Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stitch Fix #9... I got the BIG Box!!

Woohoo! I got the BIG Stitch Fix box for my ninth fix!
And it was full of awesomeness! :o)
The dress is a long sleeved navy cotton dress. It is super comfy, and I absolutely love the cardigan! I'll be able to wear it with jeans or khakis, too! And any reason to wear my cowgirl boots is good for me. :o)
This blouse is exactly my style- love love it! I also just got this skirt at Marshall's!
This dolman top is super comfy, too! I might pair it with that skirt from Marshall's for another outfit...
Ok... so this cardigan is not really my favorite print, but it is SUPER soft and warm, and I can see myself wearing it this winter with jeans! Plus, for keeping all five pieces, the "buy 5 discount" makes this cardigan free, so I might as well keep it. :o)

Keeping all five for the second time! I love my stylist, Hope, who has done my last two fixes now. :o) Want to try Stitch Fix for yourself? Check it out here!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Stop Highlighting... Start Thinking!

Remember when you were in high school and college, and as you studied, you highlighted everything you felt was important... then you got to the bottom of a page, looked back, and your entire page was highlighted?? Yeah... that's what we DON'T want students doing when they are reading. If we teach students to annotate, we can eliminate that highlighter bleeding! The idea of annotating is to slow down and really think about what the author is saying.

We know that close reading is the reading and rereading (and even more rereading) of a short complex text for several different purposes. Depending on the standards you are covering, you can use the same text for several readings and get something new out of it each time. During close reading, students should annotate the text to help leave tracks of their thinking as well as to help with their purpose for reading. How you have students annotate (the marks they will make) is totally up to you, but making sure their marks are purposeful is what is most important to teach them.

There are two times that students in my own classroom might annotate:

1) With a text-dependent question (or multiple questions on the same standard)... This will help provide a student a purpose for each reading. We don't want the margins to be full of random thoughts, but rather responses to their reading based on their purpose.

2) With a cold read... Students use an annotation bookmark at first to help remind them of the things they should be thinking about while reading, but they soon don't need it because they remember.
(You can get these bookmarks for free here!) 

My students annotate during and after reading one paragraph at a time. I teach them that if they get to the end of a paragraph and haven't written a single thought, most likely they weren't truly thinking while they were reading, and they should go back and reread one more time.

The best way to teach students how to think and annotate is to model it for them.
Here, I have modeled my own thinking for my students with a passage I wrote about epidemics (which you can download and use with your own class in this paired text freebie).

You can see that I showed my thinking, but it is not necessary to underline or write a thought about every single sentence, just like it's not necessary to highlight every sentence either!

Thanks so much for coming by... I hope that this post will help you get started with annotating in your own classroom! :o)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Teachers Help Teachers!

I think you'll agree that teachers are the best, most supportive people on the planet. We are like our own "species" - we don't even have to meet each other to know and relate to each other, and pull together to support and protect each other.

I have the perfect example of this very thing. My good friend Nick, over at Sweet Rhyme-Pure Reason, and his wife are adopting! Read his announcement here! Several of us decided we wanted to do something to help... so we created a bundle of fall products- most of them we haven't even released in our stores yet! These items will be the perfect additions to your classroom and all the proceeds will go into Nick's adoption fund piggy bank!
You will get 19 products from some of your favorite sellers for only $25! I made some task cards to practice all four operations in math with a fall theme. Check out what else is included:

I am sure you will recognize all of the bloggers who have donated to this awesome bundle, but if one or more of them is new to you...go check out their blogs because they are some amazing teachers!

I know that Nick appreciates any help you can give! Adoption is so expensive, which is just so sad because there are so many loving families like Nick's who deserve a child and don't have excessive amounts of extra money. If you don't feel that this bundle will fit your needs but you still want to help Nick and his wife with their adoption, you can donate here! Thank you so much for helping our amazing friend and teacher become a father!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation: Fun Informational Passages!

Let me tell you what I LOVE.

I LOVE tricking kids into thinking working is super fun. :-P

My kids were begging me last week to learn more and write more. Have you ever heard of such a thing???

I shared with you last week that I am working on getting my students to respond deeper using Jennifer Findley's Rigorous Reader's Response Letters. We are also working on reading informational paired texts... and we were working on some skills with Stellaluna this past week... so I decided to write some articles about bats for them to use for close reading and annotating, and for them to use for their response letters! The first day, I gave them the first article on Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat- the smallest mammal in the world! We did some close reading, then I had them practice their first independent response letter using the same checklist from last week. Seriously, with their excitement level, you would have thought I'd just given them candy. They could not WAIT to write about what they had learned about these bats, and what they could infer. Some of them are seriously impressing me with their inferring skills too! Check this one out:
As I was peeking at some of their responses, a few were still not going as deep as I wanted, so on Friday, I had a few students share (including the one above) and then we did another class shared writing response. Here is what the students suggested I write:
Then, I let them know they were getting another article about bats that day- they cheered! One of my students said, "Ms. Ivey, can we do more articles next week about other animals? This is fun!" I swear, I am not making this up!! (I actually thought to myself at that moment- I can link this up with Joanne!! Ha!!)

They did the same thing as the previous day with their new passage about a megabat- the Spectacled Flying Fox. I will most likely use these responses for a grade since we have practiced a bit now.
I decided to take these articles a step further and add some paired text multiple choice and constructed response questions.... then I thought, if they liked these articles so much, I'm going to need more... so I made some for owls and spiders, too! ('Tis the season after all!)

