Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reading Groups in the UPPER GRADES

I am an upper grade teacher.  4th Grade to be specific is where my heart resides.  I have some experience in 1st grade, and learned so much from my mentor.  Sometimes, I still have to draw from that experience to handle my 4th graders.  

I had a FABULOUS 4th grade internship (10years ago).  My mentor taught me to really THINK about the lessons.  Plan lessons the kids would be engaged in.  Think about what they would enjoy and use THAT to teach the curriculum.  

Then I got a job. 

and I got the run down of "what to do".  Here's the should do small groups with every student, every day.  And use the leveled readers that come with our reading series.  And embed Science and Social Studies during Reading time, too.  And extended writing, because the kids are going to have to master 3 modes of writing by February.  So teach all your grammar before then too.  Oh, and HANDWRITING IS STATE LAW NOW SO DO THAT TOO.  

Am I the only one on this island.  Even as I type that, I realize there are so many more ANDS to add to that list.  

BUT...yes, there's a BUT 

I figured it out and it isn't that bad.  or require that much more work.  and it makes the kids responsible.  and it gives time to write. and to teach grammar.  

So, the first problem to tackle was how do I not spend 10 of my 15 minutes reading text.  The answer is that students do their first read on their own.  I have these dry-erase pockets from the @Target dollar spot, and I slip directions down in them.  For my lower students, the qr codes are linked to a read aloud.  Some are iTunes files, some are other students in the class reading.  I thought this was going to be difficult, and IT WAS SO EASY!  

Then it is Teacher Time.  This is my typical small group table.  Plans laid out.  Water cup at the ready.  World's Best Pencil Sharpener ready to go. I will highlight my supply baskets in a later post.  This is where all the "I do, We do" goes on.  There is also a dry erase board close, so I can write up vocabulary.  The students discuss and provide each other feedback in this group.  I will also highlight grouping in a future post.

Then seat work.  Whatever we've learned in group, they practice on their own at their seats.  This is a large group picture, but there is usually only 5-6 people at their seats.

Lastly, the writing center was tricky to figure out.  How are they going to practice extended writing and grammar INDEPENDENTLY at a center?
Here's what we are trying.  
Day 1 - Read a prompt, highlight key words.  Read a text, highlight information they need to use from the text.  
Day 2 - Complete a graphic organizer answering the prompt question.
Day 3 - write a rough draft of their essay (focus on paragraph construction at the moment)
Day 4 - finish rough draft and provide feed back to a partner.  

Friday we take a short assessment on the week's reading skill and then spend the rest of the time editing and revising our writing.  So far, it is going really well.  The best part is, I feel like I actually engage with EVERY STUDENT, EVERY DAY!! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Small Group Self Assessment

I'm new to the land of small group instruction.  In my area, upper elementary teachers are not trained how to plan or manage the jungle that can be small group instruction.

Teach the leveled readers. Wait, have you READ those books?

You should meet with your low performing students EVERY DAY.  Um...I don't have time

The leveled readers incorporate Science and Social Studies.  UM...I also don't have time...

BUT NOW, I've taken the leap and I LOVE IT!  I can't wait to share some great resources for both reading and math small groups, but for now here is a little freebie I made.

Find in TPT store FREEBIE

At the end of each group, they remind me of the standard (BOOM, they know the learning objective), then they select their level of understanding.  They slide that little bead up and down the pipe cleaner to choose.  I'm in love.  It is a great way to end a group.

Friday, September 16, 2016

#BTS 2016

So...It's been a while....a really long I work at a new school while...

I love my new school and my new classroom.  I can't wait to show you around and get back into this blogging thing.  I'm so excited to be on a new adventure with a great group of kids and colleagues.

BUT...I've been planning all summer :)

Click here to find in my TPT store

I love using this long term planner to pace out my units of study.  It has one grading period per page, so it is super easy to pace long term projects.  Check out this FREEBIE in my TPT store.  It is editable so that you can customize it with your own dates and breaks.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ok, It's been awhile

So, the circus got the best of the ringmaster, but I'm back and better than ever.  I thought I'd begin with a post of how I never seem to be able to  try to stay organized.

Organization is one of those things that is SO AWESOME when it is working...and so TERRIBLE when it is not working.  My number one rule is clean off your desk at the end of the day.
because this is NOT what I want to walk 
into in the morning.

Now, this is a little extreme.  It was the end of the grading period and everything was needing to be graded all at once, but we all have these days!  

What is your number one rule to stay organized?  Can't wait to get back into blogging and hopefully sharing some great resources and ideas with all you fabulous teachers out there :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lunch Box Linky Party

I'm so excited to rejoin the blogging world with this awesome Linky Party!
Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics is hosting...I love linky parties because that is how I find new blogs to follow...yay!

Ok's my lunch box and lunch

I usually take a whole container of something (hummus and carrots and pita chips) and eat on it all week.  That really cuts down on the things I need to remember as I walk out the door in the morning.  I love my insulated cup to drink water at work...I find that when I teach all day, I get really dehydrated.  So this allows me to keep ice and water on hand with out the cup sweating all over my desk! Plus, my managers love being the one who gets me ice...I know, right?  They also really like washing my dishes...

So...I am part of a Team that does EVERYTHING my class eats lunch at 11:38, but my teammate takes them down so my lunch starts right then...I pick up both our classes at 12:08 and start the bathroom routine so that she can take a few more minutes at the end.  This works so well for us because we all get a few more minutes to eat!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Award

The Versatile Blogger Award rules:
1.  Thank the person who nominated you with a link back to them.  
Emily over at Circus of Learning passed this award on to me...thanks!  I'm honored.

2.  Tell 7 things about yourself.
  •  I've lived in a 5 mile radius my whole life...including college
  • I married my high school sweet heart
  • I work on the most fabulous, hardworking 4th grade team EVER!!
  • I'm a DIY diva
  • My favorite way to waste time is pinterest
  • I get joy out of organizing things into boxes and files
  • I love tv that has no point whatsoever
3.  Pass this award on to 12 other newly discovered blogs and let them know they received an award...
I'm not quite ready to pass on my award...I'm new to blogging and everyone I follow has a TON of followers.  This has made me realize I need to venture further out into the blog world. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I'm saving my science notebooks until they are complete.  Masterpiece kinda thing...

but here are some pics of my S.S. notebooks...
Table of Contents.  Next will be added 
Map Features. 

Facts about Ancient Civilizations.  Came from group presentations.  

Conquistadors Web.  Kids loved this one...

Although time consuming, I think the kids really learn more.  When they have to think about making the graphic organizer, they actually think about the connections it represents.  LOVE IT!