Monday, September 15, 2014

Writing Workshop FREEBIES!

Hi friends!  It's great to be back here!  I've been super busy (as you all are too) and haven't had much time to blog.  I thought I would share with you today a little about how I run my writing workshop.

I used to HATE teaching writing!  I really felt that I just wasn't any good at it.  Well, many years ago, I had the luxury of having a Literacy Coach in my school and because of her, I learned a lot about teaching writing.  Now- I LOVE it!  I have realized that the biggest part of teaching writing is establishing good routines right from the start and making sure that the kids feel like real Authors and Illustrators.  We have done that- and for the 45 minutes of daily writing workshop we have a nice peaceful classroom.  The best part is- the kids are loving it!

On Friday, we spent some time going through our folders.  I already have folders that are packed full of writing and we are only 16 days into the year.
So, we cleaned out.  I had the students take home all of their writing except for their "best" story.  I plan on doing this every Friday (or maybe every other Friday).

This is my folder from last year.  This year, I made some new ones that I am really liking so far!!

I always worry about sending the students writing home.  I worry that parents are  going to have the students "fix" all of the errors.  I don't want them to do that.  I want them to feel successful as writers, even if they do have a lot to work on.  So, I sent a letter home.  I am sharing it with you.  It is editable so you can change whatever you want.  Also, the font I have used is from Kevin and Amanda.  It is called A Little Pot.  You can download the font for free or change it to whatever font you want.

Now, you may be wondering... How can you send so many writing samples home?  Don't you need them to do grade cards?  The answer to this question is NO- because of a great website/APP that I found.  I couldn't be more excited right now!  Let me share-  it is called Evernote... and it is going to make my Writing Conferences so easy!
In Evernote, you can make different Notebooks.  I made a notebook for each student.  Then, inside their notebook, you can make notes.  I make a new note every time I conference with a student.  I write the date as the Title.  Then, before conferencing (and fixing up their writing) I take a quick picture of it. It shows up immediately in the note and then I can conference and document what we talked about.  My plan, is to then be able to quickly and easily look at their writing when I am doing grade cards.  I won't have to take mounds of paperwork home and if they take a story home because they want it- it's no big deal because I have access to it at any time!  And... the best part is, it's a free app!  (They do have a Premium App also but I haven't checked it out enough to know what the difference is).
Here is a screen shot of one of the writing samples.  Sorry, I had to cut off the picture.  As you can see, I made my notes after the picture.
I think the possibilities are endless with this APP and I am really excited to give it a try and see what all I can do with it.
One other freebie I have to share with you today.  I have a Writing Freebie that helps students to remember some of the mechanics of writing.  I have had this as a D'Nealian Font but have had several requests for a Print (ZB) Font.  So, here it is!

I hope you enjoy these freebies!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Master Your Guided Reading Planning!

Hi everyone! It's Angie from The First Grade Scoop! We are two weeks into the school year and I am beat! We are in the midst of BAS testing, and I cannot WAIT to get into guided reading groups. It is truly my favorite time of the day. We get to work in smaller groups, and I get to see students really grow in their reading. I used to write plans each time I read a book with students, even though I'd often go back to my same favorite books at each level. It took me wwwwwaaaaayyyyyy too long to realize I could save time by making my plans for each book and tweaking them as needed for each group of kids. I tended to pick the same D book for practicing inferring, for example... So why not save those plans?

I am a HUGE Fountas and Pinnell fan. Love them. Their Continuum of Literacy Learning is fantastic, and I thought, why not pull skills they suggest based on student reading level, combined with strategies and areas for focus I've noticed students need at different levels, and came up with this!

I created leveled lesson plans for each Guided Reading Level A-M. Here's how they work:

I pull the book I want to use for my group. I use the Word Work selections to pick something that's a relevant skill for that book. In this case, it was changing verb endings, since the same word was used in the text with different tenses. I checked (or you could highlight) skills that I thought this book would be helpful for teaching. Here's a look at the whole sheet (one page back-to-back):

Easy-peasy! I file them in a binder that has those lettered tabs (which you can find at OfficeMax or whatever office store), and voila! Turn to the page and the lesson is planned and at your fingertips. (I track observations on a different form or on labels.)

