Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grammar, Grammar, Grammar

I am planning a workshop for next week!  It has been so long since I have put one together, so I am stressing.  It is called: Hands On Grammar!  The idea is to take the ne CORE curriculum and look at developmentally appropriate application in the classroom.  This workshop is quickly blooming into a much bigger task that I expected.  I just keep reminding myself that I don’t need to be comprehensive in 1 hour!

I wanted to share some great resources that I have found.

I am working on making magnetic words for kids to create sentences using label stickers and those advertising magnets.  Never throw them away!  They come in so handy!  I will post when I finish.  In the mean time I found a great site for online magnetic poetry called: Magnetic Poetry  (I know, you didn’t see that one coming!).  It has a kids section featuring two different levels.  What a fun way to talk about parts of speech and sentence construction. You could buy a kit, but free is always better!


I also wanted to share the idea of foldables during my class. There are great examples of grammar foldables on Pinterest.  In mu search, I found this great resources with instructions for 10 different foldables.  Check it out!

I was going to share resources for MadLib – they are great for targeting specific parts of speech and having students generate words.  Here are some great sites!

I have been working on some fun resources that I will share soon!  I just wanted to share a few things I have planned and give away a freebie! Click on the image to grab it for yourself!


Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Leprechaun Day!

I can’t do too much with Saint Pat’s Day this year, but I thought I would share a few things. 

I had this cute craft from a few years  ago and I finally made a pattern for it.  I hope the pieces come out the right size after being scanned.  I would make an example but I am too dog-gone tired tonight! This little leprechaun can be made out of construction paper or foam.  You could either make patterns or just copy onto plain paper and have the kids color the pieces.  First, the beard goes on the face.  Then at the top of the hat attaches to the top of the head.  Add the black band and then the green brim.  The kids can design the face.  The order is important because the pieces layer. Click on the picture to grab your copy.


My kids love journal sticks.  I have given up on making things pretty this year and am just going for functional!  I have a huge box of these sticks and write several prompts for the month on them.  I added little green smiles to these.  The kids choose them during journal time to give them a jump start.  I store all of my journal stuff manila envelopes and keep them, along with all my other journal writing prompts in a tote box.  I just pull out what I need.


I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of my class Trufuala Trees.  Each classroom created one for Read Across America Week.  (Yes, we have pink tile walls!)


I couldn’t resist throwing in a few Baby Shower pictures!  I threw a shower for my SIL two weekends ago and had to show off my decorations!  The green room is actually the man cave, minus all the deer heads and other critters.  (I forgot I left the table cloth on the back of the man chair!)  They were back up the next day and they seem to have multiplied!  The bottom photo are the favors.  The pots have candles in them.




Hope everyone is having a good week!  Tomorrow’s Friday!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reading Workshop: Questioning Part 2

Today I thought would share some of the resources I use to teach comprehension strategies in a quick post.

The Reading Lady has amazing resources.  I especially like the "Teaching Tools,” which has a lot of great resources for the book Mosaic of Thought.  There are great mini-lessons and book lists.  Click on the icons to go to the sites.

Reading Lady   

Into the Book is another great resources for teachers and students. There are lessons, videos, song and other neat tools.



Mandy Gregory also has a great site called": Tips for Teachers.  She has several great resources and book connections.

Great teacher resources:


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reading Unit: Questioning

Looks like the linky party was a bust!  I think I came up with a few more ideas to add communication for the rest of the year – hopefully.  It is wonderful to have an extra set of hands in the classroom. However,  as we all know, sometimes the more adults you have in the room, the more challenging interpersonal pieces can be.  This year has been a challenge for me in that regard. I guess I’ll leave it at that and let everyone take from it what you will.

March is the month that we have the comprehension strategy of questioning on our curriculum maps.  We focus on this using both fiction and non-fiction books.  What a tough concept to find resources for!  I’m sure I will stumble upon/create more as time goes on.


These are some great charts on Pinterest!  If there was a link back to the original post, I linked the picture.

Questioning   Questioning  Questioning

Questioning chart  Questioning chart  Questioning- anchor chart

Here are a few of the books I plan to use:


I used The Little White Owl purely by chance the other day.  I really needed Dr. DeSoto, but could not find my copy and did not have time to go down to the library.  The book actually worked really well!  The kids generated a ton of questions based on the cover of the books.  As we read the book, we stopped when we could answer on of the questions. I will review using Doctor De Soto tomorrow.  Galimoto and The Day of Ahmed’s Secret will be great to focus on """”During Reading” questions.

I also plan to review question words.  We are working on a lot of language pieces in my classroom this year and asking questions is challenging.  I plan to use an activity from:

Awesome resource!  There is a great chapter on Questioning and using a favorite object for students to use to generate their questions.

