It is two days before Thanksgiving and I am feeling especially thankful. I'm something of a list-maker (probably not surprising to you) so I thought I'd share my list.
1. I'm thankful for the 23 students who walk in the door each day! They come in everyday ready to tackle whatever challenge I send their way.
2. I'm thankful that my students love to learn. This makes the teaching really fun for me.
3. I'm thankful for incredible colleagues. They push me and support me. I know I'm a better teacher because of them. They're also a lot of fun to be around and for this I am very thankful.
4. I'm thankful that I teach in a beautiful, new school. Everyone at Clough School appreciates the beauty of our school. We all work hard to show this community how thankful we are for the sacrifices they make in support of education. Having a safe and beautiful building to teach and learn in really does make a difference.
5. I am thankful that my students ALL come from families who value education. The families I work with support what we do in the classroom. They make time to communicate with me, to conference with me, to check out the classroom website, to help with homework, to take their children to bookstores and the library. They list is endless. Long story short, they pick up where I leave off once their child walks in the door. This commitment to education makes my job a lot easier.
6. I'm thankful for the sacrifices that my own parents made to ensure that I had a good education. They had four kids so this meant that they put us and our needs ahead of their own quite a bit. I appreciate this gift every day.
7. I am thankful for my husband. He has come to realize that teaching is not a 9 to 5 job and often picks up my slack during busy weeks. He shows an interest in what I'm doing in the classroom and is really my greatest supporter.
8. I am thankful for my children. Owen and Caroline provide much of the inspiration I need to do my best. I try to always be the teacher that I'd want them to have. Of course I want the best for my children. Like your children, they are amazing and they deserve the best.
9. I am thankful that I have only 23 students this year. It makes a difference. 23 is manageable. I feel like my students are getting the attention, help, and challenge they all deserve.
10. I am thankful for my friends and family. I am thankful for our good health. I am thankful for the fun and rest that I enjoy. All of these things make it possible for me to be an effective teacher. It has been a tremendous year so far. I am very thankful!
My third grade students are thankful too. Today we experimented with SOUND CLOUD. Click on the little audio player on the right. The students recorded what they're most thankful for. Take a listen...the recording will warm your heart.
We're pretty excited to use SOUND CLOUD in the digital newsletter we're preparing. It will culminate our Wampanoag studies. Keep your eyes peeled. It should be coming your way in the very near future.
Finally, we've collected 562 boxtops for our PTO! They'll use the funds raised to support student learning. Our collection supports the learning unfolding in our math class too. Students see the connection between ones, tens, and hundreds as we aim to reach our goal of collecting 1,000 box tops. Each day we pose questions such as: If we paperclip box tops in groups of ten, how many paper clips have we used so far? In other words, how many tens are there in 562? Or, our 3/4 the way goal is on the horizon. How many more box tops do we need to reach it? You can see how we're using fractions, addition, subtraction, place value, etc. as we build our collection. Fun stuff! So, PLEASE keep those box tops coming in. The students are really excited to see our collection grow. Chloe was so excited she went home last week and made this fantastic collection jar with the help of her mom.
As always, thanks for all you're doing in your homes to support the work that takes place here at school. I hope you all enjoy a tremendous Thanksgiving with your families and friends!
So, by now, you've probably heard the good news. Our door won the Clough PTO's award for most creative! The students did a WICKED good job coming right in on Wednesday morning (let me remind you that it was HALLOWEEN) and settling down to write. The stories of their wickedness were darling! They were able to use many of the same techniques that good writers use in their pieces. They were able to share this wicked moment, using detail to tell exactly what happened. I will leave the door up until right after conferences so that you can enjoy their writing and admire their wicked photographs.
This leads me to talk about writing. We're continuing our work with narrative writing. My goal is to help my students become better writers. We've really been focusing on narrative writing during this first term. The students are part way done with the narrative pieces that will eventually become a published piece. We continue to work on adding detail, dialogue, and to make careful and deliberate word choices. All of this is done so that our readers will experience the moment in the same way that we did. The students are making progress but it is hard work. The biggest area of growth for the students is in the volume of writing that they're able to produce in a short period of time. When it is time to write, they simply sit down and begin writing. This is a BIG change from the beginning of the year when my request for them to write a page of text often came with moans and groans and lots of distractibility. I know that this increase in stamina is an important step in the right direction.
I can hardly believe that November is upon us. I really am enjoying my class. The days and weeks fly by. On November 14th and 15th I'll be sitting down with families to discuss individual student progress. I really look forward to these conferences each year. It is a great opportunity to share the gains the children have made and to outline goals and the specific work that will need to be done to achieve those goals. I'll be emailing my conference schedule out this weekend. Let me know if any conflicts have arisen.
I have posted some new pictures on the "Scenes from the Theatre" page. Check them out with your student when you have a free moment. Thanks for all you do in your homes to support my efforts in the classroom. I'm one lucky teacher!