Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday

I love cute shirts, especially for school.  Like seriously!  LOVE fun shirts almost as much as pens and monograms.   I got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas and I made these shirts for my nieces.  Before you ask, yes, they will have shirts for EVERY special day.  Oh, and so will my teammates.  I'm just slightly addicted.

For Fun Friday, my kiddos got to make anything they wanted with paper, scissors, glue stick, and markers.  Sometimes life can really be that simple.  It didn't cost money or time.  I just cut them loose.  I saw armor, hearts, snakes, crowns, and lots of jewelry.  One of my kiddos made me this.  Love my kiddos and their creativity!

When we get ready to write, we always brainstorm, talk about WH questions, come up with a word bank, and discuss what they need to self-check.  Last year, I started drawing pictures on my Activboard as reminders.  My kids love them!  The hand and pencil is to remind them to use neat handwriting.  The A is remember capital letters.  The dot is for punctuation marks.  The hand with the finger pointing up means remember finger spaces.  Of course, the words complete sentences is self-explanatory.  It has really helped because now when they try to turn in their writing I remind them to go back and self-check using the pictures.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I do my small group reading time.  I completely forgot to include a picture of my basket.  I keep the books for the group, comprehension and phonics activities, a schedule, highlighters, sharpened black pencils (The kids call them Batman pencils), and lots of different finger pointers for reading.  Love this basket because all I have to do is grab it and I'm ready to go.

I had a friend with a birthday last week and wanted to do something a little different, so I got a jar from Target and then filled it up with snacks and her favorite candy.  Then, I put her initial on it, so it can be used again for trinkets, pens, etc.  It was quick and simple, but something different and fun.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Candy Heart Tasks

My Candy Heart Task Cards are one of my favorite activities.  My kids have loved doing the activities the last two years.  Here's part of a post from last year that shows you some of the activities and how I organize the little pieces.
Another fun thing we did was my Candy Heart Fun centers.  They are a set of task cards that can be done with boxes of candy hearts.  You can click on any of the pictures to go grab them.  I also have similar task cards for the 100th Day of School and for St. Patrick's Day.

If you have any questions, let me know.
Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Books

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo's Wordless Wednesday.  To view more link ups, feel free to click her button.

I'm using these books a lot right now.  What professional books are you using right now?

Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Morning Work Review

Last week, I was going over morning work with my class and was thinking about how many things I hit when going over it.  It's rare for me to skip this time.  It is part of our daily routine.  I do it for two reasons.  First of all, I have some kids that go to Running Club, some that get on Headsprout, and some that slide in right before the bell rings.  Those students don't always have time to finish the morning work, but so many skills are reviewed, I don't want them to miss them.  Second of all, it is a review.  It is my opportunity to make sure that they are constantly seeing things that I have previously taught.  When I was growing up, I played sports and my coaches always said, "Perfect practice makes perfect".  Reviewing gives me an opportunity to make sure that my students are practicing perfectly.

Anyway, below are pictures of one of my language arts and my math morning work pages.  I've included some tips for how I review each of the pages.

Also, if you do not have a Ladibug in your classroom and you do have a projector, I would highly recommend getting one.  It is a projection camera, so it comes in very handy for showing your kids printables, projects, etc.

If you haven't checked out my morning work, click on either of the packets below to view it.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Small Group Reading

Hope everyone had an incredible Christmas season.  If your December was like mine, you were running way too hard to even consider reading blogs or organizing your thoughts.  I LOVE Christmas!  It is seriously my favorite holiday.  I like getting the perfect gifts for my family and friends.  I like the smells, the colors, and the tastes.  For this right-brained girl, it is the perfect sensory overload.

However, now it's over and I'm realizing I didn't blog for over a month.  I guess I got caught up in the moment... well, a bunch of moments, so I am just now getting my thoughts together.

Before I get started, I want to tell you if you aren't following my Facebook fan page, go follow it.  Most of my giveaways are there and I try to ask questions so I know what you need help with.

So, first blog post of 2015 is about my guided reading time.

The first thing is I break my kids into small groups.  I try not to work with more than three students at a time.  That way I can give them more attention.  When I'm working with my group, I have a light that I turn on that I sit on my table.  My other kids know that they are not allowed to interrupt me during that time unless it's an emergency.  The other kids are either reading from their book bins (Read to Self or Read to Someone), on Headsprout (Listen to Reading), or they are on the iPads reading (Listen to Reading).  These are three parts of Daily 5.  I like to have them doing this because it is something that does not leave a heavy amount of monitoring.  It also gives them time to practice the skills that we've worked on during our guided reading time.

Now, one thing I used to have a hard time with was figuring out how many times to work with my kids?  I wish I could get to them all each day, but that isn't realistic.  The last few years, I've created a schedule.  I hang it up so that the kids can see the days that I'm going to get them to read with me.  My high kids meet with me once a week.  My middle kids meet with me twice a week.  My middle/low kids meet with me three to four times a week.  My low kids meet with me twice a week. Below is an example of the cards I use for the schedule.  The ones on the left, I laminate and keep in my lesson plan book.  The ones on the right are for my kids.

I also put up an iPad schedule.  Each child is assigned an iPad and a specific day.

Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm not working with my low kids as much.  Here's my reasoning.  My middle/low kids are just a little behind.  They are making progress at a faster rate. They don't qualify for anything.  They are great kids, but they just need a little bit of extra guidance.  My low kids many times are getting small group attention through early intervention programs, peer tutors, etc. As my middle/low kids move up, I start working more with my lower students.  I just feel like in the beginning it's the middle/low kids that learn the quickest if I spend a little time with them.  If you don't spend the time with them early on, they can drop into the lower group.  If you give them the time, they move into the middle group and from that point forward they are typically solid students.

What do I do once we start working?  Well, my lower group works a lot with Annie Moffatt from The Moffatt Girls packets and Reading A to Z booklets.  Many times my lower group isn't reading yet because they need to work on sounds and blending.  Annie has packets that work a lot on simple sentences.  The Reading A to Z booklets are perfect because they are small and leveled.

My middle group works with my Question It! packets.  Most of this group is working on fluency and comprehension.  My passages are leveled, so I can make sure I'm pulling a passage that they will feel successful reading.  I have a container full of silly fingers they can use when they are reading.  I make them read the passage three times to themselves.  This gives me time to listen to them so I can help them make adjustments and it also helps them work on speed.  Once they finish listening, we answer the questions.  I bought packs of highlighters from Target for $2.  I love them because they come in a pack of twelve with six colors.  If you've ever wondered why I do six questions, this is why.  My kids have to do each question in a different color.  We read the question, they highlight the question in a color and then the answer in the story the same color.  It has helped my kids really slow down and make sure they understand what they are reading.

If you are interested in any of the things I mentioned, here are links to the products I'm using.

I don't pretend to know everything, but this is what works for me.  If you have other ideas to add to this, feel free to comment or send them to me.

Have a great Sunday!