Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Now, I begin my day with a read aloud, quick write in response to a prompt, whole group discussion and then a follow up write. Then, students have time to choose their DAILY 5 choice and I meet with groups. I've noticed that more students are willing to share ideas during small group time because the amount of modeling has increased with the read aloud. As a result, I don't feel pressured to meet with every group 4 or 5 times a week. I know, without a doubt, that the students are getting more strategy instruction, increased opportunity to discuss vocabulary, AND as a result, they are creating a deeper understanding of the text.
So, I know it sounds like it's all "peaches and cream" for me at this time, but don't be deceived. I am still trying to figure out if the DAILY 5 model is going to work for me. Part of me is yearning to go back to my norm, my familiar ground, where things seemed to work perfectly. I was discussing the road block I've been "sitting" at for the past several weeks. Most of the students are wanting to read with a partner and their familiarity has led them to "slack off". I find them goofing around, giving me the "What did I do?" innocent look of guilt. Then, the other day, someone left the CD player lying on the floor and as I picked it up I noticed it was switched to radio. I stood their in disbelief!!! At that moment, I was about to give it all up and call it quits! However, before "throwing in the towel" I chose to speak with my colleague. Emily has used the DAILY 5 method in the past and was more than willing to share her strategies. She reminded me that while they can have choice, I can set some parameters. Instead of allowing all students to make a choice of what, where and who to work with, it would be beneficial to give them a schedule. For instance, you may choose from 2 options today and the other 2 tomorrow. This allows me to split the group in half where I can separate some of the talkative students. Also, since I am limited on time, I could randomly hand out a card each week with a set task for each day. That way, the students will have an opportunity to complete all 4 choices.
I've been mulling over the conversation for about 2 days now. Because Listen to Reading can only happen if a child has checked a book on CD out of the library, I cannot assign students that option. I also cannot assign writing for it has turned into a reading response journal activity where students write a summary and respond to a prompt using their book of choice (not the read aloud). I refuse to make them complete that each and every day as we do that with our read aloud. Earlier this morning, I decided to just take a step back and reintroduce all the options one by one. It is time to reteach the expectations. Due to our schedule, I only had 30 minutes with each reading class, which made it perfect for redirection, review, modeling and practice. We talked about making choices which lead to increased focus such as, stay in one spot where your limbs will not touch your neighbor, bring ALL supplies with you to your reading area, find a place to sit that is comfortable without distractions nearby. I was able to meet with 2 small groups during this time without ANY interruptions or distractions from the class!
I have also decided that when reading with a partner or listening to a book on CD, students will be required to fill out a response (nothing too extravagant). With a partner they will include a summary of the text, their focus of discussion (new word, connection, visualization, etc), and a rating of each other (listener, reader, involved in the discussion, etc). Similarly, those listening to a book on CD will have to summarize the text and include their own comprehension strategy with an example. This addition of a task has potential to become burdensome due to my belief that all work needs to have a purpose and therefore needs to be "graded" (points toward a standard or effort). I do not give busy work which is why I allowed myself to implement the DAILY 5 in the first place. One way to solve this may be simply handing out a D5 page on Monday where students indicate their choice each day and then complete their accountability writing on the same page. At the end of the week, students would then turn their D5 page in to me. Hmm, I'll continue to think on this as I review the expectation of each D4 activity this next week. I want them to be accountable, but how much is too much?! What is realistic and won't turn kids away from picking up a book.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
We've been in school for 4 weeks. The first two were filled with testing ... SLO, DRA, AIMSweb, and so forth. The third week of school we went to camp. Yes, 9 school days in and we were off to camp for a week! It was a BLAST! I was able to get to know the students on a whole different level. They really opened up and took risks which made me so proud of them.
I was nervous about teaching 5th grade, but I fell in love as I read the first paragraph of their August Currently (thank you, Oh' Boy4th Grade)!
This past week we finally created our Reading Groups (based on the testing). I will be teaching reading to those who are just below grade level and above, while my teaching partner will be working with those just below and and risk (utilizing the Read 180 program).
I am excited to finally begin my instruction! I'm trying to figure out just how to modify the D5 and decided to use CAFE to direct my instruction.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
Well, the past few years one of my grade mates has been praising the Daily 5 and CAFÉ. So last year I gave it another try. CAFÉ worked for about 3 weeks and then I stopped (I hit a wall) due to lack of knowledge of where to go next. I also didn’t give choice as to read to self, with a partner or work on writing. I wanted everyone to do the same thing at the same time. I guess I really didn’t implement the idea correctly!
