for all of these issues, a teacher friend of mine gave me an idea for my students' math pages.  We use a hardback math book, so students are required to write their work on notebook paper.  These pages pile up pretty quickly, and they can be very difficult to follow.  So, I'm going to implement math journals - not just for their reflection and notes, but for their practice work.  Then, they turn in their journals to get checked (or, if I'm really on top of things, I can check them as I'm walking around the room).  So now there's no messy stack daily of math papers getting lost in the other papers.  And, the feedback will most likely be quicker!

Goal 2: Furthering Reading Comprehension

I'm always looking for ways to increase my students reading comprehension, this year in particular. My students are generally fluent readers, and can answer general questions, but a lot of times miss the entire importance of the passage.  I see this more with non-fiction.  So, I created a center where students can develop these crucial nonfiction reading skills while researching topics that interest them.  Students will use my Elementary Research Forms to guide them through developing questions and researching to find answers.  As they complete each mini research project, they will earn a ribbon to hang on the wall for their accomplishments.  


You can download a free sample of these forms here:  Elementary Research Forms

For a chance to win a free copy of my Elementary Research Paper Forms, enter the Rafflecopter below.

Goal 3: Going Home Earlier!

For my own personal goal, I need to leave school earlier!  I know, that's the one thing we all know we need to do, but it's so hard with so much to do.  I'm going to determine to keep one day open for staying later to get some of the bigger things completed, like making copies for the following week.  I think if I focus on making a to do list for the day and staying on task, I might actually see my husband a little more in the evening.  And maybe, we can start exercising a bit to work off those holiday pounds (and the ones that were there before the holidays!). 

Maybe these ideas will inspire you to make some goals for this coming year. 
Make sure to hop on over to The Lesson Deli to enter the Raffle for the Target giftcard, and check out those amazing Dollar Deals!


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