Sunday, August 27, 2017

Solid Read Alouds

Connecting poetry and your classroom read alouds

Hey Teacher Friends!  Rachel and I are so excited to share our updated Solid Read Aloud units!

Poetry was a challenging unit to teach all in one month.  I always felt rushed, there possibly could have been a little eye rolling when I talked to the students about writing their own poetry, and frankly, I  really wanted them to enjoy poetry as much as I do.  This is how I solved that dilemma, Rachel and I created Solid Read Aloud units!  Then, while talking to a mentor teacher/friend, she commented a solid read aloud incorporates many different pieces of literature, fiction, non-fiction, poetry.  This added to my excitement about the units and here we are!  The Solid Read Aloud units have been used in my classroom for the past school year.  I know there will be even more updates in the future.  Hmm, maybe thinking snack connection, directed drawing?!?!

We started planning our units by searching National Observance Days in the United States.  This gave a great list of topics for each month.  At times it was very hard to decide which topic to select.  Rachel and I stayed away from holiday topics and focused on a wide variety of topics.  Because we didn't focus on holiday topics the Solid Read Alouds can easily be interchanged and used when they best fit with your long range plans and curriculum.

Each unit begins with an anchor poem, some are original and others were found (and credited) on various sites.  Each unit contains:  lesson plans, anchor poem, writing paper, anchor chart printables, close read selection, on some units: question cards, project directions, games, graphic organizers, original non-fiction books, and more.

As we read the poems, we have lots of discussion.  Sometimes I use question cards and other times, the students direct where our discussion may go.  Also, when reading poetry the students listen to me on the first day, then on subsequent days I have a student reader.   As the year continues the students are modeling excellent fluency and expression.

The units include examples of anchor charts for your classroom, as well as, printable titles, graphics, captions, and more.  By using the printables provided your anchor chart is almost complete, just add your information.

Solid Read Alouds are designed to fit into a daily 15 minute time frame.  I found that to be about the optimum time for the unit activities.  Last school year our Solid Read Aloud fit into a time right after our milk break.  I haven't looked at my schedule for the coming year to find the best time.  Right now I'm thinking the last 15 minutes before we go to lunch.  Hmm, I'll keep you posted.

To start your school year, Rachel and I are offering our Good Neighbor Solid Read Aloud for FREE!!!  Stop by our TpT store to snag your free copy.  We hope you will enjoy using the read aloud product with your students!  Here's just a little sample... 

Shout out to Krista Wallden for her Kindness Nation clipart

Krista Wallden - Creative Clips

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Made It

Where is the summer going?  There are not too many Mondays left in August.  My first day back for in-service days is Tuesday, August 29.  Each day is so precious, isn't it?

This week my sweet teaching partner, Linda and I are teaching at Triton Academy (a two day PD workshop for teachers) for the sixth year in a row.  Prior to my gig with Linda, I taught at Triton for 3 years.  

I haven't been doing much for my second grade classroom as I was getting ready for Triton Academy.  Maybe next week I'll have an update for you.

STEM is a focus for one of our sessions this year.  I have gathered so much information from everyone this summer as I prepared for the session.  I've found that I am in LOVE with STEM bins!  What a fantastic way to engage early finishers and incorporate hands on exploration in the process.

To prepare for the session I created task cards for three books I found at my favorite Dollar Tree.  I love stopping in at Dollar Tree because you never know what you will find!
The task cards are currently free in my TpT store!  I wanted to give our session participants the opportunity to download the cards for free.  

I plan to place the book and task card set in my STEM area, along with a variety of materials to use to complete the tasks.  Many of the task cards have sentences from the book and a building activity listed.  Some cards have words from the book to spell.

I would love for you to pop into my TpT store, grab your copy, and leave a comment!  Maybe while you're there, you'll find something else you would like for your classroom.

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hey, Hey, Hey Everyone Loves a SALE

Hi Friends!
Tomorrow is the day!!!

Everything in my TpT store is on SALE.  
Visit TpT for the huge sale on August 1 & 2.
Don't forget to enter the promo code when you check out.

Download for Facebook - 740 × 400

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Made It

Brag Tags - Everyone that uses brag tags in their classroom knows prepping those little guys is a big job!  I worked on these tags last week.  My students loved them last year, I hope my new students will like them also.

I love the tags that Primarily Speaking by Aimee Salazar has in her TpT store!  She also has a set of editable tags, as well as, color tags.  I like using her black and white tags and print on color card stock.

