Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall Resources

Aloha everyone!  I am stuck inside today due to Hurricane Ana.  It is south of Oahu today so we are getting tons of rain, but luckily that's it!  Very thankful for not having to evacuate!!

On this rainy day I have an excuse to play on the computer all day, right?

This week I will be busy with Parent Teacher conferences.  I only have 21 students over the course of 6 days, so it shouldn't be too stressful.  I have such a great class I am looking forward to meeting with parents and telling them how great their kids are!

As I was perusing through all of my social media sites I realized that I have almost 10,000 fans on my Facebook page!!! That is absolutely amazing to me!!  So I have decided to have a giveaway.

If you are a Facebook Fan you can win all of these resources!!  Just head over to my Facebook Fan page and enter.

If you are not a Facebook Fan simply "like" my page and you will also be able to access my monthly fan freebies.

This month my Batty Contractions is free.  

Click {Here} to grab this freebie.

It's also planning Sunday and I am on Unit 2 Week 3 of Wonders.  I love how the Essential Question fits right into our Science theme of Animal Habitats.  We started our Nocturnal Animal Unit and the kids are loving it!  This week we are learning about Desert Habitats and all of the nocturnal creatures you would find there. I will post pictures soon!

If you are in need of resources for this month, I will have all of my October items 15% off for the rest of the month in my TpT store. ----------->October Items 

Happy Sunday and let's hope this rainy day is a productive one!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Easy Literacy Center Crafts

Aloha friends!  I have been enjoying the last day of my Fall break and now I am prepping for the next few weeks of school.

This is a busy month with lots of fun happening.  We will be starting out Nocturnal animal unit this week.  I am doing many of the same activities as I did last year. {Click Here For My Post}{Here Is Another}

I am also prepping for Halloween.   We will be making these cute Ghost Riddles together. This template is available in TpT store and comes with other activities.

I am adding some fun crafts to our Word Work and Writing centers for the last few weeks of October.   These simple paper crafts are much more fun than worksheets and your kids will love making them.  I just sketched them out and used construction paper and google eyes.

We will be working on contractions so this Contraction Spider will be perfect.

Another skill that we will be covering are prefixes and suffixes.  These ghosts are a fun way to get kids to write and create. You could brainstorm some ideas together before they create their own.

How about using Frankie to write synonyms?

You can make some fun shape poems using any kind of Halloween or holiday shape.

Have you been to Target lately?  They have some pretty amazing goodies in the Dollar section!!

I am going to use those little stickers for rebus stories and the pumpkins are perfect for the shape poems.

Those post-its are great for some fun bookmarks and can be used by my students to write bucket-fillers.  I seriously had to put many of the items that I originally found back, I was WAY over budget!!

I love Halloween and I know my kiddos are going to be so excited for these activities.  To top it all off ...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mosaic Pumpkins

Aloha friends! Just a quick post today to share a fun idea for the month of October.

I have shared this before and a few people asked me questions about it.  So I am linking up with the Primary Chalkboard for their monthly Chalk Talk Vlog Hop.  Check it our for great ideas and tips for the month.

I created a quick video tutorial on how to make these fun pumpkins.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

End Of The Quarter

Aloha my wonderful friends!  The weekend is here along with the end of the month and the end of the 1st quarter!!  Time flies when you are having fun!

Can I just say I have been incredibly busy this first quarter.  Implementing a new curriculum takes a lot of time!  I am also taking a course this quarter for Wonders.  It is online, which makes it a bit easier and I have to implement the curriculum anyway.  Might as well kill two birds with one stone.

The course is actually right on the Wonders website under Professional Development.  It walks you through all parts of the series.  I have to focus on one particular area for my class and show how I have implemented the series in my classroom through a portfolio of evidence.  I will keep you posted on my progress.

In the meantime I have been creating some supplementary materials to use during my Daily 5 rotations.

I looked through all the grammar skills for Unit 2 and I created some simple activities that my students can do on their own during their word work time. I already had the collective noun activity from last year, so I just included it in there.

Unit 2 covers nouns, prefixes and suffixes.  There are 7 different centers to go over each skill.  I also included a black and white version to save on colored ink.

Even though I created them to go along with the Wonders series, you could use them even if you don't use Wonders.  They are available in my TpT store.

This next week is the end of the quarter.  We get a week off for Fall break and I am really excited about it.  I am leaving a tiny bit early to head to the Bay Area!  

