Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Magic Button

This was the week that the magic button was pushed.

You know about the magic button, right?

I don't know where the magic button is located or who is responsible for pushing it, but doing so instantly makes everything click and the classroom runs itself.

I first suspected that the button had been pushed when I realized that all of our reading books were put back facing the same direction. I noticed the same was true for their writers' notebooks. Each of those little speckled books was stacked neatly with their black bindings perfectly aligned. As I slowly looked around the room I spotted additional evidence.

The lunch cards (which I had been setting up daily after dismissal) were organized and the next day's lunch choices were on display. The whiteboard that had read "October 19, 2011" in MY handwriting now read "October 20, 2011" in the finest third grade penmanship.

Not wanting to call it too soon (for fear of jinxing myself) I spent the next day carefully observing my little charges.

And the magic was there.

Each transition went smoothly. No time was wasted. Friends helped each other and encouraged each other. When we returned from lunch, not only did the entire class immediately go to the rug for read aloud, but someone had thoughtfully taken Charlotte's Web down off the shelf and placed it on my seat. When I signaled it was time for Reader's Workshop, I noticed one of my students slid an extra chair over to the small group table so their would be six seats available when I started guided reading groups before she went to get her own book bag and settle in to a cozy book nook to work on her independent work.

I love the magic!

It allows us to get so much accomplished and the feeling of community is so special.

Since I've highlighted my spider writing projects and Haunted House for Sale projects, I wanted to give you a look at the finished work on display.

I've really been focused this year on adding in opportunities for creativity as often as possible. We've ended each week with "Crafty Friday" and I've made the projects and supplies available during indoor recess. My goal was to provide them with more opportunities for some simple, fun projects. However, the surprise bonus has been the way it has really inspired them as writers. Knowing their work will be published and displayed weekly has been so motivating for them.

Isn't that board cute? I fell in love with the candy corn border at Lakeshore a few weeks ago and absolutely had to buy it. I used a bag of the fake spider web stuff for the background. The kids went all kinds of crazy when they saw that. It's the little things in life.

Our Pumpkin Projects will be rolling in tomorrow. I can't wait to see them.

We spent this past week working on data in math. I'm looking forward to sharing an integrated math and writing project with you this week as well.

As I mentioned last week, our Treasures main selection had us focused on Antarctica. While I was initially not too keen on rocking the penguins and polar bears during spider and bat season, my friends and I had a blast learning about those adorable little arctic critters. Gosh do they love all things non-fiction.

As a bonus, we completed some impressive writing and made some mighty cute penguins. I thought they were perfect they way they were, but there was a request to add scarves, hats, and earmuffs to them so I suppose they are now a "work in progress."

I'll be neatly putting them into storage for the next few weeks and will happily have a winterish bulletin board ready to go when we return from Thanksgiving break. You know I like to plan ahead.

If you need a fun, seasonal activity for this upcoming week swing by my products page and download the Witch's Brew Adjective FREEBIE!

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