Saturday, July 28, 2012

Guided Reading Teacher's notebook levels A-Z

Hello Everyone!
I have had several e-mails about my Guided reading Teachers Notebook and if I had anything for higher level readers.  My original document only went up to level M mainly because as a first grade teacher, I rarely have kids who are on levels higher than that.  But I had a few minutes today (while on the plane - finally getting away for a couple of days!) to work on the rest of the text levels.  In this packet you will find descriptors of things you will see at each level, a place for teacher notes, and some teaching points for each level.  I also included a chart comparing all the most common reading leveling series as well as descriptors for some of the early text levels.  I hope you will find this helpful as you work with your young readers.
In an earlier post I talked about printing off the unit for each kiddo, keeping them in a notebook, and documenting observations for each kiddo. A great way to keep organized!!

Have a great weekend!!  Finally, a beach day for me!!  Yippee!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Daily 5 and CAFE Jungle Style

Hello Everyone!
Just a very very quick post today!  My sweet new teammate is working on a jungle themed classroom.  It is going to be soooo cute.  I told her I would make some Daily 5 and CAFE charts for her.  I didn't "monkey around," and got them done just now!!  I hope she is reading this and can download them okay!! You can too, if by chance you need some jungle themed charts!! :)  Here's a peek at what they look like.

Love Scrappin' Doodles Clip Art!! :)

Hope you like these, H!  And I hope others can use these!  Who knows, maybe I'll do a jungle theme next year! :)

Have a good one!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Buckaroo Buckets

Hello Everyone!
Have I told you how much I love getting my classroom ready for each school year?  I have loved redoing my new space with some of my old "stuff" but I also am having fun making a few new things.  Today I made our "Buckaroo Buckets" for small group work.  I have loved seeing so many ideas for the little crate seats.  I was all set to make those and even had the plywood in hand, when I spied the blue Lowe's buckets!  They were only $2.69 each! And they were blue!!  I talked the guy at Lowe's into throwing in some tops that would fit, and then found some cheap little cushions (the kind they use for bar stools), and some cute ribbon, and voila!  Our cute, comfy, new, and don't forget cheap  "Buckaroo Buckets!  They have room for storage, and they have a handle for easy moving!  I think I love them!! I can't wait for some guided reading time with my new firsties!!!

Give it a try! So quick, so easy, so cheap, so cute!!

Have fun!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Little Love in the Mail!

Hello Everyone!
You know how we always end the year with "Make sure you read and write over the summer!" Well, imagine my delight when I received a sweeeeeeet little note from one of VIK's (Very Important Kids) in the mail today!!!  After spending all day working on my new room, I  came home, opened my mailbox and there it was!!  My heart is still smiling big time!!!   Thank you so much, Ramey!!! And I'm sure mom had something to do with it!!! Thank you Kari!!!  I absolutely love that you are taking time out of your busy summer to practice reading and writing!!! ...and sending me a little love!!! You know I will write you back!! Expect a letter in the next day or two!!
As a teacher you always wonder if you have made a difference in your kiddos.  Yes!!!!  It makes me even more excited for this coming year!

Sooooo Sweeeet!

Sorry such a quick post, but this girl is pooped!!!
(And I have a little letter to write!)  :)

Have a joy filled evening!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Room and Bandana Verbs

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek!  Whew!  I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere in my new room.  There is still a ton of boxes unpacked, but I've got a handle on some of the comfy cozy things I like to do to create an inviting learning environment.  Everything is still a work in progress, but the vision is coming together.  One of my favorite things I like to do is surround my kiddos with verbs.  Yes, verbs.  For the past umpteen years, I have displayed motivational and learning outcome verbs on various things around the room, The past few years, because of my western theme, I've used bandanas.  I decided to use them again. 
I also made some fun western style signs for some of the different areas in the room.  My favorite thing about them? Chalk board paint!!  I can change what they say any time I need!! 
Well, I still have a ton more to do, but I think things are on their way!! Check back again soon to see more updates!!  Getting anxious for kids already!!
Bandana Verbs

For a 42 page printable of all my bandana verbs, click here!

