Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five For Friday

Hello teacher friends, and a Happy, Happy Friday to you all!  Did you have conferences this week?  Did you survive?  Our teachers did, and by the looks of them...they barely survived!  It takes the pep out of ya, that's for sure!  But onward we go....  Howzabout a little Five For Friday?  This week's theme is "Four Little Things Big One!"

Little Thing 1
Since teachers were doing conferences this week, we intervention teachers had a little time to catch up on things when we weren't joining conferences. That meant there were no excuses left for getting my cutting done.  Ugh!  I do not like at all  so love cutting little things out! (Dusting the window shades is much more fun to me!)  But they are done now.  What is it that you keep putting off? 

Little Thing 2
School photos came in this week.  We have an amazingly nice group of people who have taken our school photos for years.  They insist on Lindsey and I having a mother-daughter picture taken every year.  I'm not a fan of that, as Lindsey is waaayyyyy cuter and much she puts me to shame.  LOL!  We even get this strip of sticker photos!  I just haven't quite figured out what we're supposed to do with those things.  Maybe a future craft project?  (Kidding!) 

Little Thing 3
October Birthdays!  Each month our fantastic social committee puts on a big "do" to celebrate birthdays during the month.  October's celebration is always extra appreciated, because the teachers need extra fuel and energy for conferences!  MMMmmmmm....this makes me hungry just looking at it!

Little Thing 4
As intervention teachers, we try to support what the grade levels are doing while working on individual student progress goals at the same time.  Second grade has been studying bats, so this week we read all about bats during intervention groups.  Here we are doing close reading, and then playing a vocabulary game.  These materials are from our Bats Leveled Passages Set if you are interested.  It still cracks me up that every single time we take out the highlighters, the kiddles think they have won the lottery!  They just love those silly little things and that's fine by  me! 

One (New) Big Thing

Well....if you read our blog much at all, you know my husband and I have BIG dogs and lots of them.  This week, we adopted another and he is the biggest yet.  So now we have 3 HUGE newfies and one normal sized golden/yellow lab mix.  Yep, that would be 4!  This is Olaf.  He is ten months old and weighs 120.  He joins Boomer, Rosie and Ginseng.  He needed a new home and we just can't say no to that!  Besides, we are already set up for big dogs, so what's one more, right?  They are all hilarious and keep us busy and entertained.  And might I just add.....thank goodness for Swiffers and baby wipes...the latter because they like to drool.  :-)

I'm off to read your blogs now to see what you all are up to!  Have a terrific weekend and a Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pictorial Input Charts...You Should Use Them!

Happy Tuesday friends!! We are half way through conferences and I am wiped out. PLUS I just broke the reservoir on my Keurig...tomorrow is going to be a rough one! Womp! Womp!

I wanted to share with you a strategy that we use in our school and district to help introduce content vocabulary to our students. This is a GLAD strategy and we LOVE us some GLAD! We are VERY fortunate to have some GLAD trainers in our district that are AH-MAZING and they have given us some great resources for our lessons.

Let's look at pictorial input charts!

Step one is to pre-draw the poster.

You are supposed to write everything in pencil. That way, as you are teaching the students, you can just go over your writing with marker, then you can be more focused on the lesson. Well...that takes too much time. I have the bat ready and the headings. The rest I just write as I go. We do this every year so I am pretty good about fitting it all in.

The goal is to introduce the vocabulary involved in whatever you are teaching. We fill out one section at a time and then have a turn and talk. For example, we filled out the parts of the bat and the description. Then, the kiddos tell their neighbor something they just learned. We have a share out where the students are repeating the facts I just shared with them while USING the vocabulary!!

We continue this through the whole poster. At the end of day one, it looks like this...

On day 2 we revisit the poster. I write key words on strips of paper and give them to the kiddos. As we go through the poster on day 2, when I say a word that a kiddo has they come and add it to the poster. We aren't as in-depth as day one. Our goal is reviewing all the key vocabulary. Generally, this is more of a student led discussion. As we go through each section, the students share out what they remember, while USING THE VOCABULARY,  and I add to it.

Here's what it looks like when it's done.

This is a great strategy to introduce vocabulary! The kiddos really LOVE it and we leave the poster up for them to continue to use. We built it together so it really holds meaning to them. They often use it to get information throughout our whole unit.

We are lucky that we were given these pictorials already made but you could easily make one for whatever you are teaching. We have one for spiders, butterflies, moths, fairy tales, fables and tall tales. The uses are really endless and it is really valuable to the kiddos!

If you are looking for a way to get your kiddos using that vocabulary and feeling really comfortable while doing so, USE THIS STRATEGY!!! You really will be amazed about how many of your kiddos regularly access the information on the poster and how regularly they start using that vocabulary!!

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Five for Friday!

Woohoo! It's Friday friends and boy am I ready for it! We are linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for some Five For Friday fun!!

 We finally finished up our spider writing! Yay! If you visited our blog last week, I posted about how we were learning about spiders (you can read more about that HERE). Well, today my last kiddo finished up their project...well, that's not entirely true because one of my kiddos is currently in Disneyland so she hasn't finished BUT everyone else did, I'll take it!! I LOVE the way our spider projects turned out!

