Settling In ...

08 September 2011
I'm sorry it's been a couple of days since my last post.  Getting back into the routine has been more difficult than I thought.  I've had a nasty little flu/cold thing for over a week - my throat felt like I swallowed glass, and just as I think I'm getting over that ... I woke up with PINK EYE!  Awesome!  I think my body is rebelling against going back to school.

Body issues aside, the first few days have gone well.  I have a difficult class this year so we've taken it quite slow.  Most of our time has been dedicated to discussing character, establishing rules, discussing character, practising routines, and discussing character ... you get the idea.  They'll come around ... I hope.  I had a GREAT moment today when I asked for some volunteers to help in the JK/SK classroom during lunch time - every single student volunteered!  I made a BIG deal about this, gushing about how they filled my bucket with their display of great character and leadership.  I also made them all a character rocks card, and filled the bucket with them.  I can't wait to hand them out tomorrow!

We have accomplished a few academic tasks these past few days.  We started our space unit in science.  Today we made our KWL chart (one student "wondered" if it was possible to get pulled into a wormhole - lol), and they started on their title pages.  I haven't taught this unit for a few years, and our resources are so limited and outdated.  I've been doing some internet searching, but if anybody has any great ideas, I'd love to hear them.

I started our writing workshop unit - Personal Memoirs.  I'm really excited about this unit I made.  Yesterday we read Eve Bunting's The Memory String, and we discussed it using a question string (OK - it was more like a chain, but the students got the connection).  Today we started to make our personal timelines - we'll have to finish them tomorrow.

We also started to make our math journals today - we made our first entry and started decorating the covers.  Tomorrow we'll finish decorating them, and add a layer or two of homemade mod podge (equal parts white glue and water) to the cover to make it a little more sturdy.  We're going to make foldables for each entry.  Today we made a four-corner foldable for operations.  They students had a lot of fun with this, and I am VERY excited about our math journals this year (something I've never said before).  Here are a couple of pictures from our journals today:

So, it's been a LONG three days so far, but there's only one more day to go.  Hopefully the antibiotics kick in, and my eye starts to heal.  We have Spirit Day tomorrow, and I have to get busy writing a cheer for the class ...

Happy Thursday!!!


  1. what did you put inside your foldable?

  2. Hey Jen -

    Sorry about the pink eye . . . yikes! My husband works at NASA here in TX and would be willing to SKYPE with your students if you'd like to enrich your space unit. Email me if you'd like . . . bgruener at

    The Corner On Character

  3. MArmour - inside the foldable we just have an example of each type of question. We also put a definition for the answer word for each - "quotient" is the answer to a division question. It was just our first one today, so I wanted to keep it easy.

    Barbara - that sounds AWESOME!!! Give me a couple of days to figure out the logistics (and find out if they'll let me bring in my own laptop and connect to the school's system) ... I'll definitely be emailing you. Thank-you soooo much!

  4. These are great! I am a middle school teacher (reg ed science / resource center math) ...and just like you, am very excited about my math journals!

    Yours look great...i am going to use your foldable idea for operations next week. I WAS planning on covering their notebooks with contact paper...but after reading your post I was considering using the home-made mod podge. Have you used it often before? Does it dry completely clear?

  5. Courtney - I'll post about how it turned out. I've never used the "homemade" mod podge before, but I saw it on pinterest, and apparently it does dry clear. I'll try it out in the morning before I do it with the students to be sure.

  6. Oops...still new to this whole blog thing. I was trying to somehow attach my blog link to the post, but it didn't work. ... i am still new to this so don't judge.. but i have a few posts about my journaling so far...

  7. I would recommend the book Exploring the Solar System by Mary Kay Carson. There is some great activities in there like how to have kids make elliptical orbits rather than circular and also walk the distance of the planets. Nasa Kids Club has some fun games and videos too!

  8. Also if you are doing the moon the oreo moon phases is cute-on pinterest. A cool activity is where you make little tubberwares with flour and a little of cinnamon sprinkled on top. With students in groups have one drop 4-5 different objects from about 12 inches away while the others look away. Then have the others guess which objects caused which crater. We used a marble, penny, soda/water lid, a bouncy ball, and a real small rock. This can lead to all types of discussion about force, cause and effect, inferring, etc.

  9. Girl! Are you kidding? I had the cold crud and am at home today because of Pink Eye. I have never had it and started noticing it yesterday at school. Our bodies want the summer back! Haha! I love the foldable. Our science journals are very similar to your math ones. I really want to begin the math journal now!

  10. Pink eye?!?! Lol, don't be spreading that to my sweet little nieces. Hopefully you're doing better. You can buy antibiotic drops over the counter now for pink eye. Did you get some?

  11. Sounds like you had some amazing activities your first few days :) I am in a similar boat in terms of spending a great deal of time working on routines, expectations, respect, more expectations. I know that taking all this time now to make sure they are clear and understanding their expectations will help with their learning in the long run.

  12. Hi Jennfier - I teach 5th grade in Bellevue, Washington and I came across your Blogspot via Pintrest. I've just spent an hour thoroughly enjoying exploring your entries. I'm finding many great inspirations and look forward to trying out some of your practices. Thanks so much for investing your time in creating such a wonderful blog!

    1. Thank-you SO much, Jenny. Your comment was one of the first things I read this morning. What a great way to start the day!