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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Classroom Arrangement

Spaces & Places: Designing Classrooms for LiteracyOk, so many of you are starting to think about how to set up your class for the new school year.  I seem to always struggle to find what I actually like; therefore, I end up rearranging my room a hundred times during the school year!  Yuck!  To solve this problem I recently read Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller and I LOVED it!  It has really offered insight on how to set up the best classroom environments conducive for learning.  She has tons of pictures and rational for everything she recommends.  If you haven't read the book and are in a pickle for how to set up your room, check it out!  It's a quick read with lots of fantastic information.  I will post pics when my room is together to show you how inspirational she can be!  Cheers! :-)  By the way, if you didn't already know, I'm a total professional book reading        junkie!  I LOVE learning new ways to grow as an educator!  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Teaching Inspiration for the House

This is the wreath I created :-)
Ok, so I know this isn't a "K-2" idea, but it is a fun and inexpensive idea to bring your love of teaching to your front door.  Tonight I made a teaching wreath with a embroidery ring, cheap rulers from Target, hot glue, a flower, and foam letters.  The idea originated from a wreath (click on the 'wreath' to go to the site of inspiration) I saw on Pinterest and then I added my own flare.  So fun and now if the neighbors didn't already know I am a teacher, they do now! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back in Town :)

We had a fantastic first family vacation with our little princess to Isle of Palms, SC.  Lillian really loved the ocean and it was great to see my mom and share our love of Charleston with her.  Now, back to school topics....I finished Growing Readers and it did not disappoint!  There are so many fantastic ideas for really going deeper with reading comprehension.  There's also a fabulous recommended plan for teaching comprehension and print awareness strategies for life long readers.  It was a great read and I will be re-reading the book this school year to refresh my memory for each new unit I teach.  This book compliments the Daily 5 and any Basal series if you teach with a reading workshop model.

On a side note, I found some really fun things for my students back to school bags at Target I wanted to share.  I love Dr. Seuss and these items were found in the dollar section at Target!  Feel free to use the poem that goes with the bag of goodies too!  I leave the poem the same and adjust the grade level if teaching a new grade.  I can't remember where I found the poem, but I did personalize it to make it mine.  :-)  Enjoy until next time!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Needs and Wants Quick Assessment Idea

Back in late Fall our class was learning about needs and wants.  We did several lessons on the concept, but when it came time to assess the children I was short on time.  I decided a whole class T-chart sort was in order.  This way I could assess the children without taking up too much time.  Genius I thought to myself!  Above is a picture of the sort.  I had each child draw two magnetic cards out of a basket and then take turns putting them on either side of the T-chart.  Some children drew two wants, two needs, or one of each.  They came to the chart, placed the cards under the category they thought the item belonged and then explained their thinking to me.  The entire class assessment took about 15 minutes.  I like to mix up assessment styles to better reach all of the children.  I'm not a great test taker; however, I can show and discuss what I know very well.  I think the children are the same way; therefore, assessments need to be varied to reach every learner to find out what they know.  The cards can be downloaded for free here.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reading, Reading, Reading Workshop!

Growing Readers: Units of Study in the Primary Classroom

Ok, so it's been a few weeks since I've posted anything...very busy summer so far!  I'm currently reading Growing Readers for part of my professional summer reading.  I have about 90 pages left in the book and hope to be finished with it before heading to Isle of Palms on Saturday for the week. :-)  The book is a great read for teachers that are stuck and don't know how to get students over the hump of comprehension.  Basal series are great; however, they don't offer much insight on how to teach and extend teaching of a variety of comprehension strategies.  If you are like me and needed some extra help in this area then this the book for you!  I use a reading workshop model and occasionally struggle to find ways to extend comprehension lessons and go deeper with the material.  This book has already given me so many lesson ideas to really create life long readers.  It has fantastic and real life lesson applications.  If you use the Daily 5, this will compliment what you're already doing nicely!  If you get the book please leave me a comment and tell me what you're getting from the book.  Enjoy!