Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mini Math Books: The Perfect Practice!

This year, I have literacy interventions coming out of my ears! I feel like I'm spending so much time planning individualized activities and interventions for my struggling readers! Over half of my class came in reading below grade level this year so it has been like "reading boot camp" in my classroom! I'm happy to report that three of my struggling readers are now at grade level, which makes me feel like all the extra work is worth it! I still have eight more that are below where they need to be... but they are coming along!
We have a time set aside in our day for intervention, which is great because I can spend time with the kids who really need it. However, I'm sure all of you primary teachers understand my dilemma of how to keep my other students challenged, yet independent, while I am meeting with my intervention groups!
Here's what I came up with... MINI MATH PRACTICE BOOKS!
 The best part is... they are NO PREP! Simply print the pages back to back and staple along the center! Easy peasy!
Each week, my non-intervention students complete these fun math books! Each week is a different theme to keep the kids interested and motivated! We use the Everyday Math curriculum in our district, so the mini math books roughly follow the skills in the series.
Here's a peek at the most recent mini math book: Football Edition!

These math practice books are a total lifesaver and my kids love them! As we go throughout the school year, I plan to keep making them almost weekly.
Included in the bundle are the following themes:
- apples - halloween - trick or treat -
- fall leaves - football -
If you purchase the bundle, I will be adding more books throughout the school year that you may continue to download as part of your original purchase!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Short Vowel Fun in First Grade!

Wow... it has been waaaay to long since I have found time to update my blog! I have missed it! This cold, windy day has kept me indoors and it's time to get back to blogging!
I am loving my new class of darling first graders. They are sweet and adorable and they make me laugh everyday. However, I am finding that many of my students have more significant needs for reading intervention this year. We are hitting the short vowels hard to help them build up their word family recognition/ chunking! So far, we have intensively studied short a  and we are currently working on short i.

Here are a few of the activities we have been doing!
One thing that I have found about several of my kiddos is that they can read word family words in isolation. However, when they encounter those same words in a simple text, they do not recognize the word families or apply their knowledge of phonics in decoding. I created these little readers to focus on different word families and give students the opportunity to practice reading the word family words in a sentence.

Each Word Family Reader features words in the same word family. I have created sets for Short I, Short O, and Short U so far, but I plan to make them for Short A and Short E as well! I have been using these as an intro to my guided reading groups. I also have my intervention kiddos keep some of these in their book bin to practice reading word family words!

Click the links to view each set!


Similar to the fluency readers, these flash cards give students the opportunity to sort words by word family and read each of the words in the context of a sentence. My kids love these!!

Grab the full set of Short Vowel Word Family Fluency Phrases in my TPT store!
These short vowel flip books from Nicole Rios are fabulous! The kids love the interactive format. They are sorting words, making words, practicing handwriting, and much more!
The Short A Flip Book is FREE in her TPT store! She has a flip book for each short vowel!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Classroom Reveal... FINALLY!

I literally CANNOT believe that school is starting in two days... I know that many of you all have started back within the past few weeks, but I am finally ready for my kiddos to come on Tuesday. Of course, there are a few areas in my room that I want to spruce up.... our Have you Filled a Bucket Today? board and our story writing center, but I'll post about those things in the future.
For now, here's a peek into my classroom!

The view from the hallway... On the bright side, our fabulous janitor painted over a parrot mural that wrapped around my door frame. I plan to put a mini-bulletin board display above the door, but again, that's a project for another day!
My guided reading/ small group table... set up with Open House goodies! Notice our class pet, the puma (we are the PUMAS).

Guided Reading Organization! The big crates hold my own personal guided reading book sets! the cart has lots of my math games and manipulatives!

Finally got this set up in my classroom! I've been posting about this for weeks and I'm excited to see it come together!
My mother-in-law covered these throw pillows for me! My students will pull out a pillow and grab a clip board at the writing center since it's not big enough for a small group to sit at the desk at the same time!

