Thursday, September 29, 2016

Guided Reading: The Beginning

We started guided reading recently and it's going pretty well!  This year, I have a very small class size of just 16 {don't throw stones!}.  I usually have around 22-24.  During guided reading time in the past, I always had to have my kids working on other things while I met with groups.  You can read about how I managed that HERE.  This year, however, just about everyone is in a group during guided reading time.  And it's amazingly silent in the room.  I love it.  *We have a Title I teacher who takes a few kids for a group as well as an intervention support teacher who takes a few.  It leaves me with two groups of kids in my classroom....two groups of 4 {and my 2 non-readers, who work on an alphabet or letter sound activity together}.  One group meets with me for 20 minutes while the other does something on the computer/Ipads {Starfall, RAZ Kids, Headsprout, or Moby Max}.  Then we flip-flop groups after 20 minutes.  It's really nice.

Prior to starting my groups, I put together my Guided Reading Binder.  This contains lesson plans, anecdotal notes, checklists by level, and anything else I need for documenting my kids' progress in groups. Having this helps me do my report cards more efficiently as well as plan for conferences.

I keep all of my guided reading materials organized in binders by level.  I pull from the binders as I plan each week.  The materials for the week go into labeled baskets.  When it's time for group, I have a student grab the basket and bring it to the table.  This makes our time efficient because I have everything at my fingertips.

The two groups that I have are level C and level D groups.  We've been working mostly on tracking print {in level C group}, decoding/reading strategies for said decoding, and retelling {oral for my C group and written for my D group}.  My C readers were having a very hard time tracking, so I had to bust out the big guns!  The little finger light pointers and novelty eyeball pointers seemed to do the trick to motivate them to point to each word as they read.


To help make a home-school connection, I sent home little bags for the parents.  Inside was info. about their child's guided reading level and ways to help, a strategy card, a 5-finger retell card, and a word pointer.  Guided reading can be confusing for parents and one of my goals this year was to better communicate with them.  The book we read in class also goes home nightly.  The kids practice and return it for group the next day.  We do two books per week.

After we've finished with our book in group, I add it to a "Book Baggie."  This is separate from the kids read to self baggies.   This is just for group.  When they finish reading their group book on our first day with it, they can choose an old book from the bag to re-read while everyone else in the group finishes decoding their new book.  The prevents the kids from just sitting around, wasting time, as I listen to others read.


Hope you found some helpful tips!  Be sure to follow my blog for updates on new posts!  


*This post contains affiliate links to a few products I love!  The words and thoughts on these products are all my own.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NEW "On the Fly" Games!!

Hi!  I'm finally getting around to blogging about three of my newest "On the Fly" games!  You loved the Number Sense set, so I figured why not make more?  These On the Fly games are intended to be used for those times when you need a filler/game but don't have time to prep it.  They are also great for early finishers, centers {when you don't have time to make something}, or a substitute.  I keep stacks of mine copied in organized folders by title so I always have them ready!  

The original set, Number Sense, is a great resource to have on hand for the beginning of the year.  I don't like to start our Math curriculum {we use Go Math} for the first two weeks or so of school.  I'd rather get kids acclimated to our classroom and play some general number sense games to wake their brains up from summer before diving into the program.  This pack includes 18 simple games and covers skills such as number ID, number words, counting, tally marks, and more.  It's great for first grade or kindergarten.  What's great about this and all of my On the Fly packs is the fact that it's differentiated.  Each game in this particular has 1 or 2 differentiated options so you can meet the needs of the kids in your room.

Next up is my second On the Fly pack, which is devoted to Spelling practice!  These printables are intended to be used with any words--spelling, sight words, word family/word pattern words, etc...Each activity has 2 options--one for 5 words and one for 10 words.  These are great to keep copied for literacy centers, substitutes, or Spelling practice before a test.  They would also make great homework activities.

I recently completed my Place Value On the Fly game pack.  I don't have photographs of it yet because we obviously don't get into place value until much later in the year.  You can check it out below.  It follows the same format of having two, differentiated options for each game.  This set contains 8 games and covers skills such as number ID to 120 {and beyond for the advanced games}, number order, and tens/ones practice.

