Sunday, August 3, 2014

OMG! Book Clubs on Steroids!

::Flashback to 2005::

It was the day of Parent Orientation (the Thursday before school began).  I was a third year teacher on a fourth grade team.  We were departmentalized and I was set to teach Math and LOVES...until {dun dun dun} one of the Reading/LA teachers accepted a position at another school leaving the team to hire a substitute-turned teacher in her place.  The curriculum coach turns to me and says, "I need you to teach Reading and Writing."  {insert tears}  I was beyond nervous, beyond scared, beyond bummed.  I understood why she "needed" me to teach Reading and Writing to these fourth graders - the state tests!

I had only taught kindergarten before teaching 4th grade Math/Science.  I didn't know WHAT I was doing.  This was before Pinterest, before blogs, before basically Facebook lol

The curriculum coach was so helpful.  I can never thank her enough.  She introduced me to Book Clubs and my kids fell in LOVE.  I still use them to this day...

WAIT...NOT EXACTLY... Now I use Book Clubs on Steroids!!

In 2005, the Curriculum Coach gave me 4 activities to do with my Book Clubs.  Over the past 9+ years and Common Core, they have evolved to 30 activities and 5 writing prompts.

I have finally finished this compilation just in time for the TPT Back-to-School Sale :)  So plop it into your cart for the sale!!  Go to this link to be directed to this invaluable resource :)

Here's a sample of one of the Reading pages:

Here are the Writing Prompts:

So look for this cover page in the TPT store!
 Common Core Reading and Writing Strategy Practice

Thanks for the LOVE!!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Thematic Units, Common Core, and Text-based Questions

This year, I've been blessed to be working in a school with a positive atmosphere.  I LOVE, LOVE my 4th graders, the parents, and my work family (can you feel the <3?)

The biggest hurdle (other than the regular "getting used to the newness") is that our school chose to forego the use of a basal (BLAH to the basal!) and use authentic literature instead (YAY!).  Although it's been time consuming to find literature to teach certain skills and find ways to do the formal assessments, I'm going to post my progress here so I can refer back to it year after year (and share it too)...

I purchased a few resources to help me along the way.  First, I bought Nicole Shelby's Reading Interactive Notebook.  Second, I bought a Curriculum Map for Thematic Units on the Common Core website.  Oh!  I forgot to mention, my school also wants us to use thematic units as we teach, too (more "newness" lol).  Here is a run-down of what I've used and taught, etc...

Theme 1: How do stories reveal what we have in common?

RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

TB? - What is the theme/lesson/central theme of the story?  How do you know?

TBR - The theme/lesson/central theme of (story title) is _____ because in the story, (character) (action he/she/it says or does).

Stories I used to teach this skill - Big Al, Kat Girl, The Ants and the Grasshopper, Horton Hatches the Egg, My Brother Martin.

Assessment: Multiple choice and open response test I created using short text I found online.

RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

TB? - What word best describes (character)?  Which specific details from the story support your answer?

TBR - In the story (story title), (character) is _____ because (action he/she/it says or does).

TB? - Explain how the paper boy's actions help the reader understand him.

TBR - In the story, the paper boy does several things to show he is (character trait).  First, he (action he/she/it says or does).  He also, (action he/she/it says or does).

Stories I used to teach this skill:  Horton Hatches the Egg, The Paper Boy, Babushka's Doll, Wemberly Worried.

Assessment: Students wrote a paragraph describing one of the characters from the book they are currently reading during Daily 5 (read to self).

More to come (last updated 10/14/13)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Setting Up My Classroom - Day 1

I am so fortunate to be working at a school where my little boy can be right next door.  I'm a first time mom and I feel at ease knowing he's just steps away.

On to my classroom...

After renting a cargo van and lugging two van-loads of my things, I finally got a chance to begin working in my new classroom at my new school.  It's much larger than my previous two classrooms with ample storage.

