Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring is HERE

Hey Friends! Spring is FINALLY here! I mean it! I was starting to worry if the planet wasn't trying to SKIP Spring! Not sure about where you are, but here it's been so COLD! So OVER the cold weather and ready for the SuNsHiNe!!!

 So that means I am in the countdown mode--you know, counting down until Spring BREAK!!! 

This break is going to be one for the books. I'm trying to plan as LITTLE as possible! Haha! Yeah right! I  wish ;) I *think* the kiddos are just as restless as we are! 

So one of my colleagues from my very first teaching job has been sending me  goodies! She cleaned out her attic and is sending some my way. This gal is amazing, I used to try to convince her to blog because she is just FULL of ideas! I tell people, "If I'm half the teacher she is, I'll be doing good!" 

One classroom management idea she sent me for April is SO simple. And my kids are LOVING it! She sent a basket full of eggs. Inside the eggs are little "rewards". Throughout the day, if you catch the kids being good, you let them write their name on the slip of paper. At the end of the day, you call a few names out. They get to pick the egg. You would think twenty dollar bills were in those eggs! My kiddos are in love with this and are so excited to see who is going to "get an egg". The rewards are so simple. The funny thing about this is, these are all rewards that we probably do already! The egg factor just makes it so much better...hey, it's making the week before spring break FLY by! 

Click HERE for your freebie!

I hope this little freebie helps you out! 

In math, we have three weeks of graphs! I've had to lend on my blogging friends and TpT for some amazing resources to get me through!

First, I used my Graphs Mini Book to introduce graphs. This book discusses the different types of graphs and how we use them in everyday life!

 Talley O'Malley! My kids LOVED this book! We also read The Great Graph Contest! 

Once I introduced all the vocabulary and we reviewed each type of graph, we made our own! We used my sweet friend Anna's  Just Graph It unit. 
A new tip I've started is letting the kids do the writing on our anchor charts. They aren't as pretty as the teacher made ones, but I feel like it helps them retain more information. 

Tomorrow, we are graphing our favorite types of ice cream! Yum! How fun!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Seat Sacks AKA Life Savers

I don't know about y'all, but my firsties sit at tables. The kids love sitting at tables and it's great for small group work and instruction! I enjoy being able to move table to table to observe my students while they are working!

The negative side of tables---no storage! I had to fix this. Seat Sacks offered a solution to my problem!

My kiddo's love my sweet friend Kristin's Inquiring Minds Want To Know Packet! Can you spot it? 

The book baggies are perfect for my little friends! They keep my books safe and the bags don't rip like the ziploc bags!!! 

I could NOT have tables without my  Seat Sacks! I love how many different ways I can use them. My students can use them, and I can even use one on my chair to store my  guided reading materials! Win- Win! 

This is by my poetry center! The Hand -e- Sack offers great storage that you can use virtually ANYWHERE! It's perfect for holding extra supplies! Love!

On another note--My husband is earning to some MAJOR brownie points--he built me this great custom bookshelf, and has started on ANOTHER one :) 
How'd I get so lucky :)))

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Writing Center Freebie

Hey Friends! One area I've really tried to re-vamp is my writing center. I feel like my kids are ALWAYS doing the same things.
We always work with our word study words and create stories from that. We do write the room and description writing. What is your routine with writing? I'd love to hear some more ideas!!! Writing is such an important skill that kids need to learn and I am a firm believer in trying something different. Writer's Workshop is great, and I love it. I am just looking for more independent stations to use during guided reading.  If you have a great product or routine that you use, PLEASE let me know!!! We are all in this *together*. In the meantime, I whipped these little freebies and so far 
the kiddos love them! I am working on a year long packet for this, so if you like it, leave a little comment telling me what you'd like to see! Enjoy!

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Using Literacy in ALL Content Areas

So my husband has this hobby--it's called HUNTING! He spend countless hours in the woods...tracking, preparing and hunting animals! His hobby costs a few bucks here and there!! Many ask me "Why do you let him do that"...well, friends, this is a marriage, I'm not keeping him hostage! But don't think I don't get something out of it return haha!! My "hobby" is my classroom! Specifically, my classroom library. This year, I'm determined to add more content area books to my classroom library. I've found a few good deals on e-bay and amazon! I've searched garage sales, but my BEST deals were found at...the Goodwill!! They ALWAYS have children's books 2 for $1.00!! I've also been saving up my Scholastic Bonus Points. Somehow, I still do not have enough books! How is that possible?!?!? haha! 

