Tag Archives: back to school

I’m back and blogging again… in 4th grade!

So made the switch to fourth grade this year. Big change that comes with more test stress but a better curriculum and relationship with the older kids.

And I am dedicating this blog solely to anchor charts and my love of them! I am a visual learner and I have learned more about teaching balanced literacy from anchor charts than I have from reading lessons.  They just put things in perspective quickly for me and become a sort of- agenda,  if you will.  So I am sharing everything we do at my school.

You may wonder where I work.  I am currently working in a low income, urban district that is a Level 5 in Massachusetts.  My school just came into Level 1 status.  So proud of our hard working teachers and staff, new and old. 🙂

I attribute our success to our strong commitment to balance literacy.  “Student as teacher, Teacher as coach” has propelled our nearly 80% English language learning student population into the highest level in our state.

So sit back and enjoy the charts!  First up, the beginning of the year–

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September Happenings!

Back to school is in full swing this year! We start off the year with some ice breaker activities, and reminiscing about our summer.

This also the time we put our routines into place.

This begins with daily routines: calendar, rules, schedule.We meet here every day before math to talk about the day, the week, the month and the year.  We count our days of school. We record the weather daily.

We also establish our learning community.  Together we learn about each other and share details about our families and our friends.  Things we like and dislike.  We begin to become friends and neighbors.

We do this through literature.  Some of the titles about caring and friendship we read together are Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, Horrible Harry in Room 2B by Suzy Kline, Amber Brown Get Ready for 2nd Grade by Paula Dazinger, Miss Malarkey Doesn’t Live in Room 10 by Judy Finchler, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg, Brand-new Pencils, Brand-new Books by Diane deGroat, Yoko by Rosemary Wells.


Focus lessons are taught on the rug during Phonics, Reader’s Workshop, Math Workshop, Writer’s Workshop, Social Studies and Science. Here is where the majority of our learning happens. Mini lessons last between 15-20 minutes followed by independent practice and share out. Students in our school go to special classes once a day: PE/ Health, Art, Skills, Technology, and Literature.

We also spend a lot of time in September talking about the school rules of TONE.  T= Talk it out, O= Own your own behavior, N= Nurture Feelings, E= Enjoy learning.  Our class did exceptionally well as earning TONE raffle tickets this month and already had several students when the school wide and televised weekly TONE raffle!  Congratulations!

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