Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Classroom Reveal

I am so excited to be linking up with Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Lucky Little Learners for #2GETHERWEAREBETTER and our classroom reveals!

This summer I read both Teach Like a Pirate and Learn Like a Pirate, and I was excited to be able to incorporate the ideas in both of them into my class this year.  However, when I saw Stephanie Frosch's (@steph_frosch on twitter) PD for her staff (which was pirate themed), I KNEW I had to incorporate the idea of pirates into my classroom theme as well.

The theme starts right from the outside with this fun little sign that says Pirates Only!
Right next to my door is my Mrs. Malloy sign which Hadar from Miss Kindergarten made for me several years ago.
When you walk into the door, this is the view you see.
Excuse the mess, but we have been in school for two weeks now, so it is looking a bit lived in already.  Real life though, right?
Above my door are the hand signs we use in our classroom. I got these from Clutter-Free Classroom here.
To the right of the door is our clip chart.  These are from Debbi Watson of 3rd Grade Pad.
Then you see our book boxes where the students keep their supplies.  Again, very lived in!
To the other side are our reading ottomans which my class made two years ago.  They have gotten a facelift and have been covered in black to match the theme.  I also painted pirate skulls and cross bones on them.
I have two student computers in my classroom.
Right near my Smart Board are these fun pirate themed touches.
Then we have our pirate buddy.  We have to give him a name soon.
We took photos with him and some fun photo booth props the first week of school. The bulletin board they are standing in front of is my Word Wall for Big Kids.
We have our schedule for the day.  This was part of a pirate classroom decoration set from Crystal Oswald.
And our Whole Brain Teaching Rules and Scoreboard.  I made these myself.
Our Library complete with our class mascot, Buck.
Next up, our ships.
We have a few extra pirate touches around our tables as well.
And... last, but not least, no pirate ship is complete without a parrot.
I hope you enjoyed the little peek into my room!  Be sure to check out the other classrooms in our blog hop, because, 2gether we are better!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Reading Strategies Book Study - Goal 6 - Supporting Comprehension in Fiction Thinking About Characters

Welcome to my hosted chapter of the Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo.  Before I jump into my post about this chapter, let me just say that I love everything written by Jennifer Serravallo, and own EVERY book she has ever written.  So, it goes without saying that as soon as I heard about this book, it went on my wish list to buy as soon as it was published!  Let me tell you, that this book does NOT disappoint!  It is AMAZING!

I was not the only one to fall in love with this book, so I joined together with fellow fans as part of what we call #TheReadingStragegiesCrew (because everyone needs a fabulous hash tag, right?).  We have each chosen a section to write about, and my section is goal 6. 

This book is essentially made up of many, many strategies, so we have decided to choose 2 or 3 strategies to highlight in our posts.  Let me say, that there are many, many more strategies in each section, and they cover pre-emergent readers until the end of 8th grade levels.  I find this so helpful, because my class is never composed of 100% of students reading at grade level.  Instead, I have a mix of below level, at level, and above level readers.  These strategies allow me to differentiate for my learners to meet them where they are.

If you struggle with ideas for reading mini-lessons, this is the book for you!

Below is a list of all the strategies included in this section alone!

For each strategy, Jennifer includes an explanation, lesson language, prompts, as well as anchor charts or other teaching tips to help you implement each one.  In my post I will be focusing on strategies 6.2 What's in the Bubble?, 6.11 Character Comparisons, and 6.16 The Influences on Character.

What's in the Bubble?

According to the book, this strategy is suitable for levels C-M.  In this strategy, we are teachings readers to pause and think, "What's my character thinking here?" or "What might my character be saying here?"

In the book, there is a picture of these think and dialogue bubbles.  I think they would be the perfect hands on item to have a student use to remind them of this strategy! 

A few prompts from the book include:

"What just happened?  So, what might your character be thinking?"
"What words is your character saying in his or her head?"
"Before you turn the page, pause and think about what he or she would be thinking."

Character Comparisons

This strategy is best used with levels J and above.  This strategy involves a student thinking about two characters, and then comparing them using ideas such as traits, how they handle challenges, likes and dislikes, interests, change, an lessons learned.

When I conference with students, I like to have items to bring with me to demonstrate what I am looking for or as a teaching reference.  One way to make this toolkit easy to carry around is by using index cards on a ring.  The example picture below uses sentence stems for non-fiction comparisons, but they could easily be used for this strategy as well.

The Influences On Character

This third strategy is for your readers at level N and above.  In this strategy, readers consider all the influences on the character - the problem(s) the character is facing, the other characters with whom he or she comes in contact and the setting of the story.  The reader is asked to think about what effects these influences have on the character and how they act in the story. 

Another tool kit that you might want to carry is mini-anchor charts on an artist sketch pad.

If you would like to read other posts from our #ReadingStrategiesCrew you can find them below:

Goal Two with My First Grade Happy Place

Goal Three with My Literacy Spot

Goal Four with EduKateDawson

Goal 5 with Love to Teach a Latte

Stay tuned for Goal 7 coming from Owl Things First August 24th.

To stay up to date with the rest of our posts, refer to the schedule below:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sign Up For My New Newsletter and Enter to Win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card!

It is time again to enter to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card!  Every month I give one lucky reader a mini-shopping spree at Teachers Pay Teachers!  With back to school on the horizon for many of us, this month it will be greatly appreciated, I am sure!

I have just started a new newsletter where you can receive exclusive freebies, sales notifications, and teaching tips about once or twice a month.  This month you can receive an extra 5 entries just by signing up!
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Monday, August 3, 2015

August Pinterest Pick 3

We go back to school officially on August 18th, so you better believe I've been pinning up a storm looking for some new ideas for organizing, decorating, and lesson planning!  I can't wait to share a few of my favorite pins and to see what other people are pinning!  So without further ado, it is time for Pick 3 hosted by Pawsitively Teaching and the Inspired Owl!

My first pick for August is this adorable art project from Kristine from Young Teacher Love.  I love how it incorporates a writing project with an art project.  I am thinking about doing something similar using the Important Book to have the students tell me about things that are important to them.  I will have had most of my students last year, but, they are constantly growing and changing - so it will be fun to see how they have changed over the summer.

Ok, this next one is kind of cheating since there are really two pictures instead of one, but I feel like they are very similar ideas, and I like parts of both, so you get a bonus pin!  I love the idea of having table supplies for each table ready to go.  You can have one student from each table grab the needed supplies with no wasted time.
I really love the look of these baskets, but it is super hard to see what is inside.
I really love the content idea here.
This is how I'm decorating my classroom door!! Add picures throughout the year.
I absolutely love everything about Instagram, so I can't help but love this door idea!  I could change pictures throughout the year, and it would give parents something to look at when they are waiting to pick up their kids.  What a great way for them to see all the learning we are doing! Since I am looping, I already have tons of pictures that I can use from last year to start the year out!
Those are my three pins for the month - to check out some more inspiring pins for August, be sure to check out the blogs below!  If you have a blog, link up with your own pins.  If you don't have a blog, comment below with your favorite pins!



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