Here's a close-up at a level A (early kinder) and a level K (second grade) to get a feel for how the teaching points change. Note the differences in the types of questions at each level... They're geared to get at skills that are more relevant at each level.

Interested in grabbing a copy for yourself? Click HERE to check it out!

Happy reading! See you next month!

Friday, September 12, 2014

for the clipart lover in all of you...

Hey there! I've had a crazy busy week (who hasn't though?!), so I'm just popping in to remind you of another way to get a few freebies :)  

On Facebook:

On TpT:

Happy clipart hunting!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Happy Fall Y'all!

This year has flown by!  I can't believe that fall is almost here.   Personally, I'm ready for some cooler weather.  I hate cold weather, so I'm sad to see summer go, but these 90+ degrees afternoons are getting to be unbearable. 

Although fall is still a few weeks away, I want to go ahead and share my FREE Fall Packet.  It's always nice to have things in the classroom prepared ahead of time.
Challenging Addition/Subtraction Worksheet
Autumn Acrostic Poem
Fall Fluency Sheet
Fall Book Writing Activity

-Fall Book Writing Activity
-Fall Bubble Map
-Fall Book Writing Activity Bubble Map
-Fall Fluency Sheet
-Fall ABC Order Sheet
-Fall Fill-in-the-Blank Sheet
-Autumn Acrostic Poem Sheet
-Fall Math/Addition and Subtraction Challenge Sheet
-Fall Technology Links and Book Suggestions

Until Next Month,

Friday, September 5, 2014

September Math Games ... and a Freebie, of course!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

I love to find lots of ways to use common classroom items. For instance, I love taking old wall alphabet sets and alphabet flash cards and letting the little guys build "alphabet trains" that wind their way around the classroom floor. If you have lots of old wall sets, they're also fun to use for Great Big Letter Sorts ... and don't your kiddos just love anything that's super-sized? Recycling in action!

Today I'd like to share a few ideas for using plain old number cards to play math games that require no additional materials.

I'll bet you've got lots of them already ... flash cards or even a deck of cards will do for these games.
But just in case, here's a free set of monster cards. There's a full color set and also a blackline set ... let your students color them to save yourself some ink. You'll want to print multiple copies to play these games.  Just click the picture to download!

So, on to the number card games!

1) Shuffle and deal the cards equally to two or three players. Each player spreads out his cards face down in front of him. On the count of three, all players turn over all of their cards and race to put them in numerical sequence from least to greatest. Variation: Players sequence their cards from greatest to least.

2)  Shuffle the cards and deal equally to two players. Players each put their cards face down on a pile
in front of them. On the count of "One, two, three, flip!", both players turn over their top two cards and add the numbers. The player with the greater sum takes both cards. Variation: The player with the lesser sum takes both.

3)  Shuffle and deal the cards equally to two players for this place value game. Players each put their cards face down on a pile in front of them. On the count of "One, two, three, go!", both players turn over their top two cards and use them to make a two-digit number. The player who makes the greater number takes all four cards. Variations: The player who makes the lower number takes the cards. Or, try the same game with three-digit numbers or even four (you'll need to make lots of cards for this!)

4)  This one is tricky but makes a fun math challenge that's also good for strategizing and for following directions! Again, shuffle and deal the cards equally to two players. On the count of ... (you get it, make up your own silly count for this one. Sometimes my students would say, "One, two, three, September" or whatever the month happened to be. Have some fun with it! ), players turn over their top three cards, choose two to add, and then arrange the sum and the other number to make the highest possible two-digit number. The player who makes the higher number takes all six cards.  Hint: some of your students will appreciate the support of using a whiteboard or scrap paper when playing this game.

Would you like some more ideas for number card activities? How about another set of free number cards, this time with a pirate theme? Click on the picture to find them at my blog!

Do you have a great idea for using number cards? Please share it in the comments!