Here's a panoramic of my room before I began arranging:

This is the view from the entrance.  There is a Smart Board on the right wall just past the bulletin board and then another large White board.  All the stuff along the right wall is my stuff... the rest belongs to someone else.  Needless to say, I emptied out the closet on the left (see it with the sliding doors).  All that belonged to a Kinder teacher who moved next door.  Once that was tackled, I moved my student desks. Oh! Did I mention I have a bathroom in the class?  Score!

Hopefully, I will have some helpers next week who will be organizing my library and doing other annoying important tasks.

I have some good ideas to share so come back tomorrow for the next picture :)  Can't wait to be D.O.N.E!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New beginnings...

Greetings all!

I'm so excited (and anxious) to begin a new chapter in my teaching career.  First, I moved to a new school.  Still teaching 4th grade (thank goodness).  I was offered an opportunity to teach 6th but let me tell you, I can literally roll out of bed - even if my little one decides to wake up at 3am - and teach 4th grade.  So I'm thrilled to be staying in my "comfort zone"... At least for now.

I've got so many ideas brewing in my mind *rubbing my hands together* and would LOVE to hear what you all have up your sleeve for this coming year.  Here is what I've got cookin':

Lovin' these "book sleeves".  Definitely going to invest the $0.77 x 22 to get these bad boys!

I'm going to continue my interactive student notebooks but haven't quite decided if I'm going to buy a ready-made one or just go with where my instincts lead...  Feel free to chime in.

I'm totally going to fully roll out the Daily 5.  Reading the book now and it's got some good ideas.  I think I've been using a lot of what's in there but now I can make it "officially" part of the class.  How do you use Daily 5 in your classroom?

Although I chose NOT to use Remind 101 last year, I may just do it this year.  I'm not too sure how often the parents at this new school read their emails so text may be more efficient for relaying important information.  It's one-way text messaging so you can give parents (and students for those teaching older ones) information without giving your phone number to the entire world.  Anyone use this?

I'm sure I will generate new ideas (as teaching is my ONLY creative outlet) so keep coming back as I update this page.

What new plans do you have for the coming school year?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Getting back into the swing of things...

My last few days as a stay-at-home-mom are coming to a close... Thus begins the mad dash of anxiety to get back in "teaching mode".

Currently, my students are reading a novel together in class... It's not a regular thing for me to assign one novel for ALL kids to read.  Usually, I have them choose groups and choose a book from my book club collection that's on their level.  They map out their readings and assignments then discuss them in class.

But my sub (with the help of my wonderful teammates) chose a really good book from our book room.  My school doesn't have a traditional library.  Instead, it has class sets of various chapter books.  Tucked away on the shelf was a little gem: The Adventures of Charlie Pierce: The Last Egret.

I teach 4th grade in Florida and for everyone who knows, 4th grade is the year you teach state history.  *cue the "wha wha wha"* After teaching Florida History for 8 years, it takes its toll.  Well, I asked for a copy of the book so I could catch up with the class and be up-to-speed for my return on Monday.  What a cute book!  And not your traditional novel.  The book is landscape instead of portrait!  And the text is larger along with some sketch drawings throughout.  Plus, it has a ton of awards!  Down side is that it's not an AR book, but oh well, you can't have it all ;)

If you haven't read these historical fiction novels, you should.  Moreover, you should read it with your class.  From what feedback I've heard, the kids are really enjoying the book and they get excited when they read about something they've read about in the SS textbook.

What's even better, it that there are two other books in the series!  Check them out.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mother's Day and Earth Day


So I'm a new mom (yay!).  I've been on maternity leave for 9 weeks.  My little guy is such a great baby (not that I have anything to compare it to - but I've heard worse stories about other kids).  With that being said, we've pretty much mastered the afternoon nap and thus, TIME TO WORK ON SOME PROJECTS!  Here's my man :)

I just finished my Mother's Day Writing Craftivity for Primary.  I had my "nieces" make some samples. Here is the one by the first grader. She listed main ideas on her plan and added the details to her essay:

Her plan

Pages from her Essay to Mom

The template is available in my TPT store for just $2!

Now I'm working on something for Earth Day... which is RIGHT around the corner!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 31, 2013