Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Way Back Wednesday!

I wanted to share a post I wrote in January, so I'm going to take you back. 

Y'all probably know that I love to teach reading, so when the Common Core came out I wanted to know the standards like the back of my hand. Not just what they stated, but exactly what they meant. So I poured over as many books and articles as I could to understand exactly what my sweet kiddos should know. I also made sure to figure out what Kindergarten expectations were, as well as what would be expected of my kids in second grade. The Common Core standards aren't as overwhelming as they may have seemed, and actually with fewer standards, I was able to get all my kids to master them with a school year of practice.  While many of the reading standards are no brainers, there also those vocabulary standards and such that might get hit less often. I also had to consider the amount of time I have in my day.  I need to hit as many standards as possible in my short amount of time.  I found the best way to meet these demands was through Shared Reading.  So here is a post about a part of my reading block. Today my Shared Reading units are on sale for Christmas in July.  I'll be creating more soon.  Happy Reading Friends! 
Original Post From January, 2014:

I had a bunch of requests on my switch from Reader's Workshop to Shared Reading and how it all works, so I thought I'd explain in this post. Hopefully, this isn't clear as mud after your finished reading.  

I've been teaching for 13 years and all 13 years I've taught guided reading using leveled readers. I teach my guided reading groups during my center time. In addition to guided reading I also have another separate reading time for whole group instruction.  For years I taught using Shared Reading and then made a switch about 6 years ago to Reader's Workshop. 

Reader's Workshop was great because I taught a mini-lesson, my students went off to their individual book nooks, with their leveled readers and I made my way around the room conferencing with students, taking notes and observing how they applied the things they've learned in the mini-lesson. My kiddos were able to read in their book nooks for 30 minutes and that gave me plenty of time to conference and do intervention. Then came the Common Core. 

While I loved Reader's Workshop and the time to meet kids individually, the new rigor of the common core and the testing coming around the bend forced us to look at our reading instruction.  I knew I was going to need to be a little more direct in my instruction and focus on the standards in a different way than before.  So, I am now doing Shared Reading with a little bit of Reader's Workshop practices mixed in. We didn't get rid of our book boxes or book nooks, they are just being used in a different way.  

So here it goes: 

Each week we choose a story for Shared Reading. When choosing a book, we look at the difficulty, theme for the week, and we try to choose an equal amount of fiction and nonfiction throughout the year, etc.  For instance, last week we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Our local librarian ordered 24 copies and my teammate and I share.  Sometimes we get lucky and every child gets a book and other weeks kiddos have to share.  Then we get work hitting the Common Core standards.  One day we talked about sequencing. We read the story, sequenced together and then I split my babies up into 4 groups.  This is where I can differentiate. All my students were sequencing the story but at different levels of difficulty.  

 This group had pictures and words of each event and had to number the order.
This group had a similar sheet but had to write what happened in each event and then order the events. 
On another day we talked about Cause and Effect. 
I reviewed Cause and Effect with the poster below. 
 We read the story and then completed this sheet together as a class.
And here is where our book boxes and book nooks come to play. When we were finished I sent my kids off to apply their learning.  Each of my students went to their book nooks, with their bin of leveled books. They were told to choose a fiction book from their box and identify a cause and effect that happened in their story.  They recorded their work in their reading journal.  
 Shared Reading is a great way to get the whole class to practice reading more complex text. The repeated reading helps to not only build fluency, but also helps to practice skills with a familiar text. I love how I can explicitly teach a concept, model and work together how to find answers in text, how to answer questions about text, etc.  I have hit the Reading Literature and Reading Information Text Standards over and over. My kiddos get it! Better than they ever have before. My students can look in a text, identify the setting and give details from the text to support. They know about characters and how they change, how to find the main idea of the story, etc.  Of course I would cover these things before, but never as thoroughly as I have this year.  It's my favorite time of the day! 

In addition to using our book boxes occasionally during our Shared Reading time, we also use them daily during an RTI time I've created. Our school does not mandate a daily RTI time, but due to a lack of aides and extra help this year, I had to be creative. We have 15 minutes between recess and special.  I decided to take advantage of every second this year and instead of a read aloud or bathroom break, we do RTI.  My students spend this time reading in their book nooks and I spend the time doing intervention.  Sight Words, Nonsense words, Fluency, Story Problems!!! It all gets covered during this precious time.  

So clear as mud???

I also had a few questions about my focus wall.  
The "I Can" board is cheap plastic frame from Michaels. I put some yellow butcher paper inside and I write on the plastic each day.  We review the board in the morning and the I Can statement is repeated before the corresponding lesson.  I create spelling, phonics, math talk and skill cards for each week.  I also create a card each week of our 3 vocabulary words from the text talk lessons I write. The genre posters are from Rachel Lamb
You can grab my Shared Reading Units on sale today only, by clicking below.

And here is a link to my new Focus Wall product.

You can also grab this freebie in my store:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord: July, 20, 2014

Happy Sunday! I'm back with a little bit of random. Actually, a whole lot of random! So I hope you have some time. I promise there are a whole lot of free goodies in this post. 

First, I thought I'd share some of my new favorite things with y'all. As you know, it's no secret that I love to shop, so I thought I'd share my addiction with everyone. 

Here is my new favorite mascara! Love it.  
And this is my new favorite perfume. I love this little travel size. My sweet friend Cara shared it with me and I couldn't live without it. 
My husband's sweet cousin came over the other day with her new MacBook Pro for college with this cute case. I loved the quality and keyboard cover and mouse pad it came with. They come in all different colors and are super affordable. I had to order this one! 
I also came home the other day to this sweet surprise from my momma! She's so sweet and fashionable. Just love her and she may have started a new addiction for me. 

