Sunday, January 31, 2016

Main Idea Continued and This Week's Guided Reading!

Boy, these weekends sure are flying by fast! We are almost in February! Crazy how it seems like it takes so long in the first part of the year but then after winter break, that time just flies!

Last week I shared a little but about what I was teaching for main idea as well as black history month. You can read that post HERE. Today, I wanted to show you a look back with pictures of the chart we used and a little but more specific.

For my anchor, I put on clues that the kiddos can use to help them find the main idea. That way when we read through a paragraph, we can look for these things and highlight them. We started our practice with paragraphs. I used the quick read cards from our Black History Quick Reads Set. I chose a level that all the kiddos can access. I have 4 kiddos that are reading at a level D and I wanted to make sure that they could access them. Since we are just focusing on the skill, and not the level, I didn't want them to get hung up on trying to read the text. I just wanted them to focus on the skill.

When reading A Slave's Life, we read the whole paragraph first. Then we looked at our anchor and decided how we would find the main idea. We highlighted the first and last sentence and then we thought about what we were learning. That helped us come up with the main idea.

The next day we did the same activity with a different quick read. This time I gave them a copy and they worked with a partner to decide what strategy they were going to use to find the main idea and then they were to write the main idea.

This is where the kiddos struggled a bit. They were focusing on what Harriet Tubman did and not necessarily the main idea of the paragraph. When we came back together, we talked about focusing on only the paragraph and what is was teaching us. We used the strategy of highlighting words that are repeated a lot. We also looked at the title of the paragraph. When we highlighted the repeated words there was a lot of "AHHH! Look at all the Harriet, helped, slaves and free." That was a big CLICK moment.

Finally, we did the same lesson again, because highlighting is our favorite! This time they all worked on their own to find the main idea. This was a lot better. I had four kiddos who were still struggling but the rest of them got it! Now you know our focus in guided reading this week!

It's February tomorrow! Hello Groundhog!! If you are looking for some guided reading ideas this week we've got the thing for you!

You've got two passages, one on What is a Groundhog? and one that is Groundhog's Day. You've got vocabulary practice, sight word practice and some writing pages where the kiddos can write their predictions and write what they know about the day. These passages are also great for finding the main idea, which will be our focus. Click HERE to check it out!

I'm off to prep for the week and get my lamination and laundry on. I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday friends!! Lindsey here. I am so excited to link up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for one of our favorite linkys.

SNACKS!! We had a particularly rough week on my team. I am SO lucky to work with my momma and one of my besties who provided me with some snacks to lift my spirits. Two of my favorite snacks are Snoballs and Flipz. YUMMY!

We had a DOWN POUR this morning!! It was crazy! So, of course, we had a rainy day recess. My kiddos this year are AH-MAZING! This is a snapshot of their activities. They were so QUIET! I have NEVER had a class that is so quiet during rainy day recess. They are just such a great group of kiddos!

Okay. So my daughter started Kindergarten this year. Her school district doesn't have a common assessment. I was a lot to digest for me. SO, being the teacher-momma I am, I bring home some DRA's. I just can't let her go through school without a common assessment! I need to know she's where she should be...

Oh my I have shared before that we are reading the Washington State Children's Choice books. These are a set of books that are chosen, and then all K-3rd teachers read them to their kiddos. Then, the kiddos vote for their favorite and we find out what was the number one book for the grade level, school and state. Well, this was one of the books we just read. It is SO AMAZING! It's about two friends and one of them doesn't have any food in her fridge and her mom doesn't have any money to buy some. Her best friend finds out and tries to sneak some of her own food to her friend. It is such a great story of friendship and kindness and compassion. Definitely a good one!

You are looking at 8 weeks worth of lessons and activities for 2 of my guided reading groups. Well...the masters for 8 weeks. I have to make the copies. But notice that they are so nicely organized AND post-it noted with how I need to copy them:) I'm half-way on the ball, now to copy and prep. I love these sets! They are sequential and also include assessments, phonics and sight words. They start at level A and finish at H/I. So if you started at level A and worked your kiddos through each set, you would have guided reading lessons for 48 weeks:) Sounds good to me! Click HERE to check them out.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rosa and Ruby...We're Talking About Main Idea

Hello friends!! Happy Sunday to you! I'm hopping on the blog today to share with you what's happening in my classroom week.

Last week, we focused on Dr. King. This week we are moving on to Rosa Parks and a little of Ruby Bridges. We are also going to start finding the main idea of a paragraph.

To get ready for this week, we actually started this past Friday. We have been working on comparing and contrasting two topics. We used two extension passages, one on Rosa and one on Ruby, to compare and contrast them. We haven't taught anything on these two ladies so we could assure that the kiddos were using the passages to actually compare. (Click HERE for the extension passages.)

This week we are jumping into Rosa Parks and her amazing story. We are going to start by watching the Brainpop Jr. video on Rosa Parks.

