Friday, January 31, 2014

Guess What Day It Is?!?!?!?!?

   I have been so incredibly jealous of many of my blogging buddies over the last several weeks of their snow days. Living in Colorado we are used to having many inches of snow and cold one minute and then warm sunshine the next. We have not had as much accumulating snow this winter as a typical winter. So when the snow came a fallin' last night I was crossing every finger, toe, eyelash you name it. I even set the alarm clock 30 minutes later just in case. And did it work?!?!? Guess who has a snow day? I am so excited to have an extra day home with my own kiddos! But, I could hear the grown of my classroom kiddos from my house when they got the call. Today was supposed to be our big Super Bowl extravaganza to root on our BRONCOS. I have decided if our team wins on Sunday we will just have a Super Bowl Champions extravaganza on Monday now that we need to move our 100th day to Tuesday.
   Speaking of the 100th Day of School here is my little first grade kiddo with his 100th day project.
   He was so excited to use Goldfish crackers although we counted to 100 numerous times because someone kept slipping some into his little mouth. When I finished helping Ashton with his project it was time to prep my classroom kiddos 100th day activities. That we now get to celebrate on Tuesday thanks to today's snow day. (I cannot mention this snow day enough!!!)  Here is a look at some goodies my kiddos will get at the end of the day.
    I LOVE me some Scholastic products! With my order of The 100th Day of School From the Black Lagoon ($1/book) my order came with free bookmarks, stretchy bracelets (my kiddos are crazy for these bracelets right now), and cards for each of my kiddos with a code for a free Storia eBook download. Plus, I received 32 coupons for my kiddos for Valentines Day to select a free book worth $5. The cute little bags I had leftover from last Halloween from the Target Dollar section when everything went 90% off. And the 100th Day awards and stickers are currently in the Target Dollar spot. This is how I put them all together in about 10 minutes...
   I just slipped everything inside of the bags and attached a quick little tag to the front. Cute right???? Throughout the day on Tuesday we will complete some activities from my Hip, Hip Hooray! 100th Day of School mini-unit in addition to some cute little activities from Pinterest and some of my favorite blogging friends. You can nab my mini-unit in my store for the magic number of the day $1.00 by clicking on the image below.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chinese New Year, the Super Bowl & Olympics

   It feels so good to be back to blogging!!! The last two weeks have been a whirlwind in and outside of the classroom. From house shopping, prepping to put our house on the market, balancing new curriculum in the classroom, and coping with very difficult classroom behavior from a couple kiddos has been draining. I have made some big decisions in the last two weeks that have finally cleared my mind so I am back with more energy!!! Thank goodness because I feel like this upcoming week is full of holiday & celebratory preparation. In addition to continuing our new writing and math curriculum we will learn and celebrate Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day, and the Broncos going to the Super Bowl. Then the prep begins for our 100th day of school next Monday and the Olympics. This post will include a bunch of pictures to illustrate our planned classroom activities.
   We will begin our Olympic themed activities next Monday. Here is a look at the math and literacy centers my kiddos will complete during Daily 5 Math & Walk to Read. (You can grab all 14 centers by clicking on the bottom image)

  And look at these goodies I found at the Dollar Tree today. I will turn these items into daily Olympic themed activities that my kiddos will have to complete though teamwork and synergy (one of our 7 habits). I am planning on using our spelling words, math facts, and grammar lessons. 
    And what a coincidence! Footballs and blue buckets to help celebrate our Denver Bronco's making it to the Super Bowl. My kiddos are just too excited that the local team is getting so much attention. These buckets will be part of a Super "Math" Bowl relay race in our gym with all of the second graders. They will all look so cute in their Bronco's gear cheering on their teammates. Don't you love incorporating movement into academics?!?!? I can't wait until Friday.

   And here is a look at one of the Chinese New Year crafts my kiddos will be making. It is so fitting that it is the year of the horse just like the Bronco's mascot. Coincidence?!?!? I think not, but hey it pulls all of these holidays and celebrations together. One craft this week my kiddos will be making is a decorated horse wishing our local team "good luck" with encouraging messages. Here is a peek at the Fire Dragons we will be making too.
 Kiddos will cut the bottom out of the bottom of a Styrofoam cup
 They will tear and glue red, orange, and yellow pieces of construction paper to the cup
   And finally attach yellow and red "fire breathing" streamers to the inner lip of the drinking end of the cup. They will blow out of the bottom of the cup to make the streamers blow like fire. If my 4th grader can play with this for 20 minutes I am pretty sure my kiddos are going to love it!!!
   Stay tuned for my mini 100th Day of School unit that I will post this week. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Interactive Journaling, Fluency Practice & MLK Jr.

