Thursday, June 28, 2012

Enrichment & Interventions

I have been doing Enrichment/Intervention time for two years now and each year it looked different with the more knowledge of how to use this time. I have posted in the past about this time but I think I have a better perspective on it now and I'm actually excited to start it up next year. I also wanted to repost because some folks had questions after reading my recent post on my reading block schedule.

Enrichment/Intervention time is a 30 minute time during our day in which classroom teachers switch students and they are put in classes according to their reading abilities. Some classes need help with fluency, some with comprehension, some with decoding, some with letters/sounds, some need to be pushed to the next level, others need to try new projects or book reports. The classes are so that we meet the needs of each of our students and give them what they need outside of the regular curriculum.

To organize our students into classes we come together as a team to discuss our children's assessments, test scores, running records, and our general observation of how they are doing in class. Then we place them into an Enrichment/Intervention group. This does not mean that student stays in that class all year though. Most of the time we switch students around according to their growth and needs during the year.

In our Intervention group (which is our below grade level students) our Special Education teacher pushes into the class to provide extra support, help plan lessons, and to work with more students one on one. Our Speech Pathologist also pulls students out during this time so those students are not missing regular curriculum or specials times in the class since everyone is getting Enrichment/Intervention during this time it works out well. We do not have an ESOL teacher that pulls out however most of our staff is ESOL certified and we make ESOL accommodations throughout the day.

Everyone in the school participates in Enrichment/Interventions at different times so that the resources teachers can be available to all grade levels. This past year we had Enrichment/Interventions first thing in the morning. So students got settled watched announcements and then left for their other class.

During this time we do not have a set curriculum. We have to create activities for our groups needs. It has been a challenge coming up with ideas not because there isn't a curriculum but because of the limit of time you get with that group of students. It takes time to know students needs and 30 minutes it is hard to get a full lesson in. Often times one lesson can be carried over for the whole week. Now that most of the teachers understand through trial and error how this time works they can better prepared for it next year. Next year a couple of teachers (one of them is me!) are going to be teaching using Braidy, the StoryBraid which helps with retelling, comprehension, and writing. I'm excited to start using this program and think it will really help our ESOL population. I will be study more about this program over the summer and keep you updated.

So that's my Enrichment/Intervention time! If you have any further questions please feel free to ask! Have a beautiful day! It's finally sunny in Florida again and I think I'll be sitting in the sun/pool all day long!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Shopping

One of my favorite things to do besides teach and blog is SHOPPING! I love getting new things! I  just went to Atlanta last weekend for a girls shopping weekend. I like buying clothes, house stuff, and of course anything teacher related. This is probably why I love to switch my classroom theme around every year. I just get sick of looking at the same old things and get the itch to switch. So I'm linking up with Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files  to share all of my awesome teacher/classroom purchases from June. If you want to know about some of my other purchases check out my Major Purchases post

I bought some fun decor in green and white polka dots for my classroom. I really wanted a new alphabet since the one I have now is old and reminds me of Kindergarten. I also just wanted to tie in polka dots a bit more to my room so I got the welcome sign and border. I might end of getting more of the same kind of border but for now I'm sticking with this and some plain lime green bordette. I also want to try a scrunchy border I just saw on Pinterest that just requires paper.

I got some ribbon that matches my color scheme of blue and green. I also got this basket from JoAnn's and will most likely have the kids keep their supplies in it if I can find enough of them. I bought Schoolgirl Styles bird theme to help decorate my room.

I bought a cute little blue bird from Carson Dellosa to add to my bird theme and color scheme. 

I just bought some storage bins today from Really Good Stuff. They are having a 25% sale on their mix and match storage. I am going to sort all my word work games in these by month. I also bought some paper storage bins in these fun neon colors. I think I'll have the blue and green ones be visible for use in the classroom and the pink and orange ones be behind the scenes since they don't match the color scheme. 

Yesterday I also bought these wonderful display frames from Lakeshore. They were having a buy one get one 50% deal so you know I just had to buy something off my wish list. I think these will be a great addition to my classroom and an awesome and neat way to display students work.

