Thursday, December 29, 2016

Great January Read Alouds

It is almost January... WHOOP WHOOP! And to get you thinking about what you are doing with your students when you return... here is a list of Read-Alouds that are perfect for the month of January!

** Click on each picture to read reviews and a description of the book on Amazon! Happy Reading!

New Year's

Martin Luther King Jr Day


What other books would you add to this list?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Favorite October Reads

Even though it is the last day of October, you can tuck this list away for next year! Here is a list of my classes' favorite read aloud stories for this month! Check these books out. 

Even from this list, I Need my Monster and Monster trouble were our absolute favorites. We also did a compare and contrast of these two stories!

What are your favorite stories for October?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Most Effective Math Strategy

The most meaningful Mathematics instruction begins when kids have the opportunity to touch, manipulate, and physically move things. So many times I have seen teachers... (Myself included... Guilty!) of beginning instruction by teaching an algorithm! We soon realize that starting there gets us very far from where we ultimately want to be, because our angels have no understanding of the algorithm...  From now on as you are planning your mathematics instruction I want you to think... 

and no... Not Certified Public Accountant.

Ok so the "C" Stands for "Concrete"
Those are your hands-on, manipulative type of activities. I love using my base-tens or other counter types of items to complete concrete problems. 

This picture shows how we would set up a subtraction problem using base-tens. Students especially need this hands-on approach when they are first learning how to regroup and when doing basic operations.
Always start with the concrete, hands-on mathematics

Next.... the "P" stands for "Pictorial"
That is simply having your student draw a picture to model what they did with their hands-on materials.
Students use the pictorial method to solve subtraction problems.
Here is a slightly different subtraction problem shown in the pictorial model.

Finally with enough exposure and manipulating the first 2 methods, students will come to the third or the "A" which we call the abstract. You could also call it the "algorithm.

Students use the abstract method to solve math problems
Here again we have that same subtraction problem from above using the Abstract model.

CPA is not just for basic operations. But can be used with all of your mathematics concepts. Give your students that hands-on experience and they will amaze you with just how fast they catch on!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Creating Close Reading Kits for Your Students


As teachers we must make sure that students are using Close Reading skills so that we can enhance their comprehension.

In order to teach them how to close read we have to make sure that they have the appropriate tools. 
Enter: Close Reading Kits

Understanding what you are reading is an important part of ensuring that students can read. Students need to understand how to pay close attention to details. Close Reading Kits give students the tools to aid them in being able to take notes and respond while they are reading. This will help them to be able to better comprehend.

Here is a look at what I have included in my the close reading kits that my students use. They have a pencil, a highlighter, an eraser, Post-it Notes, and a Bookmark giving them reminders of what to put down and questions to answer as they read (find these in the freebie below).

Pencils are used first and foremost for writing our name on our paper! Then they can also use it to start by chunking their text summarizing their text in the margins or on paper. Of course they can also use a pencil to write on their sticky notes.

Highlighters: My students use highlighters to highlight Bold and underlined words, the title, footnotes, and captions. They also use them to highlight their answers to any questions and their evidence. 

Eraser: My students tend to erase a lot especially as they are writing their summaries, so I have included the eraser to help them out!

Post-Its: These are used to take notes on or to hold the students place in the passage or book if necessary.

Bookmarks: I included the bookmarks to give my students a reminder of what symbols they could use as they are doing their close reads. On the other sides of the bookmarks I provided them with questions they can answer as they are reading.

There are many great ways to store the materials in your kits. Photo boxes from your local craft store have plenty of room for all of your materials. The ones in the picture above came from Michaels! I always need a little color in my life! You can also use Ziploc Bags like in the other picture above. The reminder of the tools fits right in front and the tools sit behind it. Pencil Pouches and Pencil Boxes also make great storage solutions.

Student Numbers/ Names: Managing the kits does not have to be a hassle!  I know how my angels are so to help them, I have put their Student Numbers on each one of their kits and the supplies that are inside the kit in the event that one of my babies gets sticky fingers.  If your students don't have numbers you could label them with the student names

Kit Monitors: Make this a job in your classroom. You can give this job to just one responsible student or maybe you have team leaders in your workstation groups and that person can be responsible for handing out the kits as needed. 

Easy Access: Make sure that your kits are in a place where students can reach them. It would be so annoying for 20 students to come to you at one time looking for their kit.

Don't forget to teach your students how to use the kits before giving them out. Go over each of the symbols and go through a few texts with them before letting them go out on their own! 

Be sure to click on the image below to pick up your freebie with all of the print-outs that I have put in my close reading kits!

What else would you include in your kits?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer STEM Recap

This summer my district decided that all students should be involved in some type of STEM program! #Winning... It was a fun and engaging time for each of the kids to be able to take a break from there regularly scheduled summer school program and to get down and dirty with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. 

I was one of the three teachers at my school that got the chance to participate and let me tell you it was FUN! It was almost more fun for me than the kids. 

The Program that they used, Camp Invention, was awesome because they sent all of the kids T-Shirts and they sent all of the Supplies that students would need for each STEM project. As broke  teachers you know it can be hard to find all of the materials to have have such a program,

Check out the kids below as we build critical thinking skills and teamwork. Then click on the image at the bottom for a Free STEM Questionnaire. 

 Here students are playing outdoor games as we work on team building.

 Students are working on filling out their STEM Questionnaire so we can see what they already know about STEM.
Students are working together to build a dancing "spider".

 Students are working together to build a dancing "spider".
 Students are using a catapult to try and get a cotton ball to the squishy stuff. They had to get it at just the right angle.
Students had to find a way for a cricket to get across a puddle. This group build a bridge for their cricket.

 This group wanted to start with their cricket going down a slide. Students had to write a plan and draw their design before they could actually build it.

This group started off building a bridge. But they wanted to incorporate a sling shot too!

We did many other fun projects in our 5 weeks this summer! We had a blast! Now grab this STEM questionnaire to use in your classroom by clicking on the image below!

Do you do STEM projects in your classroom. Leave a comment and tell me about one of your favorites!

Monday, July 18, 2016

GRWM: Word Study Part 1

HI suck at doing word study... and that's only because I usually forget to go find the Words Their Way Book , make copies of the pages, and cut out a copy to have ready for my kids to complete together when I introduce it. 

I am using the time I have this summer to make sure that I am organized and ready to go with my word study materials so that I don't have this problem again! Come along and get word study ready with me!

I am dedicating part one to organizing those sorts you will need to introduce each sort. It will be uber easy if you start now and have those ready to go when school starts. 

My school requires us to use Words Their Way... If you have something better it will still be easy if you organize your materials now!

Supplies... If you are using Words Their Way then of course you use one of these books..
Of course if you are using Words Their Way then you want to start with the different Words Their Way Books... Which ever books fit your grade level... If you don't want to buy the books you may even be able to Google "Words Their Way" and find something useful.

This is a bead organizer... You will need several of these. I am using this to store each sort in.  I started by putting a number in the bottom of each compartment to represent the sort number. 

Colored paper is a must! Astrobrights makes primary cardstock as well which you use to copy your sorts onto. The sorts that I am making for myself are printed on the color of paper that matches the book. 

Then of course you will want to laminate them for durability.
And then finally I am using these little baggies to put each sort in.

So I started putting each sort on the color of paper that corresponds to the book.

And then laminate each sort.

I then numbered the insides  of the different sections of the organizer with the same number of each sort.

Next up I cut out the sorts and stored them in the small baggies. I folded them the best I could to sit inside of each section in the bead organizer.

And now I am all done and my Words Their Way Sort sit nicely on a shelf so I just have to pull them out when it is time to start a sort with a group!