And of course, you know I can't keep them all to myself... you can get them in my TPT store!
For the first 48 hours, this product is 20% off! I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Sunday Scoop & Visual Plans!

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio today for the Sunday Scoop,
and I made my first ever VISUAL PLANS!

I'm sharing about this week in my scoop, instead of just today! :) Monday, we have a teacher work day (students are off) for some professional development and to get things in order for the start of the next quarter. It's going to be a busy Monday, and a busy week!

And yes, that's right, I made visual plans for this week! I never have before, and I actually really liked doing it because it helped me realize what I still need to print and prepare! :-P You can click here or on either image below and it will take you to Dropbox where you can download the plans... then, click on any of the thumbnails and it will take you to the product!

Everyone enjoy your weekend! :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five For Friday ROLLER COASTER! {and a Columbus FREEBIE!}

Friends, I have been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blogger! :( For this, I am so sorry. I am going to try my very best to blog more because I absolutely love doing it! My life has just been totally, upside down crazy the last few weeks!! I have absolutely felt like I was on a roller coaster, so I decided to make my lesson plans align with my feelings. :o)
I looooove using the book, Roller Coaster to teach how to write about a small moment.
This ENTIRE book is the story of riding a roller coaster, from the minute they walk up to get in line, to the minute they get off. NOT when they woke up, then went to the park, then walked around, then ate lunch, then rode the roller coaster, then went home. (Sound familiar to anyone??) Ha!

To get them thinking about JUST the small moment they are going to write about, I have them draw a "snapshot." They must show only what would be in a photograph- so they can only be doing one thing in that picture. Then, they label it and write details about that moment using their five senses.
Here is how I set it up- you can also see I had them think of how they would introduce and end the story on the sides.
I began writing my small moment story on chart paper to give them an idea of how to get started. My small moment happened, unfortunately, just this week on Monday!
I pointed out how much I had already written, but I had only just BEGUN the "small moment!" I showed them how I had to set the scene for my reader. :o)
Of course, since I was using Roller Coaster for writing, I also used the mentor sentence from my fourth pack and we worked on prepositions from my fourth interactive language arts notebook, too!
We are still chugging along learning about our explorers using my Explorers Pack.
We actually did this one last week, but with Columbus Day coming up, I thought I'd offer it to you... for free! You can download it here from my TPT store. I appreciate your feedback if you download the freebie! :o)

We also made brochures to advertise for a CRUISE with the explorer! :o) This one is from one of my super high gifted kids... *they don't all look this amazing...*
Lastly, we are learning to write good, in depth responses to what we read! I am using an amazing pack from Jennifer Findley this year to help my students write better responses. Here is the one we wrote together this week to "try it out." Next week, they'll write their own!
So you see, even though my blogging has been a bit lacking, we've still been doing tons of fun things!! I hope you can borrow some ideas from this post for your own classroom! :o) Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Peek at My Week!

Holy moly. What a week!!
We had parent/teacher conferences last week, and I was also sick at the beginning of the week... so needless to say, it was quite exhausting. This is why I didn't post a Workshop Wednesday last week... or anything else, for that matter.

To get ahead a little bit, I'm going to link up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings and give you a peek at my week! :o)
In Social Studies, we are learning about the first two of six of the European Explorers this week: Columbus and Cabot. I'm using my Explorers Pack to teach about these two, as well as to write an opinion piece during writing time!
You know how I love to use a good mentor text and to integrate across the curriculum... I'm going to use the book, Encounter by Jane Yolen, to show the students the "other side" of what happened during European exploration.
(Click above to visit the book on Amazon!)
Whether you are learning about explorers or not, this is a great book to show another point of view of an event with which most students are familiar... Columbus "discovering" new land. My students are always amazed when I tell them this was based on the events of Columbus landing in San Salvador! One of them asked last year, "Why do we have the day off for Columbus Day? He shouldn't get a holiday!!"

I will use the wonderful pack from Cutesy Clickables/Collaboration Cuties to review inferences and main idea during reading, as well as to teach some more figurative language!
Of course, I have to get in some nonfiction, too! I will read You Wouldn't Want to Sail with Christopher Columbus by Fiona MacDonald and do the inferring activity for that text from my No Prep Nonfiction Companion to Better Than Basal.
As I was just searching for the book on Amazon, I realized there is a revised edition of the book that I didn't know about! Click the image of the book to visit the revised edition on Amazon... I might have to buy that one, too...! LOL

During writing time, as I mentioned earlier, the students will give their opinion of whether they believe the explorers were heroes.... this prompt is always a good one to get the kids to use voice and emotion in their piece.

In math, we are working on multiplication! I can't wait to teach my kids "Multiplication War" from my Math Aces: Partner Games so they can play in stations. They are loving card games this year!
I am using my Zany Zebra Multiplication Pack for some of my mini-lessons and small groups next week, as well as the task cards for my stations.
I am also using some of Blair Turner's interactive notebook activities- especially this set on multiplicative comparison.
That can be such a tricky concept for them because they have to really think through who has "the most" to know what they should be multiplying.

Oh and in between all of this fun stuff I shared with you, we also have our district assessments to administer in Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies. EEK! But we'll get it all in, don't you worry. :-P

I hope you all have a fantastic week!