Friday, June 13, 2014

Reflections on the Year

Oh my goodness! We have been out of school 2 weeks and we haven't blogged one single time! For shame! Please forgive us for our "summer is here and we are misbehaving" lapse!

So we finished up school May 30th. I've been reflecting on the year...things that worked, things that stunk up the place, and things that worked ok but could certainly be improved upon.

So hopefully these reflections might help you out too!

The Good!

EPIC SUCCESS #1:  Daily 5 and CAFE

We are so in love with this and feel like it made such a tremendous difference in building independent and successful readers! We had a ton of kiddos reading on 2nd and even 3rd grade level by the end of the year! It was just amazing to be a part of that. Check out our friend MARY over at Sharing Kindergarten. She and some other bloggers have an excellent book study going on about Daily 5!  Check it out to find out how this works in the classroom!

EPIC SUCCESS #2:  Journals

We read Deanna Jump's super simple but super smart tip about using 1 journal and adding tabs for each content area. We created 3 tabs...writing, math, and SS/science. Simple and genius. It was SO much easier for the kiddos to keep track of ONE journal! And it was honestly easier to remember to WORK in journals when you pulled it out for one content area, it helped us think "hey, I need to plan more math journal activities" while I'm at it.
Post-it File Tabs, Assorted Colors, 24pk
The Bad! ( not really bad... more like "Meh!" OK, but could be better.)

EPIC "Meh!" #1:  Pencil Boxes

We used to have a shared basket on the table with pencils, crayons, glue... that the table kiddos shared. It was ok but some kiddos didn't like the whole sharing supplies thing...especially if they were a wee bit stressed when someone tore the paper off a crayon or maybe chewed on a pencil. I get it! I'm a bit OCD myself!  So we switched to individual pencil boxes a few years back. Much better...but they have still given us a little grief! We house them all on a bookcase and when they go to retrieve them, they like to do a little shake-ah shake-ah with them on their way back to their seat! LOUD!!! So we are making another simple but helpful change. We are getting pencil pouches this next year. Still individual, still on the bookcase so as not to clutter the desks, but now in QUIET little fabric pencil pouches that don't sound like the school is crashing in!
Sterilite Pencil BoxElmer's Durable Binder Pouch
The Ugly!

Epic Fail #1: Pencil Sharpening!

Holy smokes...who would think that sharpening pencils could drive someone to drink???? Ok so maybe not drink, but pretty darn close! We started out the year with 2 cans labeled "SHARP" and "NEEDS SHARPENING". Great plan! Worked really well except the kiddos are big fans of their pencils. They have some sort of connection to those little wooden writing thing-a-ma-bobs. And when they returned to the "SHARP" can to pick up their pencils...well let's just say that didn't always go so well. As in---you're 5! Let's be honest, are you gonna always find YOUR pencil in the can or the sparkly star pencil or the one with the WHOLE eraser still in tact! People!! We had some serious issues with not getting the right pencil back. We thought about writing their names on their pencils with a sharpie, but that just sounded like too much work on our part!

So we had sweet George the maintenance guy come install a brand new kickin' it old school crank pencil sharpener so they could go back to sharpening their own pencils. Of course THIS would be a success because surely those pencil sharpeners have come a long way and are just sharpening like butta....right! Maybe we should have know there was trouble when sweet George installed the sharpener on backwards!!! When he left the first kid went to christen  the thing and HELLO!!!...crazy town! He did come back and install it correctly, but the story only goes down hill from there! We DO think we have a better solution and we'll blog about it later this week!  So be sure and check back!
Boston KS Sharpener ChromeBlack

So there's lots more, but I'm kinda tired of typing which means I KNOW you are probably tired of reading! Please share your own GOOD, BAD, and UGLY with us so we can pick up some new tips of our own!

1 comment:

  1. Love your ideas and likes and "ehs" I finally broke down and bought an electric sharpener and the kids do the pencils (sharpened/needs sharpening) supervised at first, then by themselves; I tried the "quietest sharpener' for teachers, but that thing jammed up constantly and I was constantly resetting it (more trouble than the quiet was worth!) and it is unusable w/ colored pencils! I found small pencil boxes for the kids and started using them in Jan. We do community stuff til then. They loved the pencil boxes and they were about 1/2 the size of the ones pictured. (Walmart) Thanks for sharing!