Word Wall Words - I updated my word wall rings.  I added family words and number words this year.  Read about how our word wall is used here

Procedure Task Cards - In case you missed it, I have a free set of Procedure Task Cards ready to the first day/week of school.  Read how I use the task cards in my classroom.  Visit my TpT store to get your free copy.

I had this out last week but there wasn't a linky party so I'm just adding it for this week.

So glad you visited today!  Stop again!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Day of School Procedure Task Cards

Procedures, habits, routines, rules - fill the first days of school.  It is necessary to lay the foundation for a successful year for your students and yourself.  Don’t get caught in the trap of teacher talk, talk, talk.  After a little while your students will only hear wah, wah, wah. You don't want to be Charlie Brown's teacher!

To make teaching classroom habits and routines more interactive, enter Procedure Task Cards.  The cards have a wide array of procedures and routines necessary for a smooth start to the school year. The product includes: 40 task cards and a blank set (to make your own, if desired).

Prior to the first day of school I sort the cards into categories, for example: entering the classroom, going home time, hallway behavior, etc.  On the first day/week of school, I keep the cards in a prominent place so I won’t forget to go over each one.

When I'm ready to talk about our procedures and routines, I randomly (I make sure everyone has had a card at some point in the day) hand out the stack of cards that I want to cover at that particular time. Now it's time for the kiddos to get involved. One student will read a card, we talk about the routine for that card. Since I teach 2nd graders, they have been in school for a few years so many of them already know the procedures. This makes our discussions move a little quicker. Also, if there are "new to the district" students I can adjust our discussions. The student who just read the card will select the next person to read their card, and so on. This continues until all the cards have been read in my pre-chosen stack.

As a follow up to our task card routine discussions, we play a game. This may happen on the same day or whenever it fits during the first week of school. To play the game, I read a card, the students tell the procedure/routine. If they are correct, they get a point. If incorrect or not complete enough answer I get the point. Usually they win! Well, you get the picture. The reward is usually a brownie point on our classroom brownie pan.

I hope you enjoy this freebie! Pop over to my TpT store to get your Procedure Task Cards.

Thanks for visiting! Stop by again, I love your company!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Made It

Happy Monday, Friends!  I love visiting all your blogs to get a glimpse into your classrooms and projects.  Thanks for inspiring me and I'm sure others!

Spelling Choice Board - You can read about my journey to use a choice board here.  I really like my second graders to take ownership of the classroom.  If they have ownership and leadership in the classroom, I've found that things run smoother when there is a sub.

Temperature Afghan - I put the final border on this crocheted afghan, that was a year in the making.  To give you the background on this incredibly large afghan (approximately 5'x9'), it all started with Phill, my son-in-law.  He challenged my daughter and I to make them.  Each row represents a day in the past year.  You can see the variety of colors of rows.  The color is based on the high temperature for the day.  My daughter lives on the west side of Wisconsin and I live on the east side so our afghans have turned out somewhat different.  She is still in the process of finishing her afghan, otherwise I would love to have a side by side picture comparison.

Search Pinterest for a wide variety of ideas.  That's where I found my inspiration.  Oh, be prepared to have a wide variety of yarn left over!  Now I'll have to find another project for the leftovers!  It is quite a cycle, isn't it?

The afghan will take up residence in our guest room.  It will be perfect for guests that need an extra cover for the night!

I love summer time to finish projects that seem to get set aside during the school year.

Have a great week!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spelling Choice Board

Spelling word practice - essential, important, but sometimes hard to manage. We know that students need to be able to apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills when they decode words. How can classroom teachers manage this important time of the day?

In the past I would decide what spelling activity I wanted the students to complete. This procedure was okay but I wanted my second graders to take more ownership in the classroom. I did some Pinterest searching and found that many of you are using Spelling Choice Boards.

Using all of you as my mentor, I created my own Spelling Choice Board. I printed on white cardstock with astrobright border, laminated it, and will hang this up on my ELA board.

To use the board, I will have a class helper select a spelling task for the class to complete. In our class we do not have time to do a spelling task everyday - probably three times a week. To make the selection, will probably have the helper toss a squishy-type ball at the board. This will eliminate the helper selecting the "easy" spelling tasks. I can also blindfold the helper, spin them around, and make the selection - pin the tail style. I hope the kiddos will come up with some other ways to select the task.

Once the task has been chosen, they will mark the selection by clipping a clothespin to the task. That way the students will be able to check back to the Spelling Choice Board if they forget what they need to do. The clip has a front and back so it works with either side of the board.

Hopefully, the students will take ownership by using the Spelling Choice Board.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Made It

Tara, a big thank you from everyone who enjoys visiting your weekly Monday Made It!!!

