Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Interactive Word Wall

Well it's that time of year when I always look at my classroom and want to change something. It never fails.....

I walk in one day, just about the middle of the year, and think..

ugh....I don't like this. at. all....

The one aspect of my room that I can never get right is my word wall. At the beginning of the year, I posted my word wall above my whiteboard because I was short on time and really didn't want to think about it. Well, let's just say that the words I posted at the beginning of the year, are were still there.

I know....that is a BIG NO NO!!!!

So I started thinking; What is the main purpose of my word wall? How can I get my students more aware of it? and How can I make it more interactive?

I wanted a word wall that I could use with my small reading groups, and most importantly be somewhat interactive. So I thought of an idea. The first thing I needed to do was to find a spot behind my reading table....and this meant rearranging the posters that were already behind my table. I was ok with that because I feel like the word wall is a pretty important part of the classroom. So here is what I did....

Yes, this is a real classroom where my desk is never free of clutter!! 

I stood back and thought ok...not a bad start but I'm missing the interactive part!!

So I went where all teachers love to go....

the laminator room!!!!

I took white card stock and laminated enough to have for each letter.

And here we have it......

......a word wall that is interactive where I can easily add new words, use color coding to point out important chunks or patterns we are studying, and I can quickly take words away they have mastered. I always dreaded stapling up the words, taking them down, putting up new words, and taking them down. This way, it's easy as erasing!! 

I placed our Memory Words that we are working on for the remainder of the year, but I'm looking forward to seeing how my class works to fill our letter charts up!! 

I hope you enjoy this idea!!! I can't wait to see how my students react to it! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Hi everyone!!!

I writing a quick post tonight to let you know that I'm taking part in a holiday giveaway with some amazing folks!! Just enter to win by filling out the Rafflecopter below. It's a great way to kick this season off right!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Relatives Came: Predicting and Making Connections

Hey everyone!!

I don't know about you but this month is FLYING by!!!! It's crazy to think that 5 weeks ago I was meeting my firsties for the first time and now it seems like I've known them's so crazy how quickly we get attached to our students but it happens....and I am SO attached to these little people :)

I wanted to share with you a book that I used in my whole group lesson that drove my instruction in small groups. A teammate of mine shared this book with us and we thought it would be perfect to use for predicting and making connections......there is a freebie at the end of this post for ya :)

It's called The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. This is a GREAT book!!!!

It's about a family visiting relatives in the country and all of the fun things they do together until it's time for them to leave and go back home.

Below I'm going to share what I did every day to give you an idea of how my lessons worked to make it flow from learning about predictions to making connections.

Monday: "What is prediction? How do we predict and why do we need to predict?" We created a definition for predicting as making a guess about what might happen in the story. I showed the students the importance of taking a "picture walk" or previewing the text to get our minds ready to read and to see what will happen in the story. Pictures walks are only for looking at pictures. We don't read words...we just focus on what's happening in the pictures/illustrations. We talking about how important illustrators are in the book making process....that was a great conversation!  We had some discussions on what they think is happening in the book, who the characters are, where they're going etc.

Then they completed this sheet as a follow up to our discussion by writing a sentence to explain what the story is about, draw a picture of what they saw on their picture walk, and use a questioning strategy to get them ready for tomorrow's "first reading" of the book

Tuesday: We went back and reviewed our prediction definition. This will be our first reading of the story. I wanted my students to really focus on the characters and how they can relate to something they did. 

I used this sheet for us to discuss how the actions of characters in the story are similar to our own actions. They filled this chart out and wrote about their connections using simple sentences.

Wednesday: Second Reading- I read the story a second time, and this time I wanted my students to focus on the sequence of events. We've been talking A LOT about how literary texts have a beginning, middle, and end so I wanted them to really hear that in this story. 

They drew pictures to show the setting, characters, beginning, middle and end.

Thursday: The students took their story map from yesterday and added more detail to the sequence of events by using their pictures to write sentences. 

Here are a couple of pictures of my students' working on these.....

If you like these printables, you can grab the entire packet for FREE at my TpT store

I hope you enjoy this packet and please leave some feedback! I always love to hear how my resources are working in other classrooms :) 

Happy Monday Every One!!! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pictographs: What's in My Cup?

We are already heading into week 3! This first 2 weeks were crammed full of routines, rules, procedures and all that jazz, that I'm finally ready to really dive into teaching some serious concepts!!

I did start my unit on Pictographs in math last week and I wanted to share a fun activity we did on Friday.

I'm all about my students getting involved in their learning and not just sitting at their seat filling out a piece of paper. For this activity, I wanted my students to show me that they understand how to make a pictograph, the parts that are needed for a pictograph, and how to read the data on a pictograph.

I used objects I already in had in the room, which is a huge bonus!!: counting bears, buttons, unit cubes, and linking cubes. Each student had their own cup of different objects and each students' cup was different as to how many of each object was in it.

I gave out the cups and had students sort through their objects.

Then they worked on their own to figure out the data they had and take that to create their own pictograph. From everything I taught them about pictographs throughout the week, I was hoping they would take it and run....and they did!

Here are some pics of my kids showing me their understanding!

I also have to share this simple letter a parent gave me last week. It really means a lot when parents take to the time to do this :) 

Have a great week everyone!! 

Thanks for stopping by!