Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vocabulary Poster Project & A Question For You

Hey friends...its been a while!  I've been SO busy planning, teaching, and working in my classroom I haven't even been able to read anyone else's blog, much less write a post of my own! So I wanted to pop in and say 'Hi!', share something that I've been working on, and get some advice.

But first, just a little catching up about life in September.  I'm LOVING my new school!  You know how sometimes you start a new job, and each new thing you find out after you start makes you wonder if you really want to work there?  I've had the exact opposite experience so far...each new thing I learn about the school and administrators makes me feel like I'm exactly where I belong.  This school is SUCH a good fit for me!  The only thing I'm having to adjust to is how much more communication parents expect at a private school.  But, I guess I'd rather have parents who want to know every little thing, than parents who don't care at all...we all know there's too much of the latter going on out there.  And it's such a blessing to be able to pray with my are a couple of pics from 'See You At the Pole' day this past week.

I'm also very excited that my youngest son decided to join me at my new school!!!  He'd been attending the public middle school near us.  It's a great school, but really big, and I felt like he was getting kind of lost in the shuffle.  I know it's been a big adjustment for him, but he's doing great, and I love knowing that he's just down the hall (and I have easy access to his teachers to make sure he's staying on track...he's not so crazy about that part...ha!).  I get to drive back and forth to school with him and see him at lunch every day.  It's been SO nice to have this time with him.  I've always felt like he got gypped in the 'one-on-one' department, being the youngest of four.  He's running Cross Country for our new school and is doing great!  He's the one in the dark blue... moving on to what I've been working on...

We just finished our first Social Studies unit and are moving on to the next one, and while I was planning, I wanted to come up with a way to get the kids engaged with the vocabulary.  You know how they GROOOOOAANNN when they hear 'vocabulary words'?   They're picturing being given a list of words and having to look them up in the dictionary to write down the definitions.

So, I'm going to have my kiddos make vocab posters.  I know this isn't a new idea, but it's still a good one.  They're so much more engaged, and learn more deeply, when they're given one word to make a poster for, and when they learn the other words from their friends' posters!  I'm planning to have each student do a quick (2 minute) presentation of their posters, and then have the kids do a gallery walk to write down all of the definitions.

I put together a Vocabulary Poster Project that includes instructions, objectives, criteria, and a quick and easy grading rubric.  If you'd like to check it out, click here, or on the picture below...

And finally, here's my question for you.  I know that one of my biggest challenges as a teacher is time management.  I'm always catching myself going over the amount of time I have for one subject, thereby shorting myself in another area.  How do you keep yourself on track, timewise?  Any suggestions, tips, etc would be appreciated!!!

I hope all of you are having a great school year so far.  Let me know how things are going!


  1. Hi Kris, I too have been too busy to post! I am so glad you love your new school and to have your son there too is extra icing on the cake. We all have time issues but ever since I got the timer clock ( a big one! ) and put it in the front of the room where we can all see the red count down section, it has been easy. For example, I'll tell the kids they have 15 min. to accomplish a task. Set the timer. When it beeps, that's it. Transition on. Yes, some are not finished but that's why I set up a 30 min. period once a week called "Catch Up". They all have something they need to finish and this takes pressure off forever reminding someone to finish. Hope this helps.

  2. Hi Kris! I send a weekly newsletter/homework duotang home to help with parent communication - it tells them what we are doing each week. I use my iPhone or to keep us on track for some things. I also make use of a "catch up" period at the end of the week for those slow pokes. Yesterday one of my students said their Grade 3 teacher used to draw a ketchup bottle for 'catch up'. Lol!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  3. I love the See You at the Pole pictures! Glad you like your new school!

  4. So glad things are going well at your new school! I have a student who keeps track of the time for me. It frees me up from having to watch the clock and it helps with their time telling skills! Hope that helps!
    A Tall Drink of Water