Friday, April 24, 2015

5 for Friday: News!

Happy Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Kacey to share about our exciting week!

It was a B-U-S-Y week! 
Really, it's the first full week we've had since...I can't remember! 

Here's a few random highlights:

We completed our end of unit (tape diagrams) assessment on Monday and Tuesday, then started Geometry on Wednesday. What a treat! Do you use geoboards? We use them for ONE day because history has taught us that one day is plenty :)  
This year, it went REALLY well!

I also had the privilege of reading my favorite book:

I seriously tear up every.single.time.

Here's our shared reading - so fun!

We had a close call over here this week:

I lost my shoe (and my stinky gym clothes bag)! I work out before school and I guess I dropped my belongings in the parking lot? How I didn't notice is really beyond me. It was a lot of fun claiming my ONE shoe and dirty laundry, but all is well now:

And here's my BIG news!

I'm now teaching Kindergarten! Well, sort of. Our dearest kindergarten special educator is on bed rest through the end of the year, so I get to work with her sweeties! It will be very busy around here, but they are dolls and seem really excited to be almost first graders :)

To incorporate their service hours, two students will be joining my Power Hour (Guided Reading), and I will be pulling two small groups (6 students) at two different times (one for math and another for reading). 

I snuck down to kindergarten for observations yesterday...
oh my, this is a wonderful group! I hope my own first graders 
are gentle with them!

If you teach kindergarten, I'm sure I'll be looking 
through all your posts and products this weekend! 

Thanks for reading & have a fabulous Friday! 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Art Edition

Happy Wednesday!

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo for the weekly party!

Here's my picture and question:

We did these self-portraits yesterday as a "brain break" after an lengthy assessment. My students had SO much fun with them! 

I used the black and white doodle frames from The 3AM Teacher, mounted the portraits onto black cardstock, and had my students write their name using a white chalk-marker.

My Question: 

Do you incorporate art (i.e.: directed drawings) in your general education classroom, and if yes, HOW?

Our students attend art as an enrichment class, but we currently do not do any cut and paste, craftivities, interactive notebook activities, etc. in the classroom. The only times I have added it in is with my small intervention groups as a "break." 

I'm very interested in finding a place to fit it in next year,
 but we teach all day and still don't seem to accomplish everything!
If you do, please share (thank you!)!!

One student also shared a portrait he made of me:


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Monday, April 20, 2015

Make Way for the Ducklings

Happy Monday!

I'm so excited to share an activity 
celebrating one of my favorite read-alouds:

I'm sure you've enjoyed this book, either as the reader or listener. This classic story is so sweet and I may also be a tad biased 
since I used to live in Boston ().

Please hop over to Ellison Education Blog to learn more about how we are exploring this spring theme! Here's a sneak peek:

Nooooo, it's sideways here!

But it's not over at Ellison, please click here :)

Have a super week! Jen

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Friday, April 17, 2015

5 for Friday Freebies!

Happy Five for Friday!

I'm linking up with Kacey to give you the scoop on our week:

It was our first week back after Spring Break 
and it was a short week for our students:

Monday - PD with classroom work time
Tuesday - Thursday - with students
Friday - all-day PD 

(& my Guided Reading presentation - today!)

I'm really looking forward to this morning's K-2 PD because we're going to be hearing more about curriculum choices! Previously, we didn't have any curriculum for anything! We created our own - so many positives, but also many downfalls. 

Now we are moving towards Eureka Math/Engage NY (this is our second year) and comprehension/balanced literacy (TBD). We will still keep our own teacher-created Phonics Scope and Sequence. I'm excited just to KNOW what the choices are...I need to spend some time this summer reading through all of it in order to provide the most appropriate differentiation for my friends.

This week was short, but we packed it in!

Here's this week's sensory box:

If you didn't pick up the coordinating freebies last week, 

We regrouped this week for our LAST quarter of Power Hour. This gave me a few new students in both my 1st and 3rd grade intervention groups. They are TERRIFIC! Amazing what a different mix of students brings out in each other.

I have a small reveal of our new data tracking wall...
much more coming up!

Here's another freebie I'll be using in the upcoming week:

Thank you for reading! 
Have a fantastic Friday! Jen

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

MINTS & Sale Day 2!

Happy Thursday!

It's a dress-UP day at school...students may participate in a fundraiser by dressing UP today in their Easter outfits (or whatever they choose), instead of their uniform. I can't wait to see how fancy are students are when they arrive!

I'm just stopping by super quick to thank everyone for a terrific Day 1 of the sale:

It's still going on!

This includes the lowest price ever on my bundle:

With the sale, it's only $10.20! 
After the sale, the price will be continuing to rise - the next increase is this weekend!

What's in the bundle? There's 13 far:

I just added the capitalization activity we wrapped up earlier this month:

See you tomorrow for Five for (Freebie) Friday!


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guided Reading & a Sale!

Happy Wednesday!

This is our first week back from Spring Break, so I will be brief :)

I finally get the chance to present my Guided Reading: 
Word-Solving Strategies PD this Friday! I wrote it back in 
February and it was canceled TWICE due to snow days. 
I really hope it doesn't snow April 17th!

Here's some slides from my PPT:

There's many more slides, time for interactive practice, 
and hands-on fun, too!

