Saturday, October 3, 2015

October 2015 Currently

I'm linking up with Oh Boy, Fourth Grade again this month to bring you what I'm currently doing. I love linking up because it's fun to answer these questions and it gives you a little peek into my world!

Whenever I'm working on my laptop in my living room, my dogs love to sleep by or on me. They dream and have these cute little whimpers they make.

I decided to take Friday off with my hubby to run errands with him and just see him. He works afternoons and only has Sundays and Mondays off so I don't get to see him much throughout the week. He decided to make it a five-day weekend for him and took some vacation time. It's been nice.

I stay up so late doing this and that on my laptop. I hate to go to bed when I'm on a role working on a new resource! When inspiration hits it is not always the best time.

This weekend it's been so very cold. It makes me dread winter because Ohio has had some rough winters in past years. I just want fall to go very, very slowly. I love fall weather and clothes!

I have the sweetest husband who knows what I need and want sometimes before I know it! I have been needing to upgrade my laptop and was looking at smaller screens. He said, "You know, for your work and what you do, you should probably get the larger screen. You would be happier in the end." I love this man! He knows me so very well! And yes, I did get the larger screen!

If you'd like to see more "currently" posts, go to Oh Boy, Fourth Grade and see who linked up! It's fun to read what everyone else is thinking and doing! It's fun to be a little nosy, especially when it's approved!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Johnny Appleseed: Resource links and a Freebie!

September 26th is Johnny Appleseed's birthday and in first grade we celebrate him and apples during this week! I wanted to share with you some of my favorite resources I like to use.
This is a lovely reading of a picture book about Johnny Appleseed. Click the picture above to go to the link.

I created this free resource that is great to use at this time of the year. This is an interactive notebook page that after it is put together it is then used over and over to make math stories about the different ways to see apples inside and outside of a basket! It's like a built-in math center for addition and subtraction math stories! This activity lends itself to critical and creative thinking and builds problem solving skills. Your students will love not only the continued interaction but creating their own manipulatives with ownership over coloring and pasting it altogether! Click the pictures to go to the free download. Make sure to leave feedback as a way to thank anyone who offers freebies you can use with your students! 
"Ten apples outside and none inside makes 10+0=0."
"There are ten apples all together. Some are inside and 8 are outside the basket. 10-8=2 inside."

Follow my Johnny Appleseed Pinterest board for more fun activities! Click below.

Do you have any fun activities you do to celebrate apples and/or Johnny Appleseed? I'd love to hear about them and so would others so leave your comments below.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Close Reading's Universal Vocabulary

The current education shift is all about close readings and having students digging deeply into a text. One important piece related directly to close reads is the explicit teaching of close reading's universal vocabulary. "What? I've not heard about this universal vocabulary!!" Well, in some circles this universal vocabulary is called the "high frequency words of close reading" or "Common Core critical vocabulary". Check my pin board on the subject, Common Core Critical Vocabulary.

Teacher's are already teaching this vocabulary but not necessarily in a systematic way. There are lists, yes lists, on which words should be taught in what grades. No worries, I'm here to point you toward those lists. Check out my first post on this topic with the list for kindergarten and first grade. Did you notice that there are more than a dozen words that need to be explicitly taught to first graders?

When I first realized all these words my first graders needed to be explicitly taught, I did what any other teacher may have done...I went searching on Teachers Pay Teachers. I couldn't believe it! All I found was ONE product that only had anchor charts for some, not all, of the first grade words. That. Was. It. There were tumbleweeds whistling by me in the wind when it came to finding direct critical vocabulary resources for K-2.

I had a problem that needed to be solved. I spent this past summer working on resources to help us primary teachers teach these close reading universal vocabulary words. I related how to explicitly teach the vocabulary to a well-known and beloved story, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". You can also find interactive notebook printables in the "Ready to Go" packs. Find the following freebies by clicking on the pictures below.

Were you aware that there was universal vocabulary linked directly to the success of close reads? Tell me about your journey to these words in the comments. I'd love to hear about it! 

In a future post, I will be sharing how I explicitly teach this critical vocabulary to students not yet ready to read, let alone close read. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Are You Hesitant to Teach Interactive Notebooking to Your Primary Students? Don't be!

Have you ever wonder if K-2 students would really be able to coordinate their cutting, folding and gluing skills well enough to make interactive notebook pages? I'm here to tell you that it is possible! I first followed some advice and pinned helpful resources on my K-2 Interactive Notebook board.

Firstly, purchase an interactive notebook designated for your grade-level. In the primary grades, there is usually less cutting, folding, gluing and few but larger pieces.