I lived in San Francisco for 7 years and that is where I met my husband.  His mother lives in San Jose.  We are going to visit her and then head to the city for a few days. My girls are older now and I am really looking forward to traipsing through the city and showing them all of my old hangouts and some of my favorite places to eat.

So now I also have to prep a few days for the sub.  The Wonders series can be so overwhelming so I made some worksheets to go along with some of the stories for Unit 2 week 1.  If these would be helpful to you just click on any of the pictures to download them from Google Docs.

I have also included the spelling test that I give my students.  I have been having them write sentences that include the words for the week and also the skills such as commas in a series, capital letters and periods.

I find it to be a much better assessment than just giving them the list of words.

Are you almost finished with your first quarter?  Do you get a break or just push on through  until Christmas?  Either way I hope your year is flowing well!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Active Engagement During Math Time

Aloha friends!  I hope this post finds you happy, healthy and progressing well in your new school year.  I wanted to share how I have changed up my math time this year to really address all of my students needs.

Like many of you I have a classroom full of kids at all levels.  I have some who are receiving SPED services and a few that are on my radar for future services.  I also have my high level students who are done with everything in a few minutes and are ready for more.  Then I have my right on target kids who don't seem to ever get as much attention in a whole group setting.

Whole group instruction for math is almost laughable in my classroom. I am exhausted when I try to teach whole group.  I seem to repeat the same things over and over.  Know what I'm talking about?

Math rotations have helped to make my instruction much more meaningful and my students love it. 

I start my math time off with a mini lesson on what the standard/objective is for the day and I give the students an example of what we will be doing. (5 minutes)

Then I focus them on the Math Rotation board.

I always start out with my lowest group to make sure we have enough time to go over the concept and that they can have guided practice with me.  If they don't finish in our time (15-20 minutes)  they can finish at their seats during their Practice Book time.  Sometimes I keep them with me and they repeat the lesson with the next group.

I have my math wizards start off with their practice books.  We use Go Math and the practice books have  pages from the lesson that can be sent home for homework our used in class.

When they are finished with the practice book page they turn it in and work on a math enrichment project or fun math pages that they have in their desk.

Students at centers have a choice of 6 different buckets.  Each one is filled with lots of activities at varying levels.

Each tub also has a particular skill such as measurement, basic facts, place value, etc...  

I have them work alone at each center.  They have a simple menu that keeps them from repeating a center until they have gone to each one. Click {HERE} to download.
After center activities they head to computers.  Last year I received a grant from Reflex Math and it was wonderful!!  My kids loved it and they mastered their facts so quickly! One of the third grade teachers even told me how happy she was that so many students came in knowing their facts by heart.

My principal gave our 2nd grade team the funds to continue it this year.

Our district also has a subscription to IXL.  Once students earn a green light on Reflex they can go to IXL.  Most of my students never leave the Reflex site.

This system is the only way I can meet with each and every student to see how they are doing and what they need work on. Plus the students are on task and actively engaged the whole hour and 20 minutes!

Many people say they get bored teaching the same lesson 4 times.  When I teach whole group I seem to go over it a lot more than that.  By the time my wizards get to me I really don't have to do much more than a simple review since they have already done their practice book.

Everyone gets what they need and more.  I have enrichment for my wizards and remedial work for sweet and lows.  

Do you have rotations or centers in your classroom?  How is your system the same or different?  I am always looking for creative and new ideas!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Workin' Through Wonders

Aloha!! Are you as excited about the weekend as I am?!  I don't understand how short weeks seem longer than regular weeks.  My theory is you have to pack as much as you can into 4 days that you usually do in 5!

This week marks the 5th week we have been in school.  I feel like my routines are starting to firm up and students are starting to be a little more independent.

The week started out with a little visitor to our classroom.
(Well not really little!)

I opened the closet to get some paper out and I saw something scurry out.  I closed the closet and this large fellow was sitting there.  

As long as this is not on me I am okay.  I knew the kids would freak out, so I calmly said "Wow, this guy is huge! I am going to take a picture of him.  Does anyone remember what type of spider he is?" Kids yelled out "Cane" spider and "King" spider.  I explained it was a Cane spider and that they came from the sugar cane fields.  I spelled it on the board and then we talked about how they were harmless and help eat the bugs in our classroom.  I took a picture and they all got back to work.  This guy slunk away and I was happy with that.

