Monday, June 30, 2014

Diggin' into Literacy Blocks

teach during my literacy block
I will be teaching a straight 2nd grade as of right now.  I have taught a 1/2 split for 4 out of the last 5 years, so in theory...I will not have to differentiate quite as much :)  Other than that, I will be keeping this mostly the same.
I use a modified form of "The Daily 5" in my room.  In my room, students rotate to all of the stations every day.  While they do not chose where they go next, they have many choices at each area so they still have choice.  I tried the "choice way" but felt like I was losing a lot of learning time coming to the carpet, and waiting for everyone to make their choices.  This way, students clean up and are at the next center in about 30 seconds (at most). 

Read with the teacher: I use guided reading every day in my classroom.  Depending on the needs of my students, I may also be assessing while a group is silently reading or working on a reading comprehension assignment while at my table.

Read to self: Students have 8 "seat sack" books that they keep for the week.  Seven of the books are at their "just right" level, and their 8th book can be too hard or too easy (I do not allow chapter books though to those who are not ready).  I find that especially with lower readers, having that 8th book really keeps them engaged the entire time.  A group of students chooses their books each morning and shows them to me (ex. #1-5 choose their books on Mondays), so that I can make sure that they are "just right" for them.

Read to someone: I wrote a bit about this last week so see here for more about that.  Students may read their seat sack books, poetry books (weekly classroom shared reading poems), or complete a fluency/comprehension activity.  I change these up throughout the year.

Write about reading: I wrote about this a bit last week too.  My students have other times during the day to do free choice writing so they are responsible for writing about their books at this station.

Work with words: I use an individualized spelling program in my classroom that I designed many years ago.  Students are responsible for their personal spelling words each week.  They receive their words on Monday, and practice them throughout the week.  I also use "making words" activities, word families each week, and a weekly phonics skill sheet as well.  I have many different ways for students to practice their words to help them to prepare for their spelling test at the end of the week.

Listen to books/computer time: I have students go on Scootpad every day!  This is an individualized E.L.A. program that teaches the child at their current level.  I love it!!!!  They use it for math too.  They have a set number of questions, so when they are done with that, I have many different websites to listen to books.  Some of my favorites are: (early reader) (early reader)

This is what I created to implement an individualized spelling program for my students.
Individualized Spelling Instruction for the K-2nd Grade Classroom
This is the program modified for 3rd-5th graders
Individualized Spelling Instruction for the 3rd-5th Grade
This is the two programs bundled together. 

Individualized Spelling Instruction for the K-5 Classroom
I am marking down the bundle to 50% off until I go to bed on Friday for
Now, I hope that you can go and check out the other wonderful posts about how other teachers teach during their literacy block!   Click on the link below to see them.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reading Comprehension & Celebration with Lakeshore Learning & TPT Gift Card Giveaway!!!

teach reading comprehension 

This coming year will be different for me as I will be teaching a straight 2nd grade class.  One of the things that I love teaching most is reading!  I will miss seeing the great development from beginning to the end of the year development with 1st grade readers, but will love teaching even more higher level skills with my 2nd graders!
I made a large purchase on TPT (click on the picture to view it on TPT):
Monthly Close Reading Club {Use for Differentiated Weekly
This product I feel will really enhance teaching reading comprehension.  I bought it right before school got out this year, and can't wait to use it!  There are leveled readings for throughout the year.  My plan is to use them for shared reading, and then to have copies of previous ones to use while at "read to someone," as well as to send a copy home on Friday with each child to practice reading with while at home.

I also purchased:
Find Us Forever Homes (Critically Reading, Analyzing Infor 
I also want to incorporate more partner/group reading comprehension activities such as the one above.  My students LOVED this activity!  They were placed into small groups to figure out which home would be best for the dog that they were given by inferring.  Do you know of a similar reading comprehension activity?  If so, I would love to hear about it!
I will still be using the "Daily 5" (with my own classroom tweaks) in my classroom.  I have several options at "read to someone."  Some examples are:
-Fluency activities from FCRR (FREE)
-read your seat sack books and choose a reading discussion task card
-read to someone comprehension cards that I purchased at Lakeshore where students read to each other, and then ask and answer questions about the passage

