Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Handy Spelling Notebook!

If you are in need of a plan for your spelling instruction, this is my little teacher's notebook of spelling for the year.  It has a grid of the order of introduction as well as each week's spelling list and sentence dictation {after week 16}

My teamie made us each a plastic folder with all the pages inside in order the year.  It's SO HANDY! I just give the test and then turn the page to the new pattern for the next week! Sorry for the quick pictures-not the best- but you get the idea!  After Thanksgiving, we will be on the ink ank onk unk week.

We don't give our students a list to study, but rather the pattern with a few examples.  This way they are applying the pattern to the word from teacher. {and hopefully into their writing too} That's how it has been for a few years now.  I imagine you are doing that too?  Yes? 

To see how students practice the spelling/phonics patterns in the classroom throughout the week, You can read about that HERE in an older post.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bridging the Gap and a Tip for Parent Sign Ups

Today a teamie shared a lesson idea with me that rocked my socks off and I am hoping it rocks yours right off too!  Except that it is in the 30's here so you will need to promptly put your socks back on.

We have been working on our doubles facts for the last couple of years weeks, and it was time to take it up a notch and conquer the NEAR double or doubles plus one concept.  That's right...this little strategy will separate the concrete from the abstract faster than you can say....UM....WHAT?

Here's what we did that really worked!  (As she jumps up and down after school with glee)

Step previous learning. I began with Harry Kindergarten's doubles song. 

Next, we did a mix and mingle.  To do this, I gave half the class a doubles fact and the other half of the class the answer to a doubles fact.  on my signal, students stand up and walk around to find their match. 
 Once they find their match, the cards go together on the pocket chart and then partners sit down on the rug. (and brag that they are already done)
 We then ordered the doubles facts and discussed the pattern of the even numbered answers.  This is all review at this point and students are not too challenged by this series of events thus yet. 

Now for the new learning!  I introduced the bridge map to my class and explained that there are a series of teepees and lines.  (It's almost Thanksgiving, I couldn't resist) Then I explained that the doubles facts will help us understand a really hard math fact without even having to count it up. 

 We used a sentence strip and we made a bridge map of doubles facts related to the near doubles fact.  We started with a doubles fact on top and then I showed them how to make a near doubles fact right underneath.  Just to be sure they understood what was happening, I used linking cubes to show them the doubles and then the near doubles with one more pesky cube on top.
We wrote many of these together.  Then I sent them out on their own!

Last week we received two pallets from Astrobrights paper to use as we see fit.  We were totally ecstatic to get our hands on the new treasure!  I posted this pic of one of my teamies sitting on the rolls!  They are HUGE and gorgeous!
 So we unrolled some of our fun new paper and let students display their learning out in our common area too!  Click HERE to see more about thinking maps.

I also have to share something that I hope you know about because it will change the way you communicate events and conferences you have with parents!

Our school uses Sign Up Genius.  It's free as can be and does not require anything but you making a little account for yourself. 

You can create sign ups for ANYTHING! Parent teacher conferences, ingredients for a recipe or special lesson coming up in class, parent volunteers, or class party supplies and help.   It's simple and it keeps track of everything for you.  It will even email the parents that sign up and remind them too!  You can choose to get an email every time someone signs up for something or you can just go in and check it to see how your sign up is doing. 

Here's a sign up I sent out after school today.  It's already almost full.  I just hit submit and the sign up emails roll in!  Plus, parents know what is taken the second it gets taken so there's no swapping or back and forth for the teacher.  (excuse my typo in my little message below)

 This picture below is the full list of what we need for our friendship soup.  Parents just hit sign up and enter their name.

The hardest part about it is entering parent emails the first time.  I just copied and pasted from an email and tada!  They were all in.  Plus it will group them for you so you don't even have to click each one ever.  You can add or delete as needed.  I promise you it is so easy!  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Printable Literacy Practice

I have been lean on literacy practice these days and really wanted to beef up our practice on some key concepts.  I created a printable literacy practice unit to help do this! 

I have always had a THING for stationary.  I love being able to put it in my writing center to spark students to write!

These note card pages are run back to back on regular paper with writing lines so when you open the paper card, you will find student writing inside.  Use it for teaching friendly letter writing, holiday cards, thank yous, or just writing for fun!
 Pictured above I ran on colored paper.   No matter how you plan to print, hopefully it will spark some new life into your writing plans!

Also, my students can not get enough of scrambled sentences, but I always come up short on finding good first grade level practice!  We have simple sentences in the bag, it's time to make it a little more first grade friendly this time! 
 There are ten different practice pages and they each have eight word sentences.  This presents a more appropriate challenge for this time in the school year.

