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!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas

Alright, so I don't know about y'all, but I love Christmas time!  It's my favorite time of year!  I started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving even started.  I know, I know.  That's messed up, but I love Thanksgiving and I love Christmas even more.

So, when my friend Zippy asked me to do this giveaway I couldn't wait!  Do you like gift cards?  Do you like bloggers?  Well then, this is definitely a giveaway you will love.  For the next TWELVE days, Zippy will be running a giveaway EACH day that includes gift cards to some of your favorite places - Amazon, Starbucks, and Target just to name a few.  You will also have the chance to win some incredible products from some very talented bloggers.

Oh, did I mention I'm scheduled today?  I'm paired up with two of my favorites!

1. Faith Wheeler -
2. Laura Surratt Schachter -…/Differentiation-Statio…
3. Rachelle Gunderson Smith -
4. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs -…/Zip-a-dee-doo-dah-Designs

To enter, just follow the rules in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, don't forget to read this blog post.  It is loaded with freebies.  Just click the image below to go grab them.

Have an incredible Tuesday!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five for Friday

It's Five for Friday time!  I'm linking up with Doodlebug's Teaching.

I have to say, I was thinking this morning about what I would put since I kind of took lots of naps, watched lots of Hallmark movies, and ate lots of food.  I was seriously pretty lazy, but it was very much needed.   I decided I would pull some of my favorite Christmas ideas and freebies :)  Hope you enjoy and that this saves you a little time!

December Book Reports are always a huge hit with my kiddos, so here you go.

Do you know what you are doing for your parent gifts yet?  I've made these ornaments and reindeer bags the last few years.  The kids LOVE doing them and overall, they are pretty easy.  I grabbed all the supplies at Michaels.  If you decide to do them, make sure you check and see if you got plastic or glass ornaments.  There's a big difference when one rolls off the table.  Trust me!  Also, I would go grab the ornaments ASAP.  They always seem to sell out pretty quickly.  Oh, and don't forget that Michaels will give you a teacher's discount if you show them your badge.

Do you like quick centers?  Here's a center that I pull out every year that my kiddos love.

Do you watch Polar Express every year?  Well, we usually do it the week before we get out for Christmas.  One of my favorite things to do are writing activities that tie into what is interesting to my kids at the time.  Oriental Trading has these great train stickers!  I order them every year and my kids have to write about their train, where they would go, who would go with them , etc.  It's a fun, little writing activity and they LOVE getting to do anything that includes stickers.

Last, but not least, here are a few fun math printables that you may like.  A funny story about these is I drew them around ten years ago - long before I knew Teachers Pay Teachers existed.  I have a hard time focusing in meetings if I'm not drawing or writing, so I drew them in a meeting.  I know that's probably not good to admit, but honestly, as long as I'm drawing I hear every word someone is saying.

If you are out shopping today, be safe and have fun!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo's Wordless Wednesday.

My grandfather makes these every year for my WHOLE class.  My kids talk about them for days before we make them.  The turkeys are a classroom tradition.  What's a tradition you do in your classroom at Thanksgiving?
Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December Writing Bundle

Do y'all love Thanksgiving week as much as me?  I get the WHOLE week off, so that means I get lots of naps, lots of free time to create, and oh, just a few dozen hours to watch Hallmark Christmas movies.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my class, but weeks like this are perfect heading into the three weeks before Christmas projects, rotations, parties, and all things that make school fun.

Anyway, last Thursday I was talking to a friend about teaching writing.  It is one of my favorite things to teach and honestly, I love how it looks in the hallway.  I think most of the time it is the best representation of the personalities in my room.  Does it take forever?  Sometimes!  However, I have to tell you, I skipped writing projects for the last few weeks to get in assessments and my kiddos actually asked me when they were going to do writing projects again.  They missed them which makes my teacher's heart happy.

So, now that I've gone off on a trail, let me get back to my friend.  We were talking and she needed a good writing activity for December.  I started thinking about it, and I have great activities for January, but not for December, so I told her I wanted to create something - a December Writing Bundle.

This bundle might be my favorite writing packet ever.  I created four separate writing activities so you can choose which ones you want to do.  I also tried to make sure that all types of writing were covered.  I also made the handwriting paper where it can fit K-2.  There are multiple sheets, so you can pick what fits you best.  The graphic organizers and the rubrics are editable, so they can be adjusted to fit your requirements.  If you want to check out my packet, click any of the images.  It will take you to the packet.
Now, I know what you are probably saying, "Faith, I don't have time to do this.  It takes too long and I'm one person."  Well, here's how I do it.  I have a parent come on Tuesdays for an hour.  She takes my lowest group.  We have a STEM Lab, so she usually takes them there to work.  That way they can focus a little better.  Then, I work with my middle students.   Since that group is a little bit bigger, most of the time I put a few of them on Headsprout or Nook Kids (iPads).  Once my middle students finish I rotate them out with the technology kids.  My high kids work independently.  Part of the reason I take my middle kids instead of my lowest is it helps me decide when they are independently writing.  Once I see that they are starting to write on their own and they aren't needing my guidance, I move them to the high group.  Many of my lower students are going to need ongoing help, so my goal is to get my middle and high kids working independently so that I can then focus on the lower students.  I am not going to tell you that this is the only way or that it is always perfect, but it has worked great for me 90% of the time.  I also see them transferring the skills we work on weekly into their writing assessments, so I feel like they are getting more of a foundation this way.

Another thing I do is we really only do this type of writing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  On Mondays and Thursdays, I usually do 6+1 Writing Traits lessons.  This way when we are writing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays we can talk about how what we learned the day before applies to our writing.   I picked Mondays because Mondays are usually crazy, so I want something a little easier on Mondays.  I picked Thursdays because if the final draft carries over then it's pretty easy to adjust the 6+1 lesson.  It isn't as easy for me to adjust my Fridays since a lot of our assessments and special school activities fall on Fridays.

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