Friday, August 30, 2013

Sentences, Smart Exchange, Procedure Review Game, and More {Five for Friday}

Fri-DAY!! Woot Woot!! I'm lovin' knowing that this there is a long weekend and lots of fun time with friends a family coming up! But first, time to link up with Doodle Bug's Teaching.

1. We've been working on complete sentences this week. Here is a peek at our anchor chart. I took this picture before we added in our example sentence and then forgot the camera...oops! 
I've said it before - I'm all about a nice, simple anchor chart. And apparently a bad picture...haha!!

2. Do you ever forget about some great places to find teaching resources? Happens to me all the time. I just revisited SmartExchange this week and found some fantastic resources for subjects and predicates. The people posting on that site can do SmartBoard magic!! I {puffy heart} it. 

3. We've got one more week left on Raymond and Graham Rule the School. Here is a  a few picture from our visualizing activity this week. 

In an attempt to shave his almost-invisible mustache, Graham shaves off his eyebrow. Being the good friend he is, Raymond draws him an eyebrow, but it turns out to be more of a unibrow!

We're having so much fun with this book. If you'd like to take a peek at my activities for this book you can click here.

4. We spent about a week going over rules and procedures for reading workshop and our classroom library. Even with reminders every now and then, I still felt like we needed a little more reinforcement. I created these cards and we played "Pass" a modified game of Scoot where pairs of students sit around the room and we pass the cards around (creative, I know...haha!). 

5. A few weekends ago I accidentally baptized my Kindle in the tub! eeekk!! It did turn back on, but things were never really the same. Earlier in the week I ordered a new Kindle Paperwhite (aka Baby Kindle) and it arrived last night! It is great!! I'll be doing a lot of reading this weekend!

What are your plans for the weekend? 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Complete Sentences Game and a Flash Freebie

Engaging. Check. Fun. Check. Out-of-your seat. Check. 

It was a fantastic day in my classroom today! I couldn't wait to get home and share this super fun, super easy subject, predicate, and complete sentences activity with you! 

We are going to need a LOT of work on just writing a complete sentence this year, so I knew I had to up the fun factor to get everyone interested. 

The game is played inside outside circles style. One circle of kiddos moves around, visiting different partners, while the other circle stays in one place. 

The partners work at determining if a group of words is a subject or predicate. Then they decide if their two cards together make up a complete sentence. 

When I created this activity I made sure the combinations would be silly and sometimes outrageous and the kids loved it! There was definitely a lot of giggling going on! I also hear a lot of talk about subjects and predicates and saw students frequently referencing our anchor chart when they needed a little reminder. 

"My teacher is fuzzy." We heard some great sentences. 
"The cafeteria blew bubbles."
"The bus ran around the house."

I was thrilled with how this drove home the point that a complete sentence needs both a subject and a predicate. We will definitely be doing this activity again! 

I have posted the instructions and 2 sets of cards for the game in my TPT store. You can click here if you'd like to take a look. 

Since I have such wonderful followers who read all the way to the end of the post, I will be giving away this set to the first 3 people to leave a comment with your email address.

Thanks to all those who commented!! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Remind101: Making Parent Communication Easier {Tried it Tuesday}

Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a good start. I'm linking up with the Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for a very quick Tried it Tuesday post. 

Since there are still some people gearing up for the beginning of the school year, I thought I'd share a great site I was introduced to over the summer and just started using with my class. 

After reading about remind101 on so many great blogs, my teammates and I decided to give it a try this year. Remind101 is a website that allows you to send texts to parents or students without either of you sharing your phone number. The program only allows you to send outgoing texts and is free. 

Here is what I think so far: 

It was super easy to set up (great for the beginning of the year) and there is a form available to print online with all the information your parents will need to join in. 

Texts can be scheduled!!! This is what I've loved the most so far. Before school ever started I sat down with the calendar of events we already had and set up a lot of reminder messages - such a time saver! 

The only downside I've seen : be careful when scheduling texts - it seems to me like it would be very easy to accidentally set your message to be delivered in the wee hours of the morning - not something I want to happen!! 

So far we have 28 out of 64 parents sign up, not a huge number, but this is the first time anyone at our school has ever used a program like this, so I'm hoping it will grow in popularity. 

For now we are just using the program as reminders for returning forms that need to be signed and important events at school. Do you use remind101? What types of things do you use it for? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Writing, Notebooks, New Bulletin Board, and Class Meetings {Five for Friday}

It's an especially Happy Friday today because my sister is in and after school we are leaving for a little girl's weekend getaway! So, it's time for the weekly rewind with Doodle Bugs Teaching. 

1. Finally got all of our popsicle writing craftivities (from Forkin' 4th) up and on the wall. This adorable activity was a bit of a stretch for this group of kiddos right now! 

