Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord: July 27, 2014

My sweet babies just left for a trip to their grandparents house and I'm having a withdrawal already, so I'm going to get some school stuff done and then I'll be back with my post. But if you would like to link up to with your Sunday Smorgasbord, click below. Please remember to add the button to your post and link back. 
I'm back! 
I went into school to set up my classroom and I just have to tell y'all, I have classroom ADD! I mean do y'all start unpacking a box, walk over for a pair of scissors and start a new project? That would be me! 
We'll see what I get completed tomorrow.  Heaven help me! 

Here's the rest of my random! 

What would a post from me be without some shopping. It wouldn't now, would it? I am so excited about a new store we got down the road. Have y'all been to Alter'd State? Umm...I am so in love. The clothes, the jewelry, the home decor, the phone covers, all of it is amazing. Here are a few of my purchases.

As I said, I am already missing my sweet boys. When I was looking for pictures for this post, I came across about 140 selfies, Landon took. I love that kid.

He also learned to tie his shoes. I am so proud, and as you can see, he is too.
We are also proud of this sweet boy. He earned the Leadership Award at Baseball Camp. 
That's a big one for my shy sweetie.

Are you a fan of Fabulous in First on Facebook? If you are, then grab these new freebies. If you aren't, Click HERE to become a fan and grab lots of freebies.

Here is a student interest inventory I created last year. I tried to make it as simple as possible for my kiddos to complete at the beginning of the year. 

I use these name tags to label my kids cubbies. You can use them for whatever you would like. All of the graphics in both of these files are from the fabulous Melonheadz.

Did you see that beautiful stock photo in the freebie photo above? I just love using those photos. What I love more is that there is a site where you can get these photos for just a dollar. The search is awesome as well. There are so many beautiful photos to choose from. If you want to check it out, you can click below. I can't recommend it enough.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Way Back Wednesday!

I wanted to share a post I wrote in January, so I'm going to take you back. 

Y'all probably know that I love to teach reading, so when the Common Core came out I wanted to know the standards like the back of my hand. Not just what they stated, but exactly what they meant. So I poured over as many books and articles as I could to understand exactly what my sweet kiddos should know. I also made sure to figure out what Kindergarten expectations were, as well as what would be expected of my kids in second grade. The Common Core standards aren't as overwhelming as they may have seemed, and actually with fewer standards, I was able to get all my kids to master them with a school year of practice.  While many of the reading standards are no brainers, there also those vocabulary standards and such that might get hit less often. I also had to consider the amount of time I have in my day.  I need to hit as many standards as possible in my short amount of time.  I found the best way to meet these demands was through Shared Reading.  So here is a post about a part of my reading block. Today my Shared Reading units are on sale for Christmas in July.  I'll be creating more soon.  Happy Reading Friends! 
Original Post From January, 2014:

I had a bunch of requests on my switch from Reader's Workshop to Shared Reading and how it all works, so I thought I'd explain in this post. Hopefully, this isn't clear as mud after your finished reading.  

I've been teaching for 13 years and all 13 years I've taught guided reading using leveled readers. I teach my guided reading groups during my center time. In addition to guided reading I also have another separate reading time for whole group instruction.  For years I taught using Shared Reading and then made a switch about 6 years ago to Reader's Workshop. 

Reader's Workshop was great because I taught a mini-lesson, my students went off to their individual book nooks, with their leveled readers and I made my way around the room conferencing with students, taking notes and observing how they applied the things they've learned in the mini-lesson. My kiddos were able to read in their book nooks for 30 minutes and that gave me plenty of time to conference and do intervention. Then came the Common Core. 

While I loved Reader's Workshop and the time to meet kids individually, the new rigor of the common core and the testing coming around the bend forced us to look at our reading instruction.  I knew I was going to need to be a little more direct in my instruction and focus on the standards in a different way than before.  So, I am now doing Shared Reading with a little bit of Reader's Workshop practices mixed in. We didn't get rid of our book boxes or book nooks, they are just being used in a different way.  

So here it goes: 

Each week we choose a story for Shared Reading. When choosing a book, we look at the difficulty, theme for the week, and we try to choose an equal amount of fiction and nonfiction throughout the year, etc.  For instance, last week we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Our local librarian ordered 24 copies and my teammate and I share.  Sometimes we get lucky and every child gets a book and other weeks kiddos have to share.  Then we get work hitting the Common Core standards.  One day we talked about sequencing. We read the story, sequenced together and then I split my babies up into 4 groups.  This is where I can differentiate. All my students were sequencing the story but at different levels of difficulty.  

