Saturday, December 14, 2013

Merry Christmas with Your Favorite Picture Books!
 Merry Christmas everyone!  I wanted to share with you some of my favorite books to read during the month of December.

Gingerbread Mouse
Gingerbread Mouse is one of my favorite stories to read in December!
  After reading the story we had a blast making this cute Gingerbread Mouse gingerbread house story summary!  They then colored candy decorations to decorate their gingerbread house cover.  Each one was so unique and creative!

Olive, the Other Reindeer
This week I will be reading Olive, the Other Reindeer to my class.  I will then have them retell the main events on the cute Christmas themed paper and draw a picture of their favorite part at the top.  They will then create a cute Olive to attach to the top of their summary.

The Gingerbread Pirates
Aaaarrrr you ready for a fun Christmas story?  The Gingerbread Pirates is such a fun book to read!  After we read and discuss the story, students will retell the beginning, middle, and end of the story using the treasure chest pattern.  They will then color and attach the treasure chest cover.  Next, boys will create a gingerbread boy pirate and girls will create a gingerbread girl pirate.  Then, they will attach their gingerbread pirate to the top of their treasure chest retelling. 

Merry Christmas, Splat
My class loves all of the Splat books!  After reading Merry Christmas Splat, they wrote a summary of the story on the present pattern.  I noticed a big difference in my students' retelling since they have been making all of these cute Christmas retelling craftivities.  I love making reading fun for them while boosting their comprehension at the same time!  Click here to get these fun book activity pack! 
All of the cute Christmas craftivities you see in the background can be found in the pack below.  Click on the picture below to get a closer look!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Comprehension Cookies and Let's Shed Some Light on the Author's Purpose
 Comprehension Question Cookies
In my guided reading groups, we usually read and discuss their leveled readers on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I like to have my students complete a reading comprehension activity using their leveled reader.  Since the reading comprehension skill for Wonders Unit 3 Week 4  was to ask and answer questions, I thought this activity would be perfect!  After we each read our leveled reader, I had them create their own Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? questions about the story and write them on each cookie on the cookie tray.  They then wrote their answers on the back of each chocolate chip cookie.  They then put a small amount of glue at the top of each cookie to cover their questions on the tray.  Last, they worked with a partner to ask them questions about the story.  They then would lift the cookie up to reveal the correct answer.  My class had so much FUN making these!  

Let's Shed Some Light on the Author's Purpose
We also had some fun with Author's Purpose.  Last week, we reviewed the author's purpose for writing the story.  In guided reading groups, we read our story.  Each student received a Christmas light pattern.  Students used their leveled reader to determine the author's purpose.  They then had to use text evidence from the story to support their answer.  We then hung up our lights on our tree for our hallway.
 Click on the picture below to check out all of the cute reading craftivities!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Life as a Pilgrim Child and Colonial Kid Fashion Show!

 My Life as a Pilgrim Child
We recently had our open house for parents and decided to add a little Colonial spin.  My two favorite books to read for this unit are Sara Morton's Day and Samuel Eaton's Day.  They are wonderful nonfiction texts that portray the day in the life of a pilgrim child.  My class really got into it!  After we read the story, I had my students pretend that they were a pilgrim child from that time period.  They then used the information from the book to write about their day.

Colonial Kid Fashion Show  
  Inside the two books mentioned above, they showed all of the clothing that the pilgrims had to wear.  My students used the diagrams from the books to create a Colonial Kid Fashion Show!  Each student worked with a partner to design a pilgrim girl or boy.  They even got to choose a name for their pilgrim from the actual pilgrims that were on the Mayflower!  They then wrote a commentary card describing what their pilgrim wore from their hat to their shoes.  They then put on their colonial fashion show for the class. 

Colonial Village
My class had a fun time designing a 3-D model of a colonial village.  Each child made a colonial style home from a milk carton.  They then made a garden, trees, and some animals to go along with their home.

Author's Purpose Pie
Since we were also studying author's purpose this week, we created an author's purpose pie.  Students read a story in their guided reading group, determined the author's purpose for writing the story, and then found text evidence to support their answer. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dollar Tree Goodies and Lakeshore Learning Apps!

I went to Dollar Tree this weekend and found some awesome goodies for my classroom!  I had no idea that Dollar Tree made games and activities that are aligned with the Common Core Standards for each grade level!  I can't wait to try them out. 

By now you probably know that I am obsessed with Lakeshore Learning!  I love all of their products and so do my students.  On a previous post, I commented on how much my students love our Promethean Board games!  One of the games I mentioned is called Bubble Pop.  I found out that last week, Lakeshore came out with two Bubble Pop apps that are free for your ipads!  I can't wait to have my students play these during their math station.  
The only free game is the addition game, but at least that's better than nothing!  It will be perfect for my students to practice their addition math facts for fluency. 

