Tuesday, February 19, 2013

News Channel 5 meteorologist and Lauren's class!

Hi Everyone! It's a snowy Tuesday here in Ohio...and speaking of weather - meteorologist Jason Nicholas from News Channel 5 came to my classroom today to talk about weather! My students performed a weather rap that they made up on their own! So adorable and I just had to quickly share! Here's the link:
Weather Video!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Techie Thursday

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope everyone survived the chaos of class parties and loved every minute of the big smiles all over your students faces!

Lauren and I love incorporating technology into our classrooms, so we decided we are going to try and do Techie Thursdays.  We want to share with you resources we have found and are excited for you all to give us new techie things to try as well! 

Any teacher who teaches the little ones knows how hard it can be for your students to find specific websites during computer time.  I was sometimes always getting interrupted during my guided reading groups by students who could not find what they were looking for at the computers.  Then I learned about a fantastic website called symbaloo! This is a FREE website where you can create a web mix that uses picture icons to show bookmarks of different websites.  This was the perfect solution to my problem! You can create your own page or use one that is already made.  Once you have made your web mix or found one that works for you, you can set it as the homepage on your student computers.  It is super easy to set up and navigate.  

And because I just couldn't help myself I have one more techie resource for ya.  Have you guys ever heard of Class Dojo??  Who ever thought of this is pure genius!  It is a FREE behavior management system that teachers can use in their classroom to track positive and negative behaviors.  Each child gets their own avatar with a fun little monster they can choose.  When students are showing positive behavior you can go in and give them a point and with negative behavior you take a point away.  I have found this tool most effective when I am teaching small groups and my other students are working independently.  I will keep our class page up on the projector and am able to give or take away points from the class dojo app on my phone.  When a child is on task I will click their avatar and give them a point based on their positive behavior.  A chime goes off and the students avatar and positive behavior pop up on the screen.  If a student is showing a negative behavior then another noise occurs and it shows up on the screen.  I love that it is instant feedback to the kids.  I swear they all immediately stop what they are doing to look and see if they got a point given to them or taken away.  The ones who got a point taken away, quickly get back on task so they can earn their points back.  I love that I do not have to interrupt my small group or call over any of my students to talk with them about their misbehavior.  Another awesome feature of Class Dojo is that parents can sign up and get notifications of their child's behavior.  Some of them have even started using the tool at home!

The best part about these resources is that they are free and everyone loves a freebie.  Check them out and see if they would work for your classroom! 

TGTIF! (thank goodness tomorrow is Friday ☺)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tell me something GOOD and inference freebie!

It is a windy mess up here in Cleveland! I thought my car might blow over before I could make it home..but I wanted to link up with Rowdy in First Grade for her Tell Me Something Good Linky. I always love some uplifting happiness, especially on Monday's! Don't ya'll?

Something good at home: I just booked a mini-getaway to FLORIDA with my 3 best friends in March. It will be a short weekend getaway, but ahhh sand, sun, warmth....those three words are making me melt right now! I can't even wait!

Something good at school: My kiddos are understanding how to make an inference. To help them even more with this, I created this quick Detective Inference Pocket Book. We are reading mystery books in guided  reading this week, and students are putting on their detective hats and writing down clues. They will infer, based on their clues, and solve the mystery! I am going to staple it and make it look like a little pocket book that they can carry around and whip out their pencil whenever they sniff out a clue. You can find this lil freebie HERE!

Monday, February 4, 2013

We have a WINNER!!, hallway management and class pet!

It is Monday, ya'll. I hope your week has started off just peachy! First, I want to announce the winner of the 20+ giveaway! Katie from Smiles from 2nd Grade! Congrats and thanks to everyone who entered!

Next, I wanted to share a little something I do with my kiddos to help when we are walking through the halls. We have been getting some pretty great compliments from others lately about how quiet we are and that is because I trick them into thinking while we are walking rather than talking! Before we leave the classroom, we talk about what challenge we are going to do as we walk to our special. A few favorites are: beat the teacher, abc and coming up with words.

