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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Become a World Traveler in your little ol' classroom!

I don't know about you, but when the snow/rain is blowing outside and the kids are wound up in the classroom, you start to crave a little vacay :) While we can't load the kids in a bus and haul them to the beaches of California, we can visit the Pacific Ocean virtually with the help of the Internet andddddd my new close reading packet, World Traveler!  

 World Traveler: A close reading unit

Take a peek at my newest pack, 88 pages of informational text covering regions of North America.  I've included the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, and the Great Plains.  This pack has a five-day lesson laid out for you and tons of printables to choose from!!  To celebrate, the pack is on sale for $4.00 for the next 24 hours!!!  Happy Traveling!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study Chapters 5-7

And so it continues, the Daily 5 book study!  I'm a bit late, but I've been having too much fun with these bathing beauties!

 A week late on this post was worth it I think!  So here it goes, my fav parts of Chapters 5,6, and 7 of Daily 5 (Second Edition).

In Chapter 5, they put a huge emphasis on repetition.  Repetition will be the key to developing good literacy habits.  Take the first few days slow when you implement Daily 5, and thoughtfully build a solid foundation.  The Sisters also reviewed the three ways to read a book:  Read the Pictures, Read the Words, and Retell the Story.  I remember using their shoe activity last year when we first started Daily 5 in my first grade class.  I brought in a ballet slipper of my daughters, a cowboy boot from my husband, and one of my dress shoes.  We then took turns walking (playing) in each shoe, talking about how it felt wearing them and if the shoes helped us walk or not.  I then said if I wanted to find a shoe that was a 'good fit', which one would it be?  Next, I laid out different types of text: high school history book, huge dictionary, and some leveled readers.  We went through the process again of finding a 'good fit' book.  By being able to touch and move with the visuals, my kiddos flew through the process.  

Chapter 6 goes over what to do after you choose a perfect book.  Next choose a spot that is just right for you, away from distractions and comfortable enough to read for up to 7 minutes (not the first few times of course).  Then Work on Writing begins with setting up a notebook.  Begin by writing lists of ideas in the first couple of pages in the notebook.  Read to Someone can be implemented after Work on Writing is up and running.  During read to someone, students must sit EEKK (elbow to elbow, knee to knee), make sure their voice level isn't too high or too low, and be able to pick a partner that is right for them.  During read to someone, I love the idea of how each student is a 'Reading Coach' to their partner.  If a student is having trouble with a word, they need to count to 3 in their head and then ask if they would like coaching or time.  If they need time, let them figure it out alone.  If they need time, offer a reading strategy.  This is also something a teacher should model and let the students practice and practice some more.

In Chapter 7, the Sisters talk about when to launch each part of Daily 5.  Once the students reach the required minimum of stamina for read to self (K:7-8 min, Primary:10-12 min, and Intermediate:12-14 min), then you can start to introduce work on writing.

Next week will be the big and anticipated Math Daily 5!!  I'm so excited to start using this in the classroom.  I know it will lead to an organized chaos that last years math rotations seemed to be.

Finally, and I do mean F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. my World Traveler Close Reading pack is sooo close to being done!!  I am proofreading this big boy and will post about it soon!  It will include non-fiction pieces on regions of North America, like the Pacific Ocean and my favorite, the Great Plains! :) Gotta love the Heartland.....  Hope you stay tuned to check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study Ch. 3-4 plus a FREEBIE!


I'm back for more with the Daily 5 Second Edition!  I think the biggest things for me in Chapter 3 were Building Stamina and Stay out of the Way during Read to Self.
Let the students set their pace, then provide practice to build stamina.  Read to Self may only last thirty seconds in the first practice, but reading stamina takes time to build and every student will be different.  
Stay out of the way is definitely something I need to work on.  Last year I started to travel around the room to listen to individual students read, but that led to other students chatting and moving.  Your own lack of movement allows students to focus better.

