Family Trees

Hope your weekend was restful and fun.  I surfed on Friday and Saturday and today I am extremely sore!! But I am so happy I got to get out in the water again:))

This week will be the last week of the quarter if you can believe it!! It has been a busy one and I am ready for Fall Break!

This quarter our Social Studies benchmarks included the following:

Chronological Thinking
Construct timelines to sequence events

Historical Inquiry
Investigate the history of families using level-appropriate primary sources (e.g., artifacts, photographs, interviews, documents)

Cultural Systems and practices
Describe ways in which own and other cultures express their cultural beliefs and practices through music and art

These are our state standards, but there is no set curriculum. We have always had to come up with activities on our own. I shared with you our variety of timelines that we have created. Now on to our families.

Each year I have students create their family tree.  We share this book first:

 I am sure many of you have used this one as well.  It's easy and straight forward.  I discuss family trees and share about our immediate families.  I then send home a blank family tree template and have students work with their parents to write in just the first names of family members.  I give them at least a week to get it back to school with busy parent schedules.

Once they have all been returned we get started on creating our family tree.  This year I decided to go with our Tropical Theme and we made a Palm Tree:)

I drew out the top and made a template and just traced it for all of the students.  I cut some strips of brown paper and they glued it onto their papers.  Then I made some circle templates and had them trace out their coconuts onto brown paper.

 Then they colored them in brown so they would look more like coconuts.

 We glued the coconuts onto our tree.  I took them step by step through this process
so that their coconuts weren't all mixed up:)

The next day I gave them blank white circles and they drew a picture of each family member and
wrote in their names.  I had them make sure to just draw everything first, before they cut them out so we wouldn't lose any of them!

Once they were finished they looked at their homework sheet to help them put them all in the right
order.  We then wrote Our Ohana on the top of the page.
(Ohana means family, if you haven't seen Lilo and Stitch, lol!)

I love them and so do the kids!  We shared out in class and I know that their families will love them too!!

I have the templates that I used on Google Docs if you want them. It's pretty simple to do without though.

This coming week is all about our Cultures and we have some fun activities planned so Stay Tuned...

I will leave you with a fun freebie that I created for my Word Work center.  My students are having trouble with the parts of speech so I decided to start off with just nouns.  We have discussed them, but I know they need more practice.  This is a fun way to practice  and get them in the mood for Halloween.
Just click on this link to grab it in my TpT store.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays


Aloha Fall Sale

Aloha Friday everyone and Happy First Day of Fall! Can you believe it is already September 21st??  Does it feel like Fall where you live?? I grew up in Colorado and I really miss the Fall more than any other season. New jackets and warm sweaters, boots, scarves, hats:))  I am not complaining about Hawaii, but the weather here is still very warm and my most recent clothing purchase was a new bikini top for surfing:))

I am actually really excited for the Fall season because the surf starts to pick up here.  This weekend there are actually supposed to be waves, so I plan to be out in the ocean as much as possible!!  To celebrate the start of the Fall/Surf Season I am throwing a sale along with lots of other bloggers this weekend in my TpT store.  Every item will be 20% off.

Casey over at Second Grade Math Maniac is hosting a little linky so click on over and check it out!

  Here are a few of my new/favorite/best selling items.

I also have some great freebies if you don't already have them.

Click on any picture to go to my TpT store:)) Have a great weekend!!


Guided Reading Linky

Earlier this week I posted about how my Daily 5 rotations were going.  Well my friend Jen over at The Teacher's Cauldron in having a Guided Reading linky and I thought I would share what I do while my kiddos are hard at work at their centers.

Even though I have just started Daily 5 this year, I have been doing centers and guided reading groups for a long time.  I use a few different resources, but generally stick to the same format.
I only have time for my reading groups Tuesday through Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays we do whole group activities.
I start out the year assessing and working with all my students to figure out how to group them.  I have been using Reading A-Z for the past few years and it has been a wonderful resource for me.
Reading - Your Reading Resource Center
I set up a binder which I use to administer running records and find a reading level for each student.
I also keep the comprehension sheets and resources for each of the books that I use to read with certain groups all from this site:)


Once I figure out what level my students are reading at I create different groups which change throughout the year.
This quarter I have just used our Reading series that the school provides.
This is sooo old, but the stories are easy to read for the beginning of the year and I don't have to go looking for new resources.  However I do change up the  activities for each group depending upon the skills that they need.
My guided reading table has everything I need to work with each group.
I don't have a fancy smancy planner that I use for each group.  I keep a general plan of the skills that I need to work on.
I use this simple sheet to plan for my groups.

This is my version of what The Sisters suggest to use for Daily 5.  We all meet first and I go over what I would like them to work on during their rotations. I might review a particular activity that some students found difficult or remind them of a certain skill I want them to work on for spelling or writing. Click on the pic to grab this in google docs.
The students go to their spots and I get started with my group.
I really enjoy this small group time. I learn so much about each student and I can assess their strengths and weaknesses very quickly.  The students love this time too.  We read, but we also do a lot of writing and discussion.  My shy ones are willing to share a lot more during this time.  We did a sequencing activity recently and my little guy here in the grey shirt left the table saying "That was so fun!"  That's what I want to hear them say everyday!
This next quarter I plan to differentiate a bit more.  I have copied many different levels of books from the Reading A-Z library.
 I have my books organized in one of these little containers.  No fancy makeover here, yet!