I also finally ordered these. They aren't my running shoes but just some super cute kicks to wear everyday, so my running shoes don't get too worn out. I think they are so fun.  

My Christmas in July Sale ends this week. Currently my classroom decor packs are on sale. Last year I posted a video tour of my classroom and I've had a lot of questions as to where much of my decor can be purchased. If you'd like to see my classroom tour of last years room, click below. 
All of the decor in my classroom is from one of these packs.  
Here is a preview of what is included in my Classic Classroom pack.

This is what is included in my Focus Wall
These are the posters included in my Reading Anchor Chart pack.
These printables are included in my Just Frame It pack.

And here is what is included in my Posters, Pennants and Printables pack.

Finally, I have the sweetest friends ever. Not only are they great teachers, but they are so generous. I thought I'd share some great beginning of the year Freebies. 

These are from my sweet friend Abby! Who doesn't love a free vocabulary resource and her adorable alphabet cards! Click the pictures below to grab these freebies.

And have you seen these amazing freebies from my friend Cara? I just love her adorable apple freebies. This would be a great back to school theme! 

And my friend Katie King, also newly known as Miss Fitness, has a great number sense freebie. I think this will be an awesome review or intervention for kiddos are who are struggling. 

I also have some freebies for beginning your year. You can get all of these documents on my Facebook page. All you have to do is click HERE. Then find this button on my page. Click on the tab that says free and all my documents are listed for download.
Here is a little unit plan for the book The First Grade Hooray.
Here are some Behavior Bucks I made for classroom management. 
I created a cute little back to school bunting for Open House or your first day. 

Here are some Fast Finisher's Task Cards. They are fun, Common Core activities to hit the standards for your kiddos that finish early.

And finally, I usually enlarge these to 11x17 on the copier and have my kiddos fill these out on the first week. 

If you have a random post, don't forget to link up below. Please remember to include the Sunday Smorgasbord button in your post and link back. Thanks! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crash Course: Book Review and Giveaway

"...spend time with children. Watch how they love without reservation, how they believe what you promise, and how they look forward to each and every day." -Kim Bearden

I've always wanted to be a teacher. Not just any teacher, but the kind that inspires students, loves them unconditionally and never gives up on them. Then came my second year of teaching. It was tough to say the least. I did everything I could just to get through the days. I came home one day, tired, deflated and in tears, and happened to see Ron Clark on my television talking about his book The Essential 55.  I ran to the nearest book store and read it cover to cover. I sat it on my teacher desk and referred to it often. Little did I know that my sweet friend Hope King would one day work for The Ron Clark Academy. 

Kim Bearden is the Cofounder of The Ron Clark Academy.  Kim was already special in my eyes, not because she was the Cofounder, but because she was so precious to my friend Hope. So when I found out she also had a new book, I could not wait to read. I will tell you, this book did not disappoint.  In fact, it has to be by far one of the best books I've ever read.  

In Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me, Kim reminds you of how blessed you are to be able to teach. She talks about building relationships with your students, showing even the toughest of kiddos that you love them and creating situations in your classroom that enrich your students and help foster their creativity.  She also reminds you that you don't have to be perfect. 

I can't tell you how much I recommend reading this book before starting the new school year. I feel so inspired and so ready to love on my new bunch of kiddos.  You better believe this book will also be going to school with me, because when times get tough (and we know they will), this book will lead you back.  Back to the teacher you want to be.  

So grab some tissues, and pick up your copy of the book right here! You will definitely not be disappointed!

Also, be sure you enter to win two fabulous giveaways at the end of this post!

Kim Bearden is the co-founder and executive director at the Ron Clark Academy. Most importantly, she is also the language arts teacher.

Kim has received numerous awards for her creative, dynamic, and rigorous teaching styles. She was selected from over 70,000 nominations to be honored as the Disney American Teacher Awards Outstanding Middle School Humanities Teacher. Along with countless other awards, she was also chosen from among 7,000 teachers as Teacher of the Year in Cobb County Georgia.

Over the past twenty-seven years, she has been a teacher, instructional lead teacher, curriculum director, school board member, staff development trainer, and middle school principal.

For someone that has accomplished so much during her career, Kim is by far one of the most humble and down to earth educators. Her life hasn't been perfect, and I love that she is so transparent in her book as she shares her experiences as an educator. 

Instead of telling you, I will just show you! Here is a little clip that shows who and what the Ron Clark Academy is all about! The best part? You can actually come spend a day…or two…at the school! Be sure and follow the Ron Clark Academy on Facebook {HERE} to receive special updates and events!


If you would like to visit RCA and participate in the RCA Educator Training Experience, visit the website {HERE} to register! It is truly a training unlike anything you have ever experienced before. During this training, you will get to meet the students of RCA and observe Ron Clark and Kim Bearden's unparalleled instruction in their 5th grade classrooms. You will also spend the day in classroom observations and workshops that will enhance your instruction in any grade level. And of course, you will end the visitation becoming "slide certified." 
2014-2015 Training Dates:

Win a signed copy of Kim's Book!

Win a free visitation to the Academy! 

Christmas in July Sale!

So shopping is one of my favorite things if you didn't already know and we all know that July means, August is coming.  The end of the summer and back to school is going to be here before we know it. Sad, but true.  So I thought I'd take part in the Christmas in July sale.  The next two weeks, different products in my store will be 20% off. Below is a calendar of what I'll be putting on sale and when.  I can't wait to shop. I need to get busy preparing for a new batch of kiddos. 
You can click the button below to go to my sale items.