Look What I Made! Art Frames
I still have a few items (rug, easel, smart board...oh wait I don't get 3 wishes from a magic genie?!) that I want but don't know if I actually purchase. I'm sure I'll see plenty of little items at Target that I'll get for my classroom. Can't wait to see what everyone is getting for their classrooms this year! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Made It Monday

Today I made a letter that spell out "READ" to decorate my classroom library. It was a good project to do on a rainy, windy day. I worked with a college friend who is a great painter and motivator who helps me out at the gym all the time. We went to JoAnn's and got some cardboard letters which are actually much easier to paint on with acrylics.

Then we set to making designs on each of them. The letter "E" was supposed to be a chevron pattern but I completely messed it up and decided to make it all blue.

Here are the letters:

Can't wait to put all the stuff I'm making this summer into my new classroom!

Daily 5 Chapter 2 Book Study

I am just going to discuss the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure: trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina. This week I'm linking up again with   Suesstastic Classroom Inspirations and Teaching with Style

One of the major keys to implementing Daily 5 in your classroom is trust. Your students have to trust you and you have to trust them to make it work. I trust that most of my students will work independently. This does not happen all the time and you do have to re-model or even discipline sometimes to get students to cooperate in independent learning. The students have to trust you to be able to read out loud and read their writing. This comes with being a have to make students feel comfortable and in a trusting safe environment before they open up. That's why starting Daily 5 at the beginning of the year is helpful. 

As I have stated before choice is one of my favorite aspects of Daily 5. You have to trust your students to make to make choices but when they do its enlightening. I have my students rotate 5 times. Most of the time I pull them for guided reading/strategy focus/independent reading/assessments during 1 of the 5 rotations. I pick each group first and then those students get their book boxes and sit at the guided reading horseshoe table waiting for me while the other students make their choices. The students remaining on the floor make their choices. They know that they will make 4 choices that day and have to decide what they want to do first. Some students pick their least favorite activity to do first while others always pick their favorite activity. No one complains because they know they will get to pick that choice again if it wasn't available the first time. For each Daily 5 I have a limit of the number of students so I don't go crazy and the students have enough materials/supplies. For listening there are 6 spots because I have 4 computers and one listening station where 2 students can fit. Writing I limit to 4 students so each student can have access to the paper, supplies, pillow, and notebooks. For read to someone I like to have 4 students so the classroom doesn't get too loud (this is the loudest activity in my room because my kids love to choral read in normal voices lol). Word work and read to self are unlimited amount of students because their are plenty of activities and supplies for word work and all you need for read to self is your book box. Depending on my class I usually start to let my students choose their center in October. If my class was not yet meeting their stamina goal I would wait until they did and then start to let them choose. 

It is such an important task to create community in any classroom setting. I strongly think this can make or break a class at the beginning of the year. Community is something I start working with my kids on day one. Beginning of the school year activities, get to know you activities, sharing writing, and choosing great read alouds are all ways to build community in your classroom. When students are working together towards a common goal (such as building stamina for Daily 5) they are building community. The 2 Sisters suggest you take 20 minutes to build community in your classroom each day. This may seem like a lot but I bet you're already doing it. Think about it. In my class morning message/morning meeting as well as our afternoon read aloud and closing meeting is building community in the classroom. This only takes 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon. If you don't do this you may want to try in next year.

Students doing the Daily 5 are more motivated to start right away and work the whole time. I have seen students who will tell me on their way when we are cleaning up from a rotation and sitting down to make our choice that they already know what they want to do because they "need to finish a story in writing" or "have to finish that chapter in their book". This is exciting to know that your students are thinking about and are ready to move on because they feel a sense of urgency in completing the Daily 5. 

Building stamina is the key do doing Daily 5. Students need to build stamina to be able to complete each Daily 5. Start off slow like the 2 Sisters suggest and work your way up. Celebrate each time your class reaches a little farther and make sure you model what went well and what they could do better on. Once the students have built their stamina to 20/30 minutes and can maintain this then you may start to let them choose the order of the Daily 5. 

Hope this helps all of your teachers who are beginning to learn and study about the Daily 5. If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Made It Monday

Link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics to make something this Monday and see others creations!  

