Friday, November 29, 2013

NYC trip!

Hello Friends!

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving break!!  I sure am!  We just got back last night from New York City!!  It was such a great trip!!

Just popping in to share a few pictures from the trip-

Of course we did A LOT of great eating!!  :)
Pizza at Motorino

GIANT sandwich from Carnegie Deli (that's all from one sandwich in the picture!)
More pizza from was sooo good!

 We also got the opportunity to see a taping of the David Letterman show!  My husband surprised me because apparently he had to fill out all this info online and wait for them to call and ask him a trivia question before he could win tickets!  It was a lot of fun!  We didn't know who the guests were and one of them ended up being Josh Hutcherson also known as PEETA!  So fun!

We also did some great shopping in SOHO!  We love walking around in that neighborhood!  We joked that when we win the lottery, we'll get a condo there- ha!  (that would involve actually buying a lottery ticket though!) One of the shops I went into was the Scholastic store!  I didn't end up buying anything but they do have a pretty awesome teacher discount there!

Check out this view from our restaurant on Tuesday-
Well, I hope you are having a great Friday today and I hope you get all of the Black Friday deals you were hoping for!!

p.s. My little store is on sale if you are still in your pjs like me!!  Just click the image below to visit my store.  :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Five for Fraturday!

To steal Kristin's words- it's time for Five for Fraturday!  If you don't know Kristin yet, you really must check out her blog- she cracks me up!

I'm excited to be linking up with Kacey this week and so I'll get on with my 5 pictures!

One of my sweeties wore this shirt on Tuesday and I love it!

We had a lot of fun this week comparing different versions of the Three Little Pigs stories!  The kids got really excited to find the similarities and differences and add them to our chart.  We read these this week, do you have any other favorites?

The Three Little Pigs by Gavin Bishop
Three Little Pigs by James Marshall
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
The Three Little Gators by Helen Ketteman
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas
The True Story of The Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

 We had a lot of fun using Shuna P's Cutting Up CVC Words pack!  We were reviewing short u words this week, so her pack was perfect!  I used one of the short u sheets in a Word Work center and used the one above in my some of my small groups.  Lots of fun!

We've been working on related addition subtraction facts and building fact families all week.  We had a little break from our normal routine of math journals and math centers to make some fact family turkeys!!  I had each student pick 2 numbers they wanted to add together and they built the facts in their fact family first, before transferring it all onto the turkey papers.  They did really well with it and only a few needed some small group help to get the facts done.  I had 5 or 6 of them on the carpet with me when 3 admin walked in for a surprise walk through!  They really liked the lesson and said my kids were doing great!  Whew!

Ok, so I stole that picture from Google, but I'm going to pretend that it's me and the other teachers at my school because we have all of next week off!!!  Woo hoo!!  My husband and I did early Thanksgiving with our families already so we're jumping on a plane to NYC tomorrow!  Two of our friends are getting married and we couldn't be more happy to celebrate with them!

How was your week?  What's your Thanksgiving break like?  Would love to hear from you in the comments!  And don't forget to link up over at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Truth Monday- this is a good one!

Yay, it's time for My Truth Monday again!  I'm linking up with Denise over at Sunny Days in Second Grade for this fun linky party!!

Today's truth is about our celebrity crushes!!  This should be a lot of fun!

My celebrity crush is Taye Diggs!!  (Sorry, I have way too much to say to fit inside that little graphic- so here I go!!)  I think he is incredibly handsome!  I love his smile.  It just makes me melt every time!!  He’s not only just a pretty face though- he can sing!  I loved him in Rent and I love that he came back to do the movie with a lot of the original cast.

He is also just adorable with his wife and his son!  Unfortunately, I’ve never met him, but everything I’ve ever read/seen leads me to believe that he is a down to earth and very nice man, so that makes me all the more attractive!!  Plus, judging by last week’s New Girl episode, he has a great sense of humor and doesn’t mind making a fool of himself!  Love him!!  (And, yes my husband is aware of my crush!)

