December 15, 2014

S'MORE Gift Tags~Freebie

Happy, Monday!  
One day down and four to go, but who is counting?!  Not me:)
Yesterday during my prepping madness, I created these little labels for our reading buddies.  My class partners up with a kindergarten classroom every Friday for some reading!  It is so neat to see the partners build relationships.  We also see them in the hallway a few times a day and their faces light up the minute they see us.
Today, my students prepped these cute little gifts for their reading buddies.  I had the graham crackers ready to go, but it was their job to put the Hersey bar and marshmallows in the baggie.  We used candy cane flavored mini marshmallows and snowman!  I would have used Christmas Trees or something a little bigger if I was able to find it.  Oh, well!  I figure they can snack on the little candy cane marshmallows!

If you need a little gift for a reading buddy, you can grab it here!  I also added in the tag, "Sending you S'MORE Holiday Joy" just in case you don't have a reading buddy!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Holiday-SMORE-Gift-Tags-Freebie-1608685
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Holiday-SMORE-Gift-Tags-Freebie-1608685


December 12, 2014

A Little Christmas Chat

Sweet Abby over at The Inspired Apple is having a fun 'lil Christmas Conversation Linky Party...

I love hearing about others' Christmas traditions...so please link up and tell me all about them in the comments below. 
I'd LOVE to hear from you!
{Click on the image above to "zoom" in!}

December 11, 2014

The week went BAM! {All About Reading: Wed-Thurs.}

Welp, friends!  Due to 5 extra students yesterday, our reading was not normal.  I didn't have enough copies to be able to do "my normal" activities.  And let's be honest, 5 extra friends is a whole new reading group.  A new reading group in a jammed packet reading block.  The whole day was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-kind-of-a-day. 

And then, today I realized that reading today or tomorrow would not be "normal" due to a presentation by a local theater smack dab in the middle of reading.  So, long story short.  I have no photos for you, the rest of the week won't be normal, and I'm just trying to survive.  Seriously.   I'm so bummed.  I was on a roll posting all about reading on Monday & Tuesday, then BAM!  The week got crazy...it is what it is.

Here is a little break down on what our Wednesday-Friday would normally look like for whole group reading. 
I normally will have students complete the reading comprehension section of the weekly test during seat work on Thursdays.  I try very, very, very hard to have the time to discuss/check the answers in small group, after our "normal" group is finished. If for some reason I feel that we need more time in the basal story, we would complete the comprehension section on Friday.
If you are a Journeys Teacher, 
I only give the vocabulary & comprehension test weekly.
Students are allowed to use their textbook for the comprehension test.   Our state test in 3rd grade requires students to be able to look back into the text to find answers, so we use our weekly tests in 2nd grade to start preparing them.  

Currently, I am still reading the test to three well below grade level students.  Well below as in we will just be moving into reading a level G next week, but we started on an A or B:)   At the beginning of the year, I was reading it to all students besides my high group.  All other groups are now are able to do it independently during seat work time.  I try very hard not to use our whole group time to do any part of the test.  It is too valuable!  Yes, students need to be tested to check for understanding of the skills & comprehension, but they also need to be practicing the skills of the week on a daily basis with a gradual release model of instruction.




December 9, 2014

Reading in my classroom~ All About Tuesday

We started off reading today finishing up our vocabulary words.  We only had four left to go.  Our regular vocabulary routine was in action {1- say the word, 2- clap the word, 3-show me the syllables on your fingers}.  Of course, we still hit on some phonics skills during this time.  

Out of these words, I stressed the /ee/ in speech which was a skill last week and the -ed on shocked.  What three sounds can -ed make and what does it mean to have -ed on the end of a word?  I'll be honest, a handful of my kids have "caught on" to my phonics questions and can pretty much shout out an answer before I even ask the question!  Hey, at least they are paying attention and KNOW the skill:)
And then it was time to use these words a little bit!
I try to have students up and moving about every 10-15 minutes, if not more frequently.  They need to move, they need to talk, I do NOT expect them to sit and be quiet.  Today, we practiced determining if an animal was enormous or not.  Students simply stood on their tippy toes if the animal was enormous and sat on the ground if the animal was not.  Super quick, easy way to get them moving yet still practicing a word.
On Tuesdays, we begin to hit on our reading skill of the week!  This week, it is all about cause and effect.  This is a skill we have already hit on.  You might be thinking, "A printed anchor chart?"  Yes, since it is a review and since I only have 25-30 minutes to hit many items in whole group reading, there isn't always time for a big anchor chart.  It's normally something super quick using the ELMO.  I'm a firm believer in getting the most "bang for my buck."  It is also the reason I am implementing interactive notebooks in reading!
Students wrote what a cause and an effect is on the top flap.  We then read the little "story" and highlighted the cause {green} and effect {pink}.  This was a super quick way to practice cause and effect.  Under the flaps, students wrote the cause and effect.
On Tuesdays, instead of silent reading as I begin LLI, students normally partner read the basal story of the week.  Before they did this today, students joined their own little "groups" to practice a 'lil cause and effect.  You may be asking, "groups?"  Yes, more than likely you'll find about 3-5 students in my room working together.  As long as they are all working, no copying, and collaborating, I let it go.  I'm amazed when they do work in "groups" together, honestly.
We always partner read the basal story at least 2-3 times per week.  Why?  Many of my students came to second grade reading well below grade level.  During this time, I partnered below level kiddos up with a stronger reader.  

