Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Peek At My Week

This week in 4th Grade...

We'll be making a map of our state and the features of it-major rivers, mountains, cities, etc. We'll also be making a map of the different regions and economic features associated with each area. I'll give you a hint..

It's one of these!

We'll be learning about ordering and comparing numbers in Math-hopefully this lesson will go quicker than the previous's taken me at least three days to get through a 'one-day' lesson...

We'll continue to work on Determining Importance in Literacy, as well as learning about theme.
A very full week ahead! What are in your plans?

Friday's Outfit (Picture Day!)

Dress: Target
Shoes: DSW

Somehow, I again wound up in the first row for the all staff picture...I wonder how that happened? ;)

I also wound up looking a bit like a ghost when they took the picture for my badge-I wonder if they'll color correct that!!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Determine Importance

We've been working on Determining Importance this week-a tricky thing when your series doesn't tell you to tell the kids to figure out the main idea first. a little tricky for kids this early in the year.

So I started by talking about main idea and how to find it.

I figured it would be easier to explain if the information was important or interesting if they could relate it to the main idea.

We did a lot of practicing with nonfiction text! I thought it would be easier to start with nonfiction text before their literacy book goes into the 'stories'.

I deliberately chose very easy (as in, I broke into my K-3 stuff!) books to make it easier for them to figure out the main idea-and then determine the importance of random pieces of information.

We also talked about that when we use picture books that, for the most part, it because they are a little bit easier to read-so we can focus on practicing the strategy we supposed to be thinking about instead of struggling with the words.

I, of course, had to make a cute organizer to go with it!
I modeled the first one, and then we worked together on the last two (after I picked the information). We had a discussion why the information was either important or interesting-and why we thought so. There were some interesting explanations!
My kids now think that all the organizers that come with the series are 'boring' (and I agree! but we have to use them at least once so I can say that we did use them!) and have no fear telling other teachers that! :)

What are some of your strategies for determining importance?


Sweater: JCP
Cords: Kohls
Shoes: Target


Shirt: Old Navy
Vest: The Limited
Khakis: Kohls
Shoes: Burlington Coat Factory


Top/Pants: JCP
Shoes: DSW


Top: Kohls
Tank: Old Navy
Pants: LOFT Outlet
Shoes: DSW

Happy Friday!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Peek at My Week

Happy Sunday!

First off, the most important thing.


My Student Workbooks! I'm so excited they are finally here!

We did start working in the program earlier last week, with me making copies from the one book that I had-but I don't need to worry about that anymore!

This week we'll be working on reading and writing numbers-all in our beautiful, colorful (and heavy!) workbooks. I'm excited to get started! :)

We'll continue learning about our state government and their roles and responsibilities this week-using this foldable.
We are also going to be practicing our Determining Importance skills-always a tricky one I think!
Last year's chart-I'll make a few improvements :)

I'm going to use non-fiction books first to help them-I think if they figure out what the main idea is, then determining the importance of the information will easier to determine instead of just looking at information willy-nilly.

We'll also be finishing with 2 days of MAP testing.

A peek at my plans so far...
I like to plan a little in advance, see how much we get done, and then plan the rest of the days. I'm not constantly adding arrows or erasing this way :)

What are you doing this week?

Smiles and Sunshine,

Saturday, September 21, 2013


One of my most very favorite things to teach kids is poetry. I love teaching it because it is so fun and creative.

AND, everyone can do it!

You don't need to worry about sentence structure or being Edit COPS or where you are going to split the paragraph.

Plus, students who struggle with 'traditional' writing often find themselves enjoying and being good at poetry because there are not a lot of rules-and you can pretty much make up your own rules.

So on Friday, I introduced my friends to poetry!

First, we reviewed the Acrostic Poem. I told them that they learned this is 1st or 2nd grade (they all agreed), and while it was a good form of poetry, we were going to learn much cooler and more interesting ways to be poets.

We were going to learn about Cinquains!