Here's a little collage I made of some of my favorite pictures of the beautiful Mr. Diggs, which reminds me of the collages I used to have all over my walls in middle school- those were of Tim McGraw, Will Smith, Jensen Ackles just to name a few!!  :)

Just look how cute he and his son are in this milk ad!!

I recently watched this clip from Ellen where he shares some videos he made.  p.s. How much do you love Ellen?  I love her whole lot!

 (I hope this embedding works!)

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player Who is your celebrity crush?!  Leave me a comment- I would love to hear from you!

Be sure to link up over at Sunny Days in Second Grade as well!

Sunny Days in Second

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The 411 on Centers: Part 3!!! (Linky Party)

And now I'm back for my final post about Centers!  Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them!!

background image- Ashley Hughes, alphabet graphics- Teaching Super Power, font- Jennifer Jones
Today I'll wrap up with explanations about Word Work, Listening and Read to Self.  Part 2 has info about Writing, Buddy Reading and Computer.

Word Work
My students do activities from the Word Work center at their desks.  Word Work is really the only part of my Centers that takes work/prep on my end each week.  I have a Word Work choice board and a shelf with the different activities next to it.  

I switch out the choices on Friday afternoons and we go over the new ones first thing Monday morning.  After trying a variety of systems, I now put out 4 choices a week and I number them for my students.  I used to put out 4-6 choices and let them choose which ones they went to first, but I found that they were just going to the same ones over and over and some of the ones I really wanted them to visit were not being used.  So now they are numbered 1-4 and they just pull them in order.  That way, I am able to put certain choices first, if I feel they are important for that week, and I usually put a more fun, game-type activity for number 4.  I use a lot of different activities for Word Work- spelling activities, word sorts, fluency passages, word family games and more.  There are a lot of great freebies online and on TPT and I'd love to share some of those links with you!

One Breath Boxes from Teacher Tipster
ABC Order from Maria Manore
Short A Word Work from Sarah Kirby
CVC Puzzles from KBPRO

I have a lot more Word Work ideas in my Word Work Start Up Pack in my store.

My students do activities from the Listening center at their desks.  I used to have the old school, giant tape player for my listening center and then eventually a CD player.  Well this year, thanks to Donors Choose and Caring Classrooms, I was able to update to the 21st century!  I have 4 iPods for my listening center now!  I took all of my books on tape and books on CD and converted them into mp3s using Garageband on my Mac and now they are all ready on the iPods!  I created a listening sheet to go with all of my books and my students locate and write things like the author and illustrator's name or draw a picture of their favorite part or write about the beginning, middle and end.  I really LOVE having the iPods because everyone in the group is able to pick their own book and listen to it independently.  I also got a Belkin splitter if I need to have 5 students in a group eventually.

Read to Self
My students do activities in the Read to Self center on the carpet. Each student has a spot to keep their books on this mailbox shelf.  I put a few decodable readers from an old reading adoption in each student's box and they get to pick 2-3 books from our classroom library as well.

I also have them go over our teaching chart from our current ELA adoption, Treasures.  The chart goes with the sound patterns we are learning that week and I also aligned our spelling words to match those patterns.  They like to take turns being "the teacher" and pointing to the words for each other.

Well, now that I've spilled the beans about my routines (Look, I made a rhyme without even meaning to!), I want to hear about yours!!  Please leave me some comments about your centers!  Or if you have a blog of your own, I would love for you to link up!!  You can link up a post you already wrote about Centers, or give us an update about how things are going now that we are 3 months into the swing of things in school.

Please use the graphic below to link back to me and feel free to link up any post you write about Centers!  Can't wait to read what you have to share!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The 411 on Centers: Part 2!!

Happy Wednesday!

I'm back for Part 2 of my posts about Centers!  Today I'll fill you in on some of my rotations and how they work in our room.

background image- Ashley Hughes, alphabet graphics- Teaching Super Power, font- Jennifer Jones
As I told you in this post, I do an adaptation of the Daily 5 in my classroom.  I have similar centers that The Sister's use in their book, but I'm too much of a control freak to let my whole class just choose where they want to go!  I organize my class in teams and they do get an element of choice in their centers each day. (Just not exactly like in the book!)