I didn't know Monday could be so busy when on summer break but so far I've cleaned the house, done laundry,printed out lots of stuff,  laminated, called my pharmacy (this took 30 minutes of my time), did a kickboxing class (which totally kicked my...), and crafted!!

So here is what I made this marvelous Monday! It is a simple wreath from JoAnn's and Schoolgirl Style. Have you checked out her stuff-amazing!

So I used some green ribbon from JoAnn's and hot glued it together to make sure my wreath can hang and then attached a pretty bow. It took me FOREVER to do that bow. I don't know how some people are talented at tying beautiful bows but after struggling with it for awhile I think it looks pretty darn good. Then I took this little blue bird from Carson Dellosa laminated and attached it with hot glue. After that I used a organizational label from Schoolgirl Style and to make it personalized.

I'm pretty proud of my little project but I might add some more to it later. Right now though I need to get back to my busy schedule of cutting out all this lamination, folding laundry, and reading. Ahh summer time and living is easy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daily 5 & Houghton Mifflin

This is the schedule of my day and how I use Houghton Mifflin along with Daily 5. 

We have a phonics program and I use it first thing in the morning 8:45. I spend about 12 minutes teaching and then for 10 minutes the students are doing workbook pages. While they are doing their workbook pages I'm checking homework, doing lunch count, and taking attendance. This is the warm up part of our day. At 9:00 we stop because my kids switch classes for enrichment time. On my team we split up the kids that are below, on, and above grade level and give them reading enrichment/interventions during this time. 

At 9:30 I get my class back and we start with whole group reading for 30-45 minutes so we end around 10:00. This is the time that I do Houghton Mifflin. I start with a quick phonemic awareness or phonics activity, teach the words to know, and mostly teach the comprehension strategy of the week. I know there is so much more in Houghton Mifflin but I take out what I think is important. On Monday I  do a read aloud to model the comprehension strategy, Tuesday I read the story of the week or we listen to it online, Wednesday we read the story of the week together, Thursday my students buddy read the story, Friday my students read on their own. I teach the comprehension strategy before and we discuss how we used it after reading. I of course ask questions throughout the reading as well. After we read the story of the week they do their workbook pages. (I know this will change some next year because we have to align to the Common Core but this is the method I have been using.) I give 10 minutes for the workbook pages and if they aren't finished then they may finish up in Word Work before they play any games or take out any activities.

 Then we start the Daily 5 around 10:00. I remind them quickly of the rules during Daily 5, remind them of our comprehension strategy, and then let my students pick where they want to go. During this time I pull groups for guided reading/book studies/assessments/one-on-one reading help. I use HM leveled readers and reading records in small group with the kids. We have one hour to complete all 5 so they are in each one rotation for 12 minutes. This is perfect for the beginning of the year and then towards the end I will cut it down to 4 rotations for 15 minutes. Since they only get to choose 4 I have them pick their 5th choice 1st the next day. (So if they completed read to self, read to someone, word work, and listening then they would start with writing the next day.) I ring a bell to let the students know it is time to switch and they all clean up and meet me on the floor to pick again and continue. So yes it  would take the place of literacy centers/stations. After the last rotation we clean up and go to lunch at 11:10. I know it is not exactly how the framework of Daily 5 goes but it is what works for me within the constrictions of what I have to do at my school. 

After lunch we have writing for 45 minutes and then go to recess for 20 minutes. Then we come back in from recess and have math for one hour. I split my math up into whole group math for 30-45 minutes and then small group/centers for 30-45 minutes. After math we have science or social studies (Science M, Tu, Th) (Social Studies W, F). Then my students have specials for one hour. After they come back we pack up, eat snack, read a story, and go home. 

I hope this helps you out and again feel free to ask any questions I may have not answered. 

Major Purchases

Yesterday I got an awesome UPS package in the mail. Even the UPS guy was excited about it. It is a sleek, brand new, totally awesome MacBook Pro! I've been saving for awhile for a new computer since my MacBook was 5 years old and it's battery was kinda going out. I was waiting for Mac to release the latest models and ordered it immediately on Tuesday. I sat around all morning at home waiting for my brand new computer and was not disappointed when it finally came around noon. I love getting new technology and I'm super pumped I got over summer so I have time to play around on it and create new products for TPT (any suggestions?).