Hats Off To Great Work

Thanks for stopping by!!!
Have a "Hats Off" kind of day!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Baskets

Hello Everyone!
Happy Monday!  Just a very quick post today!  I've had a few e-mails about what my kids keep in their book baskets. First of all, we use our book baskets all day as we connect and integrate!  As soon as I define my kids' reading level, their book baskets (just from the dollar store) will have 5-6 books just under, right on and just above their independent reading level. We have an awesome leveled book area in our library, so I change those out once a week. From those books, the kids get to select whatever they want to take home to read for homework. These books are also used during our Daily 5 Read to Self and Read to Someone rotations.   Our Book Baskets also contain any mini books that the kids may have published.  By the end of the year they may have 12-15.  The kids looooove reading their own words!
Book Baskets also contain readers and writers thinking tools; A reading finger (just a rubber finger to help point to and focus on words and keep your place while reading), a pair of Word Watchers (just a cheap pair of glasses without the lenses), a Whispa Ma Phone (to listen to themselves read), a mini white board (just a mini cutting board from the dollar store), a bandana eraser, a whileboard marker,  a mini slinky (to stretch words),sticky notes and a pencil. 
the kids do a pretty good job of keeping up with all the thinking tools.  Some are labeled with numbers.
I do not give the kids all the tools at once. When I introduce stretching the words to hear all the sounds, I give them the slinky.  When I introduce using sticky notes while reading, I give them those. We practice using the reading fingers and Whispa Ma Phones so that they get all their fidgeting and exploring out of the way.

We keep our book baskets in our cubbies when not in use. 

Questions? Comments? Holler at me!! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chunk Challenge Spelling Resource

Hello Everyone!
I have had several e-mails asking how I teach phonics, spelling, wordwork etc.  Our word work program is always a work in progress, but I am happy with where we are right now.  Spelling is a developmental curriculum area, so just like our reading and math, we believe that we need to meet our students where they are.  Rather than giving all of our students the same list of words to practice, and giving them a spelling test on Fridays, we have our students choose their own words. We choose 2-3 "chunks" each week from which to develop and grow word knowledge.  We teach the phonics rules through the chunks, use the chunks in reading, Daily 5 word work, poetry, etc. After brainstorming as many words as we can think of that have those chunks, our kiddos  begin selecting their own words.  We encourage our higher level kids to choose more difficult words, and at the same time our striving learners to stick with the more basic words.  On Fridays, we have our Spell Check.  Students have a folder in which they store all their recording sheets.   We pronounce the chunk one at a time, as the kids write the chunk and three words that include that chunk. 
 We also have opportunity for kids to work on "Words To Know" or the sight words that we expect our first graders to be able to write with automaticity by the end of the year. We choose about 3 words each week for the kids to practice.  Check for mastery happens during our Spell Check and during writing conferences during the week.
I truly believe that when students are given the power to choose their own words, the level of committment and ownership we see in our students and their work is unsurpassed. 
I have already posted about word work during Daily 5, but if you missed it you can click here .

The next few pics are sample of my chunk challenge unit.  It will give you an idea of how you can easily get started. The pack contains letters to parents, brainstorming recording sheets, lists of chunks and "Words to Know," a Spell Check recording sheet, a poem about spelling, Anchor charts and other things.

I also wanted to include some editable pages with this unit, so you could integrate the unit into your program.

I would love to hear how you are teaching spelling, phonics, word work, etc. in your classroom.  Let's work together to give our kiddos the best!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Are Awesome

Hello Everyone,
Today, for some reason, I am missing my kiddos from last year so much. I get these feelings every summer about this time.  Maybe it's the thought of a new year starting in a few weeks.  Maybe it's that I've been so busy, I haven't had time to check on them to see how they are doing. It always amazes me how attached I get to my little ones.  These kiddos become a part of me.   Every one of them changes me as a teacher and as a person. Every one of them helps me grow in more ways than I can say.  I strive to let them know how important each one is to me.
If you are one of any of my former students, this post is for you!  Thank you for being you! Thank you for making me better.  You are all a cherished part of my heart.  Have mom or dad print off this page and tack it up on the wall or your mirror!
If you are a teacher reading this, print this out for yourself!! You are important to someone as well!!

