Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review for Treasures

We have just finished Unit 2 in our Treasures reading curriculum. Next week we will review! I made this contractions matching station to use during our Word Work for Daily 5. Fall Contractions

 I plan to print off three sets so that several kids can work at the same time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Fall Fun

These "pumpkins at night" were done by my little guys in art class. They truly are so sweet! The pumpkins were done with pastels and then painted over with black tempera.

I had the kids write from their "schema" facts they already knew about pumpkins. The next day we read Gail Gibbons' Pumpkin book--lots of "new learning". I used Abby's Pumpkin Fact page for them to write again.

Another inspiration from Abby was for our math lesson. We have just completed Topic 7 in Envisions Math.  Today the kids created their own math story problems using pumpkins, bats, or ghosts foam shapes. Assessment fun!

Envisions uses a work-mat frame to show the whole/parts. So the kids wrote their story--deciding whether it was going to be addition or subtraction. My they were creative. (Did you know that two bats could pick up a pumpkin each and take them away in the air?)

And some inspirations from some blog that I read last night????A very easy way to "fix it" using the SMARTboard/projector. My school has Stationery Studio program that was purchased for the school. It has the neatest graphics and ability to select fonts/handwriting lines/etc. I usually use it every day to begin our day with the morning message. Treasures was teaching about signs and information so I just pulled up the cutest document template and put in my need to be corrected message. Using colorful sticky notes we could edit. AHHHH I love easy!

Now the best news--we are on a four day FALL break which means no school on Halloween!!!!! Bless their little sugar filled hearts that will return on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Visions of Envisions...

New Math series. Interesting group of kids. A + B = confusion, frustrations, etc.

I thought the "interactive videos" that introduce each lesson would grab their attentions. Well...a %.
I thought that my schedule was absolutely perfect: morning for LA block. Lunch/Specials. Math.= not so much for these interesting kids.

We have a great morning. They focus. They work. They make great conversations during reading workshop.

But once we get ready for Math the kids just could care less. It is just soooo frustrating to want to teach and their shoe laces are more entertaining. The easiest math questions become college thesis material.

So now the delimma of "fixing" the problem. My options:
  1. Move math to the morning. Not my favorite at all. I love reading. I can show them the wonders of books. We can talk. We can read in our book nooks. We can work with words and use poems and songs.
  2. Break up the language arts block. Put math in the middle of the morning (after my kids return from Title Reading pull out). This would give us time to do the group work and independent work. It might leave time for Math tubs after lunch for 20 minutes before specials.
  3. Leave the schedule as it is. We will be moving on to geometry and patterns. Maybe a change in topic will begin to show the kids that math is more than addition and subtraction via the Envisions way!
I welcome all input as to advice.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

EXTENDED writing for Math???

Sometimes it just happens. I jumped on the laptop to check blogs this morning and the Teeny Tiny Teacher had posted just what this Tennessee teacher is feeling experiencing.. You can find HER post here.  Creativeness is hidden because we have those standards to teach, evaluations to perform! But this morning I was inspired--and not just a teeny tiny bit.  Conferences are tomorrow. Parents will actually see what their little angels are doing!

I took that template and stuffed some bright colored paper in the printer and handed those kiddos a large piece of construction paper. tie it neatly with a bow--the math link to the standards to the evaluation to the lesson plans...I printed a little form and the kids were to look in their picture for a doubles fact. Write that doubles fact. Look in the picture for a near doubles fact (or doubles plus one in my vocabulary). AHHHH! A smile on my face. We actually got to do something creative and satisfy those standards too.!!!!

I'll try to imbed that form but it never seems to show up correctly --the fonts get all out of sorts! Any ideas will be welcomed to correct that situation.  Apparently if you download it as a word document it looks like it is supposed to.  :)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing to Read

I struggle with teaching writing. And this group seems to be the one that I really need to teach writing. Low interest? Not inclined? Whatever the reason I seem to be treading water when I look at our results after nine weeks of school. (It might be because the writing time seems to get short-changed in minutes.) So...I tried moving our writing to earlier in the morning.

Morning Message
Writing Workshop
Shared Reading
Phonics and Word Work

 I thought if I knew it would be included each and every day I would feel better. I had given my kids opportunities. I had used a short mini-lesson.

I have used Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Primary Writers. Really Good Stuff (pardon the pun). But in the past I haven't moved through the units. I've hit a lesson. I've moved a couple of lessons forward or backward or to the next book.

But I think I finally hit on one thing that is working this year. Reading the pieces to peers or the group. This seems to be the key to instilling in writers the need to add details, check their work, etc.

Now, my next goal is to model more. I hesitate to "show" because my stories invariably become their stories. Any help on that one?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh, a moving we will go!

Ok, blogging friends. Let's be honest! How many of you are inclined anal about desks arrangements to the point that they may get moved daily? It begins when you "think" you have the perfect setup.
 The meeting area is in front of the whiteboard/SMARTboard. Which makes the desks around it. OK--perfect--until the number of kids keeps growing, and growing, and growing. The neat storage of reading baskets within each group has to be eliminated.

I think the additional 12 INCHES will help give me tons of rrrrooooooommmmm for those additional desks and chairs and little kids. But....NOOOOO.

I have moved to four groups with five desks--too crowded.  I have moved to three groups again and shoved on one side of the room because one group can't see the whiteboard/SMARTboard when we are working together. I have shoved everything over to one group is actually almost sitting in the hallway!

And then by the grace of God and a little blogging--I see it! Right in front of me. And it worked!!!!
Four groups--but not equal in size. Two groups of six and two groups of four. By turning the groups of four so that only two are facing each other and two are facing forward--it takes LESS space. Another 4 INCHES of walking room.

AHHHH. My kids are actually enjoying our morning exercise time and not collapsing at the thought of coming in and searching for where oh where is MY desk today--on where oh where can it be? It was here yesterday but has gone away, oh where is it today?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Farm Station

I use Treasures reading in my first grade classroom. This week we are continuing to work with nouns and short vowel words. Since our "theme" is The Little Red Hen I created a simple ABC word sort using farm nouns. Down on the Farm ABC Order I hope that it is helpful for someone in Blogland!