Monday, October 28, 2013

Hilarious P/T Conference video!

My principal sent this to the entire staff today.  I laughed so hard that I started crying.  I seriously have had a million conferences like this.  It was a great way to start out the day before my P/T conferences.  That way I am not too tough on myself if a conference happened like this. 

Great thing is that not a single one happened like any of these scenarios today! 

Enjoy!  :)


Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Math- counting on

This year my team and I are "creating" our own math lessons.  By creating- I mean that we are pulling from as many resources as possible.  :) We try to use as much as EDM as we can because we have the student journals/ home links books.  However, EDM poorly aligns with common core so we are pulling from many other places.

I always start with warming up earlier in the day with one of these fantastic daily math sheets projected:
This week our focus is on addition strategies- counting on.

These are some resources that we have compiled together to create a week worth of lessons:

For whole group teaching- I just drag the pdf files into a Smart notebook and delete the pages that I don't want.  (MAC) For PC's you have to select "print" and choose the Smart writer printer option and it will convert the pdf's into a smart notebook for you. 

For homework this is what my class has for math:

This is our exit slip this week:

We have a binder that the sheets that we use for "math on my own", homework, whole group work etc. are included in separate binder sheets so that we can have them easily copied for all of us by a parent. 

red guided math group- we are practicing counting on with number lines, and number charts
yellow group- I am showing flash cards and they are writing the answer on dry erase boards
green group- they are working on doubles facts


Sunday, October 20, 2013

What I would use if I taught 2nd Grade :)

One of my favorite student teachers contacted me 2 days ago.  She was such a sweetheart and was hired for her first teaching job this year.  :)  She called me and said that he needed help.  She said that her school district didn't have any type of literacy program and she is being told to differentiate but didn't know what to do etc.

So- I told her that I would help her out.  I remember being a first year teacher- it wasn't all that long ago!  It is REALLY over whelming!  Then I think of professional development that I attend.  I am a little dorky and am excited about learning new things to apply to my classroom.  Then I go and they tell me the same thing as always and never have good examples and tell you to go apply what you have learned.  :(  Well- I don't know about you but that is the tough part for me!  I think that great professional development should give you the background but also specific examples that apply directly to you!  Not a 4th grade math example for k-8 classroom teachers AND specialist.  I want a first grade example filled in for me and then give me a blank copy and GUIDE me into filling in one for another subject with my teammates during the meeting.  :)  That way when I can leave- I can APPLY what we did together and start planning and teaching right away!  :)

I spent MANY hours scouring my favorite place- TPT to come up with this plan for her.  I own very few of these products so I don't know for sure if they are the best fit for her.  I just read comments and mostly looked at the span of grade levels.  If they said it is appropriate for k- then I doubt there is enough to truly differentiate for 2nd grade.  However this is a complete assumption.  :)


Daily Math

These are AWESOME for a math warm up.  I use her first grade version in the morning and project it.  We just complete it together as a class.  I will say the problem “2+3…. Now which number is larger…(3) now count on to get the answer… now whisper the answer into your hand, hold it up high.  When I count down- you will shout out the answer.”  “3-2-1!”  I go through the entire paper it takes only about 3-5 minutes. 

These may not line up with your math series but if I haven’t taught the skill- I just teach a quick on the spot mini lesson about the skill.  The great thing with her daily math sheets is that he sticks to the same review skills for 10 days.  So by the 3rd-4th day I don’t have to have to “guide” their answers.

Formative Skill Based Math Assessments

You can use these even if your math teaches a spiral curriculum.  I teach skill based so it makes it easier but you can still use it with a spiral curriculum. 

Here are different options of how to incorporate these skill checks:

·        You can still teach the whole group lesson that your math curriculum gives you.  Then teach using guided math after the whole group lesson.  Give the skill pre-assessment on Monday so that you can divide students into groups. (I would teach a 5 minute mini-skill lesson on Monday before giving the assessment)  If you teach your whole group math curriculum PLUS the guided math- you might have a really long math time.  You might just want to teach 1 round of guided math on Tuesday, the second round on Wednesday and the third round on Thursday if you don’t have time to have 3 rounds of guided math each day.  You can even consider having your Tuesday low skill group joining your Wednesday "on" group since they had some extra support the day before.