    Do you ever feel like a short school week feels longer than a normal 5 day week? We had a good three days of academic review and a review of classroom expectations. (Boy, some of my boys were a little too CRAZY excited to be back at school!) My kiddos noticed right away when they walked through the classroom door the changes I made to one of our Daily 5 center shelves. Here is a look at what they look like now...
   I still have my literacy centers in the blue plastic bins on the bottom shelf. Right now they contain materials from my 15 Winter Common Core Math & Literacy Centers in them. The top shelf now holds my independent Comprehension Centers, antonym and synonym puzzles (in the green tubs), and Fluency Center. 
   We introduced our interactive comprehension notebooks during Walk to Read this week. You can read about them here. I am so EXCITED how excited my kiddos were to begin making these. We spent this week learning how to cut, assemble, and record our information in the visualizing and connections flipbooks, from my Ultimate Interactive Comprehension Pack, for the stories Snowmen at Night and The Biggest, Best Snowman. Our goal is to practice a few more interactive journaling pages together before my kiddos can dive head first into the independent centers. 
   One of the newest addictions of my kiddos is the Cookie Fluency games in my new fluency center. We spent a few minutes each day playing one of the games from my One Smart Cookie! {Fluency Phrases for the First 100 Fry Words}. My kiddos asked to skip our Friday word work Promethean game to play these fluency games longer. Here is a look at the fluency rotation stations we completed with this fluency pack...

   This upcoming week we will begin practicing the other items from this fluency pack. We will use the cookie fluency tracking sheets to help track our progress while we read through the ten practice fluency phrase pages. I have placed this fluency practice in binders with plastic page protectors so my kiddos can write their score after one minute with a dry erase marker. 
   Looking at the week ahead it will be an eventful one. My district has decided to have all classroom teachers pilot two math curriculum's over the next 18 weeks. We will be using Math Expressions and Envision. Both are very different ways of learning for our kiddos with different teaching techniques then what we have become accustomed to with Georgia Math. If you use either math programs let me know what you think and how they work with your kiddos. We will also be introducing Martin Luther King Jr. in our writing block. I will be using my Martin Luther King Jr. {An Interactive Literacy, Writing, & Craftivity Unit}. There are many activities within this unit that will be a perfect review of the 7 Habits and Leadership for my kiddos. You can grab a copy of this unit by clicking on the image below. 
Have a fabulous week!!! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Say it isn't so...

   Say it isn't so! Do I really need to go back to school tomorrow? As I relish in only a couple more hours left of winter break, and shed a few tears, I have finished prepping for the journey back into the classroom. Thankfully we have two days of professional development and no kiddos until Wednesday so I can take down all my leftover Christmas d├ęcor and print, laminate, and assemble all of my new goodies for the kiddos.
   I racked my brain over the last week as to how to lead my Walk to Read group as successfully as possible. As I have mentioned before I have all of the second grade intensive kiddos in my literacy block and have a lot of growth to help them make by the end of the year. I do incorporate Daily 5 into this 90 minute intervention block, but my kiddos do not get to choose what they would like to complete (except on Friday's when I progress monitor). I decided to add additional fluency and comprehension practice into Daily 5 that my kiddos will be introduced to this week when they return. When my kiddos Read to Self they will be using my new comprehension centers. Here is a glimpse of what these will look like.
    I have taken six accordion files, from the dollar spot at Target, to hold and organize everything together. Each center holds a book (all six of my centers are winter themed right now), a comprehension activity or interactive journaling page, and comprehension mini-posters. My goal is for my intensive kiddos to take the comprehension strategies we have been working on in guided reading and small group independently. I have placed a mixture of fiction and nonfiction books in each center. I also plan to make multiple copies of the activities and place in a plastic page protector that way I do not need to replenish these centers everyday. We will spend this week modeling and practicing the expectations of the centers.
   Here is a look at the inside of the accordion file. I have tabs labeled for the "book", "activity" , "notebook" (for the interactive journaling page), and "cards" (comprehension mini-posters). Once I have everything labeled, copied, and placed in its spot I will upload more pictures. You can get a copy of everything that I am using in these comprehension centers, except the books, by clicking on the image below.
    My kiddos will also be using their Read to Someone rotation to practice their fluency. They do spend two days a week doing fluency drills in one of their small groups, but this is led by a teacher. I want my kiddos to begin to take responsibility for their learning and complete these drills on their own. So I have created an interactive way for my kiddos to do this with my Cookie Fluency Phrases. I have used the first 100 Fry words and created small phrases and sentences for my kiddos to read. My kiddos can play games like Memory, Spin-a-Cookie, Cookie Racing and track their progress in a fluency phrase notebook. I plan on having each of these games in a manila folder and the practice pages in three binders. Once I take pictures of the complete set-up I will upload them. You can read a little more and take a look at the preview by clicking on the images below.
   Anyone else getting excited for the Olympics? I am counting down the days for the Opening Ceremony. My excitement could stem from my childhood when I thought I was going to be the next great ice skater, but have only been on the ice once in my lifetime! I have some exciting activities I am working on for my classroom kiddos. I did finish the Math & Literacy centers we will be using during the two weeks of the games. You can get a copy for yourself by clicking on the images below.