Does it seem like, no matter how carefully you prepared, you always find yourself searching for something more once school gets started?  I know it always happened to me, so I asked teacher-authors to share their "Back to School Best".  Here are over 150 resources, free and paid, gathered together like a virtual mini-mall for you! :)

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back-To-School Tips & FREEBIES

First The Tips:

Change the word you call out as the line walks through the doorway.  
Display your sight words all year long on die-cut hands placed low enough so your students can slap them when asked to, like when you are lining up and walking out the door.  I call out random sight words and the students have to slap that word.  You can see the blogpost about these by clicking HERE.

Dry-Erase Work Space:

The little cups hold mini dry-erase markers and mini erasers.

These are so easy to make.  Just laminate colored construction paper and attach lined dry-erase contact paper to each placemat at your small group table.  You can help students by writing with a dry-erase marker right on the contact paper and they can write on it too.  You can write a word or phrase for them to copy or they can just practice writing letters or numbers.  We use ours every day.  You can get lined dry-erase paper online or in educational supply stores.  You can view the blogpost about these by clicking Right Here.

Students love to use these floor easels.

They help students write letters from the top down.  It's almost impossible to write them from the bottom up when using a wide 3-ring binder as a floor easel.  My students grab an empty floor easel an use them to write in their daily journals.  No more letters starting from the bottom!  You can view the blog post about these HERE.

The Freebies:

Click the image to grab your FREEBIE.

I especially like to use them for Back-To-School Night, but I also put them out for my parent volunteers to wear while working in our classroom.  I just updated them to include badges with photos and without photos.  Just print out the "no photo" version and set them out for your parents to fill in and wear.  Now I always know exactly who I am talking to!  

Click the image to grab your FREEBIE.

Just print, set it out with Post-its on each apple.  You write down the items you need for your classroom on each Post-it and on the apple it is covering. Parents grab a Post-it and sign their name to the apple it was covering so you know who will be bringing in the donation.  You get the things you need for your classroom and parents get a reminder note.  (If you have apple-shaped Post-its, use them for this chart.)

We keep our crayons organized with these two Crayon Box Organizers:
Click the image to grab your FREEBIE.

Just print, cut out, glue into crayon boxes (there are 2 sizes, one for 8-count jumbo crayons and one for 8-count regular sized crayons), and your students' crayons are organized.  Best of all, they can quickly see if they are missing any crayons and which color(s) they are missing.  

I have 12 more FREEBIES in my TPT store, so check them out by clicking HERE.

You Might also like to start the year with:

Click the image to get to the download page.

It includes my Letter-name Book, Daily Diaries for every month, 1st Day Certificates, & my Boomer Take-home journal.

Click the image to get to the download.

Check out my:

My FaCeBoOk Page:  
(Tons of FREE ideas.)

My PiNtErEsT Boards:  
(Oh, the ideas on these boards!)

My TeAcHeRs PaY tEaChErS Store:  
(Did you say, "15 freebies?!")

My Tweets:
(Follow me)

See you all next month on the 4th!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Learning Through Projects

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars!

I would so love to post something cool I have been doing in the Reading Center with all of you, but I have been busy with assessments.  And I know you don't want to hear all about that!

So, I am bringing something from home to you today!  

The first week of school my son came home with a project to complete.  Ugh!  He has never had to complete a project before, but as a fifth grader, he has a lot more on him.  He had to create an animal or plant cell 3D model.  Being the Lego lover that he is, he knew exactly what he wanted to do ~  a Lego plant cell.  Here is his model of the plant cell.

As teachers, many of us know the value in projects, but what did he really learn from building the plant cell?


He learned




So, are projects important?  Of course they are!  He was so proud of his plant cell because he did it all on his own {with a tad bit of help finding supplies from me}.  And I am proud of him because he worked so hard on it to make it his own!

Here's to learning through projects!

See you next month!

If you get a chance, stop by my blog starting on Sunday, September 7, for my big birthday bash AND 1,500 follower giveaway!  You don't want to miss it!!

Thank, Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit for the frames used in this post!