The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Read Write Think – New and Improved!

Today was an interesting day for my class. Due to an unplanned meeting, I had to leave midway through the morning, leaving my class in the most capable hands of one of our Title I instructors with somewhat vague lesson plans meant to carry them through an unspecified period of time.

Yeah, I was just as confused.

Fortunately, my students showed that they knew exactly what to do when the instructions for the morning were to gather in reading groups, read for 15 minutes, write a character summary, and then read again. After all reading and summarising was done, they were allowed to participate in their Read, Write, Think! activities today instead of tomorrow (since tomorrow is a teacher inservice day).

I returned to the class to see a group of six girls working on art projects in one corner of the room, another group of students playing bingo, and some others working on puzzles or drawing at their seats. I had recently acquired some “cognitive games” (games that would challenge students thinking and/or help them work on basic math skills) that I was looking forward to sharing with the class. My parents donated “Connect Four” and “Battleship” to the class, and I quickly had several students jump at the opportunity to play. The two playing “Battleship” were quickly joined by two others to create teams. We also had “Guess Who?” and “Pokemon Monopoly” which were donated by my wife. (We found them at a local thrift store, actually, but she said they should both be given to the class.) Once again, the members of the class were eager to play and challenge one another.

I actually played a few games of “Connect Four” and am currently undefeated in the class. I also took on a couple of students in “Guess Who?” and managed to win. I am sure that one of the new challenges in the room will be to beat me at these games. The girls who had been drawing took the time to make some wonderful thank you cards for my parents and my wife, which was pretty awesome.

I have been impressed how well the students work together and take on the challenge to participate in activities that are meant to make them think. I am hoping to have more reading and writing and less drawing in the coming weeks. Constant improvement is one of my main goals, as an educator and as a person in general. I hope that my students have similar goals.

I will probably not be updating tomorrow, since it is an inservice day, so I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be watching the Semi-Annual General Conference my church holds each October. (The Annual General Conference is held in April.) It is broadcast via satellite from Salt Lake City, Utah, but I’ll be watching online on Saturday and on TV at a friend’s house on Sunday. See you all on Monday!

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