 This group had pictures and words of each event and had to number the order.
This group had a similar sheet but had to write what happened in each event and then order the events. 
On another day we talked about Cause and Effect. 
I reviewed Cause and Effect with the poster below. 
 We read the story and then completed this sheet together as a class.
And here is where our book boxes and book nooks come to play. When we were finished I sent my kids off to apply their learning.  Each of my students went to their book nooks, with their bin of leveled books. They were told to choose a fiction book from their box and identify a cause and effect that happened in their story.  They recorded their work in their reading journal.  
 Shared Reading is a great way to get the whole class to practice reading more complex text. The repeated reading helps to not only build fluency, but also helps to practice skills with a familiar text. I love how I can explicitly teach a concept, model and work together how to find answers in text, how to answer questions about text, etc.  I have hit the Reading Literature and Reading Information Text Standards over and over. My kiddos get it! Better than they ever have before. My students can look in a text, identify the setting and give details from the text to support. They know about characters and how they change, how to find the main idea of the story, etc.  Of course I would cover these things before, but never as thoroughly as I have this year.  It's my favorite time of the day! 

In addition to using our book boxes occasionally during our Shared Reading time, we also use them daily during an RTI time I've created. Our school does not mandate a daily RTI time, but due to a lack of aides and extra help this year, I had to be creative. We have 15 minutes between recess and special.  I decided to take advantage of every second this year and instead of a read aloud or bathroom break, we do RTI.  My students spend this time reading in their book nooks and I spend the time doing intervention.  Sight Words, Nonsense words, Fluency, Story Problems!!! It all gets covered during this precious time.  

So clear as mud???

I also had a few questions about my focus wall.  
The "I Can" board is cheap plastic frame from Michaels. I put some yellow butcher paper inside and I write on the plastic each day.  We review the board in the morning and the I Can statement is repeated before the corresponding lesson.  I create spelling, phonics, math talk and skill cards for each week.  I also create a card each week of our 3 vocabulary words from the text talk lessons I write. The genre posters are from Rachel Lamb
You can grab my Shared Reading Units on sale today only, by clicking below.

And here is a link to my new Focus Wall product.

You can also grab this freebie in my store:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord: July, 20, 2014

Happy Sunday! I'm back with a little bit of random. Actually, a whole lot of random! So I hope you have some time. I promise there are a whole lot of free goodies in this post. 

First, I thought I'd share some of my new favorite things with y'all. As you know, it's no secret that I love to shop, so I thought I'd share my addiction with everyone. 

Here is my new favorite mascara! Love it.  
And this is my new favorite perfume. I love this little travel size. My sweet friend Cara shared it with me and I couldn't live without it. 
My husband's sweet cousin came over the other day with her new MacBook Pro for college with this cute case. I loved the quality and keyboard cover and mouse pad it came with. They come in all different colors and are super affordable. I had to order this one! 
I also came home the other day to this sweet surprise from my momma! She's so sweet and fashionable. Just love her and she may have started a new addiction for me. 

I also finally ordered these. They aren't my running shoes but just some super cute kicks to wear everyday, so my running shoes don't get too worn out. I think they are so fun.  

My Christmas in July Sale ends this week. Currently my classroom decor packs are on sale. Last year I posted a video tour of my classroom and I've had a lot of questions as to where much of my decor can be purchased. If you'd like to see my classroom tour of last years room, click below. 
All of the decor in my classroom is from one of these packs.  
Here is a preview of what is included in my Classic Classroom pack.

This is what is included in my Focus Wall
These are the posters included in my Reading Anchor Chart pack.
These printables are included in my Just Frame It pack.

And here is what is included in my Posters, Pennants and Printables pack.

Finally, I have the sweetest friends ever. Not only are they great teachers, but they are so generous. I thought I'd share some great beginning of the year Freebies. 

These are from my sweet friend Abby! Who doesn't love a free vocabulary resource and her adorable alphabet cards! Click the pictures below to grab these freebies.

And have you seen these amazing freebies from my friend Cara? I just love her adorable apple freebies. This would be a great back to school theme! 

And my friend Katie King, also newly known as Miss Fitness, has a great number sense freebie. I think this will be an awesome review or intervention for kiddos are who are struggling. 

I also have some freebies for beginning your year. You can get all of these documents on my Facebook page. All you have to do is click HERE. Then find this button on my page. Click on the tab that says free and all my documents are listed for download.
Here is a little unit plan for the book The First Grade Hooray.
Here are some Behavior Bucks I made for classroom management. 
I created a cute little back to school bunting for Open House or your first day. 

Here are some Fast Finisher's Task Cards. They are fun, Common Core activities to hit the standards for your kiddos that finish early.

And finally, I usually enlarge these to 11x17 on the copier and have my kiddos fill these out on the first week. 

If you have a random post, don't forget to link up below. Please remember to include the Sunday Smorgasbord button in your post and link back. Thanks!