Saturday, May 20, 2017

5 for Friday 5.19.17

TGIS!  I'm a little late, but it's May, and that's a good excuse, right?!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another 5 for Friday.

Last weekend I went to my parents for Mothers Day weekend.  Mr. Wheeler was out of town, so I took advantage of the time alone.  My parents were thrilled, as they always are when I come to visit! We celebrated my niece's birthday and went to Mothers Day brunch.  It was a great weekend!

And speaking of Mothers Day, my team and I had our second annual "Muffins with Moms" event! We started this last year and it was such a hit, we continued it again this year.  I got a planning set from Teaching in the Tongass.  We purchase our food at Sam's or Costco.  It's a low-key event but the moms LOVE it {and we do, too!}.  We set up a food area, a coffee area, and a craft/art project area. The moms enjoy muffins/coffee with their children while completing a little Mothers Day writing/craft together.

I finally sat down and assembled my kids' end of the year gifts.  I've had it on my to-do list forever but since my hubby was gone last week, I forced myself to do it!  They are kind of getting a lot, but I didn't break the bank!!  If you want to see what I'm giving them, check out this post.  I'll also be hand-writing each of them a note to stick in their bags.

We have just 3.5 days of school left!!!!!!!!  We've been counting down the days with my End of the Year Countdown Chain activities!  Last week, we painted, read with a buddy during quiet reading time, and went outside to play BINGO.  So fun!

I am a Mr. Sketch fanatic and was SO EXCITED to find the new colored pencils last week!!!!!!  To get yourself a set, click below!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 8, 2017

10 Favorite Guided Reading Supplies

Hi, everyone!  I hope you've had the chance to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my Guided Reading series!  Today's post is about my top 10 favorite Guided Reading supplies.  These items have been my go-to for years now!  I'm linking everything up for you so you can grab them if you wish!

1.  Flashlight Fingers-This are excellent for tracking print.  Perfect for your beginning readers.  A little novelty always helps!  I'll pull these out on occasion {usually on Fridays}.    Click HERE to get yourself some!!!  Just $8 for a set of 40.

2.  Tracking Strips-I love using these everyday in groups.  They are, however, very expensive.  I purchased a bundle for a decent price a few years ago.  Now I see the price has gone up.  My students' parents really like these.  They are awesome for students with ADHD and dyslexia.  Research shows that with those who have either condition, text can appear to them as blurry or moving on the page. The overlay helps them see the text much clearer.  I like the line-by-line strips because it allows the children to focus in on just one line at a time vs. the overwhelming element of the whole page.  Click HERE to get a set for your groups!

3.  Large Totes-I use these to store all my Guided Reading materials by skill.  Below is a photo of the ones that I use.  These are by Sterilite and I get them at Target.

4.  Magnetic Letters and/or Letter Tiles-My beginning readers use magnetic letters or letter tiles several times a week for making words activities.  I love the set of magnetic letters shown below because they made the vowels red and the consonants blue.  Grab the magnetic letters HERE.  A great investment for your classroom.   I have had the letter tiles for 13 years but I found some similar ones HERE.  Another alternative would be Scrabble letters.

5.  PD Books-Always good to know your stuff, right?!  Below are my two favorites for Guided Reading.  I referenced these in my last post, as well.  Click each cover to check it out!

This book was my GO TO when I first began teaching 13 years ago.  I still have it!  I see they have just come out with a second edition, and it's on my wish list!

And just recently, Jan Richardson has come out with a new one!  Lots of reading for me this summer!

6.  Book Buddy Bags-I LOVE these!  I order them from Creative Teaching Press every year.  I only use them with my beginning readers {levels AA-E}.  I typically work on 2-3 books per week with those little ones, because they need exposure to MANY books on their level and need that extra practice. After we've read the book in class, it goes in their baggie.  Their requirement for the night is to read the newest book we've read along with 2 old ones.  They choose which old ones to read.  I let about 8 books build up in the bag before collecting them and we begin adding more as we read them.  This helps them gain confidence as readers by becoming fluent with their books.  The kids and parents both love this system.  And as far as kids "losing books," it rarely happens.  Grab a set HERE.  

7.  Post-It-Notes-I use these a lot for background building at the start of lessons.  When we're getting ready to look at a new book, I'll ask the kids a question and they will write a {usually} one-word response on the post it with a picture.  For example, I might have a new book ready that's all about the zoo.  I'll ask the kids to write/draw an animal that lives in the zoo.  Or, if our book is about helping at home, I'll ask them to write a little something about how they help.  It's a quick way to collect our thoughts and build some background.  These are also great for quick checks/exit slips at the end of our group time.  I also use THESE exit slips as well.

8.  Portable Light/Light Switch-This is hanging behind my Guided Reading table.  I turn it on when we have groups.  The kids who are not meeting with me know that unless it's an absolute emergency, they can not interrupt.  It's a great visual reminder.  Many times, kids will come up to the table and I'll point or they will see the light and remember they need to problem solve on their own and walk away. Grab one HERE.  

