Freaky Fast First Week

The first week of school…exciting, exhilarating, exhausting! Exactly as I expected and so much more. After all the preparation and anticipation, the big day finally arrived last Wednesday. I welcomed 29 students into our fifth grade classroom. What a great group of kiddos they are!!!! I was amazed at how smooth our start-up was this year. Hopefully the smooth start is a good sign of what lies ahead. My class earns marbles for awesome behavior in our classroom and around the school. On the first day they had earned SIX marbles before 10:00 a.m. WOWEE!!!

Once we had settled in and gotten to know each other, the teaching finally began. I absolutely loved the first days of teaching. I felt like I was “home again.” I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was back in front of my class, doing what I love to do…aaahhhhh!!!!

My first week teaching highlights are many, but I’d like to share how excited I am about launching the Writer’s Notebook. Thanks to Dr. Biggs-Tucker for sharing all of these amazing ideas and activities with our masters class, this process has been very smooth! Both my students and I have loved all the start-up activities we have done. We started by reading from some mentor texts (I chose Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch, Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, and Wallace’s Lists by Barbara Bottner). Each of these books provided us with a hearty discussion about what writers do, where they might get their ideas, and how they capture those ideas. I distributed notebooks to each of my students and we talked about decorating them with items that are special to them. We watched a fabulous Writer’s Notebook video on YouTube by Ruth Ayres (author of Day By Day) on how she fills her notebooks. Then, we read the Introduction chapter from Ralph Fletcher’s book, A Writer’s Notebook, about what a Writer’s Notebook is and what it is not which lead to a great class discussion. And today, we completed our heart maps which helped us focus on the people/places/things we love most in the world. The enthusiasm toward writing in my classroom is inspiring! I can’t wait to reach new writing heights this year!

Heart Map


Notebook Covers



Ready for the Kids to Arrive!

Wow! I am really pleased with how this room has come together this year. I have moved rooms each year so I was used to having multiple boxes to unpack, walls and bookshelves to fill, etc. It used to take me multliple, LONG days to get my room ready for students. It was often something I dreaded, instead of anticipated.

I’m happy to say that this year I got to stay in my same room from last year. Talk about making set-up much easier! Whew! I actually looked forward to setting up my room this year and couldn’t wait to get started. I gathered ideas from great books and websites to help come up with what would work best for my room and my students. I only had to make one trip to The Chalkboard (vs. multiple runs in the past) and $75 later (again, not bad!), the room is ready for students to arrive.

This year I wanted to make sure I created a place in my room for my Reading Corner (where all my students could sit on the floor) and my Writing Zone. This proved to be a bit of a challenge because last year I only had 20 students and plenty of extra space. This year I will have 29 wonderful kiddos…which means 9 more desks. Yikes! I had to get a little more creative in my groupings and arrangement, but I think it’ll work out. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this!

Writing Center

Reading Zone