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!


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!


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 :)

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