New Substitute Folder - When I have a planned absence I write detailed lesson plans.  However, there are those days when I don't want to drag myself to my computer to write lengthy, detailed plans for my teaching partner to print off and deliver.  You know as well as I do that those plans don't get followed to the extent you thought they would. 

To take care of this I redid my sub folder.  Everything is included for the sub to have successful day.  Here is a list of the pages I included:

Morning & Afternoon Routine
Daily Procedures
Class Schedule
Specials Schedule
Class List
Behavior Expectations
Substitute Lesson for each class
Emergency Procedures

Each of the pages is written with bullet points so it is easy to read. 

The folder is 3-prong vinyl folder with a cut out cover.  Each page is slipped into a page protector.

I plan to set the folder on my desk each night before I leave school so it will be ready if a substitute will be called.

Sparkly Pineapple - Look what I found on a visit to my favorite Dollar Tree!  A sparkly pineapple!!!  The quote came from a kitchen towel and also from Pinterest search.  I created my classroom coordinated quote to hang alongside my wonderful pineapple.  I'm thinking Molly Lou Melon books during the first week of school.

Sewing Project - Just in time for the 4th of July, my daughter and I made these fun table runners.  I did a quick search of my fabric stash and found enough red, white, and blue fabric to make these cuties!

Happy 4th of July week!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Monday Made It

I spent last week volunteering in the kitchen at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp.  It is always a fun but exhausting week!  I was one of 6 volunteers that prepared home cooked food for 250 people three times a day.  My only made it for last week was food, food, and more food! 

When working in the kitchen, my friends and I like to have matching aprons.  During the last few years I've been working on sewing aprons for the three of us.  A different apron for everyday!  It is fun to see the campers faces when we come with a different apron everyday.

Also, I love seeing former students at the camp!  Even though my name tag says Judy is large letters I am still Mrs. Brown to all of them.  Working/volunteering at the camp is a very rewarding experience and a huge change of pace from being in the classroom.

Thanks, Tara for hosting a favorite summer linky party!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Made It

Summer!!!  Time to relax and time to redo.  I'm not as ambitious as many of you but I've started thinking about what I would like to redo for the coming school year.  

Thanks, Tara for hosting the weekly Monday Made It.

My first two weeks of summer vacation has brought making memories.  My grandson lives out of state and our visits are few and far between.  When this little guy visits everything stops.  Cottage time, zoo time, play time, and fun times!

I had a little time to recover two pillows with light, fresh fabric for summer.

The Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe for piping cakes, cupcakes, etc! - Crafty MorningMy husband's birthday brought a fun evening with friends and pizza.  I made delicious poppy seed cupcakes and then bravely tried a new frosting recipe.  Check out the frosting recipe here.  This will be my new go to buttercream frosting recipe.

It has been quite a weather week!  One day brought ten small tornadoes to our little corner of northeastern Wisconsin!  As a result of the wild weather, we had some clean up to do at our cottage.  God is good, we only had to clean up the broken branches, no damage to the cottage.  It's hard to get perspective but the branches covered an area about 30'x30'.  Lots of wood for campfires!

Have a great week!


Friday, June 16, 2017

5 Ways to End the Year and Get Ready for the Next!

As the year came to an end, there were so many things to do!  My mind is swirling with getting things wrapped up for the summer but, also all those ideas swirling in the other direction for next year!  What is a teacher to do!


Sure, it may sound easy but easier said than done.  Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

Get the classroom library in order - The last week of school I have my students organizing the books, wiping out and around the library tubs/baskets/bins, and returning those stray books that just happen to find their way into our classroom.

Recently I read a post from a brilliant blogger that uses dollar store shower caps as covers for her library tubs/baskets/bins.  I was able to find 8 shower caps for $1.00 at Dollar Tree.  The caps create a snug fit over my library bins and will keep my books dust free and clean until next school year.

Another way I cover my books bins is with old sheets.  I tuck the sheet behind one shelf and bring it around the front of the shelf below and tuck in.  Two shelves covered!  This is good for the bigger books in my library area.

When I'm allowed back into my classroom after the cleaning crew has finished I pull off the sheets and this I'll take off the shower caps.  Shazam - library ready to go!  Check that off the to do list!

Toss out the pile of scrap paper - In the past I have neatly organized hoarded scrap paper, you just never know.  Well, that pile grew (who knew?) the following school year and so on.  I'm a big recycler and I don't like to see things go to waste but I also don't like to see space go to waste.  That is what the scrap paper was doing, wasting space.  

