Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why I Like Me!

This has been one of my favorite writing pieces this year! We started by reading the book, Me I Am by Jack Prelutsky.

Then we brainstormed some reasons why we like ourselves. The kids completed a thinking map. We love using thinking maps in writing... the final piece always comes out so much more organized with great details!

Then we worked on our rough copy organizer. Once they had their rough copies done we talked about editing. This is still a work in progress. They think everything they scratched down the first time is perfect! But clearly... They is not spelled thAy. hehehe They just don't believe me! 

Once we "edited" we moved on to our final copy. We added a cute drawing of ourselves to the final copy, it added a special touch!  Here's a few that are just too cute not to share...

That hair!!

Boys do rule!

I also love it when people cheer for me! 

Such a fun activity! If you want to add this to your bag of tricks grab it here


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Talk Turkey

I don't know if it's the baby, or the cold weather, or the fact that I'm getting married in 18 days but I am feeling the spirit of the holiday season in a big way this year. I usually have a strict "no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving" policy but I'm finding myself listening to Christmas music in car and singing carols to Baby T at bedtime. I am so excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas and beginning some family traditions. The spirit I'm feeling is pouring over into the classroom as well!

To get our brains warmed up for learning I had the students take out their white boards. I told them they had two minutes to write down as many words as they could think of about Thanksgiving. They were 100% focused on this, you could have heard a pin drop!

Once we were warmed up we dove head first into this week's theme --- TURKEYS

Yesterday, we read a turkey mini book, written by Lindsay. It is full of interesting facts! I partnered my students up to read it together. Once they read it they discussed facts they learned. Then they completed a turkey diagram. 

We've also been working hard on becoming fluent readers. Tina found a great pack full of passages for an entire year! [We may or may not have already copied all the passages we will need for this school year.] This week we are working on "Turkey Time." 

I'm always switching up how we practice our fluency. Right now what's working for me is having the kids work independently. Everyone finds a place in the room to whisper read. I set a timer for one minute. Students, as quietly as they can, read the passage. As they read they put an X on words they don't know. After one minute, they circle the last word they read. Then they count up the total number of words they read and graph it. 

I've also done partners for fluency practice. I guess it really just depends on my mood! How do you utilize fluency passages in the classroom???? 

Every year I find that having students write opinion papers is the hardest of the three so we like to start them early in the year. Sometimes I wonder... Are we picking hard topics? I think the topics are cute and age appropriate but maybe they are more difficult that I think? This week we are working on Should We Save The Turkeys? We've modeled and taught how to write opinion paragraphs. We've got a great thinking map, an easy to use organizer, and cute writing paper. Soooo why is the writing not up the par???? Grrr... this is def something we need to keep working on. 

I can't wait for more turkey fun tomorrow!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

And it's Sunday.

What do you get when...

1. Your parents call the whole family together.
2. They give everyone a beautifully wrapped box to open.
3. Inside the box you find sand, seashells, and 23 letters.
4. They tell you, you have to unscramble the letters to figure out the surprise.

A trip to Sanibel Island!!!

December 27th our family is off to the sun! [Which will be awesome especially because the weatherman is calling for snow (yes, snow) this week.] It's even more exciting that this trip will be Baby T's first trip on an airplane, her first time to Florida, her first time in the sand... so many firsts! It's great that we get to share these firsts with my parents, grandma, brothers, and sister-in-laws.

Speaking of Baby T, here's a picture of her and I [and Jack] from Halloween. She was the cutest ladybug I ever saw!

Tina, Lindsay and I have been busy creating some new reading strategy packs. What I love about this is we are really digging deeper into our classroom read alouds. Each day the students are working with a different strategy for a book or topic. We've done Room on the Broom and Together We Gather, Now Get Lost. This week we are diving into nonfiction, all about turkeys! We've uploaded Room on the Broom to our TpT store already! Look for the other two soon.

Guided reading is in full swing! My kids this year are really struggling to decode words independently, or at least attempt to decode them. They just come to a word they don't know, stop, look at me, and wait. What's up with that??? So I made a strategies card that we keep right in front of us. I love that it's a visual reminder of the strategies and that the students are responsible for picking a strategy to use. You can grab it free! Take a look at it in action...

I printed out both cards, glued them to a piece of black construction paper and laminated them.

It's already 10pm. Where do these weekends go! I guess I better go get a start on grading my math assessments.