I hope all of you are having a great day! 
Tell someone you know what you appreciate about them today!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

There Was an Old Lady

Hello Everyone!
Don't you love those "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed" books by Lucille Colandro?  My kids love them!  They are great for sequencing, text connection, imagination exploration, etc!  I stumbled across a new one the other day, "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books" and decided to do a quick ultra mini unit about it.  As you can probably tell, this book is about the old lady swallowing school supplies, so it is going to be good for vocabulary as well as all the other things! Great for beginning of school!
 This little unit contains some quick anchor charts for observations, and sequencing, a quick vowel/consonant recording sheet, a vocabulary word/pic matching activity,some reader's response activities, and a craft connection with patterns for the kiddos!

Sequencing anchor chart
Craft Connection

for your free 16 page download, swallow and click here! :)

There are so many more things you can do with this book!  Let me know what you think or if you have some other fun ideas!!

Have a great day!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tissue Towers!

Hello Everyone! 
 My fun find of the day??  I had to stop at Target for some crates to start making my crate seats, and just happened to run into a display of the cutest boxes of tissues!! Yes, tissues!!!They looked like giant wooden blocks- you know the kind with the letters!! Have you seen them? I can't wait to use these for word work activities, games, manipulatives, etc, etc, etc.  The cashier at Target thought I was a bit whacko buying so many boxes, but who cares?? She ended up giving me a discount for using the crates I got for shopping bags instead of using her plastic ones!  It was a good trip!! Isn't it amazing how small things can make you so happy? 

Made sure I got all the vowels!

Made sure I got a V, I, and K! 
 I call my kids VandenBerge's VIK's.  Very Important Kids!

I can't wait to use up all the tissues so I can use the boxes!!  Love products with a double duty!! 

Run to Target!! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chrysanthemum...What a Perfect name!

Hello Everyone!
Hope you're about to have a funfilled weekend!  During tutoring today, one of my little sweeties reminded me of the cutest book. She remembers me reading it to the class a couple of years ago and still loves it!!  I know there is a lot you can do with the Kevin Henkes book, "Chrysanthemum" especially at the beginning of the year. We will do a lot of the letter counting, comparing, etc, but I also love to make sure kids realize how Chrysanthemum felt while the kids in her class were making fun of her name,  We spend a lot of time discussing how much it hurts when someone makes fun of something as simple as your name! I put together a little mini-unit which contains directions about how to create the "Wrinkled Heart." I also included a poem, an anchor chart for vocabulary, a couple of student recording sheets for reader's response, and a cute little craft connection with patterns if you need!
This little book has proven to me that kids remember the important lessons an author is trying to teach us through his stories. Thanks, Kevin Henkes, for helping make my job so easy!!

A Poem For Our Poetry Folder

An Anchor chart for the wonderful vocabulary

Cute Craft Connection-
Notice the mouse is made from hearts! :)

Always Use Kind Words Wrinkled Heart

for your free 16 page mini unit, click here!! :)

We've been doing these Wrinkled Hearts for the past
7 or 8 years and I can't wait to do it again!
Just like Chrysanthemum, your name is perfect!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Couch Potato!

Hello Everyone!
I have not been a couch potato this summer, but have been enjoying some time to rediscover some of my favs!
One of my favorite books to use along with our family/friends unit is "He Came With the Couch" by David Slonin.  If you do not have this book, you better hurry and grab one.  I have been in love with this book for several years. There is so much you can do with it!  The illustrations are what grabbed my attention.  You'll have to read the book several times for the kids to gather all the wonderful inferences and the passage of time shown through the the illustrations!
I am sharing my 16 page unit in hopes that you will fall in love with this book as well!!  It containes some reader's response activities, some anchor chart ideas, a couple of craft connections, some text connection activities and extensions.  If you are one of my kiddos, I hope you remember loving this book and will do some of these activities this summer.  Don't forget to ask mom or dad to print off some of the activities you want to do.

I've included some patterns in the unit

Thanks for stopping for a peek into the wonder-filled world of first grade!  Happy Learning!