  • Beat the teacher: We decide on a number we should count by (2,5,10, etc.) and students have to count by that number the entire way through the hall. If they are talking, I tell them I know they can't be counting. When we arrive at our destination, they tell me their number they stopped at and try to beat my number that I was able to count to while we were walking (I tell them after that have all told me their numbers!). Many of them are able to beat me which they get a kick out of.
  • ABC: I have students try to say the ABC's backwards; this is a tricky one for me, too!
  • Coming up with words: We will say a word like "snowflake," and students will try to come up with as many mini words plucking letters from the word.
I can't tell you how much this has helped with walking through the halls AND they are learning! Win-win!

Lastly, we got a class pet! She does not have a name, yet, but my students turned in job applications to be our class Vet Tech for the week and will take care of the fish. Oh my word, their job applications were adorable! My favorite is "I have much knowledge of taking care of fish." They took it so seriously and I could not be more proud!

Have a great week, friends!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Guided reading: getting organized and a freebie!

Hey everyone, Emily here!  Lauren has been so amazing and on the ball with her awesome units and classroom ideas she’s posting and I think it’s about time I stepped up my game!  So here we go! 

In Ohio we have a new monster lingering over our heads the 3rd grade guarantee.  Anyone else a little terrified of this monster??    If you don’t know about the 3rd grade guarantee, it basically states that if a child does not pass the expected reading level at the beginning of 3rd grade, then they will be held back a year. Talk about pressure! I have 7 students in my room who are on IEPs, most of which mainly struggle in reading and not to mention all the other 1st graders you are trying to keep on track.  I know so many of you out there feel the same pain I do!

To make sure I am devoting as much instructional time to my kiddos during guided reading as I can, I need it to be organized and focused.  I have found so many awesome things in the blogging world that I used to help me, but also have created a few things of my own and thought I would share!

Here is how I organize my groups for a two week period.  I try to see 3 groups a day, 20 minutes each.  I rotate my schedule so one week I see a Mon, Wed, Fri and the next I see them Tues, Thurs. My lowest groups of students who are on IEPs will work on reading with my intervention tutor daily, so even when I don’t see them they are still getting extra support. 

Once I have chosen the book I am going to use for that group for the whole week I pull out the vocab, comprehension strategy we are working on, and phonics skill.  I organize my lessons like this.

This also gives me a place to take notes about students.

The last thing I wanted to share was my goal sheet I have for each kiddo.  When I take a running record at the end of each quarter to determine their new reading level, I plug all the information into this and then come up with one or two specific goals that we will really work on the next quarter. 

I share these goals with parents using pages from this awesome guided reading packet I found on Sarah's first grade snippets blog.  She has it as a free download on her TPT store here.  I have gotten some great feed back from parents, because they feel like they know what to work on at home when they are reading with their child.  I also make sure that parents know their child’s reading level (Guided Reading A-Z and DRA level) so that they know what kinds of books to look for at home.  I show them how to use the Scholastic Book Wizard tool on www.scholastic.com to search by reading levels so that they can find specific titles that are good fit books. 

If you would like you can pick up these guided reading resources in my TPT store here

Does anyone else have guided reading tips??  I am always looking for great ways to help my students grow as readers!

Touchdown: Linky, Giveaway and THANK YOU!

I am not sure the snow in Cleveland is ever going to stop! Oh my goodness! I don't think I will leave the house all day today (which I can say doesn't sound too bad!).

We have linked up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently Linky Party! It looks like quite the fun fiesta!

Now, on to a giveaway! We are so excited that we have 20+ followers now that we have decided to do a giveaway to a lucky follower! You will get your choice of one item from Lauren's TPT store! Good luck and thank you for following (leave your email and what product you would like in the comment, please!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Last, but not least, quick THANK YOU to Elizabeth at Live It, Love it, Learn it for her shout out! 

Now, maybe I should go sledding or something to try to enjoy this snow rather than wish I was on a beach (;