Monday, September 24, 2012


Not the apple pie type but the author's purpose one! Our school is digging deeper into types of comprehension and story structures. This idea came from a Treasures resource on TPT. We have talked ALOT about author's purpose as in fiction vs non-fiction,, This week we are going to add persuasive writing/opinion to the mix. Since Common Core is helping us to organize our teaching, I am seeing our reading and writing workshop in a totally different way. I seemed to have set sail on a never ending sea and was adrift. I have used Lucy Caulkins Units of Study for Primary Writers. I was  a poor teacher when it came to Writing Workshop. This year I am enjoying it!!!

Today we wrote to inform others about the life cycle of butterflies. (The writing paper is from Stationary Studio software which our school purchased.) 

Monday is the day the kids get to select books for their book baskets. They seem to have the basket with labels figured out pretty close to what I envisioned. I still find a stray book but for the most part they can return the books to the correct basket. We are making progress! I think this class will make great strides as readers AND writers.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Moving on...and a freebie too!

We are moving on! Now it is the fifth week of first grade. A lot is happening in the next couple of weeks. One that makes me cringe is: giving the SAT10 Kindergarten test as a pre-test. So that....we can give the SAT10 First Grade test next April to show how valuable or invaluable my teaching is! Yes. Tennessee is making teacher's evaluations be 35% test scores. Since 1-2 grades didn't give the TCAP test, I didn't "own" my scores. My 35% was stolen from the 4th grade scores. Legal--yes I guess. Maybe. But now I guess it is really a non-issue. I will be held accountable.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind this--except we are in the fifth week of school. We have settled into a routine (of sorts). But the room will have to be stripped of every number, letter, and word for this test. That makes me sad. It infuriates me. But. oh. well.

This week we will be working on questions and statements. I've made a little freebie for you (and me of course!) that can be used in small groups or partners or individuals in a work station. Each set of cards has a question and answer using the same words. The pictures are for sorting them. The last slide has the recording sheet. My kiddos are having a difficult horrible time putting words in an order to make a good sentence.


Scrambled Questions

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week 3 Complete

Much needed day off for Labor Day! I do feel like I have labored in the past three weeks. But we have come a long way in becoming a family. A noisy family. But we are beginning to settle in for the remaining 166 school days.

Last week we also worked on the short a sound in our phonics. We used Abby's Spelling set.  for the Pencil Me In Activity. I think it will be a little different way to work on our spelling patterns/word families often this fall. And Abby plans to make a "winter" set later on this fall. You can find all about it here.

Reading Workshop:  I am trying determined to use a reading workshop this year. I've tried in the past few years to use it only to let it be pushed aside by trying to depend on our basal (Treasures). This year I am going to use Treasures as a shared read, focus on the skills it covers, but use a workshop to actually let the kids learn to read/love reading. It is working well so far and I'm actually sticking to my morning schedule. Last week the kids were able to read independently for 15 minutes and I could pull small groups to work on their current levels. Our district uses the STAR test to give a baseline reading level. It isn't usually accurate the first time we use it because the kids invariably just decide to guess, click, and go to the next question on the computer.

We also worked with reading with a partner on sitting side by side and reading, talking, etc.

This week we will again choose their books for their reading baskets from ones I have pulled. Hopefully next week we will begin to use a small portion of the classroom library for them to select their books. I am determined to teach them how to return books to the correct basket. Last year was a nightmare!!! I've labeled most of them but have a few to finish this week. (I doubt I'll find minutes to do that!)

I plan on working a  lot all the time on our voice levels next week. I made a PPT and also posters of these voice levels.

Voice Levels Dots

Hope everyone has a great, relaxing weekend!