Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Freebie: Work Station/Work Board Icons

It's that time of year... time to think about how your going to do things for the 2014-2015 school year. 2015? For real? I spent two days this week with Killeen ISD 3rd grade teachers and they were a great bunch.  They asked for this Friday FREEBIE!

In my classroom, I liked having a high level of teacher control when it came to Work Stations, at least to start the year! I wanted to put my students in groups (mixed ability) mind you, and I wanted to tell those groups which work station to go to!  I was in control, and I liked it that way.

Part of that control however, was letting kids know the "plan for the week" and I did that via a Work Board.  You can read more about Work Boards and management of what Fountas and Pinnell call Centers, in their book Guided Reading, and you can even get icons in their text, however they are black and white, and kind of boring in today's day and age... sorry F&P!

If you want to show your students the Work Station rotation (which stations they will be going to each day, feel free to use my FREE icons! There are much cuter ones out there I'm sure, but I never claimed to be cute, only trying to be helpful.

One thing you will notice, there are LOT of Independent Reading icons. That's because it is the first Work Station every day for every student! That's how important Independent Reading is for kids in our classrooms.  Kids just read at their desks, but one group of kids might read in the classroom library one day a week and that can have a different icon on the Work Board.

Here's what my Work Board looks like all put together! Enjoy!

The names of students moves to the right each day, but the icons stay the same, so by the end of the week the students who started in the number one position will have completed all Stations. Don't forget to check out my other posts about Stations to see what kids are DOING when they work in Stations.

Go to my TpT now for your FRIDAY FREEBIE!  There are Work Board Icons for K-2 and Work Board Icons for 3-5.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Freebie: Shopping for Books

Don't we all love to shop! I was shopping just last night and came home with some new books to add to my TBR (To Be Read) stack. I was reminded that we shop for books the same way we shop for shoes, only shopping for books sometimes makes me happier, believe it or not!? If you don't remember how to teach kids how to shop for books- read here!

Shopping is fun, and that means that kids may spend their time shopping instead of reading. That's a problem! So we need to post a schedule for book shopping in our classroom.

Kids will shop when it is THEIR day to shop.  They can shop first thing in the morning, after recess, before math, they will find the time. Worse case scenario, they will shop during Independent Reading time that day.

They will be able to select 3-5 books/magazines/articles that you have available in the classroom library.  And voila- kids will always have material to read during Independent Reading/Reader's Workshop and you don't have to worry about kids shopping instead of reading.

Want to make this schedule? Want to do it fast? Download your copy in my TpT store (where everything is FREE).

Happy Shopping!
PS- If you haven't been in a bookstore or library lately... you need to go! It is good for a reader's soul!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thumbs Up Thursday

It's Thumbs Up Thursday from Leach Teach!  And today I have a fantastic website for use in Shared Reading/Close Reading in your classroom!  ( Project these articles or copy/paste into Word and print for your students to read. 



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Write About It Wednesday: Did-It Dots

I asked my best friend (and one of the best teachers I know) to be a guest blogger this week! She has shared a great Writer's Workshop strategy with us! 

Keep reading... 

As a teacher who has worked with young writers (K-3) for the past 10 years, I have gained some insight into how to motivate and acknowledge kids in this area. Although I'm always looking for new tips & techniques I can use to enhance my Writing Workshop, I have come to realize that no matter the curriculum or content I'm presenting to my students, it's the way kids feel about their abilities that encourages them to learn something new. (Amen Rachel!)

In my classroom, celebrating the efforts of young writers is a daily practice during Writer's Workshop. Compliments and words of praise go a long way and help children begin to recognize their own strengths (and areas for continued growth) as writers.

One of the strategies I utilize to celebrate and acknowledge every effort my students make is called, Did-It Dots. I purchase little, plain, colored circle stickers to place on student papers during the independent writing time of my Writer’s Workshop. I use these stickers to acknowledge the writing techniques or strategies that I have introduced during my mini-lesson. I walk around the classroom and look for examples of students trying the concepts we are working on as a class or the various personal goals my students have set for themselves.

