Dawn’s Year End Review – Looking Forward

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It is hard to believe that another school year is going to be over in just a few days! It seems like it was just yesterday that started. With all the craziness that come with closing up a classroom for the year, and the fun activities that are scheduled, I find myself reflecting and thinking about what I plan to do differently next year and how far we have gone this year.

Looking Forward

I feel pretty comfortable with how CIA went with my 3rd graders, but after teaching it, I realize there is room for improvement. Here are just a few changes I’m pondering as I’m looking ahead to next year.

dark emperorI’m thinking of delaying the start of Poppy next year. This school year, I started with Poppy on the second day of school. I’m playing with the idea of delaying it by a week or two and using the book, Dark Emperor and other poems of the night by Joyce Sidman. It is a collection of poems about different animals that live in the forest. I’m thinking this would be a great way to build background, practice our turn and talks, while at the same time being a way to introduce poetry to my class.

My students really utilize the charts we’ve created for a book during all of our work with that book, and these charts can be useful afterwards as well. With my class doing the book club books that paired with The War with Grandpa, I saw how it might be helpful to have the posters for students to refer to when doing book clubs or for when just thinking about the books in general. I’m thinking of taking pictures of each of the charts before taking them down, and then having my school district’s copy shop make colored copies of the pictures. I’ll then put them in page protectors in a binder for students to refer to. Yes, they have their CIA notebooks, but in some cases it is hard to find one chart among so many.

Or, I might borrow an idea that the 4th grade CIA blogger, Janet Erickson shared. She created a poster that included a copy of the cover of the book, and then the ideas from all the charts on to one poster. (Check out the blogs written by teachers at the different grade levels. They share some great ideas that any teacher using CIA can apply to their classes!)

When I introduced the genre for Glory Be I went ahead and wrote all over the genre chart with notes and ideas for how the information we already knew about the book from the blurb will show itself in the book. This really seemed to help my students make the connection to just how powerful the blurb really is.

After meeting with Bethany, I’m also going to change up my vocabulary just slightly. I’m going to add the idea of breaking the vocabulary words into syllables. 3rd grade seems to be the year when multisyllabic words really start to appear, and I think this might be a good way to introduce and practice the skill of breaking the words apart. We already do this in a way when we look at the prefixes, roots and suffixes of the word. I also like the idea of having students create a list of a few words that may include the same prefix, root or suffix that appear in that day’s vocabulary word. I think this would be perfect for students that might finish doing the writing early.

I’m going to add more to my formal assessment to help show more of the growth that I’m seeing with my students. I’m not sure exactly how yet, but it is one of my pieces of homework for this summer, and hoping I can attend the formal assessment training that the amazing ladies of Read Side by Side will be offering.

Have a great summer and enjoy reading some wonderful books, I know most definitely will!

Written by Dawn Smith — 3rd Grade Teacher

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