Awards, Giveaways and Your Kokua

Just a quick post today...hopefully. I always think it will be quick and it ends up taking me so long to get a post out! 

Okay first thing...a shout our for my bloggy buddy Ms. Smarty Pants.  She has reached 500 Facebook fans and 300 blog followers!! She is having a Pant-astic giveaway and I am happy to be contributing an item from my TpT store!  She also has a great freebie for you, so surf on over and show her some Aloha!!

The next thing is that I was awarded the Versatile Blogger award, not once, not twice, but 3 times yesterday!! Wow, thank you for all the love ladies!!  I like this award, because I think I am pretty versatile, lol!! I know this is mainly an education blog, but I also love to share about lots of other things that are fun in my life and I appreciate everyone who follows along and leaves me a little Aloha here and there:)

 I was awarded this by these lovely ladies.

Tonyas Treats for Teachers


My (Not So) Elementary Life

Please stop by their blogs and follow along on their adventures, if you don't already!!

And finally I am asking for your Kokua (help) for a little Giveaway that I would like to have for 250 followers. I just didn't get my act together for my 200 Followers and I am at 245 as of today!!  If you would like to be part of my Giveaway by donating an item I would be honored. Please email me if you are interested!

Well I guess that didn't take long at all!!


Daily 5 Chapter 3

We are moving right along in our Daily 5 Book Study and it is nice to finally start seeing some of the book in action! Thank you to Mel from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations and Nicole from Teaching with Style for putting together this book study.
Our gracious hosts for this Chapter are Jana from Thinking Out Loud
Thinking Out Loud
Chapter 3 is all about launching the Daily 5 and setting up your routines.   The sisters have great ideas on how to do this and begin your daily structure.
Here are few guiding questions to think about as you read chapter three:
  1. Why is a gathering place important?
  2. How did your students progess with picking appropriate books?  What went well?  What had to be changed?
  3. What rituals and routines do you need to teach for this structure to be successful?
  4. (If you are already implementing) How did you adapt the rituals and routines introduced in this chapter to make them successful for your students?
  5. What is one statement that stood out above everything in this chapter?
I am sure we all have a central gathering place where we meet to discuss daily items and routines.

This helps to focus your students and transition them for the next activity.  This year I am very happy to have a new carpet to meet on.  I received this one from a Donor's Choose project the very last week of school!  I can't wait to set it up in our new gathering place this year.


The lesson that the sisters outline for picking just right books is a fun  lesson that you can adapt to your class.  My class did fairly well this year in their selections, but it did take some practice.  After teaching them about how to pick a book I provided my kids with their own book bags that I had already filled with books.  It was easier to begin this way.  My good readers had no problem finding books they liked and filling up their bags.  My lower readers needed lots of practice.  They often just grabbed any books, looked through them very quickly and then went and got new ones. 

I conferenced with the students who I knew were not choosing correct books and reviewed what we  had gone over.  I asked them to choose a book from their bag and read it aloud to me.  Many of them couldn't and put it back into the bag and said "Oh I need a better book." So I worked with them individually and had them show me what they should do.  I provided them with lots of different books and examples of how to find good fit books.  My books are labeled by genre, but I also write the AR reading level on the inside of the book.  This is helpful for them to take a quick glance and know whether it was an appropriate book or not.

I decided to make this poster to hang up in the reading center this year to remind them how to choose a book. This is an adaptation from the book on page 30. I just made it cuter;) Just click on the picture if you want to grab it from Google Docs.

I really like the idea of the anchor charts to teach kids exactly what they should do for the different parts of the Daily 5. They are sharing their ideas and being validated for what they say. The part that I took from this that was new to me was simply writing down the child's name next to what he or she had said.  So simple, but so powerful to my students! Once they saw me write someone's name, hands shot up immediately with all of their ideas!!

This is something I need to implement this year a bit better.  I had a verbal signal, but often students did not hear me.  The neighboring teacher has a bell for her signal, so I think I need to get myself a chime or something a bit different from her bell so my students won't be confused.