When I see evidence of their effort to try something and focus on the new learning, I simply place a little circle sticker on their paper. As I do this, I say, "You did it! You ________." (I state what I notice they did.) My students have been trained to respond with, "I did it! I _______!" (Repeating what I said about their writing.) I find it important for my students to understand how proud I am of all they are learning, but also how important it is for them to see their accomplishments themselves. 

I don't use Did-It Dots every day during Writer’s Workshop because overuse seems to diminish the excitement of this strategy. If you find yourself needing to rejuvenate this idea (maybe you already do something similar), I have adapted Did-It Dots by using a hole-punch instead of the stickers. Children get excited to see their papers look like Swiss-cheese by the time we get ready to publish their stories.

No matter what strategies you use to celebrate writers, always remember that building positive self-awareness in little learners can last a lifetime. Opportunities to acknowledge every effort kids make will help your learning environment flourish! Starting small will soon have you saying, "I did it" too!

Rachel Huntley
Kindergarten Teacher: Charlotte Public Schools

Red Cedar Writing Project Fellow and Teacher Consultant


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Techie Tuesday

Check it out! A teacher in Killeen told me about this today! You should know about it too. Check often... new books every month! I just got TWO ebooks for free! Ready to download to my NOOK!

How did I now know about this?

What are you waiting for! Go check out BookBub!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Freebie: Writing Menu

I was working with teachers yesterday and told them I'd post this. I said next week, but I have lots of other goodies to post next week so I'm posting it now instead!

You can thank Killeen ISD for asking for this! I hope many teachers are able to use it in their classroom!

I've posted about the use of menus before, and this is a Writing Menu.  Menus in Work Stations/Literacy Centers helps the teacher NOT have to create "new" things in a Station each week.

Rather, a teacher can post this menu, and put the materials at the Station and takes care of itself!  Get your Fluency Menu and a Spelling Menu too.

You can get your Writing Menu in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. Cheers!

Happy Friday FREEBIE!


Monday, July 7, 2014

ME Bags

Another day... and more teachers. I really love teachers! They are just like the kids they teach. I had Kindergarten right up front today! A talkative bunch (aren't all Kinder kiddos) but on topic- and excited to learn (so Kindergarten). Well.... as I was sharing an idea one of them asked a question... "Do you have that on your blog?" I didn't. So I said I would. And here goes...

We were learning about Writer's Workshop today and one of the beliefs of a Writer's Workshop teacher is that kids write on topics of their own choosing! Easier said than done, especially if all of their school life they have been TOLD what to write about. So early in the school year, Writer's Workshop teachers spend time helping kids figure out what kinds of stories they can write. One way to do this is with...

Me Bags

Me Bags? What? Hold on to your hat- this is the simplest idea ever! Teacher- you go buy some gift bags at the dollar store- or some paper bags from the grocery store if you can still find a store that has those!

Maybe you read the book by Mem Fox too! It's a story about a little boy who has friends in the retirement home near his house who have lost their memories. So he goes around his house to find things that will help them get their memories back.  It works! And each object he brings them has a memory/story attached to it. That's what you'll encourage your students to do.  Go around their house to collect those memories.

You'll make a plan for which kids will take a bag home which night.
Grace, Isaiah, Austin, Simon- Friday (take bag home) Monday (bag due back to school)
Sarah, Jessica, Rodolfo, and Reagan- Monday (take bag home) Wednesday (bag due back at school)
Miranda, Taylor, Brandon, Jai'Lyn- Tuesday (take bag home) Thursday (bag due back at school)

Kids will take the bag home with this note attached and possibly this recording sheet of the contents.
When the bag comes back to school- they will have time to share the contents of their bag.
This is a picture of my grandma who lives in Mexico.
This is a picture of my horse.
These are my ballet shoes.
This is my basketball trophy.
This is my favorite video game.

I of course bring a bag in myself first- each item in my bag has a story/memory attached to it.  The button reminds me of my Michigan State memories. The Poky Little Puppy- is a favorite book from when I was little- so it has "when I was little" stories! And another item is money from our trip to the Bahamas last summer! Objects can have memories attached.  What's going in your teacher Me Bag?