This week I felt like I had gotten a good feel for our new Wonders reading program.  I am picking and choosing  the most important pieces and I have my Daily 5 routines up and running.

Here is the schedule of my Literacy Block for the Week.

That first block of the day is spent going over the skills for the week.  I have adapted our morning work packet to include the essential skills that Wonders covers for the week.  

Every Monday I give a pre-test to see who needs help with the spelling skill.  If they pass the test they don't need to take the test on Friday.  Wonders does provide differentiated spelling lists for each of the levels.

I place my spelling list up on the board for the week for different activities and for kids to read them each day.  That little pocket chart is for Word Families that I got from Really Good Stuff.

On Tuesday I read the story in the Anthology to the class and we go over the vocabulary together.
I then have the students partner up and read it.  Then they do the vocabulary page in their practice books.

I try to get in the writing by having them respond the the essential question for the week in their writing journals.

On Wednesday through Friday is when I differentiate and meet with all of my students.  I am so happy we received the leveled readers that come with the program.  I can easily see what skills my students need and go from there.

I can also work with my lower group on high-frequency words, spelling and fluency.  My higher readers can work on the same skills, but I can get them to do more critical thinking, writing and comprehension questions.

My Daily 5 rotations are basically the same as last year. My Word Work centers are all skills that we are covering and they also include activities for spelling.  I changed my Writing center a bit and have focused the students on what the Wonders program suggests.  This week we were on Unit 1 Week 3. The essential question was "How can a pet be an important friend?"  The skill this week was writing a friendly letter.

I made some simple writing templates to put in the center.  I told the students that they were going to write a letter to their pet and tell them all the reasons why they were a good friend.

They did such a great job and they were so excited to write their letters and take them home. The kids that did not have a pet could write a letter to an imaginary pet or just a letter to a friend.  If you would like a copy of these templates click on the picture to download them from Google Docs.

Over the last few weeks I have created flashcards and lists  for my small groups and whole group activities.  I have also put together spelling lists at all the different levels that Wonders has provided.

Included are spelling lists, spelling cards, vocabulary cards, and high-frequency word cards for Weeks 1-5.  If you are using Wonders this might be helpful to have all of the lists in one place to use for small groups, centers or homework.

This will be a freebie the month of September.  I would love to hear your thoughts and know what I should add for Unit 2.  Head over to my Facebook page and you can grab it in my Facebook freebie section.

Are you new to Wonders as well?  I would love to hear how it is going for you and any tips you might want to share :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Past, Present and Future-Making Timelines

Aloha Friends!  I am enjoying my 3 day weekend and loving an extra day to catch up and lounge around. I am having a BBQ with some friends this evening to celebrate my birthday (a little late) and to enjoy our beautiful weather that we have been having!!

I went for a long walk this morning with my hubby and my new phone that I got for my birthday :)

I had intended on getting my very first iPhone.  Everyone loves their iPhones.  I ended up getting the Galaxy S5!

I love the camera and it has this fun little feature to take a selfie and a picture at the same time!  It also has a pedometer that automatically counts my steps wherever I go.  I think it's like a FitBit.

It's also water resistant which is great since I plan to walk/jog with it and we are at the beach a lot. It is amazing what phones can do these days.  It's like carrying around a mini computer in your pocket.

Which brings me to the topic of this post!  Phones?  Nope!

Our class started learning about the Past, Present and Future this week.  We talked about how things change over time. (Just like our phones)

We started the week with our Birthday Timeline.

We also learned about inflectional endings -ed/ing in our reading series and how a verb can change to show past, or present.

Click on the picture to grab this freebie in Google Docs.

We started our interactive notebooks and had a lesson on what history means.

We will continue with learning about modern times and the future.  We are also going to be creating our own timelines.  I have shared before how I have students make Personal Timelines.

This is a template from Really Good Stuff that I had used previously.

This year I made a template for my students to use.  I am sending home a letter to parents asking them to help their child write about what they could do at each stage of their life.  I am also asking  them to bring in pictures at each age of their lives (if they have them).

Students will glue in their pictures and write about each year.  If they don't have pictures they will just draw themselves.  I plan to also have them write the year at the top of each picture. I am going to hang them up in our classroom, but they can also place them right into their notebooks.

These always turn out really cute!  I can't wait to share our finished products.

If you are interested in checking out my Timeline Unit it is available in my TpT store.

Thanks so much for popping in. I am off to prepare for my future events.  
Enjoy your long weekend!!