Friday Freebie

Today I introduced The Mystery Word to my class. It's the best hour any teacher could ask for. Once you've shown your students how to "play" (Really, it's learning - HA! Tricked'em!), it's great to have on hand for a little break from the norm, add it to your centers rotation, and supply it for your next substitute. 


Here is how I roll it out:

  1. Put students into pairs (or small groups)
  2. Pass out a record sheet and letter strip to each student
  3. Have students use one color (different than their teammate(s) and color their letter strip
  4. Cut out letters
  5. Explain the parameters - this includes telling kids that they can use each letter ONCE per word, they cannot flip letters (they are underlined), they CAN write proper nouns, no inappropriate words, there is one word (sometimes two) that uses ALL of the letters - The Mystery Word, no walking around - we know kids cheat 🤣, and keep your words quiet so teams around you don't steal your words. 
  6. Make words
  7. Record
  8. Tally points
  9. Give prizes!


Q: So why color the letter strip?

A: This strategy helps keep the students from mixing up their letters with their partner(s)


Q: What's the objective?

A: To be the group with the MOST points at the end of the time limit. Even if kids get the Mystery Word, which is worth 20 points, they still have incentive to continue playing. 


Here is one team working together today. 


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Happy Friday!

B2S Class Tour

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 Science...my 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...

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...

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.

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