I try to mix as many input sources as I can, so it's not just me blabbing up their in front of the kiddos, and Brainpop Jr. is great for that!

Next up, we will jump into some anchor texts for the week. We are looking at the biographies of these ladies.

We are going to be using Each Kindness in morning meeting to talk about kindness to everyone and what that looks like in different areas in our lives.

As we read through these biographies, we are going to be focusing on 2 things. The first is completing our Important People Book.

Now, I saw a book similar to this but when I went back to get it I couldn't find it!! This is one I made because I loved the idea so much! Since it wasn't my idea I can't offer it to you, but if I ever find the original again I will make sure to share it!

The second thing we are going to be working on is main idea. I wish I had an anchor to share with you but I haven't made it yet, since I make it with the kiddos, and I don't have a picture of the one from last year. BUT, I am going to do this amazing craftivity from Amy Lemons' Black History Month Pack (click HERE to get). This Rosa Parks main idea bus is PERFECT!

For Ruby this week, we will only get to reading a biography and adding her to our Important People Book. However, Amy's Black History Pack also has activities for Ruby Bridges in it:)

We are going to end our week with an assessment on finding the main idea of a paragraph. For this, I just took a paragraph from a Scholastic News and added a place for the kiddos to tell the main idea.

For this assessment, they are going to highlight the main idea in the paragraph and then write the answer at the bottom. Pretty simple:)

If you are looking for more passages and activities to add to your guided reading groups and literacy centers this week, make sure to check our our Freedom's Heroes passages set and our Black History Quick Reads.


I'm off to grade some papers and do some laundry. Woohoo! Fun Sunday around here:) Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Five For Friday

Hi Everyone and Happy Friday!  Whew this week whizzed by, but boy am I glad it's Friday!  Here's a little Five For Friday peek into this week, thanks to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

This week's theme:  What the teacher wants!

1. The teacher wants music to soothe the soul.  This is the first grade boys bathroom.  It is located right across the hall from my office.  Notice all of the tiles.  They make for some fine acoustics, I tell ya!  Those first grade boys know that too! So pretty much each morning round about 9:15 or so, I am serenaded by a future tenor while he takes care of business!  It's pretty hilarious and makes me giggle. Unfortunately, I serve 5th grade boys in reading group during that time and they find it hilarious too! Ugh!  Quite the distraction from our deep thinking about reading. makes me smile!

2.  The teacher wants a good snack!  You know....when you are reading through page after page after page of reading intervention plans, AND you're analyzing page after page after page of running just need a good snack!  My fave....Murchie's tea from of the finest out there and I highly recommend it, AND snowballs.  I almost went into a deep depression when Hostess went out of business, but thankfully you can't keep a good snowball down and they are back! Yeeesssss! They make me smile!

3.  The teacher wants to celebrate as much as possible at work!  Don't you just love that we get to celebrate all of our staff member's joys in life?  One of our beloved staff members just became a Grandma for the first time, so today we are going to shower her with this basket to welcome her into "The Sisterhood of Grammy's!" .  It is filled with all the things a Grammy needs to have at her house.'s a surprise, so don't tell her okay?  Celebrating the joys of life....makes me smile!

4. The teacher wants to feel pampered and beautiful!  That's why I love Birchbox and Ipsy, and thankfully they came this week.  They were filled with a new eyeliner, a perfume by Cartier, an exfoliant for fine lines and wrinkles, a serum for fine lines and wrinkles, a lotion for fine lines and wrinkles.....wait a sec....are they trying to tell me something?  And a "lovely" metallic tangerine eyeshadow!  What the heck?  Fine lines and wrinkles do not go well with metallic tangerine eyeshadow!  Hey, maybe I should try it?  Maybe I'll start a fashion trend in the over 50 set at work? Now that makes me smile!  Oh sheesh! Can you just picture that??


5.  The teacher wants to finish stuff on our TPT project list!  Thankfully, we finished two of them!  Check and check!  That only leaves 1062 more items to do!  Ha!  Kidding! It just feels like it.  So hey...if you need some leveled A - I Quick Read Passages for reading centers, guided reading groups, independent or partner reading....or anything else...we've got ya covered!  Just click the pictures! Crossing things off the to do list makes me smile!

So there you go!  A little peek into the week around here.  Hope yours was happy, too!  Now I'm off to blog hop and see what you all were up to this week!

Happy weekend friends!


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Getting Kids to Pay Attention to the Words!

Do you have students that look at the first letter or part of a word, then say the first thing that pops into their minds?  Yep, me too!  As I read with readers who are having difficulties, I find that I am constantly writing....Student's Focus of Instruction;  Pay careful attention to the words! There are so many reasons that students don't attend to the words, but whatever the reason, it is a huge problem. Here are two things that help a lot with this problem.

