Friday, August 16, 2013

Trying Something New Each School Year

Each year, I change up my read alouds, lessons, charts, and always try something completely new depending on my students in my class.  I love when things organically evolve from the students and also when I get inspiration from students to take a risk and try something new with the class.
For example, last school year was the first time I...

  • Did March Madness Book Edition with my class.  This idea was sparked by a few boys in my class who were eating lunch in my classroom while we were talking about March Madness in basketball.  I will continue to do March Madness Book Edition with my class this year because it was extremely popular with my students last year and was a great experience all around! 
  • Had my students use Google Drive to set up digital portfolios.  Students used Google Drive for all drafting, publishing, group projects, book clubs, and more.  I will absolutely start this year off with having students use Google Drive and am excited to use it in new ways too.  
  • Tweeted authors questions from students while conferring with them about their books.  Students loved when the authors tweeted back about their upcoming titles, covers of new books coming out, and answered questions. 
  • Had an author surprise our class with a visit! One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt won our March Madness Book Edition and Book of the Year in our classroom book awards at the end of the school year.  Lynda Mullaly Hunt surprised us with a visit - click here to read all about it! It was a day that we will always remember and cherish! 
  • Gave students the option of using a binder instead of only a folder to keep their drafts organized in writing workshop.  Most students loved using the binder instead of a folder and actually kept all short texts, drafts, and mentors inside and organized them by using tabs.  The feedback from students motivated me to have my new students this year come with a binder that will be labeled their literacy binder to keep their drafts, mentors, and short texts/articles.  Since writing and reading are often connected during units of study, this will help keep everything organized during the units.  
  • Shared my Goodreads account with students during morning meetings.  Every so often I showed them the books I have read, want to read, and currently reading.  I also shared how Goodreads works and how I organize my books into categories and lists.  
  • Inputted all of my books in classroom library into Classroom Booksource.  My students helped me input all the titles at the end of last year and I will use it for the first time this coming year.  This way, students can check out books and I can see which books are checked out, which titles I have, and also how many copies of the title I have.  Since I have approximately 2,000 books in our classroom library, this will definitely help keep track of all of the books! 
  • Had students use Animoto to create videos during our nonfiction unit and social studies units.  Students loved exploring Animoto and using it to present their information to their classmates.  
  • Created a Twitter wall for students during the last month of school.  Each students had a speech bubble and they "tweeted" about a question I posed on my speech bubble.  As students entered the classroom each morning, they read my question and updated their speech bubbles with their new tweet.  This is something I am thinking of maybe doing at the beginning of this year instead of waiting till the end of the year since it is a great way for students to get to know each other too. 
These are some highlights of things I tried for the first time last school year.  I'd love to hear what you have tried for the first time last year or what you are planning on trying for the first time this school year so please share! :)

Enjoy preparing for the new school year! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the ideas! I've explored the Classroom Organizer and I think it's something I can definitely use in class. Thanks so much!