Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let's Problem Solve {Freebie}!


Problem Solving has made quite an appearance in the Common Core.  Previously, our district had used Everyday Math, which didn't include a lot of problem solving within the program.  So doing a lot of problem solving has been a big change for me.

We decided to do "Problem Solving Fridays."  Every Friday, our math lesson is focused primarily on problem solving (even though it is intertwined throughout the week as well).  This allows the students to practice the strategies they learn every week as opposed to just one short unit in the middle of the year.

Each Friday we focus on one strategy and the students are required to use that strategy when they work independently.  Eventually they will be able to choose a strategy that works best for them, once they have learned all of them.  I created some posters to hang in the classroom as a reference for the students.
This may be bragging, but I LOVE how them came out!!  Oh, and they're FREE!



Grab it for free in my {TpT} store or my {TN} store!

We are also starting something new in math called Math Menu.  I just learned about it last week so once I wrap my head around it and get it going in my class, I'll share more!

Have a great week!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Valentine Freebie, Kid President, Say Anything

How's that for a random post title?  Smorgasbord of things in this short post!

Here's a quick freebie for you for Valentine's Day!  My students love word searches so I created one for them to use for the holiday!

Just click the picture to grab your own copy!

Have you seen the Kid President's Pep Talk?  So inspirational {and so cute}!

And one of my students donated this to our class for use during The Daily 5:

How awesome is that?!  I'm having a Say Anything moment!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Daily 5 Update

Need some new clipart??  Check out Dollar Doodles!  Most items are only $1.00 and right now, there is a coupon code for 20% off!  Just type in save20 at checkout.  Click the picture below to head on over!

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I am starting Daily 5 this week.  My own version of The Daily 5, that is.  This weekend I created the chart that I am planning to use with the rotations.

The pocket chart was purchased at Lakeshore.  I had some smaller ones from the dollar spot at Target but they weren't quite big enough.  To start out, I am not having the students choose their own stations.  I'll be assigning the centers that they go to.  This chart shows the names of the students in each color group, and which station they will be visiting during each "round." I only have enough time for three rounds, but we have Writer's Workshop and Word Work time during different parts of the day.  These are strictly reading centers.

I created all the tags with some wonderful clipart from the wonderful Ashley Hughes!

 Here are some close-ups:

And I finally finished working on my mailbox!  We are also starting our postcard exchange this week.  Well...we'll start recording our info for the postcard exchange.  I already have all of the postcards!  But the kids don't know that yet.

I purchased the plain mailbox from Hobby Lobby:

Then I started to paint...

And here's the finished product:

I can't wait to bring it to school tomorrow to share with the kids!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five for Friday {on Saturday}

I really wanted to post this yesterday but didn't quite have time, so let's just pretend it's still Friday.  Ok?  Thanks!

Here are five random things about my week:

1.  It was sooo cold this week.  The poor kiddos had indoor recess every day because the temperature was in the single digits.  We watched Finding Nemo, which is probably my all time favorite movie!

2. I went digging through my classroom closets and found teaching magazines from 1969 - yikes!  I think I need to clean some more!

3.  We took my nephew to a Bruins hockey game for his Christmas present.  So fun!  I'm not a huge hockey fan (I prefer soccer, football, baseball, basketball...) but we had a great time.

4.  The puppy learned that he can reach the table from the couch.  Uh oh we are in trouble!

5. I got to visit my favorite coffee shop last weekend to try to get some work done.  Work, as in, blogging and creating!  I just can't focus lately.  I blame the cold weather.  And apparently they haven't taken down their Christmas decor yet.

How was your week?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Daily 5

As a teacher, you know when something is working and when something isn't.  Right now, Reader's Workshop is just not working right in my classroom.  I love Reader's Workshop.  It is my favorite time of the day.  I love reading aloud and teaching a mini-lesson, I love working with kids in small groups and I love hearing about what they are reading when we re-group.  However, the independent reading portion just isn't working for my students right now, so I knew I needed a change.

That's when The Daily 5 came to my mind.  I read the book by "the sisters" way back when we started Reader's Workshop in our district.  It seemed like a great idea but not something that I was ready to tackle yet.  
I also thought, way back when, that I needed to follow every program step-by-step and to the T.   As a more seasoned teacher, I realize that that is sooo not true.  I need to adopt programs to best help my students.

I think that my students could greatly benefit from a modified version of The Daily 5 this year.  Here are a few of my ideas that I plan to start with this week.

I plan to have three rotations during my Reading block.  I know that letting students choose their station is a large part of The Daily 5, but I created a schedule for my students to follow, at least in the beginning.

During each rotation, I will be meeting with a group of students.  The other students will be at a variety of stations.  Some groups (especially my stronger readers) will stay at the same station for more than one rotation.

