Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Guided Reading 101: Those Precious 25 Minutes

I have been running guided reading groups for my whole teaching career.  Over the years, it's evolved, as with everything else.  Back in the day, I would meet with every child, every day, for 30 minutes.  Now, that's just not feasible for me due to staff cuts and time restraints.  I've managed to set up a plan that works well for both me and my students.  I've had several requests to post about how I use those 20-25 minutes for guided reading time each day, so that's what this post is about.  I do have a post that I did a few months ago.  It explains things in detail and you can read about it by clicking HERE.

Below is a description of how I currently use my time to run my groups effectively.  Click the cover page to download this document.  Rather than me typing it out on my blog, I figured you could download the printable.

Questions?  Email me at


Friday, May 22, 2015

5 for Friday 5.22.15

Last weekend, we celebrated my niece's first birthday!  It was such a fun celebration!  She is a happy baby!  We got her a little chair, which she was so happy about!

Also last weekend, I surprised my mom with WICKED tickets!  Neither of us had seen it so we were super excited.  Needless to say, the show was AMAZING!

I posted about our sun craft and acrostic poem freebie.  You can read that post HERE and snag the freebie while reading.

 This happened on Tuesday:

I went TO GET MY BRACES REMOVED.  I took a half day because that's what was supposed to be happening.  I almost cried when he told me they weren't quite ready.  It's ok now.  I am over it.  He said 3 weeks...which I am ok with.  My orthodontist is a perfectionist and I understand him wanting my teeth to be as good as they can be.

I've been flying around like a maniac getting my kids' Memory Books and Poetry Anthologies assembled.  We are having our Poetry Cafe celebration this Thursday!  It's such a fun time.  To read about how I run the cafe, click HERE.

Enjoy your weekend!  Only 5.5 days left this year for me!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Last week, we wrapped up our farm animals unit.  We had been studying the animals that live on a farm for 2 weeks.   I always begin with a group research project.  To start, I let the students choose which animal they'd like to learn more about.  I type up the groups and the kids begin by coloring their covers and browsing library books about their animals.  We also begin our large anchor chart. We focus on one animal a day and read a book together.  We complete that portion of the anchor chart.  The headers for the chart came from Reagan and I made the pictures with clip art.  The chart will come in handy when the kids get to their "facts" pages for their farm animal books.

On the 2nd day, we begin the K and W of the K-W-L chart in groups.  The kids are allowed to work together because this is a group project.  Day 3 is the diagram.  Day 4 is facts.  I encourage the kids to use the anchor chart and work together.  We finish up by adding future questions to our booklets and making a farm animal craft {farm animal crafts by Laura Bensley}.  We also took a field trip to the farm!

This unit is so simple, engaging, and FUN!  Perfect for those last few weeks of school.  Check it out by clicking the cover below.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sunshine Craft

'Tis the time of the crafts.  Bring on the paint, construction paper, and whatever random assortment of craft supplies one may have!  We are counting down the days and the only thing on my first graders' minds is going outside and SUMMER!  To help keep things somewhat orderly, I've incorporated art projects into my curriculum wherever possible.  One of my favorite end of the year art projects are these suns.  They are so cheery and brighten up any room!  I decided to tie these in with our poetry unit that we just completed.  We brainstormed "SUMMER" acrostic poetry ideas together on the white board and then I let the kids write their poems by selecting from the ideas we generated together {These were thought of WITHOUT my assistance!  Didn't they do great?!?!!}.  The craft and poems turned out so wonderful!  I am so proud of my kids!  To snag the sun craft and poem freebie, click the cover page at the end of this post.  Enjoy!



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Do You Go Noodle?

I am assuming all of you have heard of GoNoodle, but maybe there are some of you that haven't.  I wanted to take some time to share its awesomeness with you today!  So in a nutshell, GoNoodle
is a website where you can sign up for free and get brain breaks for your classroom.  The breaks are in the form of videos and are songs or dances.  They are highly engaging, kid-friendly, and many are just plain SILLY NILLY and funny to watch!!!!!  GoNoodle has a free version, which I use.  They also have a more extensive version, GoNoodle Plus, which I will definitely be checking out in the fall.  I hear it has a lot of great educational videos.

Signing up for GoNoodle is really easy.  You just create an account and then choose a "Champ," or monster person.  Then, you get right to it with brain breaks!  The more breaks, the more your "Champ" changes in appearance.  Once the "Champ" is maxed out, you get to choose a new one!  You also get a printable certificate to hang up {kids are OBSESSED WITH THIS!!}.

I love using GoNoodle to break up lessons that are long.  I also use it in between lessons.  Most times, I GoNoodle with my kids.  At this point in the year, the kids are self-sufficient with it, so once I put one on, they know the expectations {no running, no touching one another, etc...} and it allows me to quickly distribute papers for the next lesson or even a few minutes to collect my thoughts.

Some of our favorite brain breaks include: Pop Se Ko, Just Kidding, Kitty High 5, Roller Coaster, and ANYTHING by Kidz Bop.  What are your favorites?!?!?

I recently got some great GoNoodle swag for my students and they were absolutely thrilled! Everyone in the school was ooohing and ahhhing over our GoNoodle sweatbands and stickers!  I got the softest tee-shirt and an insulated cup.  To shop the GoNoodle store, click HERE.  

I highly encourage GoNoodle as a classroom management system.  So simple, yet so fun and engaging.  You can use it as a reward, for brain breaks, inside recess, and more.  I will say we've been using it a LOT this time of year and it's been a blessing! To sign up for free, just use this link and click HERE.