Thursday, September 22, 2011

Update from Room 25

1.  You can now check out my classroom projects at  

2.   I noticed Ray wasn't doing the actions with us during vocabulary and seemed preoccupied with something in his desk. Finally I stopped and asked him to put his hands on his desk, which he did not.   Note: Very few students don't do what I ask, because (a) I ask nicely and (b) they don't want to see Angry Mr. Allsop.  So I walked over there a bit peeved--turns out he had unscrewed the leg of his desk, and the only thing keeping it from tumbling to the ground was his hand.   Children!

3.   We are progressing super nicely towards our goal of knowing all multiplication facts by Christmas.  I show the kids our progress on our tracker below, and they are super invested in it.   The test is 100 multiplication facts, 0-12, to be completed in 5 minutes (i.e. 7x8=, 1x12=).  On the first day of school our class average was 46 out of 100.  Just two weeks later, it was 59.  Yay!

P.S.  I LOVE when people comment.  I enjoy getting feedback, hearing your responses to my posts, and just seeing who's reading.  I recently changed some settings, so hopefully now it is ridiculously easy to comment on my blog.  Please do comment!  Even just to say, "I read it" or ":)".   Thank you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Funny Fourth Grade Moments

Names have been changed to protect the innocent (and embarrassed).

The Fart

So it's silent reading last week and the whole class is working on reading stamina--sustained, independent reading. It's quiet, everyone's into their book, when one of my dear students lets rip the loudest, most obvious flatulence. There are snickers all around, but I can't crack--I'm the teacher. So I raise my book up to cover my smirk and choke on my laugh. When we gathertogether again, Al asks, "Mr. Allsop, do you know who farted?", and I say, "It doesn't matter. Let's talk about what we do during reading time if there is a distraction..."

Tied to the Test

This morning we took a written response reading test. Several students finished early and had time to sit quietly at their desks and read. Apparently, Nelly had been playing with her backpack strings under her desk, because when we started to line up for art, she couldn't get up. She had tied herself to her chair and couldn't get up. I smiled and let the rest of the class walk out to art as she looked around frantically for a savior. "Help, I'm stuck in my chair!" Bless our dear classroom manager, who stopped to free her. Hilarious!

Think Before You Speak

One of our vocab words this week is thrash-v. to move about wildly. Today I asked students to think of good descriptive sentences that show the word in context.
Mr. A: Who has a good sentence with the word thrash? Nestor?.
Nestor: My little brother thrashes about when he has to take a bath.
Mr. A: Great sentence! Using descriptive vocabulary really makes our sentences more interesting and vivid. Class, can't you just picture Nestor's little brother thrashing around in the bath?
Class: Ewwww!!
Mr. A: No I mean, no, it's descriptive, no, uh... Does anyone else have a sentence?

Friday, September 9, 2011

10 Reasons I Love My iPhone

1. I no longer have to memorize the Google maps page, then race out the door reciting directions in my head.

2. I actually waste less time on my computer because I can always check quickly to see if that important email has arrived.

3. I can lesson plan next to a calming pond complete with interactive goldfish.

4. When I see a book I like at Borders or a friend's house, I just barcode scan it with my Amazon app and buy it in 30 seconds.

5. I can have more than 3 alarms.

6. I Shazam like no one's business.

7. I can forward emails right when I say I'm going to, instead of forgetting to by the time I get home.

8. Jedi lightsaber duels.

9. I can Skype while I walk around my classroom.

10. At night when I'm curled up in bed reading and come across a new word, I can just grab my Dictionary app and look it up, hear the correct pronunciation, and save it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Love Africa!

Awesome video of our work in Africa this summer. Mozambique!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Week Back

Facebook status Sunday, August 28, 2011 (the day before school):

So I guess it means I love my job when the night before the first day of school feels like Christmas Eve and I can't wait to fall asleep and I can't fall asleep. I get 28 precious gifts tomorrow!

The first week went really well. I am so much more comfortable in the classroom with a year under my belt--last year it took me months to loosen up with my kids. This year I'm already speaking in accents and dancing around the classroom. I've been able to be very clear about procedures and expectations (we even practiced how to put folders neatly into our backpacks so they don't get crinkled) now that I have a good idea of how I'd like my classroom to run.

I absolutely adore my now 31 students. Whew, that's a lot of kids in one room, let me tell you. It's a bit intimidating, but its incredible to me how even after a week (that's 25 hours together) I already care so deeply for these children, and I want the best for them. We've made big goals for this year, and I'm excited because I feel I have the tools this year to make sure we accomplish them. Since Africa I just feel better, happier, more in control, and that's make this potentially overwhelming week not only survivable but thrivable.

Stay tuned for more Room 25 updates!