Sunday, August 30, 2015

Twas the Night Before School...

Yep! Tomorrow's the BIG day. THE day that all teachers dread and look forward to all summer long. THE day that we see our new learners for the first time. THE day we begin to form our own community. THE day we become chief of a new tribe.  I. Am. Ready.
This little girl helped me prepare

 capes for my Super Learners to don when they step into the room tomorrow morning! Of course there will be a ceremony to receive there capes!  Here they are...

And so the intense training begins! I love Curious Firsties Ninja training so I'm going to join them and train my students to be "Super Learners"

Come back during the week to see how our training is coming! 

By the way...the capes were super duper easy to make. I went to Joann's and got three yards of felt which made 12 capes, iron on velcro, Heat and Bond UltraHold Iron on adhesive and small sheets of contrasting color for the badge.
I downloaded and printed a template from Jolly Mom...
Each cape probably cost about $2.00. It only involved cutting and ironing.  I can't wait to share a picture of my students wearing their capes! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Reading Strategies Book: Goal 7

Welcome back to The Reading Strategies Book study! I am so excited to be hosting. heck I am so excited to be writing a blog post! I feel like this study has reinvigorated my desire to blog, so watch out!
I am going to share  some thoughts on goal #7. Drum roll please...
Goal 7:  Supporting Comprehension in Fiction/Understanding Themes and Ideas
A funny thing happened as I began to teach students to be more thoughtful as they read. I became more thoughtful about my own reading. Once I was content to just plow through as many books as possible without stopping to think about themes, symbolism, and ideas hidden in rich texts.  I've found myself being much more thoughtful myself and wondering and enjoying what I'm reading. I will be greeting my students one week from today and can hardly wait to start sharing these strategies to teach this goal...

When I first glanced at these strategies I was taken back by how many are aimed at level J and above. Some of my firsties will be there by the middle of the year, but some may not make it quite that soon. I believe modeling these strategies can take place in read alouds long before readers work on this strategy independently. So as I was reading I thought  of ways that I could use these strategies during our read aloud time. Jennifer lets us know that students who have demonstrated an understanding of story structure are ready to dig deeper and think more critically about their stories. Goals 5 and 6 give great strategies for building an understanding of story structure. Click on the pictures below to check some of those strategies out.

Back to Goal 7! If you could turn in your book to page 191 you'll want to highlight this, "Put simply, although thinking deeply about text may be an enjoyable part of reading literature, it's also fair to say that without understanding themes, ideas, symbolism, or social issues that show up in the text, it could be that you misunderstand or at the very least miss a lot of what the story is about." It's our job to slow children down and help them to dig deeper into the text so that reading begins to "really matter". It's then that readers begin to feel joy, sorrow, surprise and a multitude of feelings that lead to a life long love of reading. 
Here are three of my favorite strategies for this goal.

7.1 Notice a Pattern and Give Advice
Well who doesn't like to give advice?  I like the idea of telling characters what to do. It turns out so do my students! I recently read Good-Night Owl by Pat Hutchins. We stopped in the middle of the story and gave the owl advice about how he could get a good night's sleep. Here are a couple pieces of sage advice...
Owl, you should get some ear plugs.
Owl, you should find another tree to sleep in.
Owl, why don't you eat those animals so they don't bother you anymore?
Owl, when I can't sleep my mom tells me to count to twenty and then roll over. You could try that.

Not only were the children engaged in the story they were also making connections and drawing inferences. 
Jennifer recommends you first discover the pattern and then give advice by starting with, "You should_____."

7.7 Mistakes Can Lead to Lessons

Everyone makes mistakes. We can all learn from those mistakes too. Noticing mistakes made by book characters help us notice them in ourselves and then also learn from them. Model this for your students by using chart paper to write down mistakes made by characters and then the possible lessons learned. Here are a couple of sentence starters Jennifer shares that can help you  use this strategy.
  • When you _________, you should or shouldn't learn _________.
  • You don't have to _________ to _________________.
  • Try to (or not to) ____________when you ___________.
This strategy helps students with inferring and in determining importance.

7.13 From Seed to Theme
Any one book may have different themes based on what prior knowledge the reader brings to the text. Starting with a single word is like the seed of the text's theme. It is important to get our readers to state these seeds in sentence form. The book Fish In a Tree by Lynda Mullaly has many such"seeds" that could be stated as a theme. Friendship, hope, perseverance, and kindness are all topics that can be found in the book.  Ally learns that friends are the people who stand up for you and help you even when it's hard. She also learns that with hard work she can attain her dreams. You could use the worksheet below to help students use this strategy to practice finding and stating the theme.
Just click on the picture if you think it may be something you can use.

If you have not gotten your hands on this book yet, you may borrow mine or buy your own! It is a book you want if you are a teacher of reading! 
Watch out I'll be back soon!! 
Want to know more about this book? Join the study. Look at the schedule below to see who is up next. I'll link to chapter 8 when it is published!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Five for Friday

Yipee! It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to tell about five random things from your week. Finally, I've done something besides relaxing and reading that I can share! 


Divider 1

I love these line-up numbers from Really Good Stuff! I will be using them for a lot more than just lining up! It's a life size number line for my Owlets to use to add and subtract. We can even build number sets all around these easy to apply floor stickers. See the broom in the corner? It just glided right over those numbers. Look how shiny that floor is...Wow!

Divider 2

I have seen these all over Pintrest. It took me HOURS to make my own. I was so proud of my finished product, I took a picture and put it on my blog. It's ready for Meet the Teacher Night and so am I since I got these...

Divider 3

I made this picture EXTRA LARGE because I wanted you to appreciate how cute these Lollipops are. I was so excited to get these for my Owlets when they come to meet me AND I have enough to give them each one for their birthday. I LOVE double duty!! Click HERE if you want to get some too!

Divider 4

This has been a  highlight of my summer. I have now learned how to play Mahjong. This game takes so much concentration. I thought it would just be a matter of making matches...Ha! That's Mahjong solitaire! Here is one of the times I actually won. I'm going to miss my Mahjong friends when school starts. They will be headed to warmer parts of the globe and taking their tiles with them. I'll just have to wait until next year to play some more. 

Divider 5

Here my friends is my amazing new table. I ordered two from Amazon. One was damaged on the oak side. I was told to just throw it away. They sent me two new ones to replace it. I am now the proud owner of four brand new tables for my kiddos. Goodbye desks! You won't be missed. I'm so thankful for my handy husband who gladly comes and puts all these together for me.

Come back on Monday. I'm hosting the seventh goal of a book study I've  been following on Jennifer Serravallo's The Reading Strategies Book. We're mid-way through and it isn't too late for you to join check out the schedule...

GREAT book! See you in a couple of days!!