As I sat down with my team to discuss this upcoming school year, everyone (but me) agreed that the use of Daily 5 and CAFÉ would be used in their classroom. YIKES!!!!! So, with their supporting, encouraging words I decided to give it ONE MORE TRY! I purchased the 2nd edition of Daily 5 and I have joined the 2 sister’s website. I have been reading this summer and doing some research for full implementation of both D5 and D3 in my classroom this year. I am hoping that by blogging my “adventure” I will be holding myself accountable to continue throughout the entire year. I will be including my “ups”, “downs”, questions and celebrations in this blog. I will also include helpful websites for future reference. For anyone who may read this blog, I hope I can help you too! Please feel free to add your advice or questions in the comments.
Click here to get ideas on how to organize D3 math from “School Is A Happy Place”
Saturday, May 17, 2014
I am not an avid blogger due to time and lack of topics (my classroom lessons and activities are “stolen” from other teachers). I do not create for TPT or TN. So please forgive my lack of posting. I blog when I find something very useful and also when seeking advice. Today, I am in need of advice, comments, and thoughts as I try to sort out a meaningful way of teaching spelling.
Here are my questions that I would like advice or thoughts on….
- Have you ever strayed from the typical list? If so, how and did it work for you? (if you have a blog link I’d love to read it).
- Is this an assessment I should give once a grading period, once a month or weekly? I felt the advantage was real world application, but is it a good use of time as it is considerably longer than the traditional list.
If you read this post and have time to comment I would really appreciate your feedback.
To give you some background, I work with my grade mates each week to determine our spelling pattern (hunks and chunks as I call them) and high frequency word lists. We typically choose 1 or 2 hunks and chunks to focus on (“oa” and “ow” for the long “o” sound) and 5 high frequency words. During the week I review the spelling pattern in terms of dictation, looking for the hunk and chunk (the current weeks and review of past learning) along with syllabication practice. The high frequency words are practiced through repetition. At the end of the week, the spelling test is given in list form. I test on the pattern words and the 5 high frequency words. To review, I also assess on the 5 high frequency words from the previous week’s list.
What I have found is that the students memorize the words for the tests and focus on the hunk and chunk wall during word work, but they are not consistent carrying their learning into their journal writing or morning work with editing practice. The other concern with my class this year is their forgetfulness when it comes to using correct capitalization and punctuation, despite the repetitious reminders and weekly practice.
Recognizing there’s a problem, I decided to change it up. I want students to carry over their learning into different writing settings. I would like them to recognize the learned high frequency words as a spelling word when writing stories, revising and editing their work. I want it to be practiced in application, not isolation. So I decided to give the test in sentence form rather than a list of isolated words.
This week I dictated 6 sentences using their 5 high frequency words, along with past words we’ve learned. I also threw in some of the pattern words on their current list, and other pattern “hunk and chunk” words we’ve learned throughout the year. For my “on-grade level” group, the word count consisted of: 26 sight words and 20 pattern (hunk and chunk) words.
My findings from these 13 “on grade level” students:
- high frequency words: No one misspelled more than 3 words (88% accurate)!
- Pattern words: My lowest score was 12/20 (60%)
Thank you for any feedback.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
My husband and I were hit with "stage 1: frustration" very quickly (as most are). The fact that others felt the need to know/understand our timeline for having a baby was by far the most bothersome. We hadn't quite said "NO" but we weren't in the fast lane either.
When we entered stage 4: daydreaming, (we kind of skipped over stages 2 and 3 as we never said "NO"), we encountered some difficulty. Again, everyone wanted to know why we hadn't reproduced and offered advice that was definitely not invited! Facial expressions of sympathy led to feelings of inadequacy.
NEVER, NEVER offer the following advice:
~"You are trying too hard." (What does that mean anyway?)
~"Stop thinking about it." (how does that exactly work, I know plenty who have talked/thought about it, tried and succeeded).
~positions to try either during or after (well you know).
What this left me with was a feeling that I was not worthy of having a child. I mean, how was I supposed to raise a child if I needed so much advice about how to have one. Add that to the fact that medically it was very risky for me to carry a child, I almost went into stage 3: acceptance (on the side of: I'm not good enough, it won't happen).