Students need many exposures to the basal story, not just the one time they hear me read it, regardless of if it is on their level or not.  Now that many of my students are close to being on grade level, I no longer "pick" their partners on a regular basis.  

Let's break it down what we learned today.
-4 vocabulary words learned
-1 voc. "quick check" using the voc. word enormous
-Quick phonics lesson {/ee/, -ed}
-Syllables
-Cause and Effect review with guided/modeled instruciton
-Cause and Effect independent work (we will discuss it tomorrow)
-Partner Reading {basal story}

Even though I'm not sharing small groups this week, I wanted to show you how I "throw in" a skill of the week into our groups.  Cause and effect is the main skill we discuss for each book, that way students are getting constant exposure all week.  We also do some quick high frequency word practice using flash cards.  I also through in phonics lessons/practice during the flash cards:)  I also add in the phonics and/or grammar skill of the week into groups.  If I didn't, we simply wouldn't have enough time to get enough exposure to be successful!
Compound words is our phonics skill of the week.  
We have already hit it THREE times in two days.
The center in the middle is out of my Merry & Bright Unit.  Students were working in pairs to determine if a compound word was real or not.   I love using a center during groups for quick assessment/reteaching opportunity. Next week, this will be one of their center options!  Yep, I've already taught the center so there are no questions and students can be successful! I call that a win:)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Officer-Buckle-Unit-3-Lesson-15-Journeys-Print-Go-with-Interactive-Pages-1588022
 All cause & effect interactive sheets can be found in Officer Buckle & Gloria.

December 8, 2014

Reading in my classroom~ All About Monday!

This week I am going to break down reading in my classroom.
Each day I will show you our "routine" for that day of the week.
I like to keep our routine pretty similar each Monday, etc.
Let's begin!
Monday is all about vocabulary!
 
The sheets above our are go-to sheets every Monday.  If you teach Journeys, you can find them in my Journeys Interactive Units.  Some weeks we cut and glue them in right before the bell on Friday so we are ready to go.  Other weeks I may pre-cut them so students only have to glue.  But other times, I set the good 'ole timer and make them get busy!  Interactive notebooks does not mean time waster!
We hit 4 vocabulary words.  To learn all about our words, we use the cards provided by Journeys (sorry, no picture!).  We also say the word, clap the word, and determine how many syllables are in each word.   Students quickly stick up the correct number of fingers.  Great & easy assessment! I also LOVE  to discuss some of the phonics skills we see in the words and practice breaking apart multi-syllabic words.  
 
Do I only cover the new phonics skill of the week?  NO WAY!  Students need to exposed to the skills frequently.  Do I sit and plan out exactly what we will talk about for each word?  Nope.  It's natural, super quick, yet effective.  Today we focused on the sound that a "y" can make at the end of a word {buddy}.  We also learned how to break apart the word attention.  
 After we have learned our vocabulary words of the day, 
it is time to get up and move!  Our favorite activity to do is from Kagan....
HAND UP, STAND UP, PAIR UP!
Once we have our partners, I ask students to tell their partner what a word means or to act it out. 
Then it is time to move on to guided reading!
At 9:45, I begin LLI for my intervention sweethearts.   These three students head on over to my reading table and begin re-reading a book from a previous lesson.  All other students grab their books, reading item of the month, and get to reading!  
 
Students don't change items every day or week?  No way!  I can't keep up with rotation boards, it doesn't matter how hard I try.  We switch about once a month, maybe twice if I get around to it.  They never say a word about it.  They know what item is theirs and where their "spot" is.  If a student isn't reading, talking, or playing around and I notice, I simply say, "Please go back to your seat and read. You can try again tomorrow."  This isn't up for discussion.  They should be back to their seat quickly, quietly, and get to reading.
Yes, students are ALL OVER during this time! I giggle when someone comes in to observe me and attempts to make their way through 15 students all over the floor.
On Mondays, one of our main seat work activities is to dig into our books and figure out what genre our story is, who wrote it, and write a prediction independently! 
 I am going to end here for today!  After starting this post, I decided it would be just too much to cover what I did in guided reading groups, also.  So, this week will be all about Whole group and a lil seat work/centers.  I'll tackle guided reading groups on another week!
 Here are a few old posts on guided reading here and here.