·        You can dissect some practice sheets from your math curriculum for the skills that it is teaching for a 2 week period.  Create a pre-assessment using 2 weeks worth of skills and give it to your students.  Use the results to know what skills you can skip over teaching whole group because the majority of your class knew how to do it already.  You can choose those skills to teach as your skill groups.  That way the students that didn’t get the skill will be your low group, the “kinda” group will be your medium group, and the students that knew all of it will be your advanced group that you teach more difficult or deeper understanding of the skill.

Fact Skill Practice:

These are fantastic for teaching math facts by strategy.  It breaks each skill down.

Daily Comprehension
·       These are AWESOME for a 5 minute comprehension review.  I use the first grade version.  I printed out all pages for the entire year and stapled it into a packet.  My students keep it in their desk and we complete these together.  During days 1-2 I would read the passage to the students.  During days 3-5 you could have students read the passage in partners first and then complete the activity.
Whole Group Comprehension
·       You can choose a skill of the week like making inferences/ sequencing etc.  Choose a mentor text to use for the week.
o  Day 1: Teach about the skill of the week and tell students that you are going to read a book tomorrow that contains a lot of that skill. 
o  Day 2:  Review the skill and have students “teach” each other what they know.  Read the mentor text.  After reading- model filling out an organizer.
o  Day 3: Review days 1-2.  Read the story again and have them stop after every 2-3 pages and retell to a partner from the beginning what happened.  (I make mine retell with motions etc-  this is a whole brain teaching technique.)  Then have students fill out the same organizer from yesterday in partners.  I would recommend pairing a higher student with a lower student especially for writing. 
o  Day 4:  Review days 1-3.  Read the story 1 more time.  Then have students complete the organizer independently.  Allow students the option to “draw” their answer for lower level students. 
o  Day 5: Have students choose a book on their own level, read it, and then fill in the organizer on their own.  This should assess if they “get” the skill.  It might be helpful to hand out and choose books for students on their own level so you can ensure that the skill is present in the book.  Many lower level books do not have much content.  You can even consider reading aloud a book to lower levels (Or making it a choice to anyone) and then making them fill out the organizer after.
§  Mentor Book List by Strategy:

Spelling/ word work:
I like spelling as a way to assess if students know or need to practice a specific word part.  Here are some spellings lists that you can use:
This is a blog post that I made to describe how I run spelling/ word work time:
*If students pass the pre-test- you can give them the words to practice of a more difficult list or give them words that have the same chunk but are much longer.  For example for the chunk being ‘or.’  If they pass the easy list (or, for)- then give them words like orange and corander to work on for the week.
Here are options for writing lessons for all year: (I would recommend the 3rd choice because it doesn’t have a range from k- on.  K writing would be too easy.)
·       This one you will need to buy all three:
o   My guess is that she is coming out with an Opinion writing soon.

*This is a resource you might want to have your students have access to when they write:
Grammar/ punctuation:
I would focus on a skill a week.
·       Monday- Teach the skill
·       Tuesday- Insert the skill for practice into a morning message that the students read when they come into school.  You can in the message assign a student to fix the mistakes.  (Forgot to put the capitals etc.) or underline the grammar parts (underline the plural nouns)  You can do this on chart paper or if you have a projector- project it and have the students fix the mistakes with a dry erase marker.  Then at morning meeting go over the message.
·       Wednesday- Go around and check student writing for the skill of the week.  This only needs to take about 5 minutes.  Just a quick glance.  Grade the students on how they did with the skill.
o   If it isn’t a writing skill- just ask students to point out the skill in their writing as you walk around.
·       Thursday- During writing- pull students with their current writing to the carpet to go over and help them fix their writing for the target skill.  I pull the students that I mark with a 1 together and then later pull the students with a 2 together.

