Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five For Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope your week went well!  We are linking up with the amazing Kacey from Doodlebugs Teaching for the weekly Five for Friday party!  Thank you Kacey!!!
So let's get the party started, shall we?

I don't know about you, but it was REALLY a tough week this week.  Ehhhh....they happen! So I found myself looking for humor everyday 'cause we really needed some laughs at school I tell ya!

So this week started off with a good one.  The mystery of the underwear!  My teaching partner pops by my door with a pair of boys underwear dangling off of one finger and a very odd grin on her face!!!!  Whaaatttt???? Yep, seems she found them on her floor.  They weren't there when the first grade reading group started, but 20 minutes later when they got up to leave....there they were on the floor!  No one in the group fessed up to owning them and they all said they still had their underwear on...soooo......what do you do with that? It was pretty dang funny!

(We think they were clean by the way. Probably a mom put them in the child's pocket, "just in case.")

We teachers have super powers!  Yep, we do!  We have antennae that can tell from a hundred paces what's going on in every corner of the room! We have eyes in the back of our heads!  We can manage 30 kiddos at a time...all while talking to a parent and orchestrating an amazing lesson at the same time!  So three ginormous dogs??? Easy peasy!  Husbands that are not teachers....well...not so much!  They don't have those antennae or eyes!  Case in would think that when you have a dog as big as your would know not to leave your dinner sitting near the edge while you grabbed a napkin!  I mean it shouldn't take teacher super powers to know that.  Seems my dear husband needs to work on his super powers, 'cause this is what happens when one of our newfies....Boomer... sees food unattended!  Hey...he's a growing puppy!

Flip Flops!  Okay, so it's not so funny, but it sure does feel good!  While our poor, freezing teachers  suffer miserably this winter, we have been having unbelievably warm weather for this time of year in the Seattle area!  It feels so good to break out the flip flops and walk through the grass in February of all things!  Friends who are stuck in the snow.....we're hoping you'll be doing this SOON!

I just love me some St. Patrick's Day celebrations!  It's a great just-for-fun holiday, right when we need one!  Rosie.....our other getting ready for St. Patrick's day!  She is a style maven and needs things to look just so! A little bit of a diva. Boomer thinks she is craaaazzzzzzy!  But what do boys know anyway??  Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, we finished our St. Patrick's Day Leveled Passages set this week.  There are three different texts, each with levels A - I, sight word games, vocabulary games, and a special little craftivity for finding those tricky leprechauns.  If that sounds good to you, you can grab it here.

Hooray for Dr. Seuss!  We're gettng ready to celebrate his birthday and glorious news breaks! They are publishing a new book by the great author that was previously undiscovered!  Now that IS happy news!  Dr. Seuss books are nothing but happiness!

Have a wonderful, fantastic, full-of-fun weekend everyone!  And let us know in the comments if you have a story that beats the underwear story!  We'd LOVE to hear it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday's Tip

Hi Everyone! It's a lovely, sunny Tuesday here in the Pacific Northwest!  Our hearts go out to all of you who are freezing in snow and ice!  We've been so very lucky this winter and have had beautiful weather. Maybe you should all just move here??  We would LOVE that!!

Today's tip has to do with motivating readers. It comes after two recent conversations with teachers who said, "We can't do fun stuff.  There's no time!" and "We have so much pressure to get our struggling students up and now I see them not loving reading anymore!"   Sad, no?  It made my heart just drop to hear these things.  Sadly, I know this happens all over the country these days.  Well, with Dr. Seuss day coming on Monday, I'd like to encourage you to do out I'm going to say an F word.......FUN stuff to get your kiddos loving reading again!  It's the perfect day to do it, too!  So go ahead...have some FUN for goodness sake!  Dr. Seuss books are the perfect books to instill a love of reading! Go for it!!!

And here's a fun way to motivate students to read a new book.  The kiddos LOVE this!  Take a book that you will read with them (or with the small group) in a few days.  Cover the front cover with sticky notes and the back cover with some paper so the kiddos can't see what the book is.  Then, each day, with flare and drama and a big "ta da!"  remove one sticky note showing just a little bit of the cover.  Take a few moments to have the kids predict what the book is going to be about. Continue with this for a few days until you are ready to read it!  It's a guaranteed way to motivate the kiddos to read that book (and work on inferencing and predicting at the same time)!   It would be great to do this with a few Dr. Seuss books to see if the sweeties can guess which Dr. Seuss book it is!  FUN (yep...I said the F word again), and motivating!  So go out there and have some FUN!!!!

