Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Introducing Opinion Writing

Soooo I'm breaking my own rules a little here. Workshop Wednesday will be open all month, and this month it is all about showcasing how to organize any of your workshops (reading, writing, and math)... but I really want to share how I'm getting opinion writing started in my classroom! So it won't be organizing writer's workshop as a whole, but I think you'll still like it. ;-)
Introducing opinion writing is super fun... in my opinion. :-P But there is a fine line between opinion and persuasive, and I need to make sure the kids know the difference. Here are some things I do:

1: I make sure the kids HAVE an opinion!
I ask them to write one sentence that shows their opinion on a sticky note- it can be about anything they want. The stickies ranged from, "Ms. Ivey is the best teacher in the world!" (awwww) to "My brother is the cutest kid, yet also the meanest." (HA!) I read them aloud and the students gave thumbs up or thumbs down to show they agreed that it was an opinion.

2: I give them the opportunity to share their opinions with others through discussion.
Have you ever played, "Would You Rather...?" It is such a fun adult game (at least the one I played...), but luckily, Rachel Lynette created some for kids too! (Click above or here for a freebie from her!) I pass these out as strips to a pair of students, and they have to tell which scenario they would rather do and WHY.

3: Our first opinion writing piece....... I start off small, and with a topic with which they are familiar...
We are currently learning about the water cycle and weather in science, so for a quick writing piece, we are writing about our favorite type of weather. I use this organizer which will only produce one paragraph this time (I do NOT want to read five paragraphs about why you like sunny weather- LOL), but later this same format of the organizer will produce an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. (Click above or here to download the organizer for free!) I included "transition" on the organizer because I want them to remember to include those phrases in their writing. (I love these transitional words anchor charts by Tracee Orman!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Organizing Math Workshop

Hello friends! Welcome to a new school year, and a new Workshop Wednesday!
I am doing things a little bit different this year in Math Workshop, so I thought I would share with you the way I am organizing my stations! I am still using my 10 cart drawer like last year, but I am setting it all up for math now (last year, I used the top 5 drawers for math and the bottom 5 for reading). This way, I can differentiate more of my stations...

Here are my stations:
The green and purple, and the blue and orange (yeah, I would have picked those differently had it occurred to me at the time that those were Florida Gator colors... LOL!) are differentiated- they match the color of the drawer they can be found in. I am also making labels to match so that in the very near future, the students will be able to go to the drawer they need, but at this time of the year, I am getting all of the stations "rolling" and so they don't need the labels yet...and I've been moving that to the bottom of my to-do list every time I sit down to work on stuff, so it hasn't gotten done. :-P I'm sure you can relate to that!

We also are working on learning the routine of stations, so this week, my stations are not differentiated. Next week, they will be. :o) I have two drawers for games, and you'll see why in just a minute... but I get the games ready to go ahead of time for each set of partners:
In a gallon bag, I put all the materials they need for a game- dry erase markers, cards, dice, game boards, erasers... it's all there. All they have to do is clean up properly, and then the next day, the next pair will be ready to play the game, too!

My students only do one station per day (30 minutes). I pull two groups during station time (about 15 minutes each) and then we always have at least one day where I let them "finish up" their stations they didn't get to finish because of being pulled in a group. I pull small groups based on what skill they need to work on, not by their station rotations... but I always pull them in groups as partners- so they are grouped as partners by level... maybe if I show you, it will help my explanation. (I actually have magnets with their names on them that I will rotate, but I am still working on making sure their partners are matched correctly by watching them during stations the last few rotations...)

When I pull groups, I might pull John and Max with Lisa and Mary to work on rounding at my table. The others at that station still have their partner, so even though some have left the station, it doesn't affect the rest. The ones I pull in my group still get to do the station for a bit that day, but probably won't finish... and that is ok, because as I said, they will get to have a "finish up day" (or two) at the end of the set of rotations. During the finish-up days, I am walking around and only conferring with students, not pulling groups.

Also, you saw I have two drawers with games. That is because I only have two student laptops... so when the students are at the technology station, they have to share their time. Sometimes, they can get on the laptops as partners, but if it's a game or program that is meant for only one person, two of them are on the laptops (one on each laptop) while the other two are playing a game from the red game drawers, then after 15 minutes, they switch.

There are more spots on my rotation board than I have students- this is so I can get all the stations rotated. There will always be one of the green/purple or blue/orange sets that will be empty so that my games and technology groups can flip-flop the next day. As I sit here and type it out, I feel like it is probably clear as mud to you... but I promise it works! :-P I hope this post did help you at least a little if you are looking for ideas of ways to organize your math stations!

The linky will be open all month now- it will no longer be a weekly linky, although I will probably still share something new with you most weeks on Wednesday. I hope you will link up!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Interactive Notebooking Five For Friday, Super Late...

Well, what's new? I'm late to the party at the beginning of the school year. :-P I know you all feel my pain, so I don't feel so bad about it. ;o)
We are in full swing with our interactive notebooks! I am using activities from a few different notebooks, including Nicole Shelby's Reading Notebook. This week, one thing we worked on was finding the main idea.
We used some articles from The Sweetest Thing about Native Americans (our current social studies topic) to practice finding the main idea.
These articles are fabulous because they include five different passages written on three different levels. I can give all of my students the same information, but on their reading level! She has several packs of SS/ELA integrated articles in her store. Make sure to check them out!
We also worked on inferring this week. Erin from Lovin Lit has some really fun ideas in her notebook products that integrate videos into your lessons. I've been using some things from her Grades 2-3 Literature Notebook (yes even though I'm 4th, it's still totally appropriate) and her idea of using "In Summer" from Frozen was a huge hit with my kiddos!