At the start of each year I need a few sheets (maybe 30) of scrap paper, by this I mean the pages that are clean on one side but printed on the other.  Sometimes I want the students to record their learning/answers/activity but it is not a hand in or take home kind of thing, so scrap paper is perfect.  At the start of each school year our students take the STAR math assessment.  I hand out scrap paper for students to work on before they mark an answer on the test.

Now at the end of each school year I save a very small stack and toss out the rest of the pile of scrap paper.  The paper storage area looks so much neater when we start back in the fall.

Have the students wash/clean the desks, chairs, and tables - I know that our great custodial staff takes care of this in the summer but I like to have my students clean their own messes.  Some of the kids will put a sticker on their desk during the school year.  I smile to myself because they will be the ones cleaning it off at the end of the year.  I don't let them decorate their entire desk and I discourage this practice, well anyway you get the idea.  Clean up after yourself.  The kids will laugh and talk all the while the cleaning is going and often the first ones done will help others, so in my book it is a win - win!

Purge files - I try to do this during the school year but other things always seem to come first during my prep time.  I've done this a couple different ways.  One way, I dedicate 15 each evening to file purging the last week of school.  I found this helpful because I am in the getting rid of stuff mode, I don't have a lot of other prep work to do, and it feels good to toss out those papers you probably haven't looked at all year!  Gotta love organization!

Another way I've purged files is to take them home.  While watching/listening to something on tv/music I can go through the files and take my time.  I don't take a huge number of files home and when those are done I scoot back to school for another stack while I return the first stack.  I live close to school so I can run in and out quite easily.

My 15 minute purge is quick and I've probably tossed something I could have used.  But you know what, there are soooo many fantastic resources being produced by all of you that I haven't missed anything yet.

Get materials set aside for the first week of school - As I am in the purge mode I begin setting aside materials for the first week of school.  I've read that some of you make copies before leaving for the summer, not me, I'm always thinking that something better might catch my eye.  If I have materials ready to copy, I can get to the copy machine the first week of school.  I do organize craftivity pieces (in zip top bags) for the first week.  I don't mind spending some time during the summer cutting a few pieces of paper (usually while sitting outside).

Those are my top ways to end the year and be ready for the next school year!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reduce the Summer Slide

Summer vacation has started!  Ahhh, I can see so many teachers sitting back and relaxing.

The last week of school my students and I talked about the summer slide.  I've read several articles on this topic and thought this year I would be proactive and share some of the information with my students.  They were very surprised that students slide in the summer.  While we were discussing the topic of summer slide, several students said it wasn't going to happen to them.  When asked how they were going to not let it happen they smiled and said, "Read every day."  This great for the readers in classroom but I could tell that a few others who are not readers just tuned out. 

Enter our my idea - I suggested that we do a video about the topic and they were super excited.  I love their excitement and what a better way to end the school year - starring in a movie!  Even the reluctant readers thought of ways to reduce their summer slide.

Here is my opinion following the research I did.  Also, the special guest appearance will pertain to my students.



Five for Friday

Hip, hip, hooray June 1st was our last day!

The last day of school is always bittersweet for me.  It is so nice to begin vacation but, on the other hand I won't be seeing my little 2nd graders everyday.  They are ready to move on to 3rd grade, so it is with a hug and smile and sometimes a tear that I let them go.

One sweet boy came to me, gave me hug, and asked if he could get held back so he could be with me again!  How sweet!  I guess a teacher never really knows the impact they have on students.

Thanks, Kacey for our last Five for Friday for awhile!  Hey friends, make plans to link up with Kacey and join the other great teachers across the country who are sharing their lives.

1  Busy cleaning -  How fun to see the kids for excited for cleaning!  If only the parents knew eager they are to help clean!  Every year I tell me students, "It's your dirt, so you get to clean it."  No one complains, they just dig into the task.

2  End of the Year gifts - My end of the year gifts are very simple - homemade labels around a Hershey bar.

3  Reduce the Summer Slide - The last week of school the kids made a packet cover for their reduce the summer slide folder/packet.  Summer slide has really been on my mind and what can I do to encourage the kids to stay engaged with reading and math.  The packet contains this great product by Amy Lemons.  Amy did a wonderful job to included reading, math, penmanship, and much more.

I also put in a fill in reading list.  On the back I give the students my home address and ask them to send it to me when they complete the list.  When I receive their list I send them something special in the mail.  The packets also contain a special color in bookmark to use when they are reading.  And I include a fun menu of a variety of places to read.  For example, read in a blanket tent, read a book at breakfast, read under a tree, and many more.

Off to relax,

P.S. I know this is a very late post for Five for Friday.  As soon as school was out I was spending time with family.  Now that the house is quiet again, I can get back into my regular routine. 😊