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Collaboration—Success is a Team Effort!

The longer I teach; the more I realize how much I rely on my colleagues to be successful in the classroom. Even the best teacher is better with a partner, because as trite as it sounds… two heads are better than one. In my ten years in the classroom, I learn as much from other teachers as my students learn from me. I’ve been lucky to have many types of collaborations… PLC (Professional Learning Communities), gifted resource, special education, and UVA student teachers, are just a few examples of partners I’ve worked with over the years. I am thankful for the strategies I’ve learned from working with others that have made me a better teacher.

Today, I had the fortune of following the lead of my collaborative partner, Brandon Isaiah. He suggested we create centers that were multi-sensory, utilizing computers, expo markers, and a game with dice. We reviewed the material covered so far this year in an engaging lesson that was enjoyable for the kids and adults. Students “counted off” to get a station, creating a situation that allowed everyone to partner with new classmates. Collaboratively students worked together, making learning pleasurable, and preparing them to get along in ways they will be expected to in their future fields.

Trying new things can be scary… especially when you are the one in front of a room full of people waiting to follow your lead. Taking risks is easier with a team. As I watched my classes giggle and laugh during today’s “quiz review,” I was thankful that Mr. Isaiah showed me new ways to work with students in the classroom. When I complimented his work, he sheepishly said, “I got it all from watching other people.” But that’s what great teachers do, observe, model, and make things their own. Together, we improve each other, making education better for all the children in our schools.

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Analyzing Text

Students worked in groups to disect the text “My Name,” an excerpt from A House on Mango Street by Latina author, Sandra Cisneros. They did T-Charts listing out positive and negative words the author wrote about her name, and then discussed how the author felt about her name based on their lists. The students enjoyed writing on desks using the Expo markers… making analyzing texts, FUN! 🙂

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Predictions, Connections, & Symbolism

Before reading, “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros, a Latina author, the students all predicted what the piece would be about based on the title. We discussed that predictions (like scientists with hypothesises) are educated guesses about what happens next based on clues we find. We read the piece underlining postive words about the name and circling negative words. Afterwards, students worked in small groups charting out their findings & discussing how the author feels about her name. Quick writes were are response to the text, as everyone made connections by journaling about their own names. I loved hearing from those that were brave enough to share with the class the stories of their names. We ended class talking about symbolism & creating crests that symbolized each student. I love how much we are learning & sharing!

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First Day

The first day is always full of lots of excitment! In language arts, we dove right into the curriculum. Learning about the prefix “bio” meaning life, we created Bio-Poems about our own lives. The challenging part is that we had to write the poem in third-person form, a new concept for the majority of the students. We ended with an Identity Circle Game to see what connections we shared with new classmates. Each person stepped into the circle when statements were true about them. We shared favorite subjects, sports teams, colors, birthdays, food preferences. I learned a lot about the kids, and I was pleased with a successful first day.

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