Saturday, August 1, 2015

Classroom Meeting Place

One of my favorite spots in my classroom is our meeting place.

This is where we have morning meeting and I teach all of the mini-lessons for Daily Five.


The library is back here, as well as the board where we display our spelling words, vocabulary words, CAFE strategies, Homework Club, and check out system for classroom library books.

Students love grabbing a pillow and lounging back here to read too!

During morning meeting, all 30 of us will squeeze into a circle back here to do a greeting and a quick activity.  It's one of my favorite ways to build classroom community as well as work on social skills.  I'm sad to say that, the past two years, we've stopped doing morning meeting about 3 months into the year just because of busy schedules... this year it's one of my goals to continue morning meeting all year!

I sit in the wooden chair for mini-lessons and use the easel.  Students have assigned spots on the carpet which makes it insanely easy to transition back to our carpet area for mini-lessons!

So, there you have it!  A quick peek at our meeting area!

Want to learn more about morning meeting?  Check out my class website!

What do you do at your meeting area?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Exciting Update on "Partner Plays" Bundle!!!!!!!! {and a SUPER cute freebie!}

I have been having SO much fun working on these partner play fluency packs!

I posted a growing bundle on TpT that was going to stop after six sets... well, I've decided to grow the bundle until it has TEN sets in it!!!!!!  That will be FIFTY partner plays!!!!

There are currently seven sets...

Winter, spring, summer, fall, fairy tales, and science...

That's where the bundle was scheduled to stop.

But I'm having too much fun!

So, I've added "Author Interviews" to the pack and will be adding two more sets of interview plays, as well as a set that is TBD- if you have ideas, leave in the comments!

Here's what I did with mine:

All are laminated with covers on top... I hole punched each set and put a 1-inch binder ring in the top. This way, pairs can grab a set and get to reading!

I'm doing an insect theme for summer school, so I copied "Caterpillar and Butterfly"(from the science pack) at school... and it printed well in black and white!  I'm going to have students pair up to do the plays and then take them home to do with family!  I think they will enjoy that!

So, there you have it!  Exciting announcement about the bundle!  If you've already purchased it, please check out the new plays inside!  If you haven't... there's still time before it reaches full price when all plays are added!

And now... for your super cute freebie.

Like, seriously, the cutest thing EVER.  Please let me know what you think with some feedback!

Use these "Pair Up Partner" cards to pair up your kiddos for anything... maybe even a little partner play reading!!!!!

Happy Thursday!  Be sure to check out my partner plays... remember... growing bundle will have THIRTY by September 1st!  Just click the pic!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Classroom Library Rant

I apologize now if my post makes anyone mad at me... I hope to just put something out there to think about.  I've blogged about this before because I'm super passionate about it!  So, if you've been a follower for a while, it may sound familiar.

Classroom libraries.

My school uses AR, which I have a love/hate relationship with anyway.

When I started out as a teacher, I had my library organized by AR color.

It was super easy.

I bought white baskets.  I bought spray paint.  I laid the baskets out across my driveway and spray painted them.

yellow
green
blue
red
pink
orange
black

Then I put all the books at "level yellow" in the yellow basket and so on.

The books all had colored dots that correlated to the color of the basket.

SO easy!  Easy to organize.  Easy for the kids to put them away.  And easy for the kids to know right away who was always having to go to the yellow basket because they weren't "good enough" at reading to be in red, where most of my kiddos were at the end of 2nd grade.

Also, very easy to teach kids that the only thing we need to consider when choosing a book to read is the level it is written at.

I started hearing kids policing each other about what color they should be reading based on which basket they were hovering around.

And kids not caring about what they were reading... as long as it was in their color basket.

I had a lightbulb moment.

I wasn't teaching my kiddos (2nd graders at that time) to love reading... I was teaching them to read words on a page, regardless of their interest, because the book was deemed to be "their color".

So, I re-organized my library.

I made baskets about interests or with books written by a certain author or about certain topics or characters.

Within each basket, the reading levels are all mixed up.

My students have to think about what they want to read first.  Then, what is appropriate for their reading level, is second.

It's still easy to organize.  My baskets are all numbered and each book has a sticker with the corresponding number.  All Captain Underpants books are in basket 20.  All books about math ideas are in 35.  Science books are in 18.  Animal books are in 17... I LOVE seeing them get excited about all of the baskets in my library.  I love that they look through baskets together.  They see books their friends might enjoy and they talk about them.

I love that they have to be aware of what is appropriate reading material for their individual abilities... but they don't have to base their decisions around that idea!  When I choose books for myself, I don't always choose things at my level... and I gravitate toward my interests first, of course!

I believe that this change has helped my students be more aware of WHY we read and has helped develop an enjoyment for reading... of course it helps that my library is HUGE with a wide variety of reading materials!  It's my pride and joy and the thing I poured the most money into when I was getting it up and running!

