Friday, December 6, 2013

December Currently

Happy December! I'm freezing!

One year when I was little, we made "reindeer food" at school - oatmeal oats and glitter in a ziploc bag. That year on Christmas Eve, my older brother took me out onto the lawn to sprinkle reindeer food on the snow. We did that for many years, even when the idea of Santa was long gone. :) I've incorporated reindeer food into my school Christmas parties as a station, but it takes like 2 seconds to make so it isn't an ideal activity! :)

I've been on a blogging hiatus for a while now, which makes me sad. I have a sort of challenging class this year... the biggest in the school at 18 students (NOT complaining, don't get me wrong!), some increeeedibly rowdy boys, a couple of students who have needs that I'm having a hard time meeting all by myself.... I don't know, it's just been a pretty exhausting year so far!

Hopefully I can take some pictures and get back on the train. I haven't even read a blog in months... I can't adjust to a lack of Google Reader in my life... sigh!! Haha!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Publishing Student Writing

In my first/second grade classroom, I have been using the Portland Public Schools writing curriculum for the past two years. I have found it to be really effective! The lessons are thorough and cover writing strategies and grammar concepts in a developmentally appropriate way.

At the end of each unit of writing, we have a celebration where I type up their stories and we share them with partners, Author Groups, or whole-group. This has become a really exciting and important day in my students' writing lives. But it has been a struggle for me!

I have always wanted to type their stories into books, but I never knew an easy way to do it. I would type them on Word, trying to make mini-books and just guessing where the middle of the sheet of paper was. Today, though, I found an easy way - and I want to share it with you in case you do this, too!

{Disclaimer: I have a Mac, but I use Office. I'm guessing that Office has the same features regardless of computer, but I don't know for sure... so if it doesn't work on a Windows computer, I am sorry!!}

First, go to File and Page Setup. You should get to a screen that looks like this.
Choose 5.5x8.5 for your paper size and landscape for your orientation. This will give you a perfect half sheet to type your stories on!

Then type, type, type away. Save your stories as a PDF and open the PDF in Preview. Go to print them.

Where it says "Preview", change it to "Layout" and then choose 2 pages per sheet.

Print the stories and cut them on your school paper cutter at the 5.5" mark. Staple them and make an adorable little book!

We're all looking forward to celebrating our author status tomorrow! Let me know if this is any help to you or if anything is unclear! :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fluency Assessments

Hi friends!

Quick question for you, but first a bit of background.

At my school, I'm not required to do any assessments of any kind at the first/second grade level. We have standardized ITBS tests that start in third grade, but that's it. I don't have any expectations to assess my students, and I don't have any resources with which to assess them. I've mentioned before that I use a 100% unleveled reading program... every first grader reads the same story at the same time regardless of ability or interest level. So I have a rough idea of reading levels in my classroom but nothing documented.

However... I want to assess. I want to assess my students on their rates of fluency to start with. I do have one question for you though:

Do you assess rates of fluency at the students' actual instructional reading level? Or at their grade level?

I've heard it both ways. So I'm just wondering!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Back to School Tomorrow!

Well, tomorrow is our first day back from break! As much as I loved the time off, and it does feel like it flew by, I am pretty excited to see my kiddos tomorrow! Here's why:
  • We are going to be starting a new unit in writing - how-to books! I am so excited to get them started with nonfiction writing. I think they are going to be amazing.
  • We're also relaunching Daily Five. I never got to Word Work or Listen to Reading at the beginning of the year, and I think we need a refresher on everything. :)

While I was on break, I mostly chilled and spent time with family and friends. But just tonight I returned from a super fun weekend in New York visiting a friend!
That was the view from my friend's apartment's sun terrace. So awesome! I love the city.

I know you probably are not super excited about school starting tomorrow... but what is pumping you up for a new semester?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 in '12

YAY! I loved this linky party last year! Also I just today posted for the first time since November 2, and here I go again. How exciting!
Here we go!

12. Favorite movie you watched.
Hands down, no question, didn't even have to think about it - Bridesmaids!!!!! 
I was lukewarm about seeing it because I didn't really know what it was about or if I'd like it, but my cousins sat me down and I am SO HAPPY they did. I laughed so hard I almost peed myself! So so so so so so so funny

11. Favorite TV series
I was just recently introduced to New Girl, and I looooooooove it!
I've already watched the whole first season and I get so excited every Tuesday for the new episode to come out. Everyone is so funny, but I especially love Schmidt. :)

10. Favorite restaurant
I am a biiiiig sushi fan, and this year I discovered a delicious sushi place!
I haven't been to the steakhouse part of it, but the sushi part is amazing! I recently went there on a date during which I ate tons of crazy sushi (I usually stick with my California rolls... haha). So yum.

9. Favorite new thing you tried
Well, I recently ended my relationship with my boyfriend of almost four years.... so I think I am going to say being single. I have been spending lots of time with friends and going out a lot and having fun!