Another skill that helps our writing is sequencing events in a logical order.  We take it a step further by writing those events into a story with transition words and a title.  I love telling students they have been challenged to step things up a notch! 

Capitalizing on my students' love for highlighters, I  am going to keep parts of speech practice going strong with ten Highlight and Write activities!  I know they will just love these. 
 There are ten different versions in the practice pack!

We also need repeated practice with our blending, chunking, and word endings!  There are 20 skills pages on these important concepts.  Here are three examples for word endings. 

 I hope this may help in your class too!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Honoring Veterans in Every Subject!

We've been learning about Veterans in our room.  It's taken over math, reading, writing and even a little art thrown in the mix!  We ended the day with God Bless America and I may have gotten a BIG CASE of goosebumps as all twenty little voices sang out in unison.  My goodness it was wonderful.

Here's what we've been doing and will continue to do this week.
In our Attention to Writing Station we visited the new words wall and wrote in our journals.  Some students made lists, some sorted, some made sentences, but all were loving the new cards for inspiration!  We will be working with parts of speech this week so I have some big ideas for those lists that some of them made!

During guided reading we were able to tackle some close reads on Veterans Day.

 During Math Workshop, we worked on solving word problems.  We loved that our stories were all about the military!  I was observed during this time and my administrator made a note about loving the cross curricular integration! #happyteacher  #happystudents #happyadministrator 

We've also been solidifying our skip counting.  These military mats were engaging for my kiddos.  Some counted the ribbons to help them stay on track when they were unsure.  It was great that they could self check!

This little math tub was happening too.  Students worked in pairs to feed the squirrel 50 acorns!  They had to order them in 2's and record it on the recording sheet.  This came from the nutty for numbers pack. 

During writer's workshop we  took all our previous knowledge, and wrote about/to veterans.  Students were so tender.  It was such a wonderful time when they thought about their learning and applied it to writing.  Many of my students have a parent or grandparent in the military so there was a lot of personal reference happening too.
 Because our assembly is tomorrow, I quickly hung them outside our door on our LONG skinny bulletin board. 

 We ended the day making a banner to put up tomorrow at our assembly!  I can't wait to put it up tomorrow and see their excited little faces.  This has been a favorite unit of study so far! 

 God Bless Our Military!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five for Friday

 It's five for Friday! Here's what's been happening around here...
 Let me start off by saying that I did not quite fit everything into the week before Halloween like I had planned, so this week we did our pumpkin science.  It may become tradition for two reasons: Everyone is getting rid of pumpkins on the cheap after Halloween, and the kids have had "hands on" experience with pumpkins and are bursting with schema!  I wasn't sure how it would fly, but the kids were 100% into the whole experience.
 Because we have done apples and bats in this same format, students did most of this pumpkin book either collaboratively with their teams, or individually during workshop time. 

 I am in love with this team of scientists!  Our future is in good hands. 

Let's talk word wall for a second... I have finally found a system that is working! 

 I bought this little pink box at ikea during the summer.  I typed up the year's worth of words one day, put them in teaching order in the little pink box and the rest is history.

Although this is roughly my 16th word wall, {why must they change the words every.single.year?} I still found that in years past, I just couldn't keep up with the pacing of introducing.  I would skip a week here and there and then all of a sudden it was December so I would start throwing words everywhere in a spastic panic. #justbeingreal

 Last week we had what I thought was a red ribbon assembly.  At least that's what I was told!  It turns out it was a surprise assembly for me!  I won the COLORIZE your classroom grand prize put on by Astrobrights Paper! I have so much to share but have been waiting for the release of production.  I can share some quick snapshots for now that I have been given by coworkers. I can't wait to share the entire thing from start to finish.  It was such an incredible experience.

The pictures below were taken after a tear-jearking video of my students, colleagues, and administration.  They had even arranged to have my family there in the audience.  My coworkers had hidden them from me and when I saw my husband and children in the crowd it was such a special moment. 

 If you click on the picture below, you can read the write up from our school website.

 It was in the newspaper which I thought was pretty exciting too! 

 If you are looking for new ways to incorporate honoring veterans into your standards based learning, I am super excited about my newest unit.  It's still discounted!
 Every year we create a class banner for the Veterans Day Assembly.  The students color the pieces and we arrange them on a large piece of butcher paper to put up at the assembly.  There are also other activities to do with this as well.  You can check it out by clicking the picture.

And that's a wrap for this week!