So, what do you think?  How is your library organized?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Partner Reading Plays {You Can Win!}

I've been busy this weekend working on some short plays that will be just PERFECT for my partner reading station, which I blogged about last week.  {Click the pic to check out the old post.}

Here are the packs I've created so far!  {Summer AND Interview with Favorite Authors are also done and in the bundle!}



With plans for a spring and summer pack, I've decided to bundle these together into a GROWING BUNDLE!  It is currently $18.00, but will be $27.00 when it's done.  It will have FIFTY plays in all... that's enough to do one a week!

You can win ALL of them!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below and I'll select a winner to receive ALL of the partner plays I've created so far... that's TWENTY plays and a $12 value!  Perfect for grades 2 and 3!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Assess Me Linky!

This is too fun!  Thanks to Mrs. Lamb for hosting!  Hurry and link up!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Writing Center Reveal {and freebie!}

I am SO excited about my writing center for this year!!!!!!!!!!

I love it!!!!!!!

This bookshelf is on the floor to the left of the table.  It contains all sort of things for creative writing.


On the bulletin board, the red papers are actually in sheet protectors that are stapled to the board. This will allow me to quickly slide in new pages... I have papers from my opinion unit up now because that's the first writing unit we will do in 3rd grade.  I think I will also put up student examples too!

I am particularly psyched about this little guy...

It's an organizer I got at Target in the $3 spot.  The first six items are flashcards that I also got from Target in the $1 spot.  I made a cute cover for the flashcards with some directions- "Read a card.  Write about what you learn", hole punched the cards, and put together with a binder ring!

The bottom three (animals, transportation, and sports records) are flashcards that are not from the $1 spot at Target.

Sooooo... if you want to make a little organizer like this using the flashcards you picked up from Target, you can click the pic below to download the six covers!  I bought the word family flashcards (for the rhyming set), outer space, presidents, flags of the world, insects, and United States.

I'd LOVE to see how you organize these if you download the freebie and would also love to know if you love it too!  So, let me know what you think!

Items I have made that are being used in the writing center pic at the top:

My other favorite writing items:


 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Three-fer Thursday- {MATH!}


It's 3-fer Thursday again!

This week I'm celebrating MATH games!  My district is moving to a workshop model for math instruction and I am so honored to be one of the teachers giving the training this summer!

So, I thought I'd celebrate with MATH today on 3-fer Thursday!

You can get these three items at 20% off for today only!

Fractions center set...
Time center set...

And one of my favorites that I SO miss using from 1st grade...

Totally tally marks!  My kiddos used to LOVE this... especially the game with the rainbow spinner!

Happy 3-fer Thursday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back to School Freebie!

Happy Wednesday!

I have to be sappy for a minute, so please forgive me!

If you've been a blog follower for a while, you might know that the last two years have brought a TON of changes for me and my little blog has really taken a backseat to the things that have been going on in my life.

Earlier this year, I bought a new house and moved {out with the old, in with the new!} and that one thing absolutely saved and completely changed my life for the better!

I wanted to take a second to say THANK YOU, my bloggy friends, for your patience and support. When I started this blog 4 years ago, I could have never guessed how many new friends and connections I would make or how teachers across the world could band together to support and encourage one another the way the blogging community does!

So... to say thanks, I have a new freebie that I'd love to share with you!  It's a Classroom/Hall Hunt for the first week of school.  It will have your kiddos up and around getting to know each other!

Please download it by clicking the picture below... and know this is a small thing I can do to say THANK YOU for sticking with me during this quiet and boring time on my blog!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Small Group Binders {Organization and Ideas!}

Every year it seems I start out the year with a goal... this year, it's ORGANIZATION.  I'm a pretty organized person but, when I moved classrooms earlier this summer, I weeded out SO much stuff.  It was NUTS!  Having less stuff is terrifying to me.  I love my stuff.  I need my stuff!  But, I also hadn't touched much of that stuff since moving to 3rd grade 3 years ago so, it was time for it to GO.

In my quest to become uber organized with my remaining stuff, I have created two binders that organize many of my reading passages that connect to standards.  I use these things when teaching my small groups.

Hence, my RL and RI small group binders were born!  This post shows off some of what's inside and gives nods to some of my TpT favs!

So, here are my two binders...

Each one is full of page protectors (my addiction!) and has sticky note tabs to denote the sections for each CCSS standard...


At the start of each section is a full sheet that spells out the "I can" statements for each standard...

And, then, come the goodies!

The RL binder has the passages from my small group packs-



And reading passages from Readworks.org which, if you aren't signed up for, you need to!  The top page below is from ReadWorks and the bottom is from my 3rd grade small group pack.

That is primarily what makes up the RL binder- Readworks and pages from my RL pack.

My RI binder has some AMAZING passages from Hello Literacy...

And several of the folding books from this Mailbox pack.  I copy these and use them all the time for informational reading in my small groups.  Super high interest!  It seems like it may be out of print, but you can click the pic for more info!


I also have passages from my cause and effect pack...


And this "Zombie" pack from The Tattooed Teacher is a FAVORITE of my kiddos!


These binders will be a work in progress as I add to them during the year... but they are both off to a GREAT start!

How do you organize for small groups?
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