Friday, July 29, 2016

Five for Friday -- July 29

It's Friday again and I didn't get to work much this week on my school projects.  My dear mother-in-law passed away and we have been busy working with my husband's family to get all the necessary arrangements taken care of.   Although we will miss her dearly we know she is with grandpa in heaven now and that gives us peace.  

1.  This week I organized some materials for teaching transitions.  I will be able to stretch these materials out for several lessons because my mini lessons are generally under 10 minutes.  

2.  Another big project I finished this week was cleaning up our guest bedroom.  It took me all month to organize and go through all the stuff we had in there.  
3.  A fun activity I did this week was going to see two of my former students perform in a community play.  I went with several other teachers.  We went out to eat and then to the play, The Little Mermaid.  It is so much fun to see my students now that they are older.  

4.  Summer is so relaxing.  I was able to finish reading another book this week.  I am desperately trying to be more of a morning person so I read, The Miracle Morning.  I made two suggestions from the book for myself.  A vision collage for my desk and a morning book of affirmations. 

5.  Finally I spent some time making book labels for the new first grade teacher at our school.  I have a google drive full of labels.

 Thanks Kacey for hosting the linky party.  I am looking forward to reading about what other teachers are doing this week.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Writing Transitions

I have to admit I am not the best writer, so teaching children to write is a bit of a challenge for me.  I have read MANY books on the subject and purchased many TPT packs to guide me.  However I like the children to write about what they are excited about.  I provide mini lessons to my students to help aide them as they write.

I get the ideas for my mini lessons as I observe them write when I walk around the room.  However I don't have an exact structure of what I am doing.  That is my goal with my writing folder this year to provide more structure to writing. 

One of the things I noticed  this past year about my young writers was that they tend to write pattern sentences.  So during Shared Reading for about a week I tried to find stories that had some good transitions for us to notice.   

I  found this poster on Pinterest and we made our own chart with the words we found...
I typed up something similar and added our words plus more I thought of and put it to their writing folders. It helped a lot to get the students to move beyond pattern sentences. 

However during conferences with the students I was struggling with them using the traffic light as our visual symbol.  I wanted them to visualize it more in terms of the story elements of beginning, middle and end.  So I transformed this idea into book terms and came up with this chart for their folders.
I am calling it storybook transitions because that is what the students are writing....stories.  I combined a lot of the transitions from the chart with what my students noticed in the books.  I think this will be a great resource for them in their folders.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five For Friday -- July 22

It has been quite a while since I participated in the Five for Friday Linky party with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching.  I thought I would give it a try again.  What I like most about the linky party it reminds me to look at different blogs each week. I like reading what others have to say and share as well.

Also it helps me to self-reflect a bit about what I did during the week worth sharing.  

1.  One of the main things I have done this summer is to start my own version of a bullet journal.  It helps to keep me focused on the tasks I need to do each day.  There are so many options and ideas out there, however for now I am exploring with my own layout.

2.  I love being at home because I have time to make my favorite food for lunch everyday,  Chicken Waldorf Salad.  It is delicious. It has chicken, celery, and apple in it so that counts as one fruit and veggie for the day.  I am thinking of add spinach to it to give it more veggie power.    

3.  I have been working on revamping my writing folder for next year.  I am still in the planning stages however I am happy with what I have done so far.

4.  My husband had off the beginning of this week so we did a lot of biking in the early hours of the morning to avoid the heat.  We went on some trails that we do not usually take now that we have a new bike rack.  

5.  Finally, I put together my reading logs for the entire school year and uploaded them to TPT.  My goal for this year is to update some of my products and add a couple new ones. 

Thanks again Kacey for hosting this linky party.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

2016 Updating Writing Folders

Last year I read the book, First Grade Writing Workshop and I loved the book.  I created writing folders for my students based of ideas from the book.  As the year went on I found that we were missing valuable information in our writing folders and I was constantly tweaking the folders throughout the year.  So this year I am making some changes.  

First I want to add a basic alphabet chart for the beginning of the year when we are focusing on sounding out the consonant sounds.  I am not about recreating the wheel if someone else has already invented it so I found a great free one on Pinterest by Lavinia Pop. She offers it for free on TPT and has a variety to pick from.  I am going to use one that labels the pictures as well.  

Next I created a short and long vowel page for my students to use as a reference.  

Then I found another vowel combination sounding sheet on Pinterest for free by Amanda Hagaman that I am putting next to mine.

This is what my students will start the year with I will be adding more as I introduce more mini lessons.  Next week I will show you a few more pages that go along with a couple mini lessons.  

Monday, July 18, 2016


"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, a honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Leo Buscaglia

One of the hardest things I find throughout the school year is getting the students to treat each other with kindness.  They are great at finding each other's faults and mistakes however building each other up and being positive is very hard for them.  I often talk about what it means to compliment someone.  What is a real compliment verses a fake compliment?  

That is something that is so hard to teach.  The past couple of years I have had a wonderful bunch of children.  They worked well together, however one of their faults was they were very social.  I would encourage them to work together to earn compliments from myself and from other teachers.  Real fact the other teachers did not know the deal I had with the children.  

When the class earned a compliment from another teacher they could put a sticker on their reward chart. This was hard to do.  It meant we had to walk quietly in the hallway, line up quietly, they had to be the quietest table in the lunchroom and walk into a speciality classroom and sit down quietly and be ready to learn.  These are not easy tasks to do.  Many times the speciality teachers would say, "They were the best behaved class of the day."  

All these compliments were real and well earned.  It took the children a long time to earn the stickers as you can see.  We did not get a sticker every day.  However we did make it to 100 by the last day of school so we could have all the extra fun.  

My thought is....we are going to have some kind of party anyways...why not make it something they can get excited about it and earn it.  It will be more meaningful to the children if they had a say in the planning and earning of the reward. 
BTW--The children make it to 100 twice a year.  

If you decide to go this route let the kids pick the rewards they love being part of the decision making process.   

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