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

A New Year & A New Plan

Hello, friends, family, colleagues, parents, administrators, and random people of the Internet! It has been a while! School has now been in session for three days and my ambitious goal to start blogging each day has clearly already hit a roadblock. I have opened up WordPress each day and I have meant to write, but then one issue or another came up and before I knew it, I had to run off to get home in order to make it to one engagement or another.

Ah, the life of a teacher.

As it is, it is now after 6 pm on a Monday, I am still at school, but I am determined to start this week off right! We’ve had an exciting three days of establishing classroom expectations, getting used to routines, and jumping into some new curricular materials. (If you haven’t heard of Eureka Math yet, go check it out–it is going to be the main tool we use when teaching math now.)

So, it is a new year. What else is new? I only have 21 students (so far) which is definitely the smallest class I have had since I started working here at Wiley. I just acquired a bunch of new tabletop style games for my classroom (more on this at a later date) thanks to generous donors on DonorsChoose. And I have changed the format of my classroom to focus on a workshop model throughout the day. Instead of “social studies” or “science” I now have a daily “Inquiry Workshop.” Instead of “math” it is “Mathing Workshop” (because math is a verb; it is something we do.) I still have a Writing Workshop but literacy, which I used to call my “Daily CAFE” is now going to be a “Reading Workshop.” I am super excited to see how using the workshop model throughout the day will increase student engagement and ownership!

Oh, and, of course, we now have elementary physical education teachers in Urbana! I was a part of the exploratory committee that recommended adding them and was so thrilled when the Board of Education approved hiring PE teachers at all of our elementary schools! Not only will our students get better PE instruction from specialists in the area, but the classroom teachers will have time to meet together and collaborate throughout the week! Huzzah!

It is going to be a great year! And now that I am done with graduate school (yes, I am now Mr. Valencic, Master of Education), I should have more time to blog, to read, and to play tabletop games. (Have I mentioned that I am an avid tabletop gamer and I plan on integrating this passion into my classroom?) But don’t worry, techy friends; I am also passionate about educational technology and that will also be a key component of my classroom instruction. Remember, I am a geek of all things!

What are you most excited about for this school year?

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