Monday, September 24, 2012

Year Old Cake & Donors Choose

I have been overwhelmed!  That's my excuse for not blogging in a bit.  As I posted before, I recently celebrated my one year wedding anniversary.  I know, one year, you might think it's not a huge deal... but it's fun!  We have forever left to go!  We ate the top layer of our wedding cake as promised, and it was..... actually pretty good!!  Shocker!  I've heard both sides... it tastes horrible and it tastes great!  Our was good!  The thought of eating cake that was a year old kind of grossed me out, but the cake itself was good.  My husband ate a whole piece.  It was kind of sad just throwing the rest out, I saved it for a few more days in our fridge until I could get myself to throw it in the trash. :(  Here are some pics.




On another note... I've been meaning to share that my very first project on Donors Choose was funded!!!  Don't know what Donors Choose is?  You're missing out!!! Learn about it here.  I think I first heard about it from a colleague.  I created my project this summer, when I was bored to death.  I asked for a bunch of chapter books since I knew I was moving up to second grade this year.  I got the official email a few weeks ago and our books are starting to ship!  So exciting!!  I'll be sure to share about them when they arrive!



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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reading Anchor Charts

Last week, I posted an update on how I begin Reader's Workshop in my classroom.  I said I was going to post some anchor charts that I make as I teach Reader's Workshop to my kiddos.  So here we go!  And no, I am not one of those awesome teachers who make the fancy anchor charts, I just don't have the skills!

What Do Readers Read

Easy, Just Right, Challenging Books

How to Gather on the Rug

The kids are really the ones that tell me what to put on our chart, I just try to guide their thinking.  I think it's important for them to see that their thinking is important by recording it and hanging it up in our room.

I might be breaking some kind of fire code by hanging up the charts on my window blinds, but it's the perfect space!



And I have to share a little bit about my weekend........




We celebrated our one year anniversary in downtown St. Louis this weekend.  We went to the St. Louis Arch... it was my first time and my husband's first since he was a kid.  So incredible!  The top tier of our wedding is defrosting in the fridge... we'll be trying it out tomorrow!
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

First 20 Days of Reader's Workshop Update

I've been meaning to update my First 20 Days of Reader's Workshop post, and I just never did.  My plan was to include my actual lesson plans for each day.  I also noticed that I've had a lot of readers read my Reader's Workshop post so I wanted to be sure to update you all.  As I started the first 20 days in my classroom this year, I knew it was going to be a little different and I would have to be flexible.  You see, I am use to teaching first graders, and now I am in second grade.  My second graders seem to just get things a little easier and quicker.  They've also already heard some of this stuff from their teacher last year, which is great!  So I have had to rearrange some of my beginning of the year lessons.

You can see my previous post here.
This is how I rearranged it to fit my students' needs this year.

Day 1 - How to Gather on the Rug; Readers Read Every Day
Day 2 - What is Reader's Workshop; What Do Readers Read
Day 3 - How to Take Care of our Books; Introduce Classroom Library
Day 4 - How to Preview a Book
Day 5 - 3 Ways to Read a Book
Day 6 - Making Good Book Choices (Just Right books); How to Put Books Away
Day 7 - Why Readers Abandon Books
Day 8 - Book Boxes
Day 9 - Reading Rubric
Day 10 - Reading is Thinking
Day 11 - Talking and Sharing About Reading
Day 12 - How to be a Good Listener
Day 13 - How to Use Anchor Charts
Day 14 - Solving Unknown Words
Day 15 - Reading Spots
Day 16 - Buddy Reading

OK, I know that doesn't make exactly 20 days, but this is how it works for my kiddos and my classroom.  I had to break apart some days that had two lessons and combine some lessons into one day.  Through my researching and experience with Reader's Workshop, there are several more lesson ideas that you could incorporate into your first 20 days.  Here are some more ideas:

Fiction vs. Nonfiction
Book Recommendations
Small Group Expectations
Real vs. Fake Readers
Reader's Toolkit
How to Turn and Talk
Reader's Response Journals
Book Hospital
How to Change Books/Book Shopping

I still plan to incorporate some of these additional lessons into my Reader's Workshop, but we just aren't there yet.


