Monday, January 27, 2014

My very own fairy tech and guided reading aa-a plans

I hardly every play the lottery but each time I do- I play for the sole reason of winning and hiring a teaching assistant.  I ALWAYS have a giant list of things that I want to make/ do but I never have enough time.

I wish this was the point that I told you, "I won a million bucks!"  Instead I have the next best thing that is even free and provided by my district.  A part time curriculum coach specializing in technology.  :)

This girl is amazing.  She is super sweet, smart and hardworking.  She showed our staff a play list that she worked on to make for another teacher in our district.  It plays during her workshop and plays a catchy song during transition times and then plays classical music during independent times.  I LOVED this idea.  So I asked her to take it up a notch for me.  :)

She made me a literacy workshop iMovie.  I made the jpeg images, told her where to place them and for how long and POOF- she made it happen!  I always have wanted someone like this.  I can imagine things like how I want to decorate my living room-  but I just can't seem to pull it all together- ever.  So having her is amazing.  She is already working on version 2.0 of my iMovie.

This is the coolest idea.  I am going to try to walk you through it just using my jpeg images.

I start playing the movie right after morning meeting and it runs until lunch time.  I never pause it- it just runs the entire time.

It starts with a transition slide for 30 seconds to the song, "I like to move it- move it!"  We share teaching responsibilities and are lucky enough to have very talented reading tutors- that being said students are always going EVERYWHERE!  So it is important for us to stay on schedule.  When the students hear the move it song- they know to look up at the screen and see if they have somewhere to go.  If they don't they know to complete the activity from the top of the slide.
Then after the 30 seconds.  The music switches to classical music and I have different curriculum reminder slides that pop up.  There is always a slide that has a reminder and then version 2.0 has other helpful reminders that pop up during the independent time.

This stays up for 2 minutes.  Then I have different word work choice boards that cycle through the 13 remaining minutes.  This way a child can look up and choose a word work choice.  When they look up again- a different choice board will be displayed.  

 These are 2 of the different boards.  My students know that the easier options are on the top row, middle for medium difficult and the bottom row are the most difficult options.

Whenever we rotate to whole group.  The move it move it song plays with a black screen that says, "Come to the carpet."  Then for the remaining 15 minutes this Carpet Rules image is displayed during whole group.  Sometimes I have to minimize it to teach the whole group lesson.  For this time there is no music playing but the movie is still playing.  At first for whole group I said that I would pause the movie. My tech fairy offered to add a black screen and mute the music.  I am really glad that she suggested it because it makes it a lot easier to stay on task!  :)

The video repeats these steps for all of my rotations and it even tacks on writing at the end.
When we transition from writing whole group to independent work- I don't have the move it song because I am not very consistent with whole group writing.  Some days I need them 20 minutes and others only 10 minutes.  This way I have the music muted for 15 minutes and then the classical music softly comes back in and the writing helper slides start playing.

This plays for about 2-3 minutes and then writing helper signs rotate during the remainder of the time.

My major focus this year has been on finding/ developing better whole group and small group reading instruction.  So this little treasure is making it easy for me to stay on task and even for me to highlight items that I normally might forget to highlight with my class.

I just finished my guided reading levels aa-a plans.  They have worked REALLY well.  They are a combination of The Next Step in Guided Reading, Orton Gillingham strategies, and my own spin of stuff.  Almost everything that you need is include.  Click on the icon below to go to my TPT store.  Click on the preview to get a peak.

I am LOVING these snow days now.  I'm sure that I will be HATING them in the summer when we have to make them up.  :(