9.  Mini Dry Erase Boards/Erasers/Markers-Just like the magnetic letters/word tiles, we use these dry erase boards often in groups.  I purchased the mini ones a few years ago and love them.  I used to have the large ones, but they were too bulky for 6 year old hands!!  I also love the mini-erasers that I have.  Just right!  Get some HERE.   *Mine are not the reversable, magnetic ones, but I am thinking about getting a set just for guided reading time {maybe a set of 4 or 6}.

10. Highlighters-These are great for use with worksheets or Reading A to Z books, where kids can mark in them.  We use highlighters to search for word chunks that we know.  Having those chunks "pop out" helps kids with their decoding.  *If you only have actual books for Guided Reading, highlight tape is an alternative to highlighters, however, it's very expensive, but it can be re-used over and over.  Get highlight tape HERE.

There you have it!  My top 10 favorites!  What supplies are a "must" for you during Guided Reading time?


*This post contains several affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase any item shown in this post, I receive a small compensation for it.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

End of the Year Gifts

Hard to believe we are in May and the year will be over in 13.5 days.  I feel ripped off because I missed 12 weeks of school due to shoulder surgery this year!  I'm sad but am also relieved I can continue to recover during the summer.  We will be traveling to Jamaica, Minnesota, and Florida this summer.  I live for traveling!!!!!!!!  What are your plans?  How many days do you have left?

Today's post is about what I did for my kids for their end of the year gifts.  I usually do something but this year I did a little extra because I only had 15 kids and because they went through a lot when I was out...multiple subs somehow were in my room and it was crazy for a bit.  Also, they were so good for all the subs!

Each spring, I make my kids summer review packs.  I teach in a low-socioeconomic Title I school and many times parents will ask what they can do to help at home.  This pack of literacy and math pages ensures the kids get some extra practice reviewing man of the concepts they learned in first grade.  It also has some fun things included!!!  Click below to check it out!

With the above pack, I add some extra school supplies that I have. I don't like storing all those extra school supplies because in the fall when the new students come, I get so many more.  You know how it goes!  Space is a dime a dozen in my room!  All my money goes to my classroom and it's full!  Because of where I teach, I get to shop at Crayons 2 Classrooms.  This is a non-profit organization that helps low-income schools.  I shop twice a year and can pick out supplies for my room.  The company YOOBI always donates these huge boxes full of pencil bags and cute supplies to go inside. So generous!  Thank you, YOOBI!  I save my YOOBI box for the end of the year and throw it in with the extra school supplies I give my kids.  They love it!

In addition, I give every child a Junie B. Jones book.  I order them with my Scholastic Books points, so these are free!  If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I die for Junie B. Jones books!  I've been reading them every day after recess for 14 years {began during student teaching thanks to my awesome mentor!}.  The kids LOVE getting a book!!!  I let them trade so they can get exactly what they want.  *Below is me reading Junie B aloud to my VERY FIRST CLASS back in 2004!  How's that for a throwback?!?  Hahaha!

This year, I also decided to give out water bottles.  I saw a post by @learningwithmisslagrow on Instagram {you should follow her if you don't already!} and loved the bottles she made for her kids! She sells the vinyl decals for around $1.00 per name, depending on the sizes of the names.  If you just want one for a teacher gift or yourself, it's $5.00.  Shipping is a few dollars.  If you contact her via direct message on Instagram, she can whip up a set for your kids!  I went to an actual Dollar Tree store to get the little water bottles a few weeks ago.  If you don't have one near you, you can always pick out bottles HERE.  Not sure if they still have the mini ones or not, but they do have a variety of sizes and styles.  I think I am going to add some snacks or something to the inside of them.  Ashley has an awesome FB page that you can check out, called "Vintage and Shine Designs."  If you order, be sure to tell her Mrs. Wheeler sent you!  *I was in such a rush when I made these and wasn't thinking...I put them on horizontal when they should have been vertical.  I can't believe it!  However, I think the kids will still love them!

I also give them each a few pieces of sidewalk chalk with a cute tag attached from Teaching in the Tongass.  This will give them something fun to do outside at their house!  This is a great gift if you don't want to break the bank.  You can get the chalk at Wal-Mart, Target, Meijer, or I've linked some below.


I'll also give my kids an end-of-the year award.  I usually use some I bought off TPT many years ago, but this year, I think I am going to buy some at a local teacher supply store for a few dollars.

So all in all, these gifts look like A LOT and they are A LOT, however, I only spent $15 on water bottles.  I was given the labels by Ashley in exchange for a blog post.  The sidewalk chalk was about $10.  The labels were free.  The YOOBI box was free.  The Junie B. Jones books were free.  What ideas do you have for end of the year gifts?  All in all, I spent about $25 plus snacks if I add them to the water bottles.  What ideas do you have for end of the year gifts?  Share them below!