Thursday, March 31, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday friends!! Another wonderful week in the books and only one week left until spring break! Woohoo!! We are going to end the week on a good note by linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday fun!

 We started this lovely week off with Easter! I love Easter for obvious reasons, thank you to Jesus, but I love the family time too. Church, great food and family make a wonderful Sunday and a wonderful start to any week! Of course, the Easter bunny hopped to our house and left us too much Easter candy:) We also had a great lunch...except for my mom. The grand babies wanted the big people chairs so Grammy got banished to the tall "kid" chair...anything for those grand babies right?!?!? :)

We just finished up Charlotte's Web this week! My kiddos were in LOVE!! I think they liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory more than Charlotte but now we are on the hunt for our next book. These are the two options. I am leaning towards Ivan because we read a book about him during our Children's Choice book competition AND he was in the mall that's about an hour south of us. But, I've hear that Edward is equally good, maybe a little too hard for second graders, but good nonetheless. My plan is too read them both over spring break. My kiddos are chomping at the bit for a new read:)

We started working on how-to's this week. So, of course, I had to bust out The Teacher Wife's awesome How to Blow a Bubble writing activity! Anything with any sort of food is a hit! I gave each kiddo two pieces of Bazooka and just a warning...that's A LOT of gum!! We had some pretty jumbo bubbles being blown!

We are LOVING our iPads thanks to Donors Choose. My kiddos are LOVING Epic! They have such a great selection on non fiction books. The kiddos also get REALLY excited when they unlock more achievements and get to update their avatars. I have never seen something so exciting!! If you haven't tried this app, you need to! It's free for teachers and it's awesome!!

We had the most AH-MAZING assembly on Wednesday!! Our school is participating in the Fuel Up and Play 60 challenge. You guys!!!! BLITZ from the SEAHAWKS came to our school!!! The kiddos LOVED it! This is a once in a lifetime type of thing for them. They were so excited and it's all that they have talked about since! I think the teachers might have enjoyed it more then the kiddos! It was awesome!

Well I'm now off to enjoy this fabulous weekend and rest up for our upcoming field trip:)  I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Five For Friday

Hellloooo Friday!  I'm so glad you are here again!  Howzabout a little Five For Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching to celebrate?

This week just flew by with my intervention groups. Hope your week went fast, too!   Here's what was up at our school this week.

"Summer Wheels"
This is one of the best books ever to read to your youngers or with your olders in grades 4 and 5. My 5th grade groups read it this week and L.O.V.E.D. it!  It is about boys and bikes and making friends with someone who isn't so easy to make friends with.  All of my 5th grade boys gave it 10 stars...and that never happens!  It's a must read!

Hopscotch Blending
In my 2nd grade groups, we were getting stuck with our blending.  It was time to change it up!  The weather F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. quit raining (we're in the Seattle area and you know what they say about Seattle....well some times it is true! Rain),,,,so out we went to get some active learning in.  I always find that adding movement to academics equals learning!  It's magic!

We had Parent Night.  At our parent nights, the parents go to classrooms for a presentation on how they can help their students, and the paraeducators run different activity sessions for the kiddles. Here is one of our awesome paras leading a kinder Zumba group!  Notice that I am not in it.....I have a firm belief that exercise can be could get hurt don'tchya know?  I was the photographer!  It's safer that way!  Ha, ha, ha!

Spring Reading
This week, I only had two plan times due to meetings and other yada yada.  I love planning for my intervention groups and am sad when I don't get all of  my plan times to do quality planning. BUT....I just pulled out our Spring Reading Leveled Passages, hit the copy machine...and boom! That took care of my 2nd grade groups and part of my 1st grade groups!  L.O.V.E.them!  Quality reading and easy prep!  Yesss!

Tulip Fields
This will actually happen on Saturday, so is a little bit of a cheat to put it on Friday, but I can't resist! We live about 20 minutes from the Skagit Valley, which in the Spring, is covered in tulip fields. This is last year's picture, but it looks just as beautiful this year!  Can't wait to see them, and hopefully it will not rain! Ha!  Rain, rain, go away!

That's all for this week!  Rosie and I wish you a very Happy Easter!  Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hopscotch Blending - A fun and active strategy to increase learning PLUS a Freebie!!

I forgot.  Ummmm......I'm not sure.  What's this word? /s/p/o/t/......tip?  I don't know.  I can't read it. 

Have you heard some of those things in your classroom?  Do they sound all too familiar?  They are the sounds of students who are struggling to read efficiently.  There can be many reasons of course...ADD....cognitive issues....memory issues....motivational issues....and many more. Whatever the reason, it is a big challenge for students and their teachers.  If you have students like this and have tried all the ideas you can think of, how about one more idea? We know that active learning is the way to go, so let's kick that up a notch with this activity. This one is lots of fun and combines physical movement with reading.  It is a high success activity for those students who are hard to reach, and it's also a great activity for all students during the springtime when their attention and motivation have disappeared!  It's called "Hopscotch Blending" officially, but it works for sight word learning too. (It also works for math fact fun!)

Here's what to do.  Make some hopscotch frames with sidewalk chalk on the playground. For blending, write the onset in the left square and the rime in the right square.  (See picture)  Teach students to hop with their left foot onto the onset and say it as they do so.  Then, hop on the right square with the right foot and say the rime.  They then hop onto the single square containing the whole word, and read it out loud. I like to make them with all the same rime, but different initial consonants or blends, using whichever ones the students are struggling with.  You can use it for so many different combinations though.  Compound words, contractions, prefixes/base words and suffixes/base words, work well for older students. Try putting sight words in all the squares, too.