There is also a free multiplication version for my more advanced students.  They will be so pumped since we have never played this one before!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Look Back at Unit 1 in Wonders
Now that I have completed Unit 1 in the Wonders Reading Series, I wanted to share with you some of the ideas I used with my students.
Text Evidence
I have really enjoyed reading all of the stories in the new series and having my students find text evidence to support their answer.  I taught my students to find text evidence using trackers that I purchased from Really Good Stuff.  My students keep their tracker in their caddy on their table so it is easy to pull out when we need it.  When I ask my students a question, I ask them to use their tracker to find the text evidence to support their answer.  They love using their tracker and  I was really surprised at how well they can find text evidence!  Click on the picture above to get your own trackers for your classroom from 

Wonders Word Wall
I love my Wonders word wall that I created!  I set up my essential question and phonics skill on the left side of the board.  In the middle, I display the high frequency word cards.  On the right hand side of the board are the vocabulary words for the week.  I love having this board to use as a reference throughout the week! It also keeps everything in one place for students to use during their Sea Center time.
Sea Centers (Literacy Stations)
I use the games below in my spelling center to reinforce the spelling skill for each week. 

 I use this game board with students who need extra practice with the short a words.

 I use this game board with students who mastered the short a words, but need extra practice with long a_e words.
There are games for each unit!  I love pulling these games out each week and using them for my word work/spelling station.  They are so easy to store and the students love them!
These games can be found here.

Unit 1 Phonics and Spelling Game Boards
 Unit 2 Phonics and Spelling Game Boards
 Unit 3 Phonics and Spelling Game Boards
Unit 4 Phonics and Spelling Game Boards

Unit 5 Phonics and Spelling Game Boards
Unit 6 Phonics and Spelling Game Boards
The Wonders Phonics and Spelling game boards above were created for second graders. You will find the Wonders 1st grade Phonics and Spelling game boards by clicking here.

Wonders Apps for Ipads
The Wonders reading program also offers apps for the ipads!  We use these games in my technology center.  These apps are a great way to reinforce grammar and reading skillsYou can purchase them when you click on the links below.
 Grammar Wonderland (Elementary) Grades 3-6
 Grammar Wonderland (Primary) Grades K-2
 Word Wonderland (Primary) Grades K-2 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Math Block Routine: Whole Group, Small Group, Math Stations, and Anchor Activities!

Whole Group Math Lesson
  First, I introduce our learning target for the day and then start teaching my whole group lesson.  I usually teach our whole group lesson using a Flipchart on the Promethean Board or model using manipulatives on my Elmo.  After modeling, I have my students participate in guided practice where they practice the skill using their white boards and dry erase markers as they are sitting on the carpet or at their tables.  
By having each student using white boards to record their answers, I know that everyone is engaged in the lesson and I can easily check for individual student mastery.  After my students demonstrate mastery of the learning target, they then complete their independent practice.  

Guided Math Small Group
 While students are completing their independent practice, I call up a math group to work at my table with me.  We do a variety of activities during this time.  Sometimes we play a math game that reinforces the skill they just learned.  
Other times, we practice solving a math task so I can guided them through the process or get a closer look at how they are solving the problem.  
No matter what activity we do in small groups, it allows me to work closer with my students to clear up any confusion or misconceptions they may have.  It also allows for more conversations to take place so they can explain their mathematical thinking to each other.    
  I love using my Math Pocket Chart Signs to help me organize my guided math groups and math station rotations.  I have four math groups so I have four math stations that the students must complete each week.  Each group goes to one station each day.

Math Stations
 I bought these colorful baskets for only $1 at the Dollar Tree.
I like to use math stations with math talk cards so students are able to practice using the math vocabulary they learned about with their partner.  
Many of my math stations are differentiated so they meet all of my students individual needs.  
I also have some favorite games that I got from Lakeshore Learning.  
I love using math games to help students practice math in a fun way!

I also love their interactive whiteboard games!  My students cheer every time they get to play one of these.  These games are also great to play at the end of the day.

Math Anchor Activities
  Once they complete their independent practice and math station for that day, they can complete an anchor activity.  I have four different colored boxes (I bought them last year from Target) labeled with my 4 reading groups so they know which anchor activities to complete.  Each basket contains extension activities to extend their learning.  I use a variety of anchor activities, but my favorite ones to use are called Activity Cards for Early Finishers from