Fluency & Comprehension Partner Scripts - Gr. 1-2

While students are at "write about reading," they choose a book that they have read and then a prompt from this product:
Reading Response Menus Across the Year {2nd Grade CCSS-Aligned}
It does say 2nd graders, but my 1st graders were able to use it too!  Students chose an "appetizer" on Monday, and then when they finished (whether it be Monday or Tuesday), they went on to a "main course" prompt, followed by a "dessert," and then would go back to a new appetizer at the end of the week if they had time.  There is a set for each month.  I kept copies in a folder at the "write about reading" center, and then also sent copies for each child to use while it home after reading each day.
I really don't have any related products, but I am celebrating!  I have 294 TPT followers, 98 Bloglovin followers, and 575 Facebook likes!  Since I am so close to three new milestones, I would like to celebrate by having a giveaway!  Since I wrote about some great TPT and Lakeshore finds, I thought that I would give you a chance to win some money so that your can purchase your own!  They total up to $30 to spend on your classroom!  Good luck!  :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure that you check out all of the other wonderful ideas by clicking on the picture below!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Diggin' Into Next Year: Math Workshop

I finished packing up my classroom.  I have to say that due to all of the cabinet space that I am fortunate enough to have, it was much easier than it normally is.  It was so weird looking at it like this.
 Teach math
I have students divided int four groups.  With the split class, I had 2 groups for each grade.  But, as I am supposed to teach a straight 2nd grade next year I will have 4 groups.  These groups are guided and flexible so that I can adjust the lesson to the needs of each group.

My math time is divided into four sections:
  • math with the teacher-I give the lesson and using math talk promote discussion among the students
  • paper practice-students work on math from their math book, and can choose an item from their math folder for extra work/enrichment
  • math games/activities-I use many TPT games, as well as games that I have bought elsewhere
  • math on the computer-students work on, and, and if they have extra time they can go on another math site to play math games or watch math videos
Each group has a drawer to store their math books and math folders.  The bottom two drawers are for me to store math related things.
This is my math group list and also shows who math captains are each day.   During math centers, my math captains have several jobs and privileges.  When they are at my table for guided math, they get to sit by me and pass out and collect everyone's books and math folders from their group's math drawer.  They also get to sit in the teacher chair with wheels at the computer for their computer math time.  In addition, they get first choice of math activities/games when they are at the math game & activity center (students choose in order after this so that there is not arguing about whose turn it is).  So for example, person F would choose first in group 2, followed by G, H, and E.

These push pins have made my life so much easier and so much less arguing in the classroom!!!  Oh, the things that you wake up in the middle of the night thinking out...push-pins:)  I tend to get many of my classroom improvement ideas in the middle of the night...LOL:)
Since I had the split, I had 2 bins to store the games/activities for math centers (1 for each grade).  Next year, I will only have one bin.  Once in a while a game/activity is too big, so I just place it on top.  Since there are 4 activities, I replace these once per week, when in theory everyone should have had a chance to play each game.  I usually have one day each week for students to do "math read to self" or "math read to someone" instead. 
This is the check-in sheet for math games.  Students write down the date that they played each game.  I can easily see who has not played a game as of yet by looking at this sheet.
This is our math on the computer schedule.  Students have about 15 minutes each day for computer math.  I have them go on different programs to start to ensure that they get to everything throughout the week.  Free choice math allows them to work on any math site that is at a "just right" level for them.

Since I will not be teaching a split class next year, my calendar time will focus on 2nd grade skills.
I also want to find more enrichment projects for my students as well as integrating art, and writing more into math.
I love teaching math, and so I have many math products in my store!  I am offering two of them for 50% until I go to be on Friday night :)  I plan on adding and revising them both in the next few weeks, so this is a great chance to buy them now on sale, before the price goes up on both of them!  Click on the pictures to see the products :)
Calendar Routine for 1st and 2nd Grade 
You can see all of my math related resources by clicking here.

I hope that you check out all of the other great posts about teaching math!  You can click on the picture to see links to all of their posts:)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Last Week Fun

I can't believe that this is the last week of school! I love my class, but am looking forward to a nice break! :) Here is a note that I sent home to families about some fun days this week. It is directed at families, so feel free to cut/paste/edit as needed if you want to use any of it!
Last Week Fun

In addition to our “teacher of the day” activities, I have a few other fun things planned for this week!

Monday: Pajama & Literacy Day
We will spend part of the day with various literacy activities, and games.  Students may wear their pajamas if they would like (no stuffed animals or slippers please).

Tuesday: Beach Day
Bring a towel & sunglasses so that we can go outside and read (students may bring a book from home if they wish).

Wednesday: Math, Science & Social Studies Day
If your child has a math, social studies or science related game/activity from home they are invited to bring it and we will play these games for part of the day.  Make sure that if it has small pieces, your child will not be upset if one gets lost.  I have plenty of games at school as well.

Thursday: Game Day
Students are welcome to bring a card/board game (please no electronic games) from home and we will play games for part of the day.  Make sure that if it has small pieces, your child will not be upset if one gets lost.

Friday: Clean & Movie Day
We will be making sure that everything is in its place for next year.  We will also be watching the Charlotte’s Web movie as we just finished reading the book recently.  We are watching the 2007 version (