We just finished my planned first 20 days, and I finished my Fountas & Pinnel Benchark Assessments with each student.  So next week, I will begin my Guided Reading Groups.  We are also moving on to an author study.  In the next few days, I will be posting the Anchor Charts we've created during our first 20 days, so be sure to check back.

And a random side note.... we celebrated my father-in-law's (still so weird to say that) birthday last night.  My contribution was cheesy hashbrowns and red velvet birthday cake!  My hubby's family LOVES red velvet cake and it's his dad's favorite.  Unfortunately that's about the only flavor cake I won't eat.  So no cake for me, but that's OK.  And the hashbrowns are always a hit... so yummy!



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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guess Who.... Curriculum Night!


So, Curriculum Night was last week and I'm just now getting around to uploading the pictures so I can share about what I did.  Luckily I was B O R E D this summer and I started my Curriculum Powerpoint in like June.  Seriously.  I switched grades this year, from first to second, so I wanted to get prepared early.  So I literally had my schedule and most of my Powerpoint ready.  Last year, my presentation disappeared into thin air 15 minutes before parents arrived.  Yeah.  Those things do happen..... to me.  I was careful to back up my stuff this year.  I thought that if my presentation didn't disappear this year then it would definitely be better than last year.  Hmm.  Well it didn't disappear, which was awesome.  But I did have a tough crowd that night.  I'll leave it at that.

I saw a couple different versions of this Guess Who activity on Pinterest and decided I had to do it!  Brigid at Brigid's Daily Lesson Log, who teaches at my building, did her own version of this activity as well.  We were hanging up our students' work in the hallway at the same time and couldn't believe that we had done the same thing.  Our classrooms are also right next to each other.








I had my students complete the Guess Who page and they turned out really well.  Of course, there were some students who took it super serious and did a fantastic job, and then there were others who spent five minutes drawing their face.  But overall, they looked really cute!  We backed them up with colored construction paper and I displayed them on our bulletin board in the hallway.

Here's the deal.  As parents arrived for Curriculum Night, I let them know that they needed to check the bulletin board to find their child's picture.  Each picture was labeled with a number so the parents just wrote the number on a post-it I had out on the tables.  It was fun to hear some of the parents question their choices.  Then when everyone was inside the classroom, I did my whole presentation.  At the end, I had the answers for the parents to check if they were right!  Success!

Be sure to also check out Brigid's post about her Guess Who activity!

And on a total side note.... my one year wedding anniversary is coming up!!  I'm SO EXCITED to celebrate with my hubby and cannot believe it's been a year already!  We're going to brave the year-old wedding cake!




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Monday, September 3, 2012

Star Student

I know many classrooms have some type of Star Student each year.  When I taught first grade,  I always had a Star of the Week including a variety of activities.  I felt that since I moved up to Second Grade this year that maybe the kiddos just didn't need a week long celebration anymore.  You know, since they get that in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Does that make me sound mean?

I decided to do a Star of the Day or daily Star Student this year.  I had a schedule and info sheet that I sent to parents at the beginning of the year.  Students know which day is "theirs" and can bring in their necessary items.  On their day, they bring their completed form and place it on the Star Student Board.  They also bring in up to ten photographs to put on the picture board.  They get to share their page and pictures with the class and then the students get to ask ten questions.  Yes, I limit the questions.  If I didn't, it would go on for-ev-er.  And of course, it's a great chance to talk about questions versus stories or connections.

Blank Star Student board

Here's the page I have my students complete.  I got here from Made for 1st Grade.


This goes on the chair of our daily Star Student!  I posted about it here!

Here's a little treat I put on the Star Student's desk in the morning!
If you like the Starburst treat label I made, leave me a comment with your email address and let me know you'd like a copy!  I'll send it right over to you!
**Update: This Star Student bag label is no longer available, sorry for any inconvenience.


I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday and long weekend!

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