While pondering stage 3 and noticing every pregnant teenager/woman around me (stage 2), I heard someone say, "Do you want to have a child or be a parent?" That is when we chose adoption. We now have 2 beautiful little girls who I (we) couldn't live without!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
There has been a lot of movement in our building since January. Our building got an addition allowing 3 classrooms per grade level (as opposed to 2) and the addition of preschool. With this comes teachers moving rooms (all but 3 regular ed. teachers have had to move). Unfortunately at the end of this school year we had to close a building in our district but the good news ... not one teacher was left without a job!
Anyway, I'm among the movers in my building which is both good and bad. Luckily, my new room was cleaned and scrubbed the day after teacher work day. The bad news ... I can't wait to set it up. I've painted (thank you to my kids and hubby), put up bulletin boards (not finished yet, but very close) and I'm in the process of purging and reorganizing materials in prep for common core.
I'm taking the next few day off, unless I find a way to sneak back in!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
feels as if it should only be the start of November (not that I’m willing to
turn back the clock or anything .
Since the start of the school year I’ve been lucky to blog once a month, so
I figure this may be it for this month hence the title of my blog! Here’s
what we’ll be up to in 2nd grade:
For our school’s holiday program we will be reading “The Night Before
Christmas” and because I can’t stop there, my class will be performing a
reader’s theater to “The Nutcracker” . We finished tryouts today and the
students highlighted their speaking parts. Only 2 weeks left (AHHHH!) .
I’ve also decided to pick up the FREE gingerbread activity from Teaching
with love and Laughter! My kiddos are going to L.O.V.E. it!
In math I am teaching 2 and 3-D shapes, line segments and so forth. I am
considering using marshmallows and licorice rope to reinforce this unit.
How fun to use marshmallows as points and the rope for
their “straight line”!?! Then they can continue to use this to create 2-D
shapes (obviously not the same piece every day). If that was already
someone else's idea I am sorry, I just thought of this myself today.
I also want to complete a research project on Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for
our N.F. unit.
Lots to do and so little time … what a BLAST this will be!
Happy Holidays to you all! I hope you have an enjoyable month with
friends and family close by!
Sunday, December 2, 2012
As I stated a couple of posts ago, I’ve been working hard
on scheduling this year. I finally came up with a plan and
the week after Thanksgiving our schedules were changed!
Go Figure! Fortunately there was only a bit of switching
to do! I told my principal that if it was changed again
(by pull-outs, lunch switches, or special schedules) I would
“hurt myself”! LOL!
So, on to other news: I’ve found that I feel more
confident with my groupings! I also like having the web-
site: spellingcity.com to work with. It’s free and the
students are able to practice at school during workshop
and also from home.
I also want to thank those of you who contribute to
teacherspayteachers as I have found so many useful
resources! Thank you so very much!
Friday, November 23, 2012
I love this time of year not only because of the season but also because this is the time of year when families gather together. I am so thankful for many things in my life that I could sit for an hour typing each one. I simply couldn't pass up this opportunity to share a few of my blessings with you.
I am so lucky to have two beautiful little girls in my life. They bring both my husband and I such joy and fulfillment.
I am thankful for a caring, considerate, fun hubby who puts up with my quirkiness!
I am grateful for our puppy who makes our family complete.
I am grateful for my family and in-laws and their willingness to roll with the punches and forgive when things don't go as planned.
I am grateful for my home and my job due to the security and peace both bring.
Last but definitely not least, I am thankful to know that there is a forgiving God above who loves us all.
I wish you all a wonderful season of joy, laughter and love as you gather near family, friends and loved ones!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
October is almost here! I’m super excited to let the learning begin!!! As I posted before, on paper I had myself off and running like the hare, but with children in the room and assessments to administer I was more like the tortoise! Now that all that is out of the way, we’ve been able to work on getting settled into the daily schedule (I’ve had to adjust a few things here and there). I am expecting the learning to begin! Actually there has been learning, but I’ve felt as if I’m barely moving.
I want to thank Naomi O’Brien (read like a rock star on TPT) for the animal writing activity which allowed me to see where the students are with writing skills while we focused on a known topic, animals. I felt like I was killing two birds with one stone because animals and their habitats is a science topic we have to study. So, it opened up the door to bring on more information!
Every child was able to fill out this GO chart and then (some with help) transferred it into a sloppy copy. We then used the AlphaSmarts (like word processors) to type their stories. We also did internet searches for pictures of the animals to add to our published book. Because it is their first writing their stories are very basic, but now we all have a beginning. I explained to the students that for Octobers writing they will need to include longer sentences (word length of 7 or more) and more details (research). We will also add more text features as we learn about habitats.