I told them that these were interesting poems, but fairly easy because there were only five lines :)

I first demonstrated what a cinquain would look like. I explained the format, and had them help me think of some words to fill it it in.
We voted on some of the choices, and then I read it through.

After I demonstrated, I told them that they would write one (with me writing :)

First, we brainstormed a bunch of ideas about our topic, one of the favorite things...Summer!
They had so many ideas! I was writing so fast-so it is sloppier than usual.

We took our ideas and put them into our cinquain format!
Then, I set them loose to do their own!

They had to do rough drafts and get them approved before I gave them a final draft.
They came out so well!

We did an Author Share, and they  did a wonderful job!

Here are some of my favorites!
This friend...oh my word! This friend has not yet been able to start any independent work without an adult and doesn't like writing. Yet today, the friend got right to work and did the whole thing alone! I was only asked how to spell 'ocean' and away it went! (This friend is also the behavior challenge, and did such a great job today and with this!!!!)

Very original and unique!

This was the only friend that shook their head when I said everyone loves summer...this is a winter lover!

A friend after my own heart :)

I think my fun writing on charts and font love is rubbing off ;)
I literally whipped up this organizer in the 7 minutes before recess was over-I wanted something simple, but had lines to show what the separate word, and small so it can be easily displayed. Thanks to Lovin Lit for the frame!

Monday's Outfit

Shirt: Maurices
Pants: JCP
Shoes: Target

Tuesday's Outfit

Top/Pants: LOFT Outlet
Sweater: Maurices
Shoes: DSW

Wednesday's Outfit:

Sweater/Top: NY & Co
Tank: Old Navy
Pants: JCP
Shoes: DSW

I'm sparking student motivation in writing! How do you motivate? What's your favorite type of writing to teach?

Have a great Saturday!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Guided Reading Tools

Happy Friday!

I'm linking up with The Teachers Cauldron for her:

I talked about my traveling reading kit here, but since I'm no longer traveling, I have a different set of tools for 'home'!

First, the most important thing that I use and the kids use...


We use all different sizes and colors. They help us find information, track out thinking, make notes, etc.

I use the cute, multicolored post-it cube to record my observations on this sheet:

which sits behind the lesson plan for the book:
in my Guided Reading Binder!

which you can read more about here and here.

We also have trackers for the friends that need it (so far, hardly any!)
As well as a whiteboard and Expo markers available for teaching!

This is actually where I store most of my Literacy things...ignore the mess on the bottom! :)
For comprehension and responses, I use Jen Runde's Comprehension Fans
and Joanne Miller's Reading Response Menus
They are too cute! I actually had the mini file folders (because they were cute!), but she includes a template for you to use!
I also use a variety of graphic organizers, some self-made, some free and purchased. It just depends on what we need and our focus!

(Jivey, Joanne, MissK, and Kelly ) all have wonderful ones that I've used and purchased.

Of course, the most important things to have is the books!

We are lucky enough to have a set that came with our reading series.

But I've also stashed away a few sets of chapter books as well! ;)
What things to you use for Guided Reading?

Thursday's Outfit

Sweaters: Maurices
Tank/Shoes: Target
Skirt: TJ Maxx

Today's Outfit
Sweater: NY & Co
Dress: JCP

Shoes: Payless

Have a wonderful weekend!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Peek At My Week

Happy Sunday!

This week we are finally going to start with our math pilot program, Go Math!, even though I still don't have students workbooks...

We are also finishing learning about our state symbols and moving onto government! The kids seems to really enjoy the foldable, so they'll have some time on Monday to color in the pictures they drew of the symbols :)

From this:

 To this!

We are also starting reading groups this week! We finally got all the kids into groups, and worked out a schedule.
All planned out and ready to go!
The kids will continue on their report writing during centers, which they started on Friday.
They'll also be comparing and contrasting poems, making connections and taking the Theme 1 test!

We also have a MAPS test on Friday...and we'll take the other two next week! (We take the Reading, Math and Language 3x a year).

What's your week look like?

Smiles and Sunshine,