The baskets hold postcards, list-making activities, and word lists that the students can use at the center. On top of the desk, there is different paper for letter writing as well!

Grab my writing center paper and materials in a BUNDLE HERE or as separate items here: list-making, postcards, letter writing, and yearlong writing portfolio.
This cute little area on the floor is going to be my story writing center! If you notice the empty white shelf on the book shelf... that is where I will put materials for the kids to use! Still need some ideas for this area... Hope to get it up and rolling in October!

When I got my classroom, there were two of these "library" carts in it and I finally found a way to make them a little more functional for myself and my students. This year, I am using them to store our writing portfolios, math workbooks, and our "I'm Finished' basket for completed work.

Moving on to the classroom library/ whole group area...

Daily 5 book bins and my tubs that I use for math workshop!

My library is organized by topics and also by levels. When students choose books for their book bins, they chose out of these lettered bins. They also pick one "free choice" book out of any bin in the library. 

Ordered these awesome new book tubs from Really Good Stuff this spring! Love them!

Recreated all of my labels this summer! So much more organized!

Our word wall... with the kids' names up... waiting for our sight words as the year begins!
The whiteboard at the front of the classroom! I use my projector right in that big open space!

Learning goals that are correlated to the First Grade Common Core from Crockett's Classroom.
Grab them -HERE-

New classroom schedule and I AM IN LOVE! Pick it up from Ladybug Teacher Files!
Andddd they are editable. Grab them -HERE-

The start of our Daily 5 board... I-Charts will go up here after the first week of school!

Our CAFE board... just waiting to be filled with reading strategies!

Our morning meeting board/calendar... will be adding organizational charts for word work and writing centers! A work in progress as we add more to our routines!
And there you have it folks! I still feel like I'm scrambling to get things ready for the first day! Can't wait to fill all our white space on the walls with kids' artwork and our anchor charts!!
Got some banana bread in the oven (can you say stress baking.....) and I'm ready to curl up with my glass of wine and watch Keeping up with the Kardashians... don't judge me please!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writing Portfolios

If you have been reading my blog over the last couple of weeks, you know that I am totally spicing up my Daily 5 Work on Writing this coming school year. My students will be rotating to five Work on Writing centers throughout the week... working at one center each day. These centers are for more informal practice of writing skills that we are working on and my purpose is for them to be FUN and ENGAGING! We have a separate Writers' Workshop time in the afternoon where we will work on more formal writing projects and we will spend time planning, editing, revising, etc. Now, that is not to say that I will not stress BEST work during the Work on Writing centers as well, but my goals in creating these centers are for my students to LOVE writing and to be creative!
1) The Creation Station (click the link to see my previous post)
2) Story Central Station
3) Handwriting Practice
4) Sentence Building and Puzzles
and for the purpose of this post...
5) Writing Portfolio Work 
Okay, that being said, the Writing Portfolio Center will probably be the "least fun" of all of the centers, but I am soooo excited about the assessment opportunities that it will provide for me.
Last week, I made a trip to the Dollar Tree (in my opinion... the "TOP DOG" of dollar stores...) and I bought a binder for each student in my class.
I plan to keep the binders and reuse them each school year, so I figure that buying them myself was an investment in my classroom (and binders are not on our school supply list). When the portfolios are finished at the end of the year, I will take out the pages and bind them into a book for the kiddos to take home!
This morning, I printed a slapped a little label on the edge of the binder for each student. I have a perfect little spot on a book shelf for the kids to store their portfolios. As a side note, I FINALLY figured out how to PRINT ON LABELS... in the past, I've been using Sharpies to write names on labels because I've been too lazy to find and download a printable template... well, ladies and gentlemen, it is EASY! I don't know why I've been avoiding it the last few years!
If you want to pick up these labels, they are Avery 1" x 2 5/8" white address labels, 30 labels per sheet. Here's the link to the free template on the Avery website.
Okay, enough about the set-up... I created a writing prompt for each week of the school year.
Each prompt is labeled with the # of the week and there is a place for the kids to write the date at the top. There is a place for a picture if the kids would like to draw a picture to accompany their writing. Some of the prompts encourage the kids to draw a picture and others do not.
The back of each writing prompt page has more lines for the students to continue their writing... and my favorite self-check tool, a quick checklist for the kids to check their writing before adding it to their writing portfolio binder.
Here's our fun cover page that my kiddos will color and personalize during the first week of school!
This is going to be my source for assessing students' writing weekly. Even if the kids miss a week at the center here and there, I will have TONS of writing samples to see their progress over time!
Okay, so my Writing Center: Yearlong Writing Portfolio is up in my TPT store. I designed this writing portfolio with first graders in mind, but it would be appropriate for most lower elementary classrooms!

