Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I know it is late, but I wanted to wish all of my blog friends a merry Christmas! It has been so crazy since school let out, I have not had a chance to breathe!
We finished on Wednesday and then it was a quick hop to spend the holiday in Dallas. Santa was very good to me and I have had the chance to catch up with my friends!
I hope your holiday was wonderful and blessed!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Last week was our first full week where we were doing all sorts of fun "christmasy" things! We had started out the week before doing sweet Mrs. Cooley's Christmas Around the World mini-book. This book was adorable and it was great to do something were I knew my students were gaining an appreciation for other cultures. We did one page a day and reviewed the other countries.

 We finished up our study on Thursday and then had a Christmas Around the World feast on Friday! It was so fun. We made place mats for our feast for each country we "visited".
We ate tacos, yule logs (swiss cake rolls), cakes, gingerbread, and honey buns. Before the feast we also opened Christmas crackers! These are a tradition in Britain that my family does so I brought some for them. They loved it! Here is what our feast looked like:

In other "christmasy" things:
We did the best gift of all courtesy of Cara Carroll! The tree is made out of all of their handprints!
We also read "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies" by Laura Numeroff. We were reviewing last week so this book was perfect for sequence of events. We filled out a plot chart, from the teacher wife's amazing reading comprehension packet. Then using these pictures I think from Sarah Cooley they had to put the events in order.

Also, as a treat I gave them some popcorn just like the mouse!
 We also did some gingerbread stuff! We taste tested it, and wow all of my kids loved gingerbread!
 And we did a fun glyph!
Whew! 8 days left!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I finally finished this beast!

I have been spending the last few days organizing my classroom library. Ms. Simoneaux was doing it, and I had been avoiding it for so long so I thought why not? I had previously organized my library by genre, which turned out to be a mess. My kids could never figure out where to put them back and then it also lead to them having a hard time picked a good fit book. So, I cut my losses and started leveling using guided reading levels. This is a letter system that starts at A. My books only go to P.
So after all that looking up levels, stickering, and organizing I have this:

It's just so pretty!! Now, I just tell my kids what letter they can pick and ta-da no worries about them picking a book that is too hard! *deep sigh*

SO Jennifer you guessed right first! Email me and I will send you a copy of my "I once met a silly snowman!" unit.

We started gingerbread this week! We have been reading a different story every day which works great since it is a review week for us. We read this today:
Y'all this book is so stinkin' cute! They all loved it, even the boys! The girls walked around all day acting like her too! A must-read for sure!
Also, been doing fact families. It has been a bit of a struggle, but I think we are getting the hang of it! I have been repeating "Put the bigger number first in subtraction!" A LOT. They did a great job today when we did this worksheet I made, and I wanted to share it with you!
Fact Families

Hope the holiday season is treating you all well!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I actually had time to make this!

Last week, I had the patience for writing! YAY! It really is a trek to get writing done and with all the other holiday projects it was hard. BUT, we did and I loved what the outcome was.
Our skill last week in writing was write a silly story. I decided to have my students write a story about a silly snowman. We used the writing process, and after the final copy was done we made a snowman that was silly!

I mean how cute?! I love seeing how they decide to interpret silly!

So, I couldn't sleep last night so I made this into a mini-unit!
It includes: two thinking maps, a writing web, a sloppy copy paper, a final copy paper, a snowman craftivity, a writing rubric, and a reader's theatre play written by moi!
Click below to check it out!

Also, because free is always fun....answer this question right and I will give you a free copy!

I am in the process of organizing my classroom library.....how do you think I am leveling it?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Accelerated Reader and Read to Self are BFF's

I don't know about y'all but I HEART read to self from The Daily Five! It has turned my students into independent readers. If you have no idea what I am talking about, which if you are a blogger, you already know what I am talking about!
Well my kids have hit the 15 minute mark and now they read in the morning. We have Accelerated Reader at our school. It is an awesome program where students take quizzes on specific books. There is a HUGE library of quizzes for books too! It does cost money for the school though :(, but I have heard that there is a website called book adventure that is formed around the same concept!

This is how we roll...
After morning work they read a book from their book box. 
 Once they finish they complete a book look:
These are from Babbling Abby's Classroom Clipboard Activities. This a great way for them to reflect on what they read and then let me know that they actually read the book. :)
After they complete their book look, they put their class number in our AR quiz line. I can then see who is ready and I call the number for them to come to the computer to take their quiz. Ms. Simoneaux came up with this easy way last year and I love it!
It is an easy no-fuss way to keep them organized. I originally let them line up and it was a hot mess. This works so much better. While they wait, they know to review the book they are going to take a quiz on.
Acclerated Reader has these crazy login's and passwords which make it hard for my kids to remember, so I make cards with all of their names and login's.
I call them back and check their book look and then they take their quiz!
It gives them the score right after, and if they get a 100% I sign this log.
I only sign if they get a 100. I did ten 100's last year, but I am doing more this year. The first person to get 10 100's last year I brought them subway for lunch. It was nice treat and also motivated the others to read their books well to get a 100.  :)
After each quiz it prints out a TOPS report (the opportunity to praise students!) and I have a student hole punch these and they go in a large binder for record keeping.

I love AR, because it allows my students to read for a purpose and it builds comprehension. It also helps me keep a check of how they are reading and how many books we have read!
Do you have AR at your school?

Also, a big shout out to my Teacher BFF Ms. Simoneaux because she will be MRS. soon! So happy for her! Love you!
And.....my tigers are 12-0! WOOP!

Happy Thursday!