And finally, my Addition on the Fly pack is complete!  I just finished it up Saturday.  I'm looking forward to using these because we are working on addition in class right now.  I mentioned Go Math. While I don't mind the program now that I have taught it for almost three years, I do mind the fact that the games in there are horrible!  Just about every day, I like to supplement the end of the lesson with a quick game.   My On the Fly games are perfect for that!

These packs are all available individually by clicking the covers above.  You can also get ALL THE MATH GAMES IN A BUNDLE FOR A DISCOUNT BY CLICKING THE COVER BELOW.  It is a growing bundle, and so far only contains Number Sense, Place Value, Addition, and Subtraction. Geometry and Measurement/Data will come later.  Right now, the bundle is discounted to $17.00. The price will go up to $30 when it's complete.  *Subtraction coming soon!*


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Launching Writing Workshop

I typically don't start Writing Workshop until about 3 weeks into the school year.  As you know, I'm a stickler for establishing routines/procedures and building rapport with my students.  The academic "stuff" can come later!  We've been at the workshop for a couple weeks now and it's going well. Today I wanted to take a few minutes to highlight a few things we've been doing in our Personal Narrative Writing Unit.

Day 1 of the workshop was all about getting kids excited about writing!  We talked about why we need to learn how to write and all of the uses we have for writing in our lives.  We also established the procedures/rules for the workshop together.  Then I read "My Picture Story" and we discussed how we can express ourselves through our pictures in writing workshop.  I gave kids time to draw their first "story" followed by time to share with a sharing circle.


As the days went on, we got into more "meat and potatoes."  One of my favorite things to introduce are "writing tool rings."  These are included in my Writing Resources Pack.  I print them small so they aren't bulky for my kids' little hands.  They keep these in their school boxes and pull them out whenever they need them during writing or any other time.


We spent a few days learning how to search for sight words on our sight word cards.  The kids helped me write a couple stories that I needed sight word help with.

We have been spending time on learning about capital letter use.  Again, we had a few mini-lessons on this tricky skill and made an anchor chart to keep up for reference.

This week, we'll review capital letters and move on to adding more to our stories!  Can't wait!

Everything shown in this post is included in my Writing Workshop Bundle.  Grab my year-long writing workshop bundle below and save $$!


Friday, September 23, 2016

Five for Friday 9.23.16

We made it!  Another week down!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday!  *{I swear I had the best of intentions with blogging this week, just didn't happen.  I am hoping to force myself to sit down and write a few posts this weekend.  I have lots of pictures but have had no energy!}

I got a diffuser for my classroom...I thought it would help keep the room smelling fresh!  I just tried it at home last night {or so I thought--apparently I just had the nite-lite portion on!  No wonder I couldn't smell anything!}.  I'll try it again this weekend and then take it to school next week.  This one is from Amazon and you can get it by clicking the third picture below.


When I was at Target the other day, I spotted these and had to do a double-take.  Right back to 1990. When I wore these.  The 90's trend is coming back and I am NOT A FAN!  Been there, done that! Who's with me?!

Centers were fun this week!  *The kids esp. loved the stamping and fishing centers!

I always make one center a review of the previous week's Phonics skill...we've been working on short vowels so I threw in this simple game.

The Desk Fairy visits us once a week and leaves a treat for tidy desks!  This is something I do weekly the first few months of school to ensure that kids learn to keep their desks organized!  These cards were a freebie in my monthly newsletter this month.  Did you get them?  If you aren't signed up, be sure to sign up via email at the top of my blog!  

I love Dr. Jean.  Still.  After 13 years!  A few years ago, I bought her Lap Book & CD Set.  I use them just about every morning during Morning Meeting!  We sing a song/read a book together with the CD.  It's so much fun!  Our favorites are "5 Little Monkeys" and "Birdies."  Get your own set by clicking below.  You and your kids will LOVE IT!  


Have a fabulous weekend!

*This post contains affiliate links.  The reviews of the products linked are my original thoughts.