When I get back to my room after the end of summer, I start to think, "What do I really need this year?" I try to find the happy medium between what will actually last through the year and what will not cost me an arm and a leg. Here are some of my absolute favorite things that I have bought over the years!
This easel from Lakeshore. I actually asked for this for Christmas one year, and it was the best present! I love the storage at the bottom, how easily it swivels, and that is it low enough to the ground for my students to easily reach the top. The other side is lined, which I also love. When I first got it in, one of the whiteboards had a huge scratch on it, and Lakeshore was super accommodating and easy to work with in exchanging it.
My book baskets in my classroom library are from Really Good Stuff, and they are great! I fill mine to the brim, and they are still in such great shape! I've had them for 2 years and haven't had to replace any of them.
Sit Spots! Oh my goodness, I love these soooo much! I really thought hard for a long time about getting a rug for my room, but all of the ones I wanted were crazy expensive. But these are perfect! They give each of my kids their own space on the carpet, they stay put, and they last!! I've had mine for 2 years, and the corners are just starting to curl up. I will definitely get 3, maybe 4 or 5, years out of these! Definitely worth the money!
Of course dreams, goals, and wishes are what all teachers think about when they are going back to school! We're getting back into our classrooms and everything is clean and organized and full of possibilities! As much as I love summer, getting back into my classroom really does get me excited for a new year and a new group of kiddos!
So I've done Writer's Workshop for the past few years, but I am the worst at actually planning ahead for it! I typically realize on my lunch break that I don't know what our exact focus is for that day. Eek!! So it's a lot of last minute scrambling... My goal this year is to actually plan ahead! Even if it is just a week at a time!
We are adding a new member to our team this year! I am hoping that our team will mesh well and be able to work cohesively, collaborate well, and support each other when we need it.
So every day when I leave school, I reflect on the day as I'm driving home. No matter how much "wonderful" happened that day, I always find (and then fixate) on something I could have done better, how I could have reached a kid more effectively, something that makes me think I didn't do all I could. Wouldn't it be great if I never had that feeling?! Of course, I don't think this is the most attainable. I am still human and not at all perfect, but what an amazing thing it would be!
For now, I will just bask in the excitement and newness of a new year, new kids, and new energy! Happy back to school!
I love guided reading time. It is the time during my day when I feel the most productive, am able to give students more individualized attention, and get a clear view of each students strengths and weaknesses.
Now my school does have amazing reading specialists that order great guided reading and small group resources for us. But there are some things that I love so much that I want need to own them myself :) Here's just a few of those resources!
These Brand New Readers are my newest discovery! They are simple, repetitive, predictable stories--and they are soooo funny! There are even directions on how to introduce the text for parents if you choose to send these books home. Perfect for the emergent readers who struggle to find independent texts they find interesting!
These are also from Scholastic, but better for more independent readers! These Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers are great for teaching nonfiction text features and aligning guided reading with science and social studies. They have some about sports, American symbols, life cycles, weather, community helpers, and more! They also have them in Spanish.
What are your favorite guided reading resources?
On a completely unrelated note...don't forget to shop the TpT Back to School sale! Use code BTS15 to save even more!
Now I'm not going to say that I am dreading school starting, but I am definitely wishing I had another week to enjoy morning TV, stay in my pajamas later than most people find acceptable, and take afternoon naps!
Here's something to make the transition a little easier, or maybe just to put a smile on your face!
Let me start by saying I looooooovvvvee David Wiesner. His books are phenomenal. Have you read Mr. Wuffles? It's another one of my favorites.
But, I also love Art & Max. I just discovered this book this summer, and I am so excited to use it! It will be perfect for beginning writing workshop!
When I begin writing workshop, after we spend a bit of time just learning the structure and expectations, I like to do an illustration study. I think this really helps my reluctant and emergent writers feel like they have some tools to help them portray their story to others. So typically we'll learn how to look at the shapes in a picture to make them easier to draw, learn about labels, and putting details into the picture. This is where I plan on using Art & Max.
In Art & Max, Max essentially "erases" Art. Max tries to make him again, but realizes he needs to add some more details to make it look like the real Art. It's a great visual for showing kiddos the importance of those little details!
What are some of your favorite texts to use in writer's workshop?