Our next information piece is from Hope King. Her Biome Book will become our GO chart as we add information (are, animals, plants) on the back of each habitat craft. The students will then create a 4 page report on 4 different habitats we’ve learned about. I am also insisting that they include a reference page (this will be teacher guided).
Most of the students were able to create and publish a small moments story. For those that didn’t I am keeping their rough draft (sloppy copy) as a reminder of their growth through the next few months. I am hoping that this coming month they will be able to complete both a report and story.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Well, I may not be quick like the hare, but I'm going to keep on going like the turtle and eventually I'll get there!!!!
I hope you all have a great week!
Monday, September 17, 2012
Over the past 3 years the book room has undergone several changes, so many that I could barely keep up. Last year I "gave up"!!! It quickly became a "dumping ground" for unwanted books (whether or not there were multiple copies for guided reading). The once organized copies of books became scattered about and lonely books were waiting to find their
Well, look at it now!!!!!
Saturday, September 8, 2012
I know you may have a program that already works for you, but if not, feel free to click on the above link to check out her approach.
I would post a picture of my workshop board but I haven't yet put it up. My classroom is scheduled to be painted sometime this month and I don't want to hang more than I have to.
Have a GREAT day!!!
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012
On to the fun stuff!!!! My students have been dilligently working on reading stamina and we're almost up to 15 min. uniterrupted time. As a matter of fact I only have about 4 students who are distracted easily. That will be my first guided reading lesson. They like being able to graph their time and it's so much fun to watch them.
|AlphaSmart Neo - no internet connection|
|battery powered push light|
Saturday, August 25, 2012
We did Hope King's Things that make me "Reel" Happy writing prompt and activity, Created a glyph about ourselves by Bright Concepts 4 teachers and we are currently working on our "All About Me" posters from Mrs. C's Classroom .
Here are a few pics from our reel!
Okay, now on to my update ... remeber how I blogged about having to visit the ER and then finding out I had Strep which showed up in my skin?! Well, last week I repeated an ER visit and follow up with my doctor because I am so swollen in my ankles and wrists. The pain is keeping me up at night! (Just call me PUFF!). I had blood cultures and tests for mono and arthritis which came back normal. The docs are unsure of what is happening to me. All I know is that this is exremely painful in my joints (knees, hands, feet, etc).
The good news ...
When I am teaching I am able to fake most of the pain! My students can make me laugh and give me reasons to smile!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The last few days of vacation I had a fever (chills, blankets piled on top of me just trying to get warm). Then, Saturday I noticed red splotches by my eye and on my arms. We got home late that night (around 9ish). After unpacking the van, I decided to head to the ER to make sure I wasn't contagious or anything because the splotches were spreading quickly!
I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK!!!!
I headed in and two hours later discovered it was an allergic reaction probably to an antibiotic I was perscribed just before going on vacation.
I finished up at the ER and returned home just before midnight. My husband greeted me with "Bad News". Our basement had flooded while we were away. He had just discovered it not 5 min. before I returned. We went downstairs and started to tidy up what we could. We got the water pretty well cleaned up and moved boxes to the garage and unfinished areas of the basement.
Okay, now for the blessings:
1. I'm not contagious a light antibiotic should stop the problem.
2. The flooding was only a few inches ... could have been MUCH worse.
3. My family is safe and sound.
4. ServPro will be here in a few to help clean up.
5. I will be able to go to work at Central Administration tomorrow as planned.
6. We still have a home in which to live.
7. We have home insurance.
8. By the end of this week I WILL be allowed back in the building to work on my classroom.
9. Yummy Food always makes me feel better ;)
|Hocus Pocus Buns|
4 ingredients: crescent rolls, butter, cinamon sugar, marshmallows. YUMMM!
Heat the oven as directed by the crescent roll package, roll the marshmallows in butter, then in the cinamon sugar. Finally, roll them in the crescent rolls and bake. ENJOY!!!!!
Okay, I began this post on Sunday, Aug. 12 but I couldn't post it till today because our internet had to be unplugged due to the flooding. I have since found out I have STREP!! First time ever ... boy do I feel like I've been dragged through the mud and trampled on!!!! YUCK! Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow because after a meeting for K-2 teachers I can actually get into my classroom!!!!!!! I'll post pics. tomorrow.
Friday, August 3, 2012
my room for another week and a few days (UHG)! It's weird
because I usually take the summers completely off until
Aug. 1st when I head back in. However, with the excitement
of the changes taking place, I have been so EAGER to get
back to school. Maybe in part due to the fact that I simply
cannot get back in. You know the feeling, like when you
start a diet and know you cannot have any cookies and all
the sudden you get the WORST CRAVING EVER!!!!! Well
gals, it's just like that! I want in SOOO badly! Now that it's
August I'm really having a struggle because, dang it, I
SHOULD BE THERE!