I'm slowly switching over my Guided Reading materials to use these graphics, plus adding more strategies (our school uses 12 now for K-4, but I stay focused on 6). 

If you have purchased the bundle already and like the graphics, please save a copy before I update. 

Currently it's by Melonheadz and I ♥ it, however, there were a few new graphics I wasn't able to locate for the additional strategies, 
so a switch had to be done. 

Spring weather has also brought some more of this:

I'm back to running before work. And here's a pic of my adorable make-up bag my mother bought me:

Makes me smile :)

I'm also throwing a two-day sale!

That may or may have not been me last weekend.

My entire store is 15% off today and tomorrow!

Have a super week! Jen

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Shared Reading Shout-Outs!

Happy Saturday!

Today I'm publicly revealing a huge teaching problem I have...

I am a full-fledged Shared Reading hoarder. For real.

The worst part about it...we don't even teach Shared Reading in our literacy model! That doesn't stop me though...I believe the value is SO incredibly rich. 

 At my school, we don't teach "themes" or "holidays," so I have to do what I think is right and also make sure I'm maximizing my students' academic time. This requires multi-tasking...
something we as teachers can definitely do!

I do include Shared Reading in my Guided Reading "Power Hour" block and I LOVE it! We start together at the carpet using the sentence chart and our pointer :)

Oh no! I didn't have a picture on my camera phone :(
This picture is from last summer when I was still moving into my intervention space. Our space now looks much messier more active now. Check out the black sentence pocket chart ♥

Last year I used DeeDee Will's Shared Reading Bundle:

It's. The. BOMB!

Even better, she has an accompaniment set for my students to work on when we start our small group rotations:

Can't say enough about the entire collection. I also purchased her Nursery Rhymes Bundle, extension set, and downloaded her free Campfire set. If you haven't been hoarding materials like I have, her bundle is an amazing way to go.

THEN, I discovered Jane Loretz. Holy moly, she's awesome! 
I purchased her Halloween set and put it to use immediately last fall. I then kept her bundle on my wishlist f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I had already checked out each seasonal set and inserted the titles into my planner. I'm so happy to report I "made it official" and finally purchased the bundle this morning! Woohoo!

There's one more resource you have to check's from one of my new FAVES: Whimsy Workshop Teaching. You already know her by her fabulous clipart, but she also makes beautiful integrated units. I started with this one:

Please note: this packet is not actually shared reading, however there was one poem included in the product. My students loved it, so I quickly snapped up this bundle:

Her accompaniment activities are TOP-NOTCH! Creative, rigorous, and FUN for my students. The kind of materials I would have loved to have created (and I have several half-completed sets where I tried), but these are literally just perfect and cannot be improved in any way.

So what does this all mean? I now have 72 adorable Shared Reading themes. Actually 73 because I created one for a theme that was understandably missing.

73. Which is pretty incredible considering I need maybe 34. My next step is organizing all of these and then having the fun of CHOOSING the "just right" for my students. I don't mind having double the inventory...our students are different every year, right? YES!

In my last post, I shared some of my organizational ideas. 
My new teaching motto is leaning towards: Do More with Less. Meaning I want to fine-tune my teaching to really focus in on what my students "absolutely need to know" versus trying to do everything (and spreading it all too thin).

This led me to my teaching "buckets" - what I, as a special educator, really "do" throughout the teaching day. This is what it looks like:

Does any of it surprise you? My students are involved in more learning throughout the day...writing (Lucy Calkins model), enrichments, Science, Spanish. But these are the buckets that cover my students' specific areas of concern. Guided Reading is "on my own" in my intervention room and the rest of the day is inclusion (general education setting). 

The last box is for the resources that meet my students' specific needs. This year, that would be "behavior," but in previous years it might lean heavily on handwriting, Reading Mastery, etc. It changes from year to year and is whatever my students need!

As I'm looking at my resources, my store products, my wishlists...I'm asking myself: "Does this fit in with what I actually do?" Stay tuned for some major refinements! I plan on blogging for each little "sub-bucket" to share some best practices. 

Today's bucket is obviously Shared Reading...

How I Sneak Shared Reading In

We group our Guided Reading by levels and I work with the bottom quartile.  It can change every year, but we usually are starting around Guided Reading A and finishing around D-F (still below grade-level for 1st, but blasting our growth goals!).

We meet for approximately 50 minutes, four days per week (Monday-Thursday). 

One of my all-time favorite strategies that provides a lot of bang-for-your-buck (first grade style) is "Spy & Why." My students get to use the pointer and "spy" something from the Shared Reading poem and then they must tell us "why" - what is the word and what do you notice? 

I usually start the first Spy & Why and often choose a word that connects with another curricular area (vocabulary, content/theme, phonics skill). I designate the next two days for sight words and phonics, but I follow the child and will accept any "spy & why" words!

One last tip I learned from DeeDee's packets: I cut up transparent dividers (I had multi-colors) into word size strips. My students "highlight" a word on the sentence chart by inserting one of these cut-up strips:

Image from The Artful Parent
(you can make stained glass, too!)

Do you teach Shared Reading? Is it part of your literacy block? Do you use Big Books or sentence charts? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Have a super Saturday! Jen

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