Survival, Workshop Set Up and Five for Friday

I survived, my students survived, I'm ready to collapse on the couch with a glass of wine - so this post will be short and sweet!  The first week of school is officially over!  We spent most of the week on procedures, expectations, procedures, get to know you games, procedures and organization of materials and supplies.

Here's my quick Five For Friday:

1.  I've got to start with a pic of my own sweet kiddos - fourth grade and first grade this year.  The fourth grader is at school with me!   So far, so good.......  Aren't they adorable?

2.  We set up our partners for the first marking period.  I've used 'clock partners' for years.  It's a very convenient partnering system.  The students have a 'clock.' I tell them not to fill in the last few spaces because those are reserved for me to fill in (I usually choose same level reading partners, high/low reading partners, same level math partners, and high/low math partners). Their job is to walk around and ask eight students whom they feel comfortable working with, to be their partners.  When the time is up, I help the last few students who don't have all their partners selected (there's always a couple). Then I laminate the clocks, tape them on the desks or in a folder and 'voila' partners for the marking period are set.  I spin a spinner each day and that determines the daily partners.  If a student is absent, the partner gets to choose a group to work with for the day.

Last year, I found this product from the fabulous Miss Nannini - cell phone partners.  So I've now replaced our clocks with cell phones.  Gotta keep up with the changin' times.  :)

3.  We determined our morning routine.  We will practice, practice, practice until we have it down.  Then we'll practice, practice, practice again after Christmas Break and in May when suddenly my fifth graders forget everything they've learned about classroom procedures - we'll practice, practice, practice again.  LOL  Gotta love em.'

4.  We talked about "What is Math Workshop?"  Most of my students are very familiar with reading and writing workshop, but math workshop is always new terrain. So we took some time this week to discuss what it is, how it's similar to reading and writing workshop, and how it will run in our classroom.  The kids and I are really excited to get our math workshop up and running.  But as we all know, we need to take it s.l.o.w.l.y.  One center at a time for the next few weeks!  For more information on how I teach 'What is Workshop?' read this blog post HERE.  Don't mind the not so fancy anchor charts.  Artistry is not my specialty.  :)

5.  We discussed 'What do good mathematicians do?'  Surprisingly, this is always a tough prompt for students to answer.  They can go on and on about what good readers do, and what good football players or basketball players do, but when it comes to mathematicians.........blank stares.   After a lot of think time, partner share time, and some direction from me, we were able to come up with the rough draft of an anchor chart for our classroom. It's not finished as you can see, we are going to add more to the practice area, and I left room to add 3-4 more ideas to the bottom of the chart as the year progresses. Our purpose in creating the chart was so we know what we need to do this year to become good mathematicians!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you had a great week in the classroom also.  Now, I'm off to rest my legs and throat because this back to school thing wrecks havoc on a body.  :)  Night all......


  1. I love that you mention having to practice procedures again in May! Isn't it amazing how an entire year's worth of awesome procedures disappear toward the end of the year?

  2. Thanks for the sweet shout out Melissa! Hopefully your kids love the cell phones as much as mine do! :)

    YoungTeacherLove Blog

  3. Thanks so much! I love reading your blog.


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