Okay so one thing that really stands out is you have to practice and build stamina each and every day when you launch the program, but you start out with 3 minute intervals. What, 3 minutes?? My kids can do alot more than I thought! We did this and I was shocked we barely made it to two minutes the first day!!  The kids who were on task couldn't believe that was it!! What?? They begged me to try it again!! So we reviewed what behaviors we were looking for and that I would stop them the minute someone was off task! I think we made it a few more minutes that day.

  I really love the idea of using a chart to show  their stamina.  There were lots of great examples from last weeks Chapter, but I really love this one from  A Differentiated Kindergarten!!


This last section of the chapter is essentially a good reminder that students need time to reflect on their work.  Checking in allows for that time to discuss how they are doing and what they may need to work on.  I am very guilty of not giving enough time for this.  With time constraints it is so hard to fit this in. I know this will be a more difficult aspect of the program for me to implement.

I think the modeling aspect of this program is lots of fun for students. Kids have natural acting abilities and are more than happy to share their expertise on the right and wrong way to model behaviors. I know my students from last year had lots of fun with this one.  The sisters go into more detail with this in the next chapter.

Okay, I would love some ideas for a signal besides a bell.  What do you use? Chimes, music??

How do you check in with students? Do you do it immediately after each round or do it later in the day?  Is it all verbal or do you have them fill anything out?  I love to read your comments so feel free to chime in;)

Okay it's your turn. Link up your posts below and don't forget to add a link back to your host.

Next week Chapter 4 will be hosted by Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies, Tessa from Tales Outside The Classroom and Laura Davis from Tattling to The Teacher.
Make sure you hop on over and check out their posts!!


Another Made It Monday

It's Monday June 25th...I had to look at the calendar!! I can't believe half of my vacation in over.  I officially start back on July 25th, but you know I will be back in my class before that!  The students begin July 30th and I am busy prepping items for their return.

Today I am linking up with Tara again for her Monday Made It series and Miss Nelson for her Make It, Bake It, Sew It, Grow It linky!

If you follow my blog regularly then you know I am following along with the Daily 5 Book Study for grades 1-3.  I will be hosting the last chapter so I have been busy at work reading, taking notes and working on ideas.  This week is Chapter 3 and it covers Good Fit books and using book boxes to store the books. 
I think it is a great idea, but I have no space for boxes, and I find they fall over easily, wear out, and often the books fall out the bottom of the cardboard boxes.

So I decided to make my own book bags.  I looked around to see what other people were using and a lot of people really like these from Really Good Stuff.

Store More® Medium Book Pouches – Neon Colors

So I looked at the dimensions and created a simple pattern in my head.  I went to the fabric store and picked out some fun fabric to go with my beach/surf theme.

I decided since I hadn't made one before  I better practice with some fabric I already had in case I didn't like it.

I found this in my fabric drawer.

 I forgot that I had it and didn't realize I had so much! I almost like it better than the new fabric!!

So I decided on the dimensions and just layed it out and cut a simple shape.

 Just sew up the sides. Hem the top and sew in the handles.  I forgot to take pictures once I got started!! I ended up making one of each color.  They look so nice!!
 I added a cute little surfboard name tag that I made...
 and had my model try it out.
 We fit 8 good sized books in there.

I think they will work great!! But now I am in a dilemma.  Do I use the fabric that I bought for the book bags originally or go back and buy more of this fabric?? I love the bright colors, but my daughters love the print. They said it was more kid friendly. Which do you like??

Thoughts, ideas, comments are greatly appreciated!!

Either way I love that I will have book bags for my classroom that can be hung up out of the way.
Don't forget to link up your craftiness over at Tara's blog 4th Grade Frolics and Run Miss Nelson's Got The Camera!


Friday Freebies

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Aloha Friday everyone!!  We say this every Friday here in Hawaii.  There is even a song called Aloha Friday.  My daughter's first grade teacher taught it to her and she used to sing it all the time. 

I can only remember the first line but it says " It's Aloha Friday, no school til Monday" and then it has a cute little doo, dee, doo verse.  I will have to see if I can find a You Tube video;)

I know I have been slacking a bit on my posts, but I have been playing around creating fun things at home, between surf sessions  of course!

