There is something almost palpable in the air in a 5th grade classroom after spring break. It is as if the students were replaced by 6th graders so suddenly that it never ceases to startle me. Where did my 5th graders go and who are these new kids? I used to fear spring break and the change it seemed to signal. I used to dread it, wondering how on earth I would get through all we have to get through while not shouting at the top of my lungs for their attention. Now I relish the challenge, the chance to start fresh with a “new” set of kids, the chance to push them harder in our final home stretch.
So when my students come back there will be new things to try:
- A new spelling approach based on root words, their meaning, their origin and whether they can come up with an example of a word. And not just for my advanced spellers but for everybody. Spelling practice seems to never transfer so I hope this new word study will give my students more knowledge rather than just more practice memorizing words they never end up using. We will use buddy chats, acting out, and simple word plays to hopefully get the students to learn.
- A tweaked resource time rotation modified by my students. I will be looking at doing more mini lessons with my book club groups too, maximizing every minute I get with them.
- A service learning project. With the push for common core implementation comes more research papers so this is not the first time my students will spend time researching. I therefore need a hook to increases engagement so it is time to give back. Students will be presented with an opportunity to research any need either in our school, our community, or the world. They choose the direction but must come up with a way to help the problem and not just in theory either, they have to actually help. I cannot wait to see how they will change the world.
- A new math approach. After my latest post on math, my team and I decided to change our program again. We will continue to share kids, but with a bigger focus on math stations trying to hit the needs of every kid, pushing those students that need to be pushed, and trying to fill in some of the math holes in others.
- More hands on social studies. My students have been knocking their colony prezis out of the park and I want to keep the momentum going. So while we continue to lean on the text book as our base knowledge (through summary not reading it) we will continue to connect our knowledge, bringing back genius hour, simulations, as well as creating new problem solving tasks for the kids such as figuring out what would have happened if the US lost the Revolutionary War.
My mind will continue to spin during spring break hoping to come up with even more. All I know is that I get two more months with these incredible kids and we need to make it memorable. I know they are up for the challenge.