Next, make sure to make your own samples ahead of time. You will learn so much about the easiest way to teach it to your own class. Only you know how independent or needy each class is and they are oh so different every year, aren't they?

 "Six kids in the water and 1 on the beach: 6+1=7."

Also, if you are able, try to get helpers the first few times you do them. Are there aides or parent helper available during your math time? Great! Have them also make a sample beforehand and ask you any questions before helping little hands do the same activity. If there isn't time for them to make a sample, you've at least got yours that you made to show them!

If you have some students you know need extra help cutting and gluing then go ahead and help them do it. Yes, cut it and glue it for them! Trust me! Doing this helps them learn through modeling, gives you less stress and makes everyone a happy, cute interactive notebook!

Have students color during morning work time or during your chapter book read-alouds, if that doesn't bother you. You may even want to have a class set of colored pencils for the details in the clip art. Ask the art teacher if s/he has extra colored pencils to donate to your room. The art teacher usually has lots of extra, gently used supplies from the previous year.

Encourage your students to use their interactive notebooks during silent reading time. I have an addition/subtraction story interactive notebook my students may write their own story problems during writing time too!

 "Two bears is 2 outside and none inside: 2=2+0."

 "Three squirrels outside their burrow and none inside: 3+0=3."

Students can see all the ways that make each number by telling more of their own stories!
Find easy interactive notebook addition and subtractions story makers by clicking the picture above!

Do you use interactive notebooks with your K-2 students? Share with us below in the comments and make sure to tell us what grades you teach. I'd love to hear about your stories and I'm sure they will help others reading this post as well! Share this post with someone you think is hesitant to use interactive notebooks with their primary students too! #2getherwearebetter!

If you'd like to find other ways to help your students improve their number sense, check out the link below! Thank you to K's Classroom Kreations and Theresa's Teaching Tidbits for hosting this helpful linky!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Currently September 2015

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy, Fourth Grade for another "Currently".

It has been so hot in NE Ohio the past 2 weeks! High 80s! Thank goodness our new school has air conditioning. I remember when we didn't have A.C. in the old buildings and we would stick to our papers, desks, and each other! Our brains were mush!

I've been so ready for a 3-day weekend! We get one this weekend and another next weekend for Fair Day that Monday. Yay! My doggies are excited too! Go check out the cute picture of them on my IG!

Our SLO data needs to be in before the end of this month and I still need to grade my students' tests! I like data but I don't like grading it all and compiling it into a spreadsheet.

Do you have a difficult time finding balance at the beginning of the school year? I do. Just simply going to bed on time and not falling asleep as soon as I get home from school would be awesome. What a challenge to get back to routing...I love routine, but when I'm back in the groove of it!

...And since the beginning of the school year, I've not made time to put all the laundry away in a timely fashion. Poor hubby! He's gotta dig for his clean boxers down in the bottom of a pile of clean clothes. Teacher husbands are so forgiving! Thank goodness!

I need to grocery shop more consistently so that we stop getting take-out, I'm loving the fresh veggies I'm eating much more of but I need to start dialing back the ranch dressing I dip them into...I can't help it!

So, what are you doing currently this September? Others are linking up at Farley's website so please go and check out what other teacher friends are doing while getting their "back-to-school" groove on! 


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Interactive notebook fun teaches K-2 students CCS critical vocabulary and a giveaway!

I had a problem, but not anymore. I first posted about how to teach rigorous CCS critical vocabulary to kindergarten and first graders here. After much research over the summer, I think I've figured it out. You have a chance to win this or another product from my store (excluding bundles)! Keep reading to find out how.

If you know about INB (Interactive Notebooks), then you know that these promote 99.9% student engagement (not researched, but true in my mind). All kids love to cut and paste and making your own book of such things bring pride and joy to them. It's like a scrapbook of their learning throughout the year.

Not only that, but I enjoy seeing these INBs in progress. Let alone that, parents can view them during conferences to see their child's learning and growth. They can even see organizational skills being can take some effort for 6-year-olds to glue paper straight and neatly on another piece of paper.

I have to say that it was fun for me to make the samples you see above. It is fun to flip back through the pages of the book to see the goodies I've collected. And you know that if an adult has fun making these, kids are bound to as well.

For a limited time, I have one of these sets available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for 50% off.

Other printables are included as well, to reinforce and review the vocabulary another time.

What fun ways do you teach vocabulary in your classroom? Tell me in the comments below and I will choose one of you to win one item of your choice from my store (excluding bundles)!