I have done so much to prepare, but all I have to show for it
are piles and bags stacked in the bedroom, basement and
on my dinning room table.
Before we left for the summer, we were told we'd be able to
get back in (hopefully) on Aug. 17th. Well, that's a Friday,
Monday is a professional development day and Tuesday is
teacher work day with a "meet the teacher" that evening!
I'm already in a sort of panic thinking about it!!!
Anyway, good news is the construction is ahead of
schedule! The AC is installed and ready (yes, we now have
airconditioning), the roof is done (definitely needed a new
one as our original was a flat roof), and the original hallway
(building) is just about done with updates. The new section
is still rapidly coming along. We are adding additional
classrooms for preschool too. Crim used to have 1
kindergarten room (we are still 1/2 day) and 2 of each grade
K-6. Last year 6th was taken to the middle school where
they seem to fit in very well. After this construction, there
will be 3 classrooms for each grade level and ALL DAY
KINDERGARTEN will begin in 2013! While I enjoyed the
quaintness of a smaller building, I am excited to see us
We are scheduled for a walk through August 13, at which
time I will post the updated look! We were also told that we
may be able to get in before the 17th. Cleaners are
scheduled to come in after the construction crew is
completely done with the original hallway. So I'm hopefull
that I will be able to get in on Wed. or Thursday.
In the meantime, my husband has planned a vacation
for us! I will not be posting until I get back on the 13th!
Perfect timing don't you think!!! He's such a wonderful and
Thursday, August 2, 2012
I am finally hooking up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness. I am glad she has opened up this
linky party because it is time to set goals for the school year.
1. Organization – I am the binder queen and try to stay organized, however
planning, grading, teaching life gets in the way and by the end of the week I have piles EVERYWHERE! So, my goal
for this year is to clean off my
desk table areas before going home each day. I also want to have
the materials ready for the next day so I’m not coming to school rushing to copy papers and find
2. Time Management – In the past, (prior to teaching Title 1 Reading) I would go home with stacks
of papers and materials to grade and plan. This year, my goal is to complete work at school during
my planning time (meaning less socializing) so that when I come home I can spend quality time
with my girls and husband. This will hopefully lead to a better nights sleep so I’m not so
rushed each morning.
3. Lights, Camera, Action! – Since I am a blogger now, I will need to remember to bring my camera
to school. Then I will have to use it AND download the pictures!
With switching from Title 1 reading to 2nd grade there will be a lot that I will need to work on.
We are implementing a new science program, I have to learn the common core, I also have to learn
the on-line grading system and familiarize myself with so much more! It all seems
overwhelming ,but I am still SUPER EXCITED! I love 2nd graders!!!!!
Thank you all for reading. I will be anxious to hear how everyone is doing with their resolutions as
the year unfolds.
Monday, July 30, 2012
So, I’m not very crafty, luckily my oldest is! So, when she gets a bit older I may
have to have her help me out with the cuteness in my classroom!
For attendance and lunch count, I used to use a calendar pocket chart. I would
use index cards and put the child’s name at the top. Then I cut colored
construction paper and assigned a lunch to each color. For example, red=A
lunch choice, blue=B lunch, green=Zoom lunch (PB&J), and yellow=packers.
What I found was torn papers, papers on the floor and a messy looking chart by
the end of the year (YUCK!). While it had its advantages I just didn’t want to use it
this coming year. New position=change!!!!!
So, I purchased plastic counters (I think they were from the dollar store or
staples). Then, I picked up some stickers to use for the numbers. I too am
assigning numbers to my students because so many come and go throughout the
year. However, I wasn’t sure exactly how I would use them. I threw around the
idea of having students toss their counter into bins (each labeled with a lunch
choice). I also thought of just having the lunch choices on my magnetic dry erase
board, but I think my space is limited to only 1 small board (I will use that for many
other purposes). So, when I saw this…I knew it was a MUST!
Here’s my version …
The counters will be placed on the Absent board at the beginning of the day. As
the students come in they will choose their lunch by moving their counter piece.
This will be easy peasy for me to take attendance. I usually have a student help
out with lunch count sheets for the cafeteria.
I also created the Pick Me Pot.
These ideas came from Teri
Thank you Teri for the inspiration!!!