Another major purchase made this month were my wedding dress!!! Which was not actually purchased by me (thanks Mom & Dad) but was still a huge and major purchase. It was a super fun day with my Mom, maid of honor Paige, Mother in Law, and step Mother in Law (is there another name?). I loved trying on beautiful gowns and everyone was so helpful in my decision making. Once I choose my dress which I'm completely obsessed with we popped some champagne and celebrated.  I would love to show you pictures but my Dad does not want to see pictures until the day of the wedding and he reads my blog. I will show you a picture of my best friend, MOH Paige and I the day of though and the sweet present she got me to hang my dress on.

My third major purchase my was plane ticket to Atlanta for next week. I going to visit one my best friends and bridesmaids with another best friend and bridesmaid. We've all be great friends since college and I'm super excited for a girls extended long weekend. 

Hope you're having a fabulous summer! I'll be posting again today about Daily 5 and Houghton Mifflin so stayed tuned. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study

Chapter 1: Introduction

In the past I have talked about Daily 5 and CAFE and how I use these books to guide my teaching during my literacy block. Now several bloggers are linking up to do a book study on Daily 5 and each chapter of the book. 

Here are my thoughts after reading chapter one.

1. On pages 4-6, the authors present two different pictures of their classrooms. In thinking about and reflecting on your own practice, how would you characterize your literacy block? Does it look more like the first or second scenario, or is it somewhere in between? How will you change it?
My first year of teaching I did not use Daily 5 and I had mass confusing in centers. I had try to differentiate each center to that groups level and had them go around with their guided reading group. It was hard to teach independence to students especially Kindergarten. So my solution and what other teachers told me to do was to give my students a lot of paper pencil busy work. Well guess what? The kids hated it and I hated it. That's not my real teaching style and I wanted my students to be engaged in their learning not just going through the motions. After my first year I stumbled upon the Daily 5 and instantly knew this was going to help me. Since using the Daily 5 my students have become more independent, love learning and our time in Daily 5, and I'm happily teaching target groups of students or assessing. Now my students love getting to choose where they want to go and what they want to do. Some of my students even beg to have more time for independent reading and I ended up making it a reward they could earn for clipping up. (2 rounds of independent reading) Volunteer parents in my room even comment on how they love that the students get a choice in what they do but are still doing all the areas of reading they need to be doing. I think it's great when others realize the impact on the student's learning as well. 

2. The typical teacher is very busy having students do lots of different activities. How is what you are having students do now in your classroom creating quality readers and writers? 
Before my students were doing activities that went along with the standards but didn't have any real meaning to them. Now with the Daily 5 my students are choosing books on their level that they want to read so they are engaged and focused on what they are doing. I can hear their conversations in buddy reading where they are asking questions before, during, and after reading to each other. I know that they think their word work is meaningful to them since they love to show me later what they did and take it home with them to share with their parents. I have had classes love the writing component and dislike the writing component. I know I need to fine tune this for next year and get my students more excited about writing. They do love the choice but at such a young age they have a hard time finding a topic even if I have a list. Getting started has been difficult for some students and I think I need to spend more time on guidelines for writing, topics you can writing about, and stresses the write the whole time part (1st graders LOVE to draw after only 3 sentences).

3. What sets the Daily 5 structure apart from what you are doing in your classroom?
I think that Daily 5 gives ownership to my students learning. They feel a sense of pride in their work and getting to choose their rounds. I know I'm not just creating a good classroom atmosphere for learning but instilling in them the importance of being a life long reader at home. 

This is truly an amazing way to get students hooked on reading/writing. My reading coach saw Daily 5 and CAFE in my classroom and immediately wanted to get the rest of the school on board with it. We started slowly with my own first grade team and then expanded to anyone who was interested in K-5. She started a book study of The Daily 5 for teachers and most teachers were hooked and exclaimed they didn't know how they ever did centers before. If you are wary about trying it I suggest you read around blogs and see what others are doing-you'll be surprised at how many great teachers use this framework and make it their own.

