Friday, October 30, 2015

Teaching Reading

Reading instruction is something that I am passionate about. It is a crucial skill! It is the foundation of EVERYTHING! I recently attended an incredible conference put on by The Colorado Department of Education about the READ Act which is Colorado's "solution" to reading difficulties. This was an incredible conference and one of the best I have attended. They flew in literacy experts from around the country and it was FREE.

One of the topics over and over was how important literacy instruction is and that reading groups are not use throwing a leveled text at a small group and calling it reading instruction. I feel that often that is what reading is as perceived by a lot of teachers. This conference really focused on the areas that needed to be instructed before you can affectively teach reading. Those components were phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension strategies.

It is easy enough to say these things but some buildings and classrooms do not have all of the tools needed to do this. Adopting a reading program and phonics program is a huge task. I have come across some great free resources that can help you in your classroom.

The first resource is the perfect place to start when looking for your reading centers. Florida Center for Reading Research is a comprehensive site for reading resources. There is a huge amount of information to help you learn more about reading and skill specific resources for you to bring in to the classroom. You just need to print and make them. There are so many resources on this site you will find at least ten things you can use in your classroom tomorrow. This resource was cited over and over at READ Conference.

The next resource is one I have just recently started using. Read Works is a great stop to build reading comprehension. There are tons of reading comprehension texts to monitor and test your student's comprehension skills. You can choose texts to target specific skills or to test a variety.

The last tool is something that I found that compiles all of the different reading measure scores into one place. You can use this to see where your students fall on the most common reading assessments. I found this to be very helpful because the majority of my reading training is using the DRA 2 scores and now my building is putting more emphasis on Lexile scores.

Since attending this conference I am really trying to put what I have learned in to daily use in the classroom. I am building on my previous vocabulary and phonics instruction. I hope this helps you build reading instruction in your classroom. If you have any great reading resources please share them in the comments.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall Hop

Trick -Or- Treat! I enjoy teaching in fall and all of the fun things that fall has to offer! This hop is no exception! I hope that you enjoy all of your treats as you hop through! Thank you to The Classroom Game Nook for the hard work on the hop!  I love going door to door and gathering treats. Now its time for you to hop from blog to blog and gather treats.

A classroom trick that has worked well for me is using Whole Brain Teaching. I love this program and it has a so many great resources. Even if you think your classroom management is good you should check it out for tips! You can find videos on YouTube of it in action but the best resource is the Whole Brain Teaching website. This program has transformed my teaching! Check it out and see what you think. 

For this hop only I am giving everyone a copy of my Autumn Theme Vocabulary Activities. This is perfect if you need to build vocabulary and want some cute fall themed fun! Please consider leaving feedback if you grab it!

Do you need fall themed educational activities? These are for you! There is Halloween and fall graphics and themes so you can use this throughout fall! It also does not mention the word Halloween so it can be used at any school!

Common Core Aligned Vocabulary Activities. This can be used to enhance any vocabulary lesson.

This contains:
Just Add Paper Activities
Teacher Notes
Definitions Page
Synonyms Page
Multiple Meanings Page
Spooky Sentences
Antonyms Page
Word Map
Write A Ghoulish Story

Now you have a chance to enter my giveaway. I am giving away my Fall Themed Bundle.

This fall bundle is great for a 3-5 classroom. It is bundled for your savings! 

It includes:
Common Core Aligned Vocabulary Activities. This can be used to enhance any vocabulary lesson. 

Just Add Paper Activities
Teacher Notes
Definitions Page
Synonyms Page
Multiple Meanings Page
Spooky Sentences
Antonyms Page
Word Map
Write A Ghoulish Story 

Fall Into Reading:

This includes: 

A Teacher Page
A Journal Cover Page 
Personal Reaction Page
Text to Self Connection page
Text to World Connection Page
Text to Text Connection page
Personal Reaction Page
2 Summarizing Pages
Discussion Questions Page
Clarifying Questions Page 
Letter To A Character Page
Writing Spooky a Prologue or Epilogue Page
Journal Entry Page
Poetry Page
Two Write Ghoulish a Play Pages 
A Quote It Page 
Design a Costume for a Character Page 
4 Reading Response Pages

5 Page Book Report to reinforce the skills at home. This can be used at anytime through out the year! 

Thanksgiving Activities: 
These were designed with grades 3-5 in mind. The activities include:

Two writing prompts:
How to cook a turkey 
I am thankful for
Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner math
How many words can you make out of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving crossword puzzle.

Enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now continue on the hop and visit the Trapped Librarian

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October Teaching Fun

Oriental trading gave me these products in exchange for an honest review of them. I was not compensated to write this post. 

I love the little bits of fall you can bring into the classroom! My class and I had so much fun using these products! Here is how I turned some fall fun into an educational experience.

We started with this giant hairy spider and I named him Anansi. Traditional tales are one of our standards and Anansi makes his way into our curriculum several times throughout the year. So I had to have him in my room! The students loved having this giant hairy guy in the classroom and I look forward to using him year after year.

Next I used these giant cut out pumpkins several different ways. I used a few of them to decorate my door. Then we starting growing a vocabulary pumpkin patch. Next we used them for our monster scramble which I will explain more about later. The various sizes of these pumpkins allowed me to use them several ways and they are sturdy enough that I can use them next year too!

How cute are these monster glasses? I think they might be my favorite item on this post. I gave a pair to each student and they completed the Monster Scramble by reading the room with the glasses. The kids liked using them and had a ton of fun completing the task. I do have to say the 3rd grades tore them apart by the end of the day so they are not indestructible. My two year olds at home did not manage to break them. I guess third graders are harder on things than two year olds which is hard to believe. These glasses are so cute and fun that I would get them again.

Next we created these Funny Halloween Faces . The students were able to create a face and then write about it. The project turned out so cute and the kids loved it! I recommend these for a fun and easy craft!

Last we used these Spooky Finger Eye Rings to help us track while we are reading. The kiddos have been loving using these rings in reading groups. I like the funny eyes and they are very sturdy. I think they would hold up for reading groups all year.

Head over to Oriental Trading to add some fun to your fall teaching!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pets in the Classroom

If you had asked me three years ago I would have said I WANT a classroom pet. I really did but I did not want to fund them or add another thing to my plate. Then I took the plunge and got relatively easy frogs. They DIED I did everything I was supposed to and they still DIED. There were a lot of tears and I was bummed that they didn't last through the year.

Fast forward to now .... Sara  from Mrs.P's Special Education Classroom told me about Pet's In The Classroom. This grant program helps you fund a classroom pet. There was a simple grant application to fill out. I had to determine the right pet for our classroom. My co-teacher said nothing with fur and I said no live food. That left us with fish. There are several options for pets and even a few options for fish. We went with Glo-Fish I thought the bright colors would totally fit in with our Hawaiian classroom.

The students could not have been more excited and I was too! I was thrilled I could have something really neat in the classroom and not have to pay for it all out of pocket. The animals are discounted and the habitat is free! I love the fish tank we have created. The students love watching them too!

Pets in the classroom is currently holding contest to for the grant winners. Please support our classroom by voting at this link  anytime between now and December 10, 2015. 

If you are like me and want a pet in your classroom you should check out this great grant program.