Sunday, April 27, 2014

Peek at My Week - Fun Stuff!

Woo Hoo!  I am so excited for everything I have planned for this week, now that our state testing is over.  We still have 4 days of national-normed testing coming up at some point, but I don't plan on doing much (if any) test prep for that.  It's actually the kind of test where good teaching should lead to good scores.  (Unlike our state test, which asks questions where the kids don't even understand what half the words in the questions mean)!  Enough about testing.  Let's get on to my plans for the week!  I'm linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.


Last week, we had bubblegum day, which I posted about {here}.  One of the activities was for the kids to write about getting trapped inside a gumball machine.  On Friday, I told them that not only would we be publishing our stories on the hallway bulletin board, we would also be publishing them in a REAL, HARDBOUND BOOK!  They got super excited.  I told them our deadline to get our work to our publisher is this coming Friday.  So this project is our top priority this week.  I'm using Student Treasures.  The whole class will get one free copy of our book, and parents can order their own copy for $19.95.  I'm curious to see how many parents order a copy.   Click the picture to go to their website.


Awhile ago, I purchased Laura Candler's Classroom Book Clubs product.  It is the perfect starter kit for doing book clubs.  And I will finally have the time to do our book clubs starting this week!  Here are the books that I am going to let my students choose from:

Monday, I'll introduce the books and let students browse through them and rate their choices.  I'll look over their ratings Monday night and we will get started reading on Tuesday.  If a book is above a child's reading level, I'm going to have them buddy read with someone on a higher level in their group. I'm hoping that the kids are going to really enjoy this new format for Reading Workshop as we wrap up the year.  


No more test prep Math!  Those are such beautiful words to say!  This week, we are going to be working on a fun, challenging problem via The Teacher Studio's Open Ended Math Challenges.  

According to the product, one problem can take 2-3 days to solve.  My students can always use more problem-solving skills, and it will be nice to be able to let them loose on a problem without a strict time limit.  If students finish the problem while others are still working, I plan on having them practice their 2 digit multiplication, as well as their long division.  I will even start challenging them with 5th grade multiplication and division.


We are going to start learning about animal adaptations.  I plan on showing a few videos this week, starting with this one:

It is all about camouflage, which should be an interesting introduction into adaptations.  After a short video and discussion each day, I plan on having my students do adaptation rotations from The Science Penguin.

My kids LOVE Science, and I plan on fitting it in every single day to make up for losing Science time during test prep.  

Social Studies

In Texas, 4th graders learn all about our state history.  At the end of May, we're going on a field trip to San Antonio to see the San Jose Mission and, of course, The Alamo!  I definitely have some catching up to do before that field trip.  So far, we've learned about TX Native Americans and European exploration.  This week, we will be reading in our Social Studies books about how the TX Revolution got started, which will lead us up to the Alamo.  I also plan on using some read alouds like these:

Genius Hour

As if all that weren't enough, I just can't resist the chance to try out some Genius Hour this year.  I know that my kids would love the chance to research any topic they're interested in.  Some things we've talked about this year, but haven't gotten into much, are rainforests, World War II, the 4th dimension, endangered animals, and so much more.  I really want to ignite their passion for learning by letting them explore any topic they want to.  We won't be doing much this week - I will just be introducing the idea to them and having them brainstorm topics.  I want them to have their topics chosen by Friday so we can get started next week.  I'm using some planning pages from this pack:

Looking forward to this week!  Thanks for looking at my plans.  What fun things are YOU doing to keep your students motivated the last weeks of school?


  1. I've been curious about Genius Hour and am looking forward to hearing how it goes for you. I'm all for student inquiry...just finding the time is the challenge right now. Good luck with your Book Clubs. I read Bunnicula as a class read aloud and the kids loved it!

    Thanks for linking up and have a great week!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

    1. Hi Jennifer! Yes, I have been so curious about Genius Hour. For us, it's going to be something we do every day instead of once a week. We only have 6 weeks of school left, so I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew! At the very least, students will get a chance to spend time learning more about something they're interested in! And I can't wait to start Book Clubs tomorrow - thanks! Have a great week :)

  2. Howdy Rebecca! I'm so glad you found me through the Five for Friday linky!
    So you teach 4th grade in Houston? That's so cool! I'm from the Dallas area, and boy do I miss my food in Texas. Desperately. Korean food and I have not become the best of friends. At all.
    My week is going to be very quiet. It's mid term exams this week, so I have no class Monday - Wednesday and no school on Thursday. I will have to proctor some exams, but other than that I have a lot of desk warming.
    Can't wait to hear how Genius Hour goes! It sounds so intriguing to me, and I would like to try it next year.
    Southern Fried Teachin’

    1. Hey Angela! You must be from TX if you say "howdy" lol! Well, at least you have Thursday off school after 3 days of testing - ugh. That testing makes me feel like a zombie by the time it's over. I will definitely share how Genius Hour goes. Can't wait!

  3. I can not wait to hear how the genius hour goes! I would like to try it next year. I have also had those open ended math questions on my wish list for a while now. Let us know how it all goes!

    1. Hi Mandee! I will definitely write a post about how all these projects go over the next couple of weeks. Thanks for stopping by to comment! Have a great week!

  4. We used Student Treasures earlier this year and it was a huge success. I had almost all the parents order books, which shocked me. I definitely didn't expect many parents to order. I will have to check out genius hour...I have been looking for something to challenge my higher level students.
    Endeavors in Education

    1. Hey Jen! I'm so glad to hear that Student Treasures was a big success for you. It is such a neat idea! I hope a lot of my parents order books too. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment!

  5. I use Laura Candler's Book Clubs throughout the year and it has been a big success. I have used it the past two years. I like the idea of the Genius hour. I have never hear of it before but it sounds like a good idea. We test during the last ten days of school so we don't get a chance to plan too many fun activities but maybe I can squeeze it in sometime! I'm excited to see how it turns out for you.

    Adventures in 4th Grade

  6. Introducing Book Clubs was the best part of my day today. My students were SO excited! I need to incorporate it more often like you do, now that I know how it works and have watched all the videos. They are excited about Genius Hour too. I'm looking forward to seeing what topics they choose to learn about. Thanks for stopping by!