Have a great week and a great Dr. Seuss day next week!
HAPPY, FUN, Reading!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

St. Patricks Day!

Happy Sunday everyone!!! Do you realize that we have one week of February left????? Where did the month go? In preparation for March we've got a new passage set.  Let me share with you what you can find in this set.

Here's a preview:

This set has three different topics: St. Patrick's Day, If You Catch a Leprechaun and Lucky the Leprechaun. As with all our sets, there are 6 different levels for each set, A - I. The great thing is that you can use the text dependent question page with any of the levels:)

This passage is H/I. We have also included a leprechaun finder (magnifying glass) that the kiddos can do for a fun, engaging activity. They can use them to search for those tricky leprechauns, or use them to find the vocabulary words in the text:)

As with all our sets, we have also included our vocabulary cards and our vocabulary and sight word game. Let me tell kiddos LOVE the vocabulary and sight word game! That's all they ever want to play. What's also great with these three passage sets is that a lot of the vocabulary overlaps which gives them a lot of repetition to really help them retain those words:)

Yes...I realize the definition for rainbow doesn't match. I promise the definition is in the stack. I didn't realize they didn't match until I added the picture...FAIL. If you didn't notice that in the picture, pretend you didn't just read this:)

Back to the topic...

We decided to add an extra vocabulary game with this set. This game is the same as bingo but it is called Lucky-O, because it's more fun that way:)

This game is played with the vocabulary definitions. The kiddos read the definition, or the teacher can read the definition, and the kiddos have to cover the word. There are 6 different boards included and a blank one, just in case you want to make more:) This game includes the vocabulary words from all three passage sets. Another great way to provide that repetition and exposure to those tricky words.

Click on any of the pictures or click HERE to get the St. Patrick's Day passage set:)

Now I'm off to tackle my massive pile of laundry and get myself ready for the week. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday evening:)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Five for Friday!!

Happy Friday!!! We have been lucky with this three day week! I think the kiddos were tired so we had a pretty calm, but busy three days. We are linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for our very favorite linky party! Let's get this started:)

In my last Five for Friday post I shared my kiddos love for The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg (Click HERE to read that post). Well, Carol from Teachers are Terrific suggested this book, The Wretched Stone by Chris Van Allsburg. They LOVED it!! They are now obsessed trying to guess what this stone is! I just LOVE the excitement that they get while trying to figure out the mystery. They are using so many strategies and pulling out connections to other books, like The Stranger, to try and figure it out. LOVE!!!! Thanks Carol!!

You guys...triple digit subtraction...NO THANK YOU!!!! We have been trying SO hard. We have used cubes, place value blocks, pictures, name it, we've used it. Triple digit subtraction is SO HARD for my little kiddos to get! So, we have started a chant, which I have spared you all from having to listen to me say, you're welcome:) We also have started using these Interactive Notebooks from Lucky Little Learners. Seriously...crossing my fingers...I think we are having a break through. It is either the chant, the notebooks or the fact we have been working on it FOR A MONTH! Something, one or all, is working and I am sticking with it! These kiddos LOVE these interactive notebooks. Give them scissors and glue and you've got the buy in. I REALLY recommend these if you are feeling like me and my kiddos with this triple digit stuff:)

IT's OFFICIAL!!! We are headed to Vegas again! Registration...check! Flight...check! Hotel...check! We are so excited to see everyone! PLUS one of my most FAVORITE people is going to be there, Joya from Live Love Serve Teach!!! So excited!!!

Seriously...this weekend's weather made me want to quit my job and stay home. Beautiful, warm sunshine?!?!? Yes please! We had so much fun! We played on the local playground AND we went to a birthday party. Do you know who we met?!?!?!?! ELSA and ANNA!!!!! 

<-----Insert Jealousy----->

Who want's a ride?!?!?!? She's so good she only needs one hand!

 Junebug got tired of waiting for those kids to go.