(The title at the top is from Nicole's notebook)
We have been taking interactive notes on our Native American tribes. (For more information about what this is, read here!)
Some sad news this week at Jivey's house... Timmy had to have surgery on his knee and he is just pitiful!
He has figured out how to get around now with it (and he totally looks like a pirate with a peg leg) but you can tell it definitely bothers him. Poor pup!!!
I love a good deal, don't you? I ordered a few things from Twice this week and I was so excited when they arrived! We had Curriculum Night this week, and I wore this blue Calvin Klein dress:
I love the ruffle!

I also got this shirt- it's a New York and Co brand shirt that still had the tags on it! 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you all have a great weekend! :o)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monday Made It: Math Games {FREEBIES} and New Book Nooks Chart with Washi Clothespins

Well, I thought I'd have more than two things to share with you today but... I didn't get pictures of it all! So, there will be more coming next Monday. :o)
We are working on Place Value in math, and so I've been working like crazy to get them ready for stations so I can start pulling small groups. I think you'll agree when I say, kids love games. I have made some games and also purchased some games that keep my kids learning and having fun at the same time. I like to laminate the games when I can to save on copies- the kids just use dry erase markers to write on them! This also helps with the, "we're done!" dilemma. Erase and play again!

I made a game called Making Millions based on the same game called Put In Place (which you can download from my TPT store for free).
I ran both games on cardstock front/back then laminated them so the students can play either or both games at the station. You can grab Making Millions for free!

I also printed my card games from Math Aces on colored cardstock! My students will also be playing Greater or Less? next week in a station.
The directions are printed on one side and the gameboard is printed on the other. They will use a dry erase marker to write on this as well.
I made a new book nook chart this year - I wanted it to hang on my cabinet, so I made it vertical (last year it was horizontal).
And the best part... if you clicked the link to see last year's book nook chart, you might have seen the clothespins clipped on the chart- these are the same ones! Because I covered them with washi tape last year, I just peeled off the tape and put new tape on this year! Hooray for re-purposing! :o)

I'll be back next week to share some more goodies! :o)

OH! Also, don't forget, you can link up all of the must-haves for our second chance BTS sale this Wednesday! :o)

Don't Miss This Second Chance!

Have you heard the fabulous news? Teachers Pay Teachers is giving us a second chance sale to pick up those Back to School items we missed out on during the first sale! Most sellers will be marking their store down 20% on Wednesday, August 20 and TPT will be offering an additional 10% off with the code BOOST.

So, what did you buy during the first sale that we must make sure to get this time? What is still on your wishlist that you WILL buy this time around? And what item in your store is a must-have for everyone? You'll be able to grab the banners and product display pages at the bottom of the link-up. Feel free to join in the fun!

Here are my second chance items!

First up, I bought this awesome set of dice games from forkin4th during the first TPT sale:
I have my Math Aces Card Games, but I also LOVE using dice (and so do the kids) and these games are just perfect for my kiddos! We will be using one this week in our first round of stations!

Next up, I missed getting this item during the first sale because Joanne had just released it, so I will definitely be snagging the Back to School Reading and Writing Activities to Build Community this time around! She has compiled activities with all of my favorite books!
Last, but not least, if you missed out on grabbing my Better Than Basal pack during the first sale, you will definitely want to get it this time!
It has over 100 activities to do with 40 of your favorite books, and all of the answer keys are included! (In other words, you are set for the year!) They are great to leave for a sub, too. Check out the feedback on the product to see how it has already become an invaluable resource to so many. My students are loving the activities - we have used the activities for First Day Jitters and Enemy Pie, and we'll be reading Saturdays and Teacakes next week! You can also get this pack in my Biggest and Best Mentor Sentence Bundle, which also has all of the mentor sentences and interactive language arts notebook activities that are aligned to the same 40 books! If you don't know about mentor sentences yet, read about them here! The value of all of the items in the bundle is $89, so buying the bundle during the sale will save you over $32!

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to shop one more time! :o)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five For Friday!

Happy Friday! Whew, what a week!! You with me?? Here's what I was up to this week...
I've been working on getting all of our workshops set up and rolling! I got this goodie during the TPT B2S sale - I have been using Math Workshop for several years, but I loved that this had foldables to go with my set-up!
We also started working on building our reading stamina this week. My kids are up to 13 minutes! :o)
You can grab this freebie poster here! It's also included in my Launching Reading Workshop Pack!
I always start Writing Workshop by having the students collect some good seed ideas. I found a book that I used to use in 3rd grade (...that I had totally forgotten about!!! Do you do that, too?) and the kids loved it!
It is seriously the cutest book! Click here to buy it on Amazon!
I had my students make 12 boxes in their notebook, and after reading each page, I had the students write down a time they felt the same way as the girl!
These will make great stories later! :o)
I was actually able to get in a few mini-lessons this week! One of them excited my kids SO very much. I like to show Pixar short films in reading for comprehension strategies... after all... they are just visual stories! We watched Partly Cloudy and used Lovin Lit's awesome summarizing flapbook from her Interactive Reading Literature Notebook to practice "Who, Wanted, But, So, Then."
I was a good kid when I was in school (no, really!), but the only thing I ever got in trouble for was talking... I think sometimes my classes are my payback for that. :-P
I'll leave you with this little funny. I certainly have a couple of these kiddos this year...! :o)