Sunday, September 30, 2012

"I Got Skills" Reading Linky Party

With the big switch to Common Core, I have completely revamped my reading instruction.  (Thank goodness, I hated teaching from the basal!) 

So, during my shared reading time, we focus on specific skills.  I love teaching this way, but the problem is I have to create my own curriculum.  Which is fine, but why reinvent the wheel?  There are soooo many great teacher bloggers out there, I wanted to create one place with lots of resources for teaching specific skills. So an idea for a Linky party was born!  

Digital Paper by Maree Truelove
I teach third grade, but I know I can get some great ideas from any grade!  So the whole point of this linky party is to make my life a little easier, help some other teachers make their life easier, and to make my shared reading time more meaningful and fun! 

I plan on having several posts this week about different reading skills that I like to teach.  I might even visit some previous posts for my newer readers.  

Today I am going to share one of the very first things I teach, Schema or Prior Knowledge! Webster says Schema is "an underlying organizational pattern or structure; conceptual framework: A schema provides the basis by which someone relates to the events he or she experiences." Aka, the information in our head that forms what we think. 

First off, when I teach about schema, I don't just just say "Schema". We put our fingers on our head, act like we are scratching our head, and say "Schema, Schema, Schema" in a very high pitched voice.  I have no idea why I do this.  Maybe someone told me about it, or maybe it came from my crazy schema.  I don't know. Anyway, the kids always remember what schema is after doing that!  

To introduce schema, I always do schema bags with my kiddos.  I got this idea from my dear friend Elisabeth at Twins, Teaching and Tacos! When I asked her if I could share it, she said, "Sure, Someone else told me about it!" 

So anyway, I bring in a bag and fill it with things about my own schema. When I share with the class, I explain how it helps  me when I am reading.  
For example, I brought in a postcard from Thailand.  I visited there after college and I share how it helps me better understand a story that takes place in Asia or when I read nonfiction about something in Asia.  

After I go over my 4-5 things I have in my schema bag, I explain to the students that they are going to have a chance to take the schema bag home, bring it back the next day and share with the class. I have two bags that have our school name on them.  I send home the two bags with two students and they both present the next day.  You could use reusable shopping bags, bookbags, whatever you have on hand!

 It's like a fancy show and tell related to reading! The kids always LOVE doing this activity!

If you are interested in doing this activity, you can download the parent letter here!

When you open the document in Google Docs, be sure to click on File & Download.  It will open in Powerpoint and and you can edit the information & add your students in the table!

I also do two-three lessons in class about applying our schema to fiction & nonfiction reading. 

This year we read "My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Pollaco. 
The students looked at the cover and shared what schema they could use to better understand the story on a post it.  They did the same thing while I was reading the book aloud. 

We did the same thing with a nonfiction selection about the Scientific Method.  

So now, here's your part!  I'd love if you would link up and share how you teach specific skills! Feel free to link up older posts too!  It would really help my lesson planning! :)   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Fall Ya'll!!

I love Fall! It's filled with scarves, leggings, football and pumpkin spice lattes & muffins.

First off, I have three ladies who won my Mapping Lapbook & Foldables!

Congrats to Stephanie from 3rd Grade Thoughts, Kaitlyn from Smiles and Sunshine & Amanda C! Ladies, check your email!

If you didn't win, no worries because...

I'm joining Casey at Second Grade Maniac's Huge Sale!  Everything at my TPT & Teacher's Notebook shop is 20% off! Oh and since I'm a little late joining the party, I'll extend my sale through Monday! :)


Be sure to head over to her blog because there are LOTS of sales going on! 

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Content Overload and a Mini Giveaway!

Tomorrow is Friday! Wooooohoo!

This has been a long week.

There's a lot of negativity going on around me, but I'm really trying to stay out of it and keep positive.  I have a wonderful class.  I love what I'm teaching.  I have lots of support from my bloggy friends.  So I have lots of reasons to keep it positive!

To all my NC friends out there, what about all of these Content Standards we have to teach???

You see we have 8 science units & 8 social studies units. That's right! EIGHT!  Isn't the point of Common Core to teach less, but teach better?  Yeah, well I digress....

So, with so much content, we basically have two weeks to teach each concept.  We are supposed to be integrating each unit into shared reading & guided reading.  It's a little hard with a lack of resources, so I felt like I was floundering.  Our first SS Unit was about Map Skills &  Location.  Kinda boring, right?  So, foldables to the rescue!!  

Last year my kiddos LOVED making lapbooks.  This year, I'm doing the same concept, but we are keeping a Content Notebook so we are keeping all of our foldables in our notebooks.  I liked the idea of keeping all of our units in one notebook, so we can refer back to it throughout the year.  Plus, since our standards build on each other from year to year, hopefully they can use it next year.

Here are some pictures of our foldables in our notebook.

Here is what a completed lapbook would look like!
Here's a closer look at the different foldables

One of my students told me, "I never liked Social Studies until third grade!" That made my heart happy!

If you're interested, check it out at TPT or TN.  

What else did we do during this mini unit?  

We watched some cute BrainPop Jr. Videos.

We read some fun books. 
You can watch online here.
We used our Vis a Vis Markers to find different places on laminated maps. 

We created treasure maps (I wish I had some pictures, but I completely forgot! Let's pretend they looked this awesome)
During this little activity I found out that ninjas, alligators, and zombies can all be in a map key. 

If you'd like my Map Skills Lapbook, leave a comment with your email below telling me what content concept you like teaching most! I'll randomly pick three people to receive the lapbook!

