At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of options available to choose from and if I would get information I can use ASAP instead of the usual sit, get, like/love, and forget because there is no time to incorporate a brand new instructional model after spending a lot of time setting routines in the beginning of the year. 2/3 of the sessions were very excellent. I realized part of the reason many of my playlists were unsuccessful were because I was trying to do TOOOOOOO much on them – making it nearly impossible for all students to be accountable for finishing work and impossible to grade and use more more than effort. I saw many examples of playlists that were much more manageable for students and teacher, making better use of everyone’s time. I also liked that in the SeeSaw session there was time to set up a class and get things going – so I didn’t leave the session with an immediate task. The only reason that one of the sessions wasn’t working for me was because it was a very strong secondary focus and although the content was very cool, it wasn’t going to be something that I could turn and use immediately, so that was a little unfortunate – mostly user error for not vetting my choices as closely!

Captivated and Motivated

I started and finished The Wild Card on a flight to California a couple weeks ago. This is not common for me. I’m often distracted by food, people, slight turbulence, or literally anything else a plane has to offer. This time, I found myself extremely focused- connecting to every chapter and most anecdotes. I wrote all over the margins about potential class transformations for our gigantic Oceans unit, restaurants for our Fractions and Decimals units, and so much more. I’m sure the person next to me on the plane thinks I’m a little crazy.

I love the enthusiasm about bringing music into the classroom! Thinking back to last year, it was linking the parts of an animal cell to to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (hand motions included) that helped my students remember what the parts are and what their function is. My goal for myself this year is to write (and perform…) more curriculum focused songs to help my students remember and better understand some of the more complex and abstract topics we learn together. The 5th graders loved hearing the band instruments and are excited to play as 6th graders, so if there is anyone out there that has a musical instrument talent, give me a shout so we can invite you to play for us!

The Wild Card has motivated me to make the dense and intense 5th grade curriculum more fun and accessible to all learners because, “Kids don’t buy boring.” I might just be doing odd jobs around my house to convince my husband to help me build a stage for my classroom next year…

What content area would you like to grow in this year? Why?