1. Read to Self
Students will be able to choose a spot in the room to read independently from their own book bags.

2. Read to Self (Fun Spots)
In my classroom, I have a few "fun" chairs for the students to sit in.  I know that I, personally, love to read all curled up with a pillow.  I have bean bag chairs, pillow chairs, and a beach chair.  At this station, the students will also be reading independently from their own book bags.

3. Read to Someone
My students love to read with a partner so they will be able to read and discuss books with someone from their group.

4. Listen to Reading
A big part of becoming a better reader is to listen to others read.  I have many, many books on CD from my Scholastic book order.  I am in the process of acquiring portable CD players so that students can choose a spot in the room to listen to reading.  I also have an iPod with a few books on it.  We also have a few books on tape, but the tape players are about 50 years old, so I may get rid of that part.  We have two larger CD players, but I moved the listening center table to use somewhere else in the room, so I haven't figured out where I am going to set those up!

5. Technology
We use Study Island at our school to track student's progress and to help them with concepts in reading and math.  I have 6 computers in my classroom now (woohoo!), but it can still be a challenge to get the students on their to practice when there is so much else going on during the day!  I plan to have each group go on Study Island once a week.

6. Read with a Teacher
The last station is to meet with the teacher.  This will also hold me more accountable to meet with each group.  I created the schedule to revolve around my students who are struggling the most, but with the flexibility to meet with each group throughout the week.

This is definitely going to be a work in progress for me.  I have been doing a lot of research of other blogs to help me.  Here is my Pinterest board of Daily 5 ideas that I have slowly began gathering items on:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Me On the Map

In Social Studies, we are studying globes and maps.  Second graders, cute things that they are, have no concept of the world.  And rightfully so.  Most of my students haven't been out of our small state.  It is hard for them to grasp how big our planet, continent, country, state, town, etc are.  It's a huge concept!  Last year, I found an awesome idea from:

Clutter-Free Classroom

The product is:

It was actually the first thing I ever bought on Teachers Pay Teachers!

We started by reading Me On the Map by Joan Sweeney.  It's a very basic, simple book that helps students understand their place in the world.

Then the students create a flip book with words and pictures based on their planet, continent, country, state, town, street and ending with a picture of themselves.

They turned out really great!

Then they draw a picture of themselves standing on the Earth.

And the finished products!

Sorry for the awful picture {the sun was really bright and I didn't feel like pulling down the shades}.  I think my students now have a better grasp on the difference between a continent and a country, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday!

Want to take a peek into my week??  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching  to share five things that I did this week!

1. I'm working on painting my mailbox for a Social Studies unit.  I hope the kids love it as much as I do!  I'll post a completed picture when I am all done ( and share the unit too!)

2.  It was week 1 of boot camp at school.  Thought I was going to die, but fared much better than I anticipated!  It was a lot of fun working out with my colleagues and I felt great afterwards!

3. I've been studying this book all week.  Next week I start my own version of The Daily 5.  I'll let you know how it goes!

4. We did a "Me On the Map" project in Social Studies today, courtesy of The Clutter-Free Classroom. More details to come this weekend!

5. Oh, and driving to school on Wednesday was not fun.

How was your week??

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Magical Product Swap!

This is my first every product swap and I am super excited about it!  The last time there was a product swap, I went through my Google Reader and added so many wonderful items to my wishlist in TpT!


I got to swap with the wonderful Lynda over at:
Curls and a Smile
Love her!

The first product of hers that I am going to highlight is her My Human Body Book:

This is great for a health unit for the younger ones.  It is simple enough for them to understand and gives them an opportunity to draw a picture as well as write some words.

There are four pages included in the book, which is easy to fold in half and create into a little booklet:


For some reason, my students think that booklets are wayyy cooler than just plain old pages, so they would be ecstatic about this!  I colored in some of the pages myself:

I highly recommend this product if you teach health or science to younger students.

The second product I am going to share with you is Farewell to Our Elf!

I know so many of you have an Elf on the Shelf in your classroom or your home (or both!) and this product is a perfect way to say goodbye!  It's a letter writing activity so it is great for Writer's Workshop.  It comes with a sample letter, with all the parts of the letter highlighted.  It also has a beautiful Christmas border on it!

 The best part, though, is that it comes with so many different pages of letter paper.  It works for all ages!  Some pages have a lot of lines, some have less lines with more space in between.  Some pages have room for a picture.  A few templates are landscape, while others are portrait.  It is perfect for differentiation!

I even wrote my own letter:

I may have even been convinced to get an Elf on the Shelf for next year!  Maybe.  For those of you who already have an Elf on the Shelf, go grab this for next December!  It's great to be prepared ahead of time!

Lynda is going to be showcasing my Writing Mini-Offices:

I'm going to give away one of each!  You can check them out over at Lynda's blog then come back and enter to win!  Just enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Giveaway ends tomorrow night, so act fast!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover