Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reading Journal Freebie

Now that I have introduced most of the reading strategies that involve active reading, my students are ready to write about their thinking.  I found this quote and it really struck a chord with me...

Read with a pen in your hand and enter in a little book short hints of what you find that is curious or that might be useful; for this will be the best method of imprinting such particulars in your memory, where they will be ready on some future occasion to adorn and improve your conversation."
-Benjamin Franklin

Visualizing, predicting, asking questions, making connections, summarizing and synthesizing are the key to comprehension at every level.  The problem with young students is that sometimes they are reading to finish a book, and not actively engaging their thinking with what is written on the page.

That is where the active reading notes come into play.  Basically they are like thinking stems, but I have been talking about active reading so much that it has become part of our classroom language.  I'm trying to incorporate depth and complexity strategies so language is now important in our classroom.  We watched this YouTube video to see our brain thinking...

The kids thought it was cool to see different parts change different colors due to activity level.  This lead to an interesting discussion about how different parts of your brain are active when you use different strategies, hence you should use various strategies to strengthen your whole brain. 

So here is another freebie.  I stapled it into the back of each student's reading journal.  So far it is working well.  I'm taking it slow and requiring students to record at least one thought during daily 5 read to self.  Most are writing 2-4 thoughts already.  They code each thought by writing V and circling it for visualizing, P for predicting and so on.  Eventually the goal is to have students write a bit longer about each thought to extend and support their thinking.  How do you have students write about their thinking during reading?

Check out my TPT store for the freebie.

Just a side note... I believe that students need to READ during read to self time and not spend a ton of time writing about reading.  So this system works for me as long as it serves the purpose of encouraging readers to think about their thinking and doesn't become a writing session instead of a reading session.  Just something to consider.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday Pins

Wonderful Wednesday Pins...Because What Did I Do Before There Was Pinterest?

How cute could this be in your classroom door window? Better Homes and Garden has a template if interested in the monster.   Maybe in pink for Valentine's Day?  Or a bear or cute pink puppy dog saying Happy Heart Day?  The possibilities are endless for someone peeking out your door.  And it is made with wrapping paper- so easy.

I cut this out and put it on the back of a bookshelf that only I can see from my desk area. It's from tumblr and the pin did not lead back to a particular link to give credit.  LMK if you have any clue who originally posted it.   I have a tendency to start a million things and finish 5 of them, so this is helping me stay on track and prioritize.  Not sure my second graders would get this, but it would be awesome to post in higher grades.

Kristen @ Lil' Luna compiled a nice list of free Valentine fonts.  
Perfect for this month's projects!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Surviving Hurricane Sandy and New Election Packet

I don't think I have mentioned where I live in any previous posts.  Well, I live approximately 15 minutes away from here...

Image Source Page:
 This is the Jersey shore by Seaside Heights.

My family and I are fine.  Our roof lost a lot of shingles and we were without power from Monday until Thursday.  It was cold, so we left and headed to our parents' house 2 hours away.  I haven't been to school since it happened, and I'm waiting to find out when it will be open again.  It will be Wednesday at the earliest.  As of right now there is still no power at my school, which is about 7 minutes from my house.  There are tons of trees down, but most roads are open and down wires are still getting repaired.  The gas lines aren't as bad either.  There is a mandatory gas rule in place... license plates ending with even numbers can get gas only on even numbered days, odd plates on odd numbered days.  My grocery store opened today, which is good since everyone lost every bit of food in their freezers and refrigerators.  But we certainly aren't complaining.  We are blessed to be safe with little damage while just 10-15 miles down the road is devastated.  The beaches, homes, piers, boardwalks, stores, restaurants, roads and bridges aren't just damaged, they are decimated or simply washed into the Atlantic Ocean.  As a jersey girl, the beach and boardwalk are a central part of lives in the summer.  I am saddened that it will never be the same, but even more sad for the women, men and children who just lost everything they have.  I saw a women on TV say, "I just want to go home."  But her home was washed away and she clung to a wedding picture of her mother.  We all know what it is like to be away for awhile and want "to just go home."  I felt that way after 4 days away from my home this week.  But this lady had no where to go.  Her home was among the reeds and she was fishing through them to find any treasures that she could.  So very sad.  I'm sure the stories will just be even worse once I return to work and hear how others were affected.  Please pray for the families that Sandy affected in both Jersey and our neighbors in Staten Island and New York City.  It is much worse than you can imagine.  And you can always text RED CROSS to 90999 to donate $10 that will go directly to the Hurricane Sandy relief fund.  We are Jersey Strong and will pray, rebuild and help our community.

On another note, I posted second item on TeachersPayTeachers, and I have sold a few copies!  Of course I am super excited to make my first sale, even though it isn't much since it only costs $1.00.  It a super cute 3 page packet that includes:
1) Fill in the blank close paragraph (all about the president's job and what happens on Election Day)
2) Graphic Organizer- The President is....can....can't...
3) Opinion Writing-  The law requires citizens to be 18 years old to vote?  Do you agree with this law or do you think children should be allowed to vote for the President of the United States?

Click the picture to check it out!

I have an awesome guided reading surprise coming, so stay tuned for that!  I'm aligning it to the common core standards, so it's taking me awhile.  Not to mention the hurricane and 3 little guys running around making me crazy because they are crazy from the craziness of the last week.  Crazy huh?  Looking forward to returning to a normal schedule hopefully sometime next week.  I'll be giving away the guided reading surprise to a few followers, so stay tuned for a giveaway. Thank you to my awesome 11 followers. You are awesome. 

Stay safe and don't take anything for granted. Anything and everything can change overnight.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Create A Link To Your Blog when Leaving A Comment

Want to know how to create a link under your comments on other bloggers' posts? It's ridiculously simple with the code below. Just delete the red text and substitute with your own info. Easy Peasy.

Here is the HTML code to create your custom link for comments:


Have A Spectacular Day!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Scholastic Bonus Points Score!

So I love getting the extra points in September for our first book order. Usually it's a good size order since the kids have been out of school and haven't placed an order in awhile.  My library is pretty stocked and I did get some more new books, but check out this baby...

It's the NO YELL BELL Classroom Attention Getter.
Not that I am a yeller.  I'm actually the opposite.
It can make 7 different sounds including handbell, bugle call (my fav), alarm clock ring, space alert, twinkle chimes, tick-tock clock, and applause.  I can't wait to use it to rotate my daily 5 centers during guided reading.  Yes, I am dork because I am excited, but it is really cool.  The applause will be nice after a student presents something or reads a journal entry.  Check out what else I purchased with my points.  Thanks Scholastic!
What have you purchased with your points or want to purchase?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Visualizing Freebie

Visualizing is such an important piece to the comprehension puzzle.  It is obvious my struggling readers are not always visualizing what is happening in the text.  I love to ask detail questions like, "What color do you think the cake was?" or "What do you think Gooney Bird's face looks like?"
 Then it's fun to compare answers..."I think the cake was chocolate."  "I thought it was white with blue letters that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY." "No, it's a pink princess cake like my birthday cake."  It leads to a great talk about schema and how schema helps with visualizing.  Here is a freebie to help your readers visualize while you read aloud.  It works well with a chapter book, a picture book  (don't show the pictures), or it can be done during independent reading time.

Click here for the freebie!

This is my first ever TPT item, so please leave feedback.  I plan on adding lots of freebies soon, so be sure to follow me on TPT. I'm linking up to Manic Monday.  Check out lots of freebies there and show some love to the teachers who shared them!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

E is For Explore

All I can say is this blog is awesome. Most of the activities involve higher level thinking skills and include printables.  I found many to put in my math workstations.  It is worth the time to check it out.  I pinned at least 10 ideas for my kiddos. 

E is For Explore

And the activities align to the Common Core.  Even Better!
Pour a cup of tea and have fun.