In Chapter 4, I took careful note of how to create the perfect reading environment.  Since I am in a bigger room this year, my classroom reading are will expand.  Having a variety of places to sit gives students choices.  Make sure they are comfy so that kids can sit and read longer.  I used wind chimes last year as a signal and book boxes for their personal library.  The kiddos loved having their own book box!  Since I might have up to 19 kids this year (!!!) I am in the market for some new ones! Maybe something like this...

from Really Good Stuff.Durable Book And Binder Holders With Stabilizer Wing & Label Holder™ - 5-Pack Neon

Now for a cute freebie for sending a sweet note to your former/future students!  This idea actually came from my sweet friend, Sarah, who is another first grade teacher.  The plan is to send a short note, telling students what you're doing this summer.  In the envelope, include another piece of writing paper, envelope, and stamp for the students to write you back!  Now we have Summer Pen Pals!  I can just imagine the faces of some of my Firsties  Secondies (?) and I know they will love getting the mail!  Click here to get the Summer Pen Pal Papers!  Enjoy the sweet summertime!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Daily 5 Book Study 2nd Edition

Chapters 1-2

I'm linking up with the wonderful ladies from Freebielicious to share thoughts on the 2nd edition of the Daily 5.  If there was one thing I loved about my first of teaching, it would be the Daily 5.  If there was one thing I felt 100% CONFIDENT implementing in my classroom, it's Daily 5!  

Although I was a late hire to the district (2 weeks before school, yikes!), I already knew from reading blogs that I wanted to try the Daily 5.  Sure, the first few weeks put some pressure on me to enforce the behavior I expected from the kiddos, but the hard work in the beginning totally pays off!  Like the Sisters say, "Practice these skills until habits form".

So the Sisters have put out their 2nd edition of the Daily 5 and I think they have loosened the reins on a few things.  Here are my top 3 new ideas I love from Chapters 1 and 2!

1.  Daily 5 doesn't have to be 5 rotations every day.  I had a lot of trouble squeezing in all 5 rotations in my ELA block.  In fact, I frequently let it run into our Science time.  If you know your time is AUTHENTIC and MEANINGFUL, then don't stress about getting it all in.








2.  Trust and respect the students' abilities to be independent readers and writers.  More than likely, if you provide students with authentic activities and build stamina, they will be independent readers and writers.  But remember to PRACTICE BEHAVIORS you want to see and BUILD STAMINA, which will probably vary from student to student.  My higher students may end up with an independent reading stamina of 10-12 minutes, while my struggling students might top out at 7 minutes.  And that's okay!  I love how the Sisters gave examples of bringing those struggling students back to them to review skills and give them reminders that they CAN DO IT!





3.  Accountability runs both ways during the Daily 5.  Students and teachers alike have to be held accountable.  Teachers need to show and guide students to participate in Daily 5, while students are held accountable in the choices they make, like where to sit during Read to Self.  This was a tough one for me last year.  I think the maturity of a student and their decision-making skills plays a big part in Daily 5.  Honestly, one of my highest students had the most trouble because she just wasn't at the maturity level of some of the other kiddos.  this year, I know I will need to practice and practice on the behaviors I want to see.  And then practice some more every so often. 

I created this little self-assessment for those students who have a hard time taking a look at their own behavior.  Use Rate Your Reading for a quick questionnaire after Read to Self or really any time a student has some independent reading time.

Rate Your Reading

Rate Your Reading 

 If you have the book, join our book study!!  Every Friday the Freebielicious ladies will be covering 2 chapters.  Have a great week!!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Get Your Organization On!


Today was the big day.  And by big I mean exhausting.  My desks and chairs and stuff and more stuff took a stroll down the hallway to my new, big classroom!  A room that isn't shaped like the letter 'V'!  I'm totally spoiled now. :)  So I had a hard time leaving it a big hot mess, but I managed.  To make up for it, I finally finished my first paid TPT product, a bright and cheery teacher planner!

Thank goodness this baby is done!  You can check it out at my TPT store here:  Teacher Planner

My next project is nearing the finishing stages.  It's called World Traveler, and is a Close Reading pack that covers areas of North America, like the Grand Canyon, Great Plains, and Pacific Ocean.  So excited about this one, its been a lot of fun to create. :)  Time to run, my ice cream bowl is lonely.