I've started making a few of my own so that my students could have literacy in ALL content areas. I may not always be able to get the books here in time, or find them *after* the fact of teaching that subject.  The good thing about these as I can print as many as I need! I like to put them in math centers and have the students create questions after reading. It's a good way to kill two birds with one stone! I don't know about y'all but I'm constantly struggling to get in the amount of read alouds I need too. This is a perfect way to help with that! A math read aloud is something you can do almost DAILY!!!

Interactive read alouds are a great way to introduce a new math skill. Not only are they getting the math skill, but this is huge for literacy development. It's like killing two (or maybe five) birds with one stone! Since I've started doing interactive read alouds in all content areas, my little friends comprehension is improving so much! It's such a great time to model fluency as well. 

So far I've created a book on fractions and money

These little books are on sale, hurry over and check them out! 

Happy Sunday Friends! 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Educents Bundle

Hey friends! I've teamed up with some other amazing bloggers and teacher creators in the latest Educents deal

So if you really want good resources than you are going to love this amazing deal over at Educents!  I have teamed up with 5 other amazing sellers to load your classrooms with 10 resources to help kids work with big numbers!  

My products included will surely be loved by your students!  

I've included two of my place value products! The first one is my Place Value Workstations! This activity gives students a chance to actually build the number. I use this station set AFTER the concept as been thoroughly taught and modeled. No matter what subject, stations can not be given to the students without previous instruction. It is so important that the student has a strong foundation before we start practicing on the skill. Here is a little preview into that station packet..

My sweet friend Tessa from Tales From Outside The Classroom also has a great product in the bundle! 

For a limited time it is $10.99 from Educents which is about 70% off!  It also includes these other great products so there is sure to things you love!  

And if you have never purchased fromEDUCENTS before.. they always have a great deal for you! Just click HERE to sign up!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free March Literacy Centers

Hey friends :)

My sweet friend that teaches 3rd grade asked me to whip something up for her that her students needed practice with! I thought it would be a great time for a FREEBIE!

 Two Free March Literacy Centers right here!!!

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Balanced Literacy 101: Interactive Read Alouds

So this year I've jumped in to this thing called "Balanced Literacy". At first, I was a little nervous, unsure of the routines and the layout of the entire program. I always had a reading framework, and never thought I REALLY relied on it as much...until now :) So getting through that initial place where I was a little bit intimidated and all was difficult. But now I have to say, I'm IN LOVE with Balanced Literacy! I love the FREEDOM that I have to decide what MY students need, each and every one of them! I'm going to do a series of posts, but this one will be all about read alouds!!

The important part about read alouds is that they are planned. They are not something we grab off the shelf on the way in the classroom. Read Alouds offer a way to tie in your other subjects. I TRY to do 3-4 read alouds a day.

1 to kick off my reading block
1 math book to kick of my guided math routine
1 chapter book after lunch (just a few pages a day)
1 theme/holiday book

A great interactive read aloud is typically ABOVE your students reading level. This way they are exposed to higher vocabulary and text features. You can use fiction or non fiction books! I like to use a mixture of both!!

I try to use as many cross circular read alouds as I can. I often do not have enough time to spend on social studies or science. So that is the perfect time for me to use a read aloud that hits the skill or topic I'm trying to address. For example, we are learning about Presidents and Famous Americans in social studies. I ALWAYS begin my reading block with a read aloud. Right now I'm using books about Presidents and Famous Americans :)

Abraham Lincoln Read Alouds

Looking at Lincoln is a great book because it allows children to get to know Lincoln as a person, not just a President. The author provides several unheard of facts and the book is very engaging! It is a MUST have I promise! My kids LOVED this book! We made a nice little anchor chart using the top of Lincoln's hat {sorry, I accidentally deleted my picture}Y'all know it wasn't cute anyways bc my hand drawn charts are just awful!!!

We also read "My First Biography: Abraham Lincoln"
Another great book! We compared the two stories and how we learned different facts from each book. The kids loved this!


George Washington Read Alouds

Another component ( that I'll blog about soon) is integrating writing into your literacy block. I was able to do that SO easily this week with my sweet friend Kelly's from Teacher Idea Factory  Presidential Packet! My kids LOVED The Lincoln Writing activity! They can't wait to finish out our Presidents unit using this packet!

Read Alouds are a great component to ANY literacy program. If you are not currently using read alouds, I encourage you to think about it. They can be very interactive and a great tool. I am able to hit on so many different areas. Modeling my critical thinking is so easy during a read aloud. Students do not even really look at it as learning, more of a discussion. That's what is so neat about it. Especially when you use titles and stories that THEY like. 

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