2. We started on our first interactive notebook lesson. Of course, this one went a little slower since it was our first time, so we are still working on getting it all put together. Hopefully I'll have a full post about these lesson soon. 

3. I'm so excited with all the products I bought during the big TPT sale. I've got Ashleigh's Word of the Week bundle ready to go for next week. I'm LOVING this set! 

Aren't those graphics just too cute?!

4. We had our first class meeting. Our school participates in the Olweus bullying prevention program and regular class meetings are a big part of the program. I really enjoy the time it allows me to spend getting to know my class outside of an academic setting. Here are our class meeting rules. 

Just puttin' it out there like it is! I love anchor charts, but they are never anything fancy. I'm all about something that is practical and useful when it comes to that! 

5. Did I mention that I'm off to a little getaway with my sister?? I'm so excited!!!! Love her so much and now that she lives 5 hours away we don't get to spend near as much time together, so this getaway will be extra special. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Launching Reading Workshop in 4th Grade {Workshop Wednesday}

Happy Hump Day! I'm linking up with Jessica over at Ideas by Jivey for her fabulous Workshop Wednesday linky. 

Last week was our first full week of school, so I launched our Reading Workshop. RW is always one of my favorite parts of the day and my students usually agree. I love having the opportunity to share great literature with my students! 

We beging by reviewing the procedures for coming to the reading area (rug) and choosing a good place to sit. When everyone is together we discuss how important it is to raise your hand and not blurt during reading time. 

The first book I share is Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton. 

The mini lesson for the day describes what RW is in our classroom. I explain that we will share our story or text of some kind, have a mini lesson, time to practice our skill from the lesson, and independent reading time. 

I keep it short and sweet. I'm really interested in making sure students enjoy the book and setting the tone that our RW is an enjoyable part of the day! 

By this time we have been in school 4 days and students are already asking if they can get a book from my library, so it's time to learn about how our library works. 

The text for this lesson is The Library Dragon by Carmon Agra Deedy. 

After reading the book we go back and read Ms. Lotty's library manners poster in the book. Then, we begin discussing how to check out a book, return a book to the correct place, and how important it is to keep the library neat. 

By this time they are all anxious to get their hands on a book, but we wait one more day until our mini lesson on Just Right Books. 

Today is the day students will begin to choose books and everybody is excited to get started! 

Our book for the day is Goldilocks and the Three Bears retold by James Marshall. 

After reading the book we discuss what kinds of things they look for that are just right - shoes, school clothes, beds, blankets, etc. Then I bring out some shoes and ask for their help in selecting a new pair. I "try" them all on and we talk about why they would or wouldn't be a good fit. This discussion leads into introducing Just Right Books. 

You can click here for a freebie poster on how to choose a just right book and the five finger test. 

After the mini lesson I begin helping a few students at a time choose a book. This is a long process and it took 2 days for everyone in class to get a book, but it is well worth taking the time to model and help students choose that first book. 

We use our experiences in RW from the past few days to create a list of "rules" for the workshop.

This year I read a new book for this lesson, Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. 

After reading and discussing the book, which is adorable and if you haven't read it you need to get your hands on a copy STAT, I bring the discussion back to RW. I ask the students to think about a new person coming into our room for the first time. What would that person see and hear during our reading workshop time? 

The students call out ideas and I write them up to use as our unofficial "rules" for reading workshop. We can then refer back to them throughout the year if we need a reminder about what workshop should be like. 

Thanks for sticking with me through that very long post! I wanted to be somewhat detailed because I remember how frustrating it was when I wanted to get started with workshop and couldn't find any real concrete plans for those first few days. 

How do you launch reading workshop? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Easy Access to Student Info {Tried it Tuesday}

Hi, bloggy friends! This is my 100th post!! Woo Hoo!! Thanks again to all of you who read this lil blog of mine! 

Since some of you still haven't started back to school, I thought I'd link up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday to share an organizing tip I'm loving this year! (Okay, so no matter what I try I cannot get the button to show up on my post!!)
One of my teammates was kind enough to copy some student information sheets to have parents fill out at Open House. The sheets were a half piece of paper from a really old Mailbox magazine. I usually have parents fill out a different, letter sized form and then put them in a binder, but these copies were already made and I was happy! 

Parents filled out the forms and then I wondered what I would do with that stack of little papers. Then, it hit me - binder rings! 

I punched two holes in the cards, made a cover sheet from cardstock (using graphics from Ashley Hughes), and a back from cardstock, and added some binder rings. I then hung it on a thumb tack on the bulletin board right by my desk. Now I have instant access to my students' most important information! 

I had some parent phone calls to make last week and all I had to do was grab this little book from my bulletin board and I was all set! 

This is portable enough to bring along on a field trip and includes emergency contacts for all my students! 

