03 September 2013

We're Off to a GREAT Start!

We had a GREAT first day back.  I'm exhausted ... but it's a good exhausted.  This year I have 28 students in my grade 5/6 class - 7 students in grade 5, and 21 students in grade 6.  Because half of my students are new to my school this year (we amalgamated with another school), we spent a lot of today getting to each other and building new relationships.

We started out with a team-building activity I found on Science Gal's blog.  She has a wonderful set of instructions to follow.  Students had to work together to build a pyramid with their solo cups, using strings and an elastic band.  They LOVED it!

When we were finished, each group (I have 5 groups in the class) worked together to build a list of 4 key points they learned about how to successfully work in groups.  They then had to narrow down their points to their top 2, and together, we built an anchor chart entitled, "The Secret to Success This Year".  (I'm sorry - I forgot to grab a pic of it).  My absolute favourite point (and the first one they gave me) was "We will learn from our mistakes."  Couldn't ask for more than that!

Later in the day, we worked on our "Math About Me" pennants.  Although each students completed his or her own pennant, we worked together through the activity, discussing what each question meant and how to solve it.  As students finished, I hung the pennants on our math bulletin board.  LOVE how it turned out.  I've uploaded this little template to google docs if you would like to share it with your class.  Click HERE to download your own copy.  

We started our first read aloud of the year - The One and Only Ivan.  I read it with my own girls this summer, and they LOVED it.  And I'm pretty sure the class is hooked already.  :)  I've got a little surprise coming to my class this week, and I can't wait until it gets here (no - it's not a real gorilla - lol).  

We finished the day by writing our "I Am ..." poems.  I have these templates available as a freebie on my TPT site.  Click HERE to see them.  As students completed, I gave them a sheet of construction paper, had them fold it in half, and then asked them to draw the top half of their heads on the top half on the sheet.  The sheet would be glued on the bottom half.  They also need to draw in their fingers as if they are holding up the paper.  About half of the class finished before the end of the day, and I can't wait until they are all done tomorrow so I can hang them outside the classroom as our first big display.  :)
I have a feeling it's going to be a fabulous year.  And as exhausted as I am, I am still excited to sit down and finish planning for tomorrow.  Happy Tuesday!!!


  1. I used your I am poem as part of my All About Me book this year. I like your idea with the top of the head. I might try to do that before curriculum night this week. Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. I'm so glad you had a great first day Jen! :) Hopefully this bunch is eager and excited to start the new year! It looks like you guys had a ton of fun! I love those "Math About Me" pennants! Thanks for sharing!

    YoungTeacherLove Blog

  3. Welcome back! Your class sounds alittle like mine. I have 27 5th graders but for LA 17 I teach 6th grade curriculum & 10 are 5th. It's a dual class as we have honor students in grades 3-5. For math I teach all 5th gr honors so 6th gr curr to 25 students. Some come to me from another class & some of mine go to the other teacher who teaches 5th gr math. I'm following many of your interactive notebook ideas for math too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love the idea of having kids do a group project that is fun and engaging and then coming up with guidelines for the rest of the year. Thanks for sharing!

    The Math Maniac

  5. Sounds like a great first day! The "Math About Me" pennants are a great idea! Enjoy the rest of the week:-)


  6. I'm super excited to try out group work activity with kids tomorrow. I teach 7th and 8th grade math classes and my kids have difficulty working in groups. I think this activity will help them with group work... Thanks for great ideas :)

  7. I love those "Math About Me" pennants! Thanks for sharing!
    Math Central

  8. I'm reading Ivan to my 7/8th graders, too. I can't wait to read about your surprise. I might have to teach-lift it. Hee hee!

  9. Having trouble getting the pennant to print correctly. Any suggestions?

  10. HI..I just purchased your Interactive Math Journals from TPT. I was curious as to when your students work on them. Do they have enough time to complete them in a center? Also, if the entries are by standards not lessons/skills do you complete them daily, weekly or monthly? I look forward to thoughts. Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura,
      I do devote a section to "Timing" on page 4 of the introduction to my journal. Basically, the entries are based more on concepts - they've been aligned to where those concepts fall in the standards. I usually do one entry per week - which usually takes between 45 minutes to one hour (although, you could ask students to complete the left side of the page as homework if needed for time ... although not until they are more comfortable with the concept). I wouldn't do the journals as a center activity because the right side of the page is a very teacher-led lesson ... instruction about the concept through discussion. Perhaps the students could complete the left side of the page as a center activity once they have completed the right side of the page.

  11. Wow! Thank you so much! Can't wait to try these first day/ week activities! You're amazing!

  12. Just discovered you this week.... so excited. Thank you for sharing your amazing ideas and your infectious spirit.
    Moving into 3-4 this year... after most recently a long stretch in 1-2s.... I am following all your social media and TPT closely!

  13. What a great resource for the I am poem. Thank you so much! :0