My kiddos are LOVING Magic Tree House this year. I feel like some years they love it and some years...not so much. This year they are O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D. which led to this writing prompt. They were really creative with their answers AND a few of them have decided to write their own versions. I love it!

We finally got to start guided reading this week. I have been working to finish up all my assessments and finally got ready to start groups. The first week we ease into groups and learn the routines. This week we are also learning about bats, so our bats passages are perfect for that! The kiddos got vocabulary practice, sight word practice and began learning how to read a text to find information. This goes hand in hand with our non-fiction study and research projects that are coming up.

We are loving Fall right now! The kiddos wanted to carve their pumpkins but since it is still early, we decided to paint some instead. We have one with a face on each side and one that we will call "fancy tie-dye." They had fun and that's all that matters:)

This week we had bingo night at my daughters school. Oh boy! This girl won FOUR times! The first time she won you would have thought she won the million dollar lottery!! She's definitely a lucky girl, unlike her momma and daddy who won nothing!

I hope that you all have a wonderful and restful weekend:)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Vocabulary Ideas and a Freebie!!!!

Vocabulary!  No one would deny the importance of teaching vocabulary.  Whether your students are below grade level, above grade level, or somewhere in between, vocabulary is essential to their success in school and in life! We believe in teaching it wholeheartedly and do so at every isn't always easy, is it?  We are lucky in our district to have amazing G.L.A.D. trainers that help us whenever we need them, but we still struggle sometimes to get it all in.  Two of the ways we find to be successful in helping kiddos to learn, and retain vocabulary, are songs and chants, and games!  Bonus?  They are highly motivating and engaging. (Can we say "engagement" if you are on the 5D evaluation?)

This time of year, many teachers are teaching about spiders, so we thought we'd share some vocabulary ideas for you.  Here are two chants that we have the whole class say in unison several times a day.  We put them on large charts and hang them in a handy place in the room, such as on the door or on a closet door. They make a great transition activity and as the students memorize them from chanting them so often, they are memorizing the vocabulary as well. To get these chants click on the pictures or click HERE.

How about a game?  Here is a game I am using with students in small groups.  We have been reading "All About Spiders" from the Fountas and Pinnell LLI Blue kit, and other spider books.  After learning new vocabulary through our reading (using our newly learned strategies of course), we play a game to review and master new vocabulary.

To play, each student gets 3 insects.  We use plastic insects from the dollar store, but cut out paper ones would do, too.  You also need a web.  You can quickly sketch one on a piece of paper or print an enlarged clip art web out.  The web goes in the middle of the table.  Then, the students take turns giving the definition for one of their vocabulary words that you tell them.  If correct, they get to keep their insects.  If incorrect, the student must put one of their insects on the web. Then it is the next student's turn.  Play continues until all vocabulary words have been defined.  Winners are the student or students who still have at least one insect in their pile.  The goal is to keep their insects and not let the spider "catch" them if a word is incorrectly defined. If you want to get fancy, you can put the vocabulary words on cards, turn them upside down in a pile on the table, and have each student turn over a card and define it during his or her turn.  We often use the vocabulary cards from our Leveled Passages Sets for games like this, as this game can be changed for any theme simply by changing the web and insects into items that match the theme you are reading about.

Well there you go.  A few ideas to get in more vocabulary practice quickly and easily.  Why don't you give them a try?

Happy teaching!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Five For Friday

Well hellooooo again Friday!  It is so good to see you again!  And helloooo teacher friends!  How was your week?  I trust it went well and you are getting ready for a relaxing weekend!  Howzabout a little Five For Friday?  Thanks again to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting!

This week's theme?  You know it's Fall when....

You know it's Fall when the first rainy day arrives, (a rite of passage every year), the kids are absolutely bonkers because of it, and the teachers look like this at the end of the day!  Can I get an amen on that one?  I'm sure you can all relate!

You know it's Fall when the farmer's market closes for the year.  Soooo sad!  My husband and I love to's one of "our" things.  This past weekend was the last weekend and I couldn't go, so Mister Thoughtful brought home these flowers from the market for me.  Ahhhh....wasn't that nice?

You know it's Fall when you get to go to the pumpkin patch with your family and trod through the mud with the grandbabies.  There is just no more joy than that on the face of your two-year-old grandson stomping through mud puddles with his new rubber boots on!  Boys and mud puddles...what a happy thing!

Life in Newfieland Episode #1078....You know it's Fall when your goofy newfies steal the pumpkin off the patio and decide to eat it.  Well least it's a healthy snack, right!  :-)

And....You know it's Fall when you're working hard on new products for fall teaching like this Owls Leveled Quick Read Cards and Responses  (just posted in TPT), and Thanksgiving Leveled Quick Read Cards and Responses that will be ready this weekend.

Whew!  What a busy, and great, week!  Now I'm off to read all of your posts to see what you have been up to.  Have a terrific weekend friends!