Monday, September 17, 2012

All Da Bloggin Ladies!

What a great weekend!  Saturday was the SC Blogger Meeting. Well, SC, NC & GA Blogger Meeting to be exact.

Elisabeth (Twins, Teaching & Tacos) and I started the fun early and left Friday after school for SC to stay with Elizabeth (Fun in Room 4B). You see, we all started blogging around the same time and we're pretty much BFF's.  Yep, we stayed with her.  Had we met? No. But we totally knew each other! :)

We had a ton of fun. Talked teaching, life, and blogging (along with two bottles of wine!) It was a blast. 

Here we are!

Then we had the chance to hang out with some awesome ladies at California Dreaming! 

In attendance
from left to right- sort of
Autumn, Ashley, and Tammy from Fanatical in First Grade
Kim  (future blogger???)
Elizabeth from Fun in Room 4B
Gretchen from Always a Lesson
Shasta from The Loop
Heather and Juli from Simple In Second
Amanda from Teaching Maddeness
Rebecca from Landing in K
Natalie from Teachery Tidbits

Thanks, Rebecca, for compiling this awesome list. If you don't already follow these blogs, you should head on over and check them all out.

There were several other  ladies that I felt like I knew because I've followed their blogs for so long!

It was a huge group, so I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone as much as I would have liked, but I still had a blast. Everyone was so great! I can't wait for another get together of some Southern ladies. (maybe at the beach....)!  

Have a great rest of your Monday!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Told You I Would Post About Teaching...

Anyone else struggling just to keep their head above water?

Let's see, here's a look into my life. All things Common Core. Planning. Planning. Planning.  Leading our Robotics Team.  Oh and tryyyyying to have a life.  One saving grace is that I have a wonderful group of sweeties!

Even though it's a lot of work, I am loving implementing all things Common Core.  My kids finally have procedures down so we are working hard on our curriculum.  Here's a glimpse into what we've been doing.

I am loving our Math Time.  We are fully implementing Investigations in our county this year.  Who else uses it?  Do you love it too?

It's very, very, very hands-on (and it's a lot of prep time). The students have a chance to explore math, instead of just showing them how do it.  It's a big change in a teacher's thinking, but it's well worth it.  We play lots of math games during our math block.  The kids love it!

Also, our Reading Workshop is Launched!  I love teaching reading this way.  My kids are loving it too.  We are up to 35 minutes sustained reading.  Only 5 more minutes to go!  
This week we focused on sequencing and retelling fiction.  Technically there isn't really a Common Core Standard for sequencing ( far as I can tell),  but it's awfully hard to retell without sequencing.  Plus, it lined up perfectly with sequencing during writing workshop!

Here are some of our anchor charts! (Oh to only have better handwriting...)
I got the first two ideas from Pinterest.  I don't know what I'd do without Pinterest Anchor Charts!

During Shared Reading, we talked a lot about fix-up strategies for our reading. We are going to be reading a lot of content books and articles this year, so I wanted to spend a lot of time on monitoring comprehension. 

Like I said, my anchor charts are not as neat as I would like, but I try not to stress about it.  I also like having my students add to the anchor chart, so they take more of an ownership role in their learning. 

Last but certainly not least. I have two freebies for you guys!

First up, here's a real, real simple sequencing map.  My students used this during workshop time to practice sequencing whatever book they are reading during workshop time.  Then they glued it in their reader';s notebook. 

Click here to grab it from Google Docs!

Also, here's a parent communication tool that I use. We have weekly folders that go home every Tuesday (or for me, sometimes Wednesday...)  so I fill one of these babies out and send home. It's a really easy way to touch base with parents, plus a great way to nip little things before they become a problem.  Plus I love getting a chance to brag on my sweeties!

Click here to grab it!

Let me know if you can use these freebies!  

Oh and I had a great time this weekend with some great bloggers!  I'll share tomorrow! :)

Have a great week! :) 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Favorite Freebie

It has been a crazy two weeks!  Super Crazy.  I said I would be better at taking pictures. That didn't happen.  We have a slam packed full day.  There is just not enough time.  This is the first year where I've implemented reading & writing workshop, plus a shared reading time, plus an interative read-aloud, plus word work, plus a 60 Minute Math Block. (oh and our STEM time hasn't even started yet). It's going really smoothly, but I never have a free minute and I have tons of prep to do.  Hence my nonexistence in blog world.  

Maybe I'll be better at taking pictures this week, and maybe, just maybe I'll have some new freebies. 

But for now, let's visit some of my old freebies! 
I'm linking up with Cynthia at 2nd Grade Pad!

It was hard to choose one, but I did!

It is my favorite because...
It's easy to use! It's a skill that kiddos need to know. Plus I love the dino clipart. 

The story behind it...
Last year, all of my kiddos missed a fact and opinion question on our benchmark. I was like, hellllllo, I thought you guys learned this last year.  I guess I took it for granted.  I couldn't find anything online, so I created this. 

Now to use it...
There is a list of clue words to cut out and place in a bag. 

Create an anchor chart, have students draw out a clue word and glue on the anchor chart. 

There is a foldable for students to create based on the anchor chart. 

As well as a few sheets for students to complete. 

You can download it at my TPT or TN Store!  There are 40 total freebies there! That's more than my products for sell!

Here are just a few of them...

Be sure to go check out the other freebies over at 2nd Grade Pad!

Oh, and if you are going to be in the Columbia, SC area this weekend, be sure to check out the little shindig Hope King is planning! I'll be there and I'm stoked!
SC Meet-Up Poster
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