 We are SO, SO, SO excited to meet everyone at our teacher blogger/seller meet-up!!! If you are in Washington we hope you can come! If you know someone in the Washington area that would be interested, please share this with them. We are so excited to connect with people in the area!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend:)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday's Tip

Hey there!  Hope you're weekend was looonng and relaxing.  It's going to be hard for us to go back to school tomorrow because we have been basking in 60+ degree weather here in the Pacific Northwest!  That's a very rare thing for us in February, but we'll take it!

So do you have kiddos that despite your best efforts, get stuck at a guided reading/DRA level?  There are a few students in my groups who are having that issue.  Here's what works for me.  This week I will be using our President's Day passages with those kiddos in a little different way than we usually do.  This group of kiddos is stuck at guided reading level E (DRA 8).  We are going to "close read" the same passage on George Washington starting with level C (DRA 3-4) on Wednesday, level D/E (DRA6/8) on Thursday and Friday, and then move on to level F (DRA10) on Monday and Tuesday.  Then we will switch to the Abraham Lincoln passage level F (DRA 10) to check them with a running record.  I anticipate this "reading up" process will help them over the hump from 8 to 10, but if they still aren't moving on, we will repeat the process with the Abraham Lincoln passage, starting at the lower level and reading up to level F (DRA 10).  I have used this process in the past with great success and can't wait to use it again to help these kiddos over the hump.  It usually only takes one or two cycles through the process and the kiddos get unstuck.  If you have kiddos who aren't moving, give it a try.  I think you'll find success with it too!  Now I'm off to finish getting these passages ready for tomorrow so I can enjoy the last few hours of this lovely, long President's Day break.  And if you need some easy to use and theme based reading for your groups this week, you can grab our President's Day Passages (and many others) here!  Happy Teaching everyone!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Five for Friday!

Let's kick this holiday weekend off right! We are linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little five for Friday fun!!

Have you ever read a book that has just hooked your kiddos? A favorite that they just read over and over again? The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg was that book for us this week! We are currently reading the books that are up for the children's choice award. We rotate them through the primary classrooms so the kiddos can hear them. Well, one day we didn't have one so I pulled out The Stranger. Let me tell you...these kiddos spent the ENTIRE week trying to figure out WHO this stranger was. I heard everything from a Shepard to a farmer to a cousin. They were rotating this book trying to guess who he was and why they thought that. It was AWESOME! You know...a lot of times I wonder, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME????? Then they get a book like this and all the stuff we have been working on just pours out of their mouths. AH-MAZING!

We have been lucky this week and had some pretty decent weather days. This is my baby, well not so much anymore, playing some baseball. This boy is 18 months and when he went outside to play, this boy started climbing the ladder to the slide BY HIMSELF! What happened to my little baby boy?!?!?! They grow SO FAST!

Okay you guys...this is my girl. She's 4...FOUR! Her preschool had their Valentine's party on Wednesday. When her daddy was picking her up from school one of the mom's came up to him and said that when she took her little boy to pick out presents for the teachers, he REALLY wanted to get a flower for Em. She was the ONLY one he got a flower for. They are FOUR. This CANNOT be happening. Now she tells me she is going to MARRY him!!!! WHAT?!?!?!?!? Insert freak out mom moment! HA!

You know how sometimes you are in the middle of teaching and one of those kiddos just pipes up with something that throws you off track? We were getting ready to work on our writing and I was going through the papers and telling the kiddos who's paper I already had. Then this happened...

Picture me...DYING...TEARS ROLLING! How can you not laugh at that???? A second grader that inserted that at just the right time?!?!?! HILARIOUS!

When we started our TPT and blogging adventure we really wanted to create products that WE needed. We figured if we need them at our school, then other people might need them too. We work at a very different school...we have a very high population of English Language Learners and also a very high population of low income families. This means we have a wide range of reading levels in our classroom. We wanted our kiddos to be able to ALL read the same story but at their own level. That way when we had a discussion they ALL had information to share. This led us to our passage sets.

These kiddos are all working on the same passage, all about George Washington, but the levels of the text are different. Each set we have has passages like this, at level A to I. I LOVE to use these in groups, like the picture, but I have also used them for assessments and whole class discussions. Plus, the text dependent questions are all the same. So the kiddos can answer them no matter what level of passage they have.

Here are our February passage sets...

We also have winter themes and polar animals. We hope that everyone that uses them finds them as helpful as we do.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! For us, the kiddos are off tomorrow and then we are all off Monday and Tuesday. Let's hope for some rest and a re-charge!