I really love all of those cute clip charts and there are so many great freebies out there, but the original is from  Rick Morris.  He has a great PDF on how to implement in your class if you haven't used it before. He has some great ideas. I am going to have the kids decorate their own clips.  I think it will be a fun beginning of the year project and help them take ownership of the clip chart.  I will probably put out some paint and stickers and see what they come up with.

Anyway I made my own chart to match the theme of my Common Core Posters  and I am really happy with it!

Super simple! I can't wait to get this printed and laminated to use in my room:)

I have also been messing around with more ideas for digital backgrounds and I have so many I want to make.  Here is my latest creation.  I was thinking you may need some papers for the 4th of July so I came up with this set.

Please feel free to grab them in my TpT store.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Aloha Friday!!


The Daily 5 Chapter 2

It has been great to see so much interaction happening with this book study!
Today I am going over Chapter 2 which deals with the Foundation of The Daily 5.

The sisters go through the steps of setting a foundation for this program.

Like any good teaching you need to start from the bottom up, scaffolding if you will.  You can't start something new if a firm foundation isn't in place.

I think this was why I felt I could not fully implement all parts of the Daily 5 in my classroom this last year.  I really love that I can spend the time at the beginning of this year to do it!!

What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in Chapter 2?

Okay so what are some things that are important to have in place?

Do you trust your students!?? I think this is a huge one for me.  I want things to be perfectly in order and go off without a hitch, but if I don't believe my students can do it, then they probably won't.

This is why I want to start building trust with my students from the moment they walk in the door.  I need to teach them explicitly what I want them to do, practice, praise, reteach if necessary, practice again and then let them go be independent learners.  We all know this doesn't happen over night and I need to remind myself to take baby steps.

You know as I read this section I realized I had some choices in my center activities, but I still had full control of how it all went down.  I really want to provide my kids with more choice this year.  My problem with this approach is What do I do if I have a student who only chooses to go to the same area each time??  How do I give them Choice, but not tell them where to go?  I am looking for ideas and more insight on this one, so I am fully armed and ready when we begin the year!

Okay this is one I know I can implement and am excited to do this year.  I really want to build a positive and caring classroom community this year.  I have gained so many wonderful ideas through virtual tours of everyone's classrooms.  I am implementing the Behavior Clip Chart this year! I love how it focuses on the positive kids and less on the negative.  I felt so awful this year many times that I didn't acknowledge those great kids who were so sweet and always did what they were supposed to be doing.  I spent way too much time with my group of rascals.  Along with the Clip Chart I am also adding the Bucket Fillers Chart.  I think this is such a fantastic way to help students gain self esteem and learn to think of others.  I find so many of my students think only within themselves and don't see the bigger picture.

With a great sense of community my students will be more aware of themselves and others around them. This would tie in directly to how a sense of community will make more responsible learners.

I know I often start to teach something and realize that  I have not explained why we are doing this.  Why do you read to yourself?  Why do you want to read to someone?  Why do you want to listen to reading?  This seems so simple, but this made a lot of sense to me and I want to make sure I do this more often in my class.  I need to hook my students in and let them know this is for them and they need to WANT to do their work.

This is such a simple concept. It was kind of like "Why haven't I always done this?" I love the example that Gail gives in the book about getting back in shape.  This year in my class we slowly built up our Read To Self Stamina. First we did a few minutes, then it went up slowly, but pretty soon my guys were reading for 20 and 30 minutes!! 

Pinned Image

I love this one!!  I really want to be able to step back and watch my kids hard at work.  With my own two children I was always hovering and they learned to depend on me for everything!!  I have slowly put the responsibilty back on them and they are learning how to do things on their own.  I want to start off giving my students the responsibilty to be independent learners, show them exactly what I expect and just get out of the way!! (I think I need to teach this to some of my parents...)

What support do I need to do this??

Well right now I feel like I have tons of support from everyone doing this book study!!  However here are a few concerns:

Again, how do I give my students choices, but make sure they are doing everything they need to?

Did you inform your administrator that you are using Daily 5 or did you just do it?

Do you involve your parents in the process?

Well I don't have any  freebies yet, but stop by and visit our host Nicole.  She has a great Stamina chart for you!!

I look forward to reading everyone's ideas and feelings on this chapter!

Don't forget to link up!!

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