1. Play the "Which Word?" Game.
We use a simple page with rows of words that look similar, but are different words.  In the picture you can see an example for my 2nd and newbie ELL 3rd graders, and also an example for my 5th graders.  I tell them a word to find, they find it, whack it with a whacker, and get a point if they are correct.  This simple game really gets them to pay close attention to the WHOLE word and develop an understanding of how words can look so much alike, but be so different! The beauty of this game? You can keep it easy and simple by using pencils as whackers, or as fancy as you please.  (And yes, even my 5th grade boys love the cheesy star whackers!)

2.  Crazy Reading.
This couldn't be simpler and works so well.  Using a book that we have read in reading group or are about to read, I read a section of the book making all kinds of crazy errors.  The errors I make involve using the first sounds of the word, but saying a different word.  Example:  I say...extinguish...when the word is really extinct.  The students follow along silently while I read and call me out when I make a mistake. They say..."That's Crazy!!!" every time I make a mistake. The more mistakes I make like that, the more it messes up the story, and that makes the point of how important it is to PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU READ!  You can even have volunteers be the crazy reader.  They love it, are highly engaged, and get the point!

So there you go.  These two easy-to-use strategies really work well.  Give them a try.  I bet your students will be paying closer attention to words in no time.

Happy Reading!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dr. King and a FREEBIE!!

Happy Sunday friends! There is just something SO much sweeter about a Sunday when you are having a three day weekend!

As we gear up for this week, I wanted to share with you some of the activities and lessons that I will be doing with my sweet second graders this week!

We started on Friday with a little Martin Luther King Jr. craft and brief lesson. We read the Scholastic News first. I just LOVE Scholastic News and the information that is gives the kiddos. We also watched the Kid President. I LOVE this kid! His brief version explaining Martin Luther King Jr.'s life is just perfect!

Then we talked briefly about what our dreams for the world are. I did this activity for our rotations, so I did it with my class and 2 others. (To read more about rotations click HERE.)

To explain this dream a little bit...we just had a major fire at an apartment complex near our school. About 100 people were displaced, a lot of them from our school. So this kiddos dream is that there would be no more fires.

Moving into next week, we will focus on Dr. King. We have a strong GLAD focus at our school so we will start with this GLAD pictorial.

This is a REALLY great way to start the vocabulary and provide additional knowledge to their schema!

We will continue the week by reading MANY of the great books that explain this great man! We will also be watching his most important "I Have A Dream" speech. I love this time of year because it really brings into focus areas of our class community that have some issues that may need to be addressed. It really helps the kiddos to focus on equality!

During reading groups we will be working on our MLK passages, another great way for the kiddos to get that vocabulary!

Click on the picture to get a F/G FREEBIE of this passage!

To support our learning during our reading workshop, students will be working on our Black History Quick Reads.

I'm really excited about using these! While they focus on more then Dr. King, they are a great way for the kiddos to get some context about the struggle that was happening during this time. There is SO much information included in these quick reads, the kiddos will be working on them independently for the next few weeks. These quick reads start with the life of a slave and walk students through the important work of Harriet Tubman, President Lincoln, Dr. King and President Obama. There are sets for levels A-I. Since they are leveled, you can have the students work at a level that will allow them to be successful independently.

All of this will be a foundation for the students to compare and contrast when we move onto our Black History study, RI 2.9, and making connections to historical events, RI 2.3.

I try to squeeze every minute out of our ELA block and all of these activities will help accomplish that. The kiddos will be totally immersed and I am hoping that they will become even more aware of how they are treating their classmates!

I hope that you all enjoy your extended weekend!!! May the week FEEL short to you all!!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Five for Friday!!

Happy Friday friends!! Who's thankful for a 3-day weekend?!?!? This girl! I am pooped! We are super-excited to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for our favorite linky!

It's DRA time again! My kiddos are just making leaps and gains right now! It is taking me FOREVER to get through these assessments but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, the progress!! If you give the DRA I know you feel my pain with this picture. "He started and started and started..." Oh boy...

We are wrapping up our comparing and contrasting unit by comparing butterflies and moths! I love the pictorial that one of our GLAD facilitators introduced to us! The kiddos really love having this poster to refer to when we are discussing butterflies. They pull A LOT of the language when comparing and contrasting. 

Now that we are wrapping up life cycles, we are ready to dive into Dr. King and then Black History Month! I've got all my stuff ready! I really love the way that these topics really get the kiddos talking about equality and treating others with kindness. Our new quick reads also focus on the struggle for equality. They start with the tough life of a slave, the bravery of Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln working towards equality, Dr. King and his dream for equality and finally President Obama. I am really excited to use these with the kiddos to support our learning during literacy stations. Click HERE to get a copy for yourself:)

We have been reading the Children's Choice books. I LOVE doing this every year! Here are a handful of the books we have read so far. My favorite is A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabnowitz. Such an inspiring story! I think my kiddos favorite is The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf and Grandma! If you aren't reading these, I highly recommend them!

Calling all WASHINGTON bloggers and TpT'ers!!!! We are having our second annual meet-up in March. We can't wait to see everyone and catch up!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a restful weekend!!