They are grouped by levels and I have 6 of each copy.  I can quickly find a story that I need based on ability or theme.  What I also like is that there are lots of Non-Fiction options as well.
I use these readers quite a bit, but also mix it up with multiple book copies that I have collected over the years. As my students progress through the year I try to change my groups to keep them on level but also to challenge some that may need more.
So there you have it my Guided Reading time in a nutshell.  Do you do guided reading groups?  I'd love to hear about any fantastic things you do during this time. 
Don't forget to link up over at The Teacher's Cauldron!
I am also linking up with Darling Little Learners.
Darling Little Learners

Daily 5 Update

According to our class Days In School Chart we are in 33 days! I finally feel like the mounds of work are dwindling and I am able to leave the classroom at a decent hour.  Luckily there has been no surf, so I have devoted more time into my class.  I know that sounds horrible, but if there are any sort of waves near me I leave school as quickly as possible  to be in them!!

I wanted to share with you how my Daily 5 rotations have been going this year.  I started out slow by taking it step by step just like The Sisters advise.  We started with Read To Self and really worked on that.  The book bags have been a great help and I love that they don't break or fall apart when the kids drop them.
We worked on choosing our Just Right Books and I displayed this cute poster in our reading center, along with our rotation chart for exchanging books.

The kids love the book bags and it is amazing to me how quickly they progressed and are reading to themselves.  They don't wander around the room, go get drinks or head to the bathroom. They sit there and read. Often they get so excited about what they are reading they want to share with a friend, which leads to our next area Buddy Reading.

The Sisters call this Read To Someone, but that sounds a bit boring  so I changed it.  This class loves Buddy Reading.  We worked on this as a whole group for awhile and they really have it down.

To make it easier during our Daily 5 time I set up these buckets with lots of book pairs from the library.

The buddies grab a bucket and find a quiet spot in the room to read.
(I got those cute little Daily 5 labels from a link on Pinterest)

Word Work is another favorite choice.  I have given lots of options for this area and I ask that they work by themselves to make sure they are on task and doing the work.  They can ask for help from a friend if they need it, but it is amazing how engaged they are, especially when they make their own choices!

Work on Writing is one area that has taken some time.  I started Writer's Workshop this year and it has been very successful, but it did take time to get the kids to make choices about what they wanted to write.  When they have their own choice, they suddenly draw a blank. So I gave them some options during this time. They can finish something they have already started, they can write in one of our Message Books, or they can choose a Topics To Write About card.

I saw this on Lori's blog Teaching With Love and Laughter and I just had to have it!!  Click here to go to her great post on this!!  My kids love choosing a card, taking it to their seat and writing about it.  What I love is that they can physically take this little card (the size of a business card) to their seat and look at it to keep them on task.  So simple, yet very effective!!

The most popular area is Listen To Reading. This fills up quickly because the kids get to go on the computers.

Right now they are going to either Starfall or Silly Books.  I haven't really focused on setting up more sites for them to go to.  Our school also uses Kid Biz which focuses on non-fiction articles which they listen to and answer questions about.  This is very difficult for many of my students right now, because they need lots of practice with non-fiction.  It is perfect though for those new CCSS. 

But the problem is this is my noisiest center!!  They are all over there talking and laughing and it disrupts the rest of the class.

Well I am excited to tell you that my Donor's Choose project for individual CD players just got funded!!  Hurray! Now I can have students choose a player and go sit somewhere on their own to listen to stories. 

My biggest problem with my Daily 5 has been giving the students their choice of where to go.

I love this clip chart. I made it simple to see the pictures and they clip right on it to have a spot.  Well this took FOREVER for them to get. They all clipped on Listen To Reading even though there was no spot. They stood there staring at it for 10 minutes before making a choice.  I almost decided to just make a chart as to who would go where! I just couldn't take the fact that so many were just standing around for almost the whole time.  Well after lots and lots of practice they have learned to  make a choice and get started.  I just pop on my teacher hat (a big straw beach hat) and get started with my group. The kids know that when my hat is on, they cannot disturb me!  The kids who were standing around discovered that they had wasted their time and didn't get to do an activity. They were bummed, but the next time they chose a lot faster.

 We also had to really work on how to fill out their chart to know where they were supposed to go.

Many of them had no concept of what to do with this.  So we had to go step by step and write our name, the date and talk about it over and over again. I had to physically show many of them exactly how to fill it out. Once they finish all 5 areas then they can go where they would like to. Some are still confused with it, but it's coming along.

All in all I am happy with the way my literacy block is going.  I think all the students are highly engaged and really like all of the activities.  I had an EA walk in one morning and I didn't even see her come in. She dropped of some papers onto my desk and told me about it later.  She said she looked over and I had my big beach hat on and was working with my group, while all the of the other kids were hard at work.  She said "Wow, I would love to be in your class, it looks so fun!!" That made my day:))

Now if I could just get my math time to be as engaging!!

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