I am welcoming a student teacher this week!  It is exciting!  I love having student teachers.  They help to energize me and it will be especially helpful to divide up some of the teaching.  Maybe I can feel better about teaching 6 guided reading groups this year!

I will work on posting some more items as the week goes on!  Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Oh, No! and a Linky Party

I lost my post about picture prompts!  What a bummer!  I wrote a new post in the window of the old post on Windows Live Writer and it overwrote the writing post.  I really like that one too! 

I am looking for some great ideas and I know everyone out there has amazing ones!  I am wondering how other teachers communicate with paraprofessionals or assistants in the classroom.  I have worked with paras for the last 4/5 years and the working relationships and needs of the class are always different.  How do you communicate your daily support needs?  How do you share needed information during the day?

Please link up and share your ideas for communicating with support folks in your classroom!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pure Randomness…and some freebies at the end!

I had my SIL’s baby shower this past weekend!  Oh my word!  I swear I have reorganized and cleaned every inch of this house several times over.  And somehow, it is still not advisable to open a closet, door, or drawer in this house because you may not know what is in there!  My office and craft room had become a giant storage room the last couple years and I spent so much time purging and trying to organize.  When you come down to it, I just have too much stuff.  Not on the level of hoarders, but still…I scrapbook/ stamp, quilt, and make jewelry – all collector hobbies.  They come with tons of stuff!  I also have tons of books and clothes.  Just too much!

I also ended up having a guest list of 25ish people – we only had about 16, but I had to be ready for 25. This meant turning the hubbies man cave/t.v. room into a party space.  My upstairs (I have a ranch house) is pretty limited. About 8 people can fit comfortably, so we had to have the eating and gift opening in the basement room.  It is half the size of my whole house so it is a great room – just neglected.  Plus, some people just don’t think deer heads and other stuffed woodland critters are acceptable d├ęcor at a baby shower!

Please tell me someone else out there all of a sudden realizes how long it has been since you have dusted/vacuumed/washed some part of your house.  I have done more cleaning in the past two weeks than I have done in a year!  I have the chapped hands to prove it!  I think a once-a-week cleaning person is something I will think seriously about! 

At any rate, the shower was lovely and I saw a lot of my relatives that I only see on special occasions.  My SIL received beautiful gifts and all is well.  I had pictures I wanted to share, but do not have my cord to transfer the pics. Sad smile

I was out on Friday because I have had a vicious go-around with a throat/sinus/ear thing that has just left me miserable – the headaches are crazy.  I would feel okay when I started out the day, but by lunch time I was suffering pretty bad. It was good to have a day to rest and putter at getting ready rather than running around like a crazy woman after work to get ready for the party.

I had last week off, but I was prepping for the party and had my interview to go back to school at a local university. I am waiting for words near the end of this month to see if I was accepted.  I had such mixed feelings about it.  I really want to pursue an advanced degree, but the timing is just weird and work is only getting more stressful every year – all teachers are feeling it. I keep wondering if I can do all of this.

The third thing going on is that it is the dreaded report card time.  We came back from break to a whole Dr. Seuss Read Across America deal and had to re-do assessments we had given at the mid-year mark less than 6 weeks ago.   I have enough data to do reports, but feel behind in the actual testing. 


I have my report cards done – sort of!  Now it is time to proofread, print, and stuff.  I am one of those people who will agonize up until the kids are actually on the bus with their report cards…maybe even until I get back the next day and there are no voicemails waiting for me!

If you have lasted through this post, you are a truly loyal reader!  I have a few goodies I worked on today and will share! It has been one of those year where I seem to spent a lot of time plugging holes in learning before moving on to grade level concepts.  It is not just a few kids, but usually the majority. 

My kiddos have been struggling with hearing and applying basic phonics patterns.  We have reviewed digraphs – again, and are now reviewing blends - again.  For some reason, my kids are just not hearing the sounds.  They either interpret sounds as incorrect letters or are completely random.  I made chuck cards to put on a ring to review during each guided reading session. Just print, cut, punch, and put on a ring.  Sometimes, good old-fashioned skill and drill is needed!


The second pressing issue with my class is the state of their journal writing.  I  have never been huge on checking journals all the time, but my crew this year is really good at pretending they are doing what they are supposed to and it is difficult to constantly hold them accountable.  At any rate, I wanted to push the point that they should be practicing the skills they are learning in their journals.  I made these little bookmarks and hope the novelty will convince the kids they really need to do their best work on a daily basis. 


I hope these little items are helpful! I am off to take more cold medicine and proof read report cards!  Fun!!!