Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Phoneme Segmentation

I feel like we just got done Dibel-ing like yesterday, but it is already time for progress monitoring testing. So, it is crunch time for those kiddos that are a little behind. We did some intervention work today during our guided reading groups, and I'm glad to say they are showing some definite progress!

I used this Stretchy the Word Snake from Deanna Jump--she has amazing stuff! I read my kids a word, then they wrote down every sound they heard. 

They did so good and had so much fun! Add dry erase markers to anything, and my kids are excited!

We also played nonsense word tic-tac-toe with some other groups, but of course I forgot to take pictures of that. Oops! I'll try to remember later this week.

Let's hope that all of this work shows in their Dibels assessments next week!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Behavior Management

At the beginning of the year, I decided that our class needed something for positive behavior. I looked at MILLIONS of ideas on Pinterest (the place where all of my ideas come from), but I wanted it to go along with our ocean theme. So this is what I came up with--a fishbowl!

For everytime our whole class is working hard, complimented, receives a good report from specials, etc., they get a scoop of fish in the fishbowl. Once our bowl is full, we get a prize! It might be that everyone gets something from the treasure chest, or we get to have a special snack in the afternoon. Either way, everytime I go to fill up the fishbowl, the students get so excited! And they are even better for the rest of the day to see if they can get two scoops!

Check out other great management ideas at What the Teacher Wants!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Do You Like To Party?

This week, we are reading Eating the Alphabet. I was originally worried that the students would not like this book as much as another (I mean, it's about fruits and vegetables)--but I was so wrong! They loved the pictures and telling about their favorite fruits and vegetables! We talked about our favorite foods and decided whether they were healthy or not. Today, we did a fruits and vegetables scavenger hunt in grocery ads. 

My room was a mess by the end of the day, but they loved the activity! And it led to some great phonics discussions.

On another totally unrelated note--
After my students finish their daily assignment at their work on writing station, they have the option to write Ms. Cranfill a letter. They LOVE to write me letters! It is their chance to ask me questions and tell me things about them. At the end of the day, I write them back, and they have a letter waiting for them when they get back the next morning (also a great way to model letter writing). Today, I got this letter--

Dear Ms. Cranfill, Do you like to party?

I saw this and died laughing. I asked the student to tell me about his picture. He said it was a picture of his birthday party, so we are wearing birthday hats and standing by his birthday cake. ADORABLE!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Constitution Day!

Today, our class celebrated Constitution Day. Although they asked why we were in school on a holiday, and why we weren't having a party, I think they still had fun!

We read We The Kids, an adorable book that breaks down the preamble into kid-friendly terms. After that, we talked about laws and rights, and the laws and rights that we in place in our classroom. Then, we completed this writing activity about some of the rights that we have.

We have the right to pick our own books during Read to Self time.

We have the right to pick our food at lunch. (She tried to think of foods for every color!)

We have the right to pick activities on the playground.

Once they caught on to the idea of rights, they really enjoyed it! And their writing turned out so cute!

We are continuing out alphabet books unit this week with Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert. We will talk about our favorite foods, healthy foods, and do a scavenger hunt for healthy foods in grocery ads. Along with that, we are working hard to finish up assessments before we send home progress reports this Friday. It feels like school just started and we are already sending home 5 week progress reports! Time has flown by! Before we know it, it will be Christmas! 

Happy Constitution Day!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Can Be A...

To continue our ABC book unit, we read LMNO Peas this week. Adorable!! 


I love looking at the peas just as much as my kids do! After we read this book, we brainstormed other jobs that started with each letter of the alphabet and made our own class book! How cute are these pictures?!

Z is for zookeeper.

A is for artist.

L is for lion tamer.

E is for eagle rescuer.

Tomorrow we are going to write about what we want to be when we grow up!

Funny story of the week--In reading group today, we read and talked about what changes as we grow up. One student pointed out that we get smarter as we get older. "I'll go to second grade next year, then high school, then college. Then after college, I get to be a human."

All I could do was laugh. Boy, do I love my job!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reading Response

This week has been so good! Granted we have only had two days of school, but I will celebrate any bit of good! My students are finally getting the hang of Daily 5 rotations and we are finally getting into a solid schedule. On top of all of that, I am feeling a little more prepared myself! I am not at school every night until 6 anymore. I am planning a week in advance instead of a day in advance. All is good!