As an added soon as you and your students leave the playground, other students will quickly take over the hopscotch fun!  (That makes a teacher's heart happy!) You will be the favorite teacher for providing a new and fun activity! As we know, there is something magical that happens when we combine physical movement with learning, and this activity really works that magic in confused brains!

Do you live and work in an area that's often too rainy to go out?  I hear you!  Living in the Pacific Northwest, we see more rainy days than not.  What do I do then?  We do it inside with our fingers and these hopscotch boards.  Students do the same activity but with their fingers as the hopping kids in place of themselves. It works like hopping outside with only slightly less fun.  Give it a try.  I'm betting you and your kids will like it.  Here's a link to a freebie of the hopscotch board, if you would like to try it out. Or click the picture:)

Happy teaching!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday friends!! Boy, this has been a rough, time change, week! So glad it's Friday! What better way to celebrate then to link up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for a little Five for Friday???

Woohoo!!! We are registered for the Get Your Teach On conference in Texas!! We are so excited! This is doubly exciting because not only do we get to learn from these fabulous ladies BUT my brother and his family live in Texas so I get to see them and my cutie nephew! I can't wait!!

On Saturday we had our fabulous Washington Blogger and TpT'er meet-up! It was so much fun. I love connecting with these ladies and sharing tips and tricks. It's so much fun to catch up with people who do the same thing that you do! Plus, we had some yummy food, which always makes things better:)

Not only did we have a wonderful time at our meet-up, we had some fabulous sponsors! We could not have put this meet-up together if it wasn't for all of these amazing people and companies. We want to give them a shout out and a HUGE thank you!!!!

I LOVE the directed drawings from First Grade Blue Skies! "Mrs. Sanchez, can we do the eyes however we want? And color it however we want?" 

This is what happens when you give them a little creative freedom. That's one angry leprechaun!! These kiddos... :)

Thanks to the Donors Choose #bestschoolday, we got our iPads!! Oh boy! We were so excited! They can't wait to get their hands on these bad boys. Now, I am knee deep in ideas and apps. I am on the hunt for all the different ways that we can use these gems in our classroom. If you have tips, please share!!

We have been learning about telling time this week. It has been a breath of fresh air to move away from double digit subtraction for a bit. We were getting burnt out! So far, we have matched times to clocks AND played time tic-tac-toe, which was their favorite, by far!

I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend! I plan to use mine to catch up on all the sleep that eluded my this week!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Comparing and Contrasting with Fairy Tales

Happy Sunday friends! We are having a bit of wild weather up here in the PNW so I hope you are somewhere with beautiful sunshine!

Today, I want to share with you how I use fairy tales to teach comparing and contrasting, RL 2.9. If you are looking for a way to teach this concept, look no more! Using fairy tales is the answer for you!

When I start teaching fairy tales, I always start with the elements. I like the kiddos to have a good foundation on what a fairy tale has and what makes it different from a regular fiction story. This helps us when we are comparing and contrasting. For example, knowing a fairy tale has a magical element, helps them to compare those elements when they are reading the different versions. This is the anchor that I use. It is similar to the fable anchor (see here) which helps them to compare the different types of stories.

Our fairy tales unit feeds into our writing. However, I front load the kiddos with different versions of fairy tales for a few days before we work on any of the writing portion. I want them to be able to compare and contrast the two versions of a fairy tale in one day, so I generally will read the original version during our slated writing time and the fractured version during our slated reading focus time. When I read the original version, we are looking just for the elements. This helps us to keep track of our thoughts on the text, as well as, gives us a way to reference the original version while we are reading the fractured version.

I have taught my kiddos two different organizers to use while comparing and contrasting. We use both the t-chart and the Venn Diagram. I favor the t-chart because the kiddos seem to understand the concept of it more clearly and it helps them to organize their ideas in a way that is less confusing. It also provides more writing space.

For this Jack and the Beanstalk chart, the kiddos worked with partners to decide one way the stories were the same and one way that they were different. They wrote them on the stickies and then stuck them on the chart. The reason I like this activity when we're starting out is because we can read through the stickies and move (fix) the misconceptions. The kiddos have a hard time focusing on one story. So they will put, "in Jack and the Beanstalk the giant dies but in Jack's Beanstalk Stinks, he doesn't die." I want the kiddos to keep them separate. By using the stickies, we can cross off and move them fairly easily. The t-chart provides us more space to do this.

When comparing two versions of The Three Little Pigs, we used a Venn Diagram. Please excuse the messy circles, another reason I like the t-chart! For this comparison, the kiddos drew a Venn Diagram in their reading spirals and wrote down their comparing and contrasting statements. When we work with the Venn Diagram, we really work on matching up the comparing. For example, "told the pigs side of the story, told the wolf's side of the story." When this idea clicks, they become comparing and contrasting superstars!!

There are so many amazing fairy tales that you can use to compare and contrast! Another thing that my team does, to help the kiddos with their listening comprehension, is that we will have the kiddos read a fairy tale and then watch a fairy tale. We give the kiddos the original version of Little Red Hen and then we watch Burro's Tortilla's on Tumblebooks. We do the same thing with Little Red Riding Hood and Isabella and the Hungry Coyote. If you haven't tried that yet, you should. Adding the listening component steps up the game in comparing and contrasting.

I hope that you all have a fabulous week and Happy St. Patricks Day!!