Why would we do this you ask? Because all of the things that come out of that bag are attached to ideas for stories (personal narratives) that kids could write! When they say (get a good annoying voice ready), "I don't know what to write about!" You say... oh YES you do!  The list of items from their Me Bag, that are written on the recording sheet that sheet is inside of their Writing Folder. See more about writing folders here.

Ta-Da! Topics of their own choosing- their first 10 stories are waiting for them because of Me Bags. And you can get the sheet right HERE! Happy writing!


Friday, July 4, 2014

FREEdom on TpT

In honor of our FREEdom everything in my Teachers Pay Teachers store is FREE!!! Oh wait... it's always been FREE! Check it out here!

Be sure to FOLLOW my store... more FREE stuff coming on Monday! 

Happy 4th of July y'all! And thanks to our soldiers (and their families) who KEEP this country FREE! 


Fluency Work Station Menu

Fluency is a tough skill to teach- especially when you remember that it is more than JUST SPEED! Phrasing, expression, intonation... all of these are also important to truly help our students learn to be truly fluent. 

I've posted a lot about Fluency (see other posts for Literacy Centers), but today I'm sharing another resource that is ready for you to print and use in your classroom.  I've posted about the use of menus before, and this is a Fluency Menu.  Menus in Work Stations/Literacy Centers helps the teacher NOT have to create "new" things in a Station each week. Rather, a teacher can post this menu, and put the materials at the Station and takes care of itself!  

Here is a picture from a post on Fluency by Scholastic so you can see what it would look like to teach students how to scoop. #perfectanchorchart

I hope you can use this in your classroom! 
You can get your Fluency Work Station Menu for your classroom HERE!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

July Currently

It's July! It's my last month before I start full time work again! I wish I would have known how fast my laid back "summer off" was going to pass by me, because I would have made sure to enjoy it more!

Listening: I'm at my mom and dad's house in Michigan. They are retired and as much as I make fun of them for "watching the birds", it really is a nice sound! They have about 15 feeders, that they spend their retirement money filling up every 3-4 days. And those birds come in from sun up to sun down.  Right now, there's a yellow finch, two cardinals, and three woodpeckers! My parents are also experts at identifying birds these days! It's pretty cute. 

Loving: It starts off a little chilly- I will admit! I was wrapped in a blanket sitting on the back porch with my coffee this morning.  Brrr! But, the sun is out and there are big puffy clouds and for a holiday weekend in Michigan that is a big deal!  Mom and I just went on a bike ride! We got hot enough we had to take off our sweatshirts! 

Thinking: I love it here! Michigan in the summertime is just the best. Car windows down... sleeping with the windows open! It's just heaven.  I appreciate it more of course now that I don't live here. I love seeing my parents house (their dream house they built just before retirement), but I just hate leaving! Bought my mom a sign that says "You are my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye" and it is so true when it comes to my parents.  But now we will head "Down Below" as it's called when you are "Up North" in Michigan and see his side of the family. I get to play with kids and hug sister in laws.  It will be a good time!  My last few days of vacation because then I will be with Killeen ISD teachers the whole month of July! Get excited KISD!

Wanting: Yep! I'm a sucker for a good garage sale- notice I said good! I've been known to drive by the garage sale and decide not to get out of the car. We did that for 2, but we stopped at 3. I bought a box of Barbie furniture for my BFF and her twin baby girls who just got a Barbie Dream House for some summer play at their summer cottage.  Let's face it, my BFF is more excited about the Dream House than they are, and I'm more excited about the new furniture than they will be! #livingvicariously 

Needing: I sigh, and roll my eyes, because he won't do it! Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, but he doesn't do things I ask him to! And they are simple things! I think sometimes he doesn't do it just because I asked him to! Yes, these are the sad, stupid games we play! Shaking my head! 

4th Plans: We are stopping off to buy our fireworks tonight. We put on a pretty big show in the front yard at my in-laws' place.  There will be good garage sales there too! I took out cash from the bank just for that reason.  #dealstobehad  I'm hopeful I'll find some quiet time to read a book and relax in the hammock.  

Just looked at the clock... countdown to when I have to leave my mom has begun. 
I just hate this part of visits home!