Can't wait to get this up and rollin' this year! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Writing Center: The Creation Station

Okay, here we go people... I cannot wait to get back into my classroom (it is being cleaned right now) to set up one of my writing center areas for this coming year!

Everything in this post is 20% off in my TPT store until midnight on August 1st!
Plus, there are many FREEBIEs embedded in the post itself!
My goal in putting together this center is to have a place where kids can go to CREATE! Kids will have the opportunity to go to the Creation Station once a week as part of our Daily 5: Work on Writing and they can make cards, postcards, letters, and lists. As the school year goes on, I hope to find other fun seasonal writing activities to feature at the center.
Here's what I created to hang above the wooden desk where I will have the center.
At the center, I plan to have fun writing supplies and various writing tools throughout the year.
star tins from {Target}
I also picked up a great set of seasonal word helpers... We will feature "Words of the Month" at the creation station for kids to use in their writing.
Grab your own set of A Year of Words from Renee Dooly's TPT Store. There are lots of other things that I plan to do with her word cards... these long ones (featured in the pink basket) are perfect for our creation station.
Okay, so our three YEARLONG activities at the Creation Station will be
I created sets of materials on TPT for each of these forms of writing with different writing paper, lists, etc that correspond to each month of the school year.
Here is a FREEBIE that combines the September portions of each of the three types of writing. If you like what you see, please consider buying the YEARLONG sets of each!
Here is what the
will look like:

my example
In my experience, first graders LOVE making lists. When we do Work on Writing and they are working on "journal writing," kids are always writing lists of the things that they like to do, the people in their family, their friends at school... and I am always telling them to "add more detail" or "tell me more about those things." Now, I will always encourage them to add more details into their journaling and descriptive writing, but I figure... WHY NOT give them the opportunity to make lists in a productive, organized way!!
Each month, there will be new rings of list topics at the creation station. For every month, I created 17 little task cards (+1 monthly cover page... hence the odd number of 17 task cards). Some of the list topics will be themed for the given month and others will be more generic.
I picked up these cute baskets from the Dollar Tree to hold the task cards.

There is also a variety of list writing paper with a new border for each month. In this file organizer, I have two of the list making sheets on the top shelf and on the lower shelves, I put our two featured letter writing sheets for September (more later about that)!

Click the picture below if you are interested in my complete set of list writing centers.

Here is what the
will look like:

my example
This is a totally new idea for me, POSTCARDS.
 I think it is a great, quick way to get kids writing and it's not overwhelming for your emergent writers!

Back to School themed postcard
 Each month, we will have new postcards in the writing center that are themed to the month.

Again, I couldn't pass up these awesome baskets....

Click the picture below if you are interested in my complete set of postcard centers.

Here is what the
will look like:

my example
During our free choice time on Fridays, my kiddos are always writing notes and letters to their friends and family members. Each month, we will have new letter writing paper in the center.

I also hope to get more letter writing resources for the creation station. Leave a comment if you have any great letter writing resources for my kiddos to use!

Click the picture below if you are interested in my complete set of letter writing centers.

I hope that you enjoy this post about our CREATION STATION! I cannot wait to see it in action this fall!