Setting Goals with Kids & Retelling

Whew! It has been a crazy busy week! HaPpY fRiDaY!

At my school, we are all gearing up for observations - some announced, some unannounced. Mine will be unannounced. And-- not that I am particularly stressed about that....but I do find it terribly distracting. Each morning, I wonder if today will be the day. Through the day, I wonder if she'll be in during this lesson. The door opens, and I look to see if the principal is coming in. haha! I will be so glad when she finally does come in so I can stop thinking about it! 

In my district, we have a rubric upon which we are scored. We each chose three areas to target/improve this year, and the principal will be specifically looking at those areas (in addition to all of the others, of course!). So the three areas I chose to target were (and I'm going to paraphrase):
  • The goal is posted, attainable and accessible. Instructional methods and materials align with the goal.
  • Potential barriers in the curriculum and learning environment are identified and addressed in the design of the lesson and the learning environment. 
  • An exceptional number of students can articulate their academic achievements, areas that need improvement, and receive grades reflective of that ability.
So, I've been really trying to be deliberate an conscientious about building these into my daily instruction. I felt like I already had a good handle on removing barriers, but I could polish that up & fine tune it this year. My biggest focus really has been on building supports in for the "students can articulate their academic achievements, areas that need improvement...." and the "goal is posted, attainable, & accessible..." ones. 

One of the goals we've been working on the last few weeks has been "I can retell texts using words like first, next, then, after that, and finally." Believe it or not, in the past, this has proven to be difficult for many of my kiddos. Last week, we worked together to create an anchor chart, and I polished it all up this week & created some Retell Magnets! We are just loving them! I keep the magnets on the side of our easel, then after reading we get busy retelling. They are so excited to volunteer to come up and choose the magnet they want to use for the part of the story they're retelling. I have them choose the magnet, then tell the rest of the class what they're retelling.

For this story, for example, one of my little pumpkins came up, pulled off the "First" magnet & moved it over, then told the class, "First, Scarecrow was lonely". The next pumpkin choose the "Next" magnet & told the class, "Next, nobody wanted to play with him".
Happy teacher heart!! I am just loving how this is making them think! Love, love, love it!

Even better? I've noticed that when I'm reading one-on-one with them, they are retelling using the words! And when one of them gets stuck, they're looking over at the poster for a little support! So how does this fit in with my "goal is posted & attainable" goal? Well, we have that goal written out & posted by the easel and every time we work on this skill, I say the goal. Recently, I've also been having them do a bit of self-evaluation: thumbs up if you think you've got it & could explain how to do it to someone else OR thumbs to the side if you'd like more practice.

This was the first time I used magnet sheets for the printer. They worked beautifully! Just run it through the printer, cut the pieces, & it's ready to roll! (Of course, now I have more ideas for those sweet magnet sheets! lol).