8. Favorite gift you received
Definitely my interactive whiteboard!
It has made my life a lot easier, really. I don't always use it interactively - I use it a LOT for building background knowledge. For example, we recently had some free time (shockingly) and I grabbed a book out of a basket randomly to read to them. It ended up being When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant.
Towards the end of the book, the author mentions hearing a bobwhite calling in the trees. None of us (me included) even knew what a bobwhite was, so I quick googled a video of one and we got to really understand the story better! I love you, technology.

7. Favorite thing you pinned
Over the summer, I saw Kristen's post on her chair book pockets and pinned it immediately!
Use nail aprons from Home Depot as chair pockets!
I actually got these donated to my classroom - all I had to do was write a letter to Home Depot explaining how I'd use them. My kids LOVE them and the parents love them even more!

6. Favorite blog post
During election season, everyone was talking about the candidates, including my students - which I documented in Wait, Who is Running for President Again? This post had no educational value, but it made my day times 100. And I'm laughing now reading it again.

5. Favorite accomplishment
On Wednesday, I finished my ESL endorsement!!!!!! That is, unless I bombed the final project... haha. That is super exciting for me because I feel like I am a better teacher now, and it opens up job opportunities for me in the future! As much as I love my students, and it would kill me to leave them... I have to think about myself a little bit.

4. Favorite picture
This is a picture of me and my cousins at the Indiana Dunes this summer! They are my besties. :) I love this picture because we all look super happy and it was a REALLY fun day! This picture also makes me laugh because you can see that I am wearing my swimsuit.... but it was WAY too cold to actually swim or wear it without the rest of my clothes on top!! I hope we can return there when it's warm!

3. Favorite memory
Hmmmm....... Election Night. I was pleased with the results. :)

2. Goal for 2013
School goal - Keep working on making my teaching more exciting!
Personal goal - Spend less time in my apartment and more time out in the world!

I feel like I am doing a lot better job of teaching than last year. My students are really getting it this year, and I feel good about that. When I have dynamite lessons though, they all have one thing in common - I strayed from whatever the manual told me to do and did my thing! I need to do that more often. Everyone has more fun and learns more! I think this will help with my classroom management issues as well.......... enough said about that.

As I previously said, I have been spending a lot more time with my friends, going out and having fun! I want to keep that up for sure. I spent a lot of college with my boyfriend at the time, and I don't feel like I had a legit college experience. I want to live it up while I am young!

1. One little word
This is tough!

I'm going to choose "flow." I want to go with the flow. I want to live in the moment and appreciate everything that is coming to me.  I want to sail through this part of my life and not stress. In school, I want to roll with the punches - whether that means that an angry parent is screaming at me during a classroom party (not that that happened this year or anything.....................) or one of my first graders doesn't know any of her numbers. I want to go with it, do my thing, and make it work.

Thanks, Hadar and Kristin, for hosting again!! :)

I Love You, Writer's Workshop

Do you use Writer's Workshop in your classroom? We do not have a schoolwide writing plan. Each teacher does whatever they want. We have a writing program but no one cares if we use it. Last year I used the program we have, but it was very dry and no one enjoyed writing.

Over the summer, I took a class for my ESL endorsement called Reading in a New Language, and for my final project, I had to research something I wanted to improve about my literacy instruction, so I chose writing and did research on Writer's Workshop. Then I decided to do it this year!

I don't have anyone mentoring me, no one in my school has ever done Writer's Workshop, so I am on my own but doing my best. I use the lessons from Portland Public Schools. Thanks, Portland!!

Anyway, that whole backstory was to tell you that writing is really different this year for us. I think we are doing really well (compared to last year at this time) and everyone seems to really enjoy it! I still have some boys who are spending all of their writing time drawing pictures........ but for the most part, we are good.

In our first grade reading curriculum, they occasionally have writing activities for us. Maybe once every 2 units or something. This past unit, the first graders had a prompt: "When I am a princess/knight/giant, I would..." (They got to pick which character.) I was so happy to see what they came up with on their own!

{When I am a knight, I will save the princess. I will marry the princess. I will dance with the princess. I will love her.}

Aw! And this was one of my little ladies who took an unconventional route and did NOT choose to be the princess! Maybe she is trying to send a message to the boys in our class.......... haha!

{When I am a knight, I will help people and save people. It will be fun so much.}

I'm really impressed that he spelled "save" correctly, because we haven't learned silent E yet - that starts tomorrow!

Hope you're having a good weekend and getting excited for this upcoming week. :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Currently

Boo yeah!

I don't think I need to explain a whole lot.... except that I LOVE playing the Pandora Easy Listening station! I play it primarily during Writer's Workshop time and the kids basically refuse to write until I put the music on. 

I should also say that I play a lot of Ron Brown's Wacky Workout for brain breaks! My kids seriously can't get enough.

Tomorrow I am going to Sweet Tomatoes and I am SOOOOOOO PUMPED! Do you have one by you?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...