I ended with telling her this is what I would do and told her to use it as a guiding point.  Think about what her students need, her teaching style etc.  I also gave her my daily Monday-Thursday schedule and told her that it works for me and she needs to think about her pull out schedule, lunch etc and think about what would work.  We have discussed D5 multiple times before so it isn't highlighted in my email as well as the phonics dance.

8:15-8:30 Morning Work
8:30-8:40 Announcements
8:40-8:50 Morning Meeting
8:50-8:55 Daily Math Review
8:55-9:10 Guided Reading (2/3s of my class leaves for a sight word intervention), daily 5- work on writing (I don't allow my students to choose D5 rotations)
9:10-9:30 Whole Group Reading Comprehension
9:30-9:45 Guided Reading (2/3s of my class leaves tier 2 reading intervention), daily 5- reading response/ sharing (my version of read to someone since there are very few kids in my class at this time.)
9:45-10:00 Guided Reading (2/3s of my class leaves tier 2 reading intervention), daily 5- read to self  (Some pull out kids transition back early so read to self is something that they can do quickly and know what to do.)
10:00-10:20 Whole group Word Study (M-intro new sight words and highlight them in writing words book and give spelling pre-test, T- teach new phonics dance chunks, W-Complete sorts for spelling words, R-use spellingcity, F-spelling test.
10:20-10:35 Guided Reading and daily 5- word work
10:35-10:45 Whole group writing (M-read mentor text and model pre-writing organizer T-model drafting  W-model revising   R-Model editing   F-Review of week)
10:45-11:15 Students write and I (M- assist lower students with filling in pre-writing organizer   T- assist students with the teacher edit or writers block cards up   W- check on skill of the week and repeat Tuesday's job  R-pull skill groups  F-choose students to share for author's chair and also during read aloud time.)
11:15-12:05 lunch and recess
12:05-12:40 read aloud, handwriting/ daily comprehension, phonics dance chant of learned chunks
12:40-1:20 Special
1:20-2:35 Math (whole group, 3 rotations and closing)
2:35-2:45 Day review/ peace meeting (we sit in a circle and review everything that we learned, give compliments to students for helping us, discuss problems that we might have had)
2:45-2:55 Pack up
2:55-3:00 Dismissal

AND..... since I spent many hours putting this together- I thought that I'd share it here just in case it can help someone else too.  :)




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interactive Voting and Election Book- pin it to win it!

 I heard about this idea YEARS ago and can't seem to find something simplified enough my for first graders. This is an interactive book that walks the students through the election. They even form two different "parties" and hold their own candy elections. (You will need a small amount of candy for the taste tests.)

 I CANNOT wait to try this out but wanted to post it on TPT just in case any of you want to try it as well! 

Typically my favorite items on TPT are the items that have EVERYTHING that you need!  I always get super bummed when there is an amazing product but they are missing simple things that are needed.  So I tried to include everything that you need in this item!  It is made into a little booklet and there are simple taste test items that you need to set-up in advance.  :)  You just need a ballot box, 6 Dixie cups and candy!

Here is a peak:

Pin it to Win it!
Pin this post or direct to my TPT link to win this!  Just leave your email below!  (Hopefully I send it on time!)  :)

Have a great night!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Word Work

Here is a peak at what word work looks like during each week.

It starts with a pre-spelling test on Monday.
 Students use a dry erase marker to write each word.  I use to have students take home a paper version but I felt that it wasted paper each week.

Next, if students scored 100% of the words correct, they receive 2 small challenge lists.  1 goes home and the other is glued into their word work notebook.  If they received even 1 word wrong, they will receive 1 on level list to glue into their word work notebook.

These are determined by our reading series.  The above  level lists are about 3 units in advance and go into second grade words.

The notebooks are the cheap 17 cent notebooks during back to school season.  Students glue their new list in each week.

