Friday, July 22, 2016

Five for Friday: July 22nd

One more week. Only one more week. One more week and I go back to school.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited. But I love to sleep in until 5:50! In one week, I'll have to wake up at 5:35!

How is this possible? How is it that I am only able to sleep in 15 extra minutes? The longer I'm awake, the more I eat.

This is the truth. It's the truth, but it's OK. We love what we do, and we love eating Top Ramen the last two weeks of the month.

characters, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, end
 Another upside to Instagram are the great ideas teachers post.

I am so in love with the Close Reading Toolboxes created by Rebecca at Create Teach Share. If you haven't seen them, you MUST! You will love this idea! You can find the freebie in her store.

I loved the idea so much, that I was inspired to make one of my own, which you can get here, and it's FREE! Ideas like these are perfect for guided reading. Just pull out the boxes and BAM! Ready to go!
guided reading, small group instruction
Here's the box! It was made using those photo boxes that teachers are going crazy for. I first discovered the box of six at Target, but they no longer sell them (at least I haven't seen them). So, I found them on Amazon, but you can also get the huge box of 16 at Michaels, and they always seem to be 40% off.
story structure vocabulary, bookmark
The purpose of this box is to practice story structure. If you teach K-2, you know that's HUGE! I've been using this idea for awhile, but it wasn't so organized before. Now, thanks to these amazing boxes (that teachers are going crazy for), I have one spot to keep the materials.
Inside the box are 5 crayons (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue), a vocabulary bookmark, a reading wand, and a bracelet.

The crayons are used for underlining parts of the text. If you are using a book, I'd suggest colored tabs. Students use red to underline the characters and setting. Orange is for problem and solution. Yellow is for the beginning and so on. . .

The bookmark is for students to use if they forget the story structure vocabulary.

The wand is to make pointing fun.

And the bracelet is for orally retelling the story.

So, after you have read and underlined, each student in the group is responsible for retelling a part of the story. Once again it is color coded, so if a child has a red bracelet, he or she tells about the characters and the setting. If a child is wearing the blue bracelet, he or she tells about the end of the story.
Now, you may have seen these beauties at Target (a store teachers go crazy for) in the party favor aisle. That is where I found them, but I also found them online and at the Dollar Store. You could also use popsicle sticks, a witch finger, or a regular child's finger :) I just wanted to make mine extra fun! The bracelets are also from Target. You can find those in the party favor aisle or online.
Raise your hand if you cringe when you see somebody throwing away paper that could be recycled. I do! I have to look away.
So this year, I'm using my adorable green, obviously-meant-for-recylcing tub (found at Michaels) as my classroom recycling bin, tub, bucket. Not sure how I'll refer to it. But now I can sleep at night knowing that my class and I are taking care of our planet. Get the Recycle label here!
writing, elementary writing instruction, writing curriculum, narrative writing lessons
I've said it a million times. I love to teach writing.

My writing teacher style it to give kids the tools they need to write. I don't give many writing prompts. I'm like, "Just write!" Now, that might not work if I didn't give kids the tools they need, but I do, and they love it!

My new Room to Write writing curriculum gives kids those tools and allows them to just write. It comes with lesson plans, PowerPoints, and printables to reinforce the skills taught. I am so very proud of it, and I can't wait to use it this year!

I've begun a series of posts about writing that you must read if you want some ideas that you can use in your classroom. You can start here. Each post will include a printables that you can use with the topic being addressed. 
Once again, Instagram sucked me in. I follow Melanie @freshpickedgrace. She has the cutest inspirational products in her Etsy store. I bought the rainbow because it makes me happy. And the pineapple because of that one precious word teachers must whisper to themselves at least once a day. Patience.

Thanks for stopping by! Check out some more fun blogs at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Room to Write #1: Sequence of Events

If you ask me what I enjoy teaching the most, I'd have to say writing. Writing! Writing! Writing!

At the beginning of each year, I start out simple. I start with teaching students how to write a sequence of events. It's one of the easier concepts for students to grasp, and it's a great way to to incorporate shared writing in the classroom.
Getting Started
Like I mentioned, I begin the year teaching a sequence of events. I like to use shared writing to write about the first day of school or just any day at school. It's something we all know about and we all know the order of our day.

I like to use pictures because kids get ideas from them. Pictures give kids a visual.
Shared Writing
I begin by having my students help me put some pictures in order. I glue them to chart paper and tell the students that we are going to tell about our day in order. We will be giving a sequence of events.

I have them look at the first picture and decide what it is showing. Then I ask them to think of a sentence. I ask them to begin their sentences with the word we because we are pretending we are the kids in the pictures.

After they think, I have the kids share their sentences with a buddy. I randomly select a few kids to share their sentences. I praise each child for some fabulous sentences and write one of their sentences or a combination of all of them by the picture.

Once we're finished, we practice reading our very short narrative together. We discuss why we put it in order and discuss the term sequence of events.

Independent Writing
Now I let them practice on their own. This worksheet is similar to the shared writing, so the students will feel excited about writing something they know and understand.
Because I am teaching the term sequence of event, I don't expect a real elaborate narrative. I just want them to write a story in order. As we continue throughout the year, I'll expect more because we will have learned more writing skills and strategies.

I hope this helps you to get started! Here are the resources for this lesson.

If you would like the complete unit, find it here.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Room to Write

I once heard that my local police department struggles to hire a diverse group of men and women because applicants have trouble with the writing portion of the test. I've also heard that high school students have trouble with writing because they are unable to write compound sentences. Now, I was blow drying my hair, so I think that's what was said.

Knowing this information, I felt compelled to make sure that I incorporated writing daily in my 2nd grade classroom.
Even if I'm wrong, it lit a fire under me.

But I love teaching writing, so it only made that fire bigger.

As I talk to teachers and reflect on my own teaching, one thing I've realized (it only took 12 years) is that kids aren't (at least mine aren't) taught writing vocabulary. I thought of the words that kids needed to know (I'm sure I missed some), and I created some lessons which teach both vocabulary and writing skills.
primary writing
I created five Room to Write units. In future posts, I will explain how I teach writing and problems teachers may run into. Here is a preview of what will be covered in each post.

I can't wait to share my best tried-and-true writing ideas with you!

Now let's do this my fellow teachers! Let's make writing a priority. Once kids get it, you will have a classroom filled with kids writing independently (and quietly)! Guaranteed!

Head on over to Room to Write #1: Sequence of Events

Thanks for stopping by!

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