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!

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