Students can choose how to practice their words by these choices.  This is now laminated and it hangs up on my wall. There are more choices like gel writing etc that haven't been introduced yet this year.

These are the sign language and keyboard sheets. 

Students practice using this way Monday-Wednesday.

If a student feels that they already know the words at some point in the week- they know to get a dictionary and choose 6 new challenge words and make their own list.
On Thursday I borrow our mobile lab and have my students login to
If you have never used this website- check it out! It is free!  I have saved our individual spelling lists for the year. 

 The students simply click on the correct lesson for the week and the words are already there.

I have students click the test.  When they click the "say it" or "sentence" button it will read it and the student is to type in the word.  At the end it will grade the assessment.  I tell my students if they get all of the words correct that they can play games practicing next week's words.  If they miss any words- they can play games using the next week list.

There are some free games and pay games.  We just use the free games.  It takes the spelling words and puts them into games for you.  It is hard to believe that it is free!
Finally on Friday we take the spelling test.  All students put a book at their desk.  I read the "on level" spelling list first and students taking the challenge list will read their book.  Then everyone listens as I read 2 sentence dictation sentences.  Then the on level group reads their book as I read the challenge words.
The spelling words are graded at the top.  Students earn a "4" if they spell all of the challenge words correctly.  If a student takes a challenge assessment and misses some words- they earn a "3+."
The sentence dictation is graded on the back. 

Down the left contains our grade card headings.  The middle states what they need to do to earn a "3" which is like an "A."  Finally on the right- I circle what grade that they earned.
It is simple- same each week but is good practice for them.  :)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

This month Hodge Podge!

I'm learning that I'm normally good for 1 post a month!  I still try to do more!  I feel like I work almost all awake hours and hardly take time to share with all of you what I am doing.  :(  January is right around the corner- perhaps I will try to make the goal of twice a month to blog!  lol hopefully I set a low enough goal!

Here are a few things that I have done new this month:
First up is my guided reading area:

This is the wall behind my reading table and is visible to the students.  A few years ago I had a full CAFE board.  I LOVED it but my district has teachers use Guided Reading so I haven't used it in 2 years.  I decided to make a simple adaptation.  Students have their post it note on their "goal" strategy.  We refer to it often and it actually is more of a reminder to myself to use the wall- not just have it up their to be cute.  :)  I bought these from Lakeshore and just jazzed them up with left over zebra border.
I also was getting sick of either A) handing out materials too many times during a lesson or B) expecting 6-7 year old students to keep their reading area clean and organized.  So I bought these green organizers 3 for a $1 at the Dollar Store. 

This is what is inside each organizer:

Here is how nice it looks from far away right after I completed a reading group.  The students totally did this- it was NOT staged!  :) 

Up next is a routine chart:

A little boy in my class cannot seem to get those routines down!  So I created a notebook for him to use!  It is working well so far!  His response to getting it was, "Wow!  This is cool!"  lol... first grade students are so easy to please!

Up next is one of the cute charts that I made thanks to Kim Adsit!

These are laminated and students are allowed to put sticky notes on them as one of the choices for read to someone (share with someone) time.

Also rounding out the next 2 weeks are some fun filled times!
-Next week is our assessment week so I'll be breaking it up with some fun with the Candy Corn Bandit!  If you haven't purchased this yet- DO IT!  It is so much fun!

-The week after is our 50th day of school!  I use a lot of materials from Cara Carroll's unit but I found a few FREE items as well. 

-The week after are our parent/ teacher conferences!  Here is a link to some free conference forms:

I hope that I will blog again BEFORE the end of October but I thought that I'd better write a HUGE post now just in case that I don't find the time.  Do I know myself or what? 

Have a wonderful week! 

To those Central Ohio teachers- Happy COTA day on Friday!  :)

P.S.  I JUST remembered that I totally forgot in my madness of writing math lesson plans from scratch and making all of the smart board files... that I FORGOT to send out free stuff from my last post.  I am REALLY sorry!  I am going to do that RIGHT now!