Next week I will be discussing Chapter 2. Questions to think about while reading Chapter 2: 

1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?

2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter? 
 3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?

Now what should you do?

1. Well if you are not yet reading the Daily 5 go get it! Click here. It's a super easy read that I read in one day and read again each summer. Try it out!
2. If you have a blog and want to link up go to Suesstastic Classroom Inspirations and link up.
3. If you don't have a blog but want to participate just leave comments, ideas, suggestions, and questions.
4. Check back next week to read about Chapter 2. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

To Do Summer List

Does anyone else enjoy making lists? I just love making lists and checking them off. I will also re-write lists on pretty paper, then on sticky notes, and then my computer that will connect to my phone just to make sure I have them on my desk, bag, phone, and computer! So it is only natural that while sitting here on my first night of summer I am creating a summer to do list. Don't worry I celebrated the beginning of summer with sushi and wine. I'm relaxed and can finally think clearly about the new year!

Summer To Do List:

-get rid of my teacher's desk

This is numero 1 because I have a para professional working with me next year and she has a teacher's desk which has already moved into my room and I just can't stand the thought of wasted space by having 2 teacher desks. I have been contemplating this change to get rid of my desk for awhile so this was the perfect time to just get rid of it. Yes, there will still be one but it won't be mine and I won't have it next year.

-create a wreath for my new classroom theme

-create a banner for my new classroom theme

-create a CAFE board and Daily 5 labels for my new classroom theme

-label new books or ones that missed getting labeled during the rush of the school year

-study more the Common Core more in depth

-study Marazano :(  so I can be an innovating teacher next year (if you are a Florida teacher I hope you realize my slight sarcasm in this but if you want me to put on a show I'll put on a great one for you with bells on!)

-send my students letters in the mail

-re-read the book Mentor Texts to get some great ideas for read alouds for Common Core literature/ELA and writing

-paint a stool or chair that I can use as an author's chair or fun chair (good behavior/birthdays)

-find a way that works for me to implement Accelerated Reader in my classroom

-study the Braidy, the StoryBraid doll for interventions next year

So far that is my summer list...I'm sure I'll get most of this accomplished in June and be making a new list but this is it for now!

Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

School's Out for SUMMER!

I totally fell off the face of blogging world. Sorry about that...I will be posting regularly over the summer you might even get sick of me! The past few months have been SO crazy! But I made it to the end of the year! Yeah! It was a fabulous ending to a wonderful year. I have so much to be thankful for I couldn't have asked for better students, volunteers, and families this year in my class. They showered me with extravagant gifts (very extravagant..I got a Tiffany's bracelet!) and truly showed me how much I was appreciated with all their sweet thank you' s. I'm staying in the same school which I absolutely love, with an awesome team, in the same grade level. I get to move (yes, I'm being positive about moving) to a beautiful (with lots of help this summer) new classroom with windows.

Thursday was the last day of school and I was so sad to see my little ones go it is always such a bittersweet day. Friday was a teacher workday where I got a lot of packing done. I worked from 7:30-5:00 and then had to call it quits when I slammed my head on a cabinet and got a nice lump on my head. I go back to work on Monday for my last official teacher work day where I will hopefully move to my new room. I say official because I'll be in over the summer as much as I can! I love using the summer to get my classroom organized and decorated before all the hustle and bustle of the beginning of the school year.

So here's a picture of what my packing looks like:

 I tried to do this in an organized way but everything does not fit in boxes and that is just more I have to unpack. So yes it looks a little like a mess but I promise I did actually get rid of some stuff!

Some of my library...I'm just carrying these books over in their bins. My kids nicely put away their books and help me reorganize everything so I don't want to pack everything away in boxes. As long as things are on a bookshelf or cabinet in the room it's okay so I'll be putting a lot there.

Last but not least this is a cute gift one of my students gave me and I can't wait to use it all next year! 

Three cheers for summer and time to finally regroup and get back to blogging! Hope all you lovely teachers are starting to enjoy your summer!