Of course I say that now. I have my first observation conference with my principal in a few days, and I am sure that that will give me a million more things to work on that I have not noticed. Until then, I will live in my Mary Poppins "practically perfect in every way" world.

Our school has started something new this year. Every class is assigned to picture frames that are lined around the cafeteria. The students write a review about a book they have read to share with the school. I am so excited to see all of the frames filled! 

This is what the page my students fill out looks like. I'm starting out pretty basic, and hopefully by next semester I can add more writing lines. On each page, they will write the title and author of the book, rate how much they liked it, and write a little bit about why they liked it or didn't like it.

This week, we are working with LMNO Peas for our alphabet book unit. If you have never read it, it's adorable! We will be making our own class book later this week!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

This week, my students wrote the room for the first time-and they loved it! We have been reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, so we found things in our room that started with each letter of the alphabet. They loved being able to use their names, their friends' names, and looking through books to help with the hard letters, like q and x.

Today, we tasted coconut! I was really hoping that I would be able to find a whole coconut and crack it open for them in class, but I had no such luck. We settled for trying sweetened and unsweeted shaved coconut. We compared them and talked about if we liked it or not. We made a class graph in our hallway about who likes coconut. How cute did this turn out?!

Since I didn't have a real coconut, we looked up pictures of them on the internet. They thought it was so strange that there was hair on them, and they loved drawing hair on their paper coconuts!
You can download this graph set here for free!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Daily 5 and Curriculum Planning

So today was our first day to implement Daily 5. And all things considered, it went 
really well! Especially if I don't mention the students that decided to make up the words they rainbow wrote in Word Work instead of our spelling words that we had just talked about 5 minutes before, and the CD player that quit playing in the middle of a book that caused one student to yell at the top of her lungs from across the room to let me know. I guess those headphones really do block out noise! Even with that, I was really proud of how hard my kiddos worked!

We had been talking about Daily 5, practicing, and building stamina for the last week and a half, which made all the difference in the world. We were able to work at each center for 15 minutes today before they started to get antsy! I am still waiting for the Daily 5 book I ordered to come in (rather impatiently I might add), so all of my ideas are coming from reading countless blogs!

This morning, my team met to talk more about our outline for the year. 
Our school is using the curriculum maps pre-made by Common Core. 
And let me just say--thank goodness

It has made my first year of planning so much easier! They are already set up for you with TONS of ideas, and they list all of the standards covered. Our first unit is on alphabet books. We are starting this week with the much-loved Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. My kids 
loved that they had already seen the book and knew some of the words. This week we will taste coconut and graph about if we liked it or not! So excited! I'll have pictures to share soon!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Long Week and a Blog Button!

This has been a crazy week, to say the least. Between DIBELS, two fire alarms, lots of sick kids, and a pep assembly, my students were off the walls. 

In the mean time, I have been trying to figure out exactly what I want Daily 5 
to look like in our room. We have been talking about it and practicing since school started, but I still have some kids who can't read to themselves for more than 3 minutes. We will see how it goes next week when we start centers!

Despite all this, my kids make me laugh and make me happy to be at work everyday! We reviewed letter sounds this week, and while discussing the short i sound, one student pointed out that my name had the short i sound. I wrote Cranfill on the board with the rest of our list and praised them for their great job. Another student then jumped in to say my first name had the short i sound too. When I asked him what my first name was, he responded "Ms." All I could do was laugh. It took a little bit to explain that that was not my real name. My kids make me laugh everyday.

To celebrate my long weekend, I came home to visit my family and "relax" with my mountain of school work I brought with me. Of course, I have only marked off about 2 things off my list, but it has been wonderful and crazy, just like my family. 
This afternoon, I came home to find this.


Isn't he the cutest?! My brothers and some boys in the neighborhood found him. 

Me with Chipper, the baby squirrel! 

I also finally got my blog button to work! I found a great tutorial at Teacher Blogging Basics, but I couldn't get the size right. After lots of trial and error, I finally got it right! And I'm so glad with how it turned out!