Do you have any tips on keeping students information organized and accessible? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Glyphs, Books, and Help Needed {Five for Friday}

First full week of school is D.O.N.E. I feel like throwing a party!! Since I can't throw a party and invite all y'all over, I'll do the next best thing - Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

1. I finally got all the glyphs hung up out in the hallway! Does this look familiar to anyone? I'd love to find where I got these from, but I can't seem to find this file on my computer anywhere. 

2. I have my first interactive reading notebook lesson planned for this coming week. After reading all about them this summer on so many great blogs I'm very excited to be giving it a try this year! 

3. It's been a week for books. Really what week isn't? Here is on of my favorites from the week, James Marshall's rendition of Goldilocks

This one just cracks me up! Look at her expression! I've felt this way many times when trying to get comfortable!! 

4. I tried out MissKinBK's tutorial on how to add patterns to text....she has created a monster! See #5 for proof!! It is so adorable...I can't stop!  

5. I am in the process of putting together an order of high interest books for my lowest readers. I have a few readers below 1st grade and several right between 1st and 2nd grade. 
I'm looking for chapter type books that will look "big kid" and keep their interest! Any suggestions? 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yard Sale and Flea Market Finds for the Classroom

Good morning, friends! One of my favorite warm weather activities is to visit our local flea markets and yard sales in search of treasure. I decorate with rustic/antique treasures, so I'm always looking for those things and along the way I usually find some things for my classroom as well!
I always look for books at the flea markets and yard sales! Here is my haul from this summer. Some of these I got for as little as 5 cents each!! I couldn't believe what a deal I was getting. I even got 2 hardback copies of the Guinness Book of World Records for $1 each! 

I was driving by a yard sale one Saturday morning and stopped just for this chair! It was love at first sight and for only $5 it is definitely my best find this summer! 

What do you like to shop for at flea markets and yard sales? What is your all time best classroom find? 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Secret Word {Tried it Tuesday}

Happy Tuesday! I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for a quick idea on this Tried It Tuesday. 

Don't you just love when you are doing something totally unrelated to teaching and you get a great idea? This happened to me while I was driving last week. 

I decided when my students returned to school on Thursday I would have a secret word they had to say before they could get in the door. When Thursday morning rolled around I stood at the door, stopped each child and gave them the spill about our secret word routine.

Each day before they can enter our room they must tell me good morning! 

Graphic from the fabulous Ashley Hughes.

This secret word was met with giggles from the students and smiles from parents dropping their kids off on the first day. It was a fabulous way to get our day started! 

On Friday morning I stood at the door patiently waiting for my students to arrive. As soon as they rounded the corner I was met with big grins and, as soon as they got to my door, each child said, "Good Morning!" 

Even when I had a few students come in later than most and I was already working on the roll at my desk they waved to me from the doorway and said, "Good Morning!" 

This will without a doubt before a tradition/routine in my classroom. I was thrilled to get the chance to greet each of my students individually and see them start the day off with a smile! 

I'm even thinking that we could switch up our word for different things that are going on throughout the year. Any suggestions on what we could use for the secret word? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Choose a Just Right Book and Reading Survey {Monday Made It}

Good Morning, everyone! I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for another great round of Monday Made It

As I'm sure you've heard me say before, I'm back at school now and today will be day #3 with my kiddos. So far, so good! They are a very sweet bunch and I've been having a lot of fun with them! Since I'm back to teaching my crafting has been put on the back burner and I've been making things I NEED for my lessons and classroom. 

I will be launching our Reading Workshop this week and I wanted to created something I could have printed on our poster machine at school. I love anchor charts, but since this one will be on display right over our library I wanted something that looked really neat and was easy to read! 

I had to create a poster that went along with this one for the steps in the Five Finger Test. I think it may "officially" be called the Five Finger Rule, but I always end up calling it test, so why not go with what I do?! 

You can pick up both of these posters for free at my TPT store

I think I'll print some letter-size versions of this one to have for my students to actually hold and reference while we are working on choosing those first few books. 

I also needed a reading survey for my students to complete. I couldn't really find what I was looking for anywhere, so I decided to create my own. 

I kept the survey short and right to the point. There are some things I want to know right away about my readers. All the other "things" I'll learn about them as we go, but this info will definitely help me get them started with a book that is right for them.

I make a lot of trips to the public library to check out 20+ books for my kids to use in our classroom. When I go, I'm always looking for books that my reluctant readers might be interested in. Of course, that means I end up asking them to make me a list of what they'd like to read about. Then, I end up in the library with 5 little scribbled notes that I'm trying hard not to lose! 

 I plan on punching holes in the survey and putting it in a plastic, 3-prong folder that I can tote with me to the library. I intentionally left the back blank so I can jot notes on my little readers and throw in reading levels if I want. 

This is also a free download in my TPT store. If you download either of the items please remember to leave some feedback! I'd also love to have some more followers for my very new store!

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