Tuesday, October 3, 2017

7 Things I Learned in September

I ran into this blog post from Emily Freeman where she shared the things she had learned, and I decided it might be fun to create a monthly post of the things I learned in the past month. At the end of the post you're invited to link up your own list of things you learned this month.

September is always a crazy month for teachers, and this one was no exception for me! Here are the 7 things I learned in September in no particular order:

1. Tomato Horn worms grow really fast!

A few years ago, one of my students brought in a tomato horn worm and my class was obsessed! The same student asked if I would like another one for my classroom, and I agreed to take it.  The students have loved watching him eat and grow!  They definitely do damage to a tomato plant!

2. The Record of Reading App makes running records so much easier!

I recently downloaded the Record of Running App after seeing a post on Facebook and it is so much easier to take a running record now!  The best part? The app is free!  It only is available for iPads though.

3. My students are pretty good at self-assessing!

I often have my students self-assess themselves as they finish tasks.  One way I do this is by having a group of folders numbered 1- 4.  

1 - I can't do this even with help.
2 - I can do this with help.
3 - I can do this on my own.
4 - I can do this so well, I could teach someone else.

The students file their work in the appropriate file.  It helps me to form small groups for re-teach or enrichment, and the students are usually pretty honest about where they fall.

4. My boys and I LOVE photography!

Cody, Luke, and I took a photography class at the Apple store and we have all fallen in love with photography!  I will be posting a blog post on Wednesday about how to use what we learned in your classroom!

5. My students LOVE 4th grade so far!

I love when I get notes and letters from my students like this one!

6. My students have lots of strengths in Reading and Writing!

I love to use these surveys for Reading and Writing from Jennifer Serravallo to help my students set reading and writing goals for themselves.

What Can I Work on as a Reader?

What Can I Work on as a Writer?

7. You can use Tangrams to help your students develop a growth mindset.

We had a Professional Development session on Growth Mindset this past week.  The trainer had us try to put together Tangram puzzles.  She said it would be a great task to give your students to help introduce the idea of having a growth mindset.

Possible Questions to ask students:

1. What did you try first?
2. Did you wish you had additional information?
3. Did you collaborate with others?
4. Did you peek at someone else's work?
5. What did you learn from this activity that you could apply to other challenges you face?

Now it's your turn! What did YOU learn in September? 

Link up below, and comment on at least 2 other posts.


  1. Our district is moving toward Reader’s Workshop next year and is requiring running records. I’m curious how often you have to do them and how useful you find them in fourth grade. I did running records regularly when I taught first grade, but I see more issues with comprehension than decoding at third grade, so I’m wondering how valuable they will be for most of my students.

    1. I am on your page for sure! We are required to complete running records on students who are below grade level in reading (that was half of my class at the beginning of the year). As you said, in 4th grade, there are very few miscues and decoding issues, but A LOT more comprehension issues. I was just happy to have the app because it took a lot of precious instructional time to complete running records. I started my own system focused more on comprehension, and I only have 5 students below grade level now as opposed to half the class!


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