I have lots of info and lots of pictures, so let's get started!

When I read The Daily 5 and thought about how I wanted my Writing center to work, I knew that I wanted some daily structure worked in there and that came in the form of writing prompts.  I've tried a variety of things in my Writing centers over the years, like a post office and little journal entries, but I never felt like my kids were actually writing.  So I took the time to come up with monthly themed writing prompts that involve fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science, emotions- just a whole lot of everything!!  I put out two writing prompts a week and the students complete them in their Center journal.  We go over the prompts on Monday and I write sentence stems on the board for those that need a little extra scaffolding.

I use my monthly Writing Prompts and pick out two prompts to use each week (because every team visits the Writing center twice a week).  Here's the link to the monthly prompts and you can check out the bundle here!  The bundle has over 200 prompts and they all come in two sizes.  I use the large size and place them in a table top pocket chart.  The smaller size prompts are perfect to put on a ring for each month.

After they finish the prompt, my students get out a bag of sentence scrambles to work on.  These are mixed up sentences that they put together and then write in their Center Journal.  This activity is great practice for so many reasons!  Obviously, it's great for their reading and writing.  It's also a great reinforcer for sentence structure.  We practice looking for the word with the capital letter to put at the beginning and the word with punctuation to put at the end.  Then they move the other words around to complete the sentence.

I use my monthly sentence scrambles and you can take a closer look at them here!  And don't forget about the bundle!

Buddy Reading
My students do activities from the Buddy Reading center in two spots in our classroom- the library and the Poetry Center.   This is my adaptation of "Read to Someone".  I have always had a Poetry Center and wanted to include it when I switched over to Daily 5 style centers.  So for Buddy Reading, each team usually splits into partners and one set starts at the poem and one starts in the classroom library.  For my Poetry Center, I have a new poem for each week that I have written on large chart paper.  I have pointers next to the poem for the students to use while the read the poem.

I also write a few instructions above the poem as additional tasks to do with the poem.  As you can see in the picture above, these often include things like "Find 3 word wall words." or "Find 2 sets of rhyming words."  The pair of students works together to complete the tasks and read or sing the poem together.  I also have all of the weekly poems typed up, illustrated and laminated for them to read next.  They take the tub of small poems to their desk and read them there, until the timer goes off for them to switch.

If you are looking for poems to use in your Poetry Center, be sure to check out my Poetry Binder product in my store!  It contains all of the poems I use (over 55 poems!) and it's nicely set up for a take home binder of poems.  Each Friday, I pass out a copy of that week's poem and we read it together one last time.  Then the kids get to illustrate it and find rhyming words and word wall words on their own.  They add it to their binder and take it home each weekend to read with their families.  They love reading and singing the poems at home and it is a nice literacy connection that they can share with their parents.

The other part of Buddy Reading is in the classroom library.  While in the library, my students get to choose Big Books to read together.  I have a lot of Big Books that I own and our ELA curriculum also comes with a weekly Big Book, so those are available to read in a large tub.  I like that they get a chance to independently read the Big Books that we used during our Phonics/ELA time and they get excited to know that they are already familiar with several of the Big Books that are there.

My students do activities from the Computer center at my desk computer and our one student computer.  I wish we had more student computers, but unfortunately, we only have one.  They keep telling us that we will get more, but I guess I'll only believe it when I see it!  Our school has classroom licenses for Lexia, so that is the program that they use during that time.  Each team has a username and password and they go through the different literacy activities together.  If I had 4 student computers, I would love for each student to have their own username and password, because then the program would be truly differentiated for each kiddo.  Maybe someday!  :)  What computer programs do your students use in your room?

I would LOVE to hear about your Centers!!  Leave me a comment about your classroom!  And feel free to ask any questions in the comments as well.

Next up- Part 3!  My version of Word Work, Listening and Read to Self will be explained in my next post!  And I'm going to make it a linky party- so get ready to share all about your Centers!!