Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's Getting Creepy! AND a {FREEBIE}!

I LOVE this time of year!  The weather is getting cooler here in Kentucky and soon we will have the excitement of Halloween spooks, tricks, and treats!  I love it!

Now, if you follow me on my Facebook Fan Page, you know that I posted Friday saying that I was working on my Creepy Math and ELA Centers, right?  WRONG!  The stomach bug hit me and it hit HARD!  It's been going around, but it's not one of those sicknesses that I usually catch.  Well, it caught me alright!  But....the good news is that in the challenge of Jamie vs. Stomach Bug, Jamie WON!  Stomach Bug LOST!  Ding, ding, ding!  I spent some time in bed and other places of the house (I'll spare you the details and you can thank me later), but today I was able to get back in front of the computer and finish up the final touches and previews to my Creepy Math and ELA Centers.  They are ready if you have been waiting!  And thanks so much for your patience as I tried to revive myself. ;)

You can see details in the pictures below or click {HERE} to hop on over to my TPT Store and check them out for yourself.  For your convenience, I've also included a printer-friendly version of the task pages with black/white backgrounds.  Hope you enjoy!

Also available in Printer-Friendly Black/White Backgrounds!

NOW for the even better part!  I have a FREEBIE for you!  Honestly, I cannot lie, I was so tired from all the nonsense with the stomach bug and being up all night, that I made an extra ELA center.  I was trying to make 5 Math and 5 ELA Centers and well, I ended up with 6 ELA centers, so I thought, hey, I'll just offer it up as a FREEBIE!  I hope you enjoy.  It is super simple.  I like the students to be able to work independently at centers, so I can spend my time with a small group of kiddos at the table.  This will also work for both 1st and 2nd grades.  It meets the following Common Core Standard for both grades:

L.1.2 and L.2.2 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Snatch it up by clicking {HERE} or on the picture below.  All I ask is that you leave me some sweet feedback!  Thanks friends!  Have a super week!

While you're here, don't forget to snatch up my October Common Core Writing Activities.  For a complete Q&A blog post regarding my Common Core Writing Activities, please click {HERE}.  You can also purchase the Common Core Writing Bundles and save 20%.

Needing extra Place Value practice with a cute fall theme?  Check out my Fallin' Into Place Value unit by clicking {HERE} or the picture below.

See y'all next time!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Classroom Management & October CCSS Writing

Hey friends!  I'm blogging about Classroom Management today over at our 2nd/3rd grade collaborative blog Owl-ways Be Inspired.  Click the pic or button below to check it out!  Links to some great FREEBIES are included... like this one you see below from Primary Punch!  ;)

I also wanted to remind you that if you are planning ahead for October, don't forget to check out my October Common Core Writing Activities for some fun, but authentic writing activities aligned to the Common Core.  Check out the feedback on this product!  Each and every comment makes me smile :)

For a complete Q&A about my Common Core Writing Units, please click {HERE} for a blog post devoted to more details these units.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Peek Into My Day

It's been a while since I've blogged.  I feel like I am drowning in a sea of paperwork, data, and schedules, but the good news is that I am staying afloat!  Just keeping swimming, just keep swimming....oh sorry!  I have had lots of questions about my daily schedule so I thought I would stop by tonight to let you take a peek into my daily happenings and see what a day in my classroom looks like.  Let's begin, shall we?

Frame from Krista Wallden, Fonts from Kimberly Geswein and Jen Jones

8:15-8:30 Morning Work

My students have an attendance check-in on the ActivBoard where they also mark their lunch preference for the day.  I have a student who also takes my attendance from the board and puts it into my iDoceo app on my iPad that I blogged about over at our collaborative blog, Owl-ways Be Inspired {HERE}.  After they have put their belongings away and marked their lunch choice, the students get busy on their Morning Work which is from the fabulous teacher-authors from Second Story Window.  You can find their Morning Work {HERE} and I highly recommend it.  It's fabulous....AND Common Core Aligned!

8:30-10:00 Reading Core

This is our main ELA block.  We are mandated to have 90 minutes of ELA in primary grades.  This is fabulous because you have just the right amount of time to do some whole group learning and then break into centers and meet with small groups.  We use a basal, but I adapt it to fit our needs.  This is how I teach the concepts from the basal.  During Reading Core, I only teach phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.  Grammar and writing have their own time allotment in our schedule.

Whole Group: Phonics, High Frequency Words, and Vocabulary Words, First Read of the Anchor Text
Small Groups: Vocabulary Readers/Activity
Rotations: Centers

Whole Group: Review Vocabulary, Introduce Comprehension Skill, Second Read of the Anchor Text (Analyze the Text)
Small Groups: Decodable Reader #1/Fluency
Rotations: Centers

Whole Group: Review Vocabulary, Independent Read of the Anchor Text and Common Core Graphic Organizer
Small Groups: Leveled Reader/Activity
Rotations: Centers

Whole Group: Review Vocabulary, Introduce Vocabulary Strategy, Compare Texts with a Companion Texts
Small Groups: Decodable Reader #2/Fluency
Rotations: Centers

Assessments: Spelling Tests, Weekly Reading Test, Progress Monitoring, Culminating Activity
Rotations: Centers

Now is this the same every week?  Absolutely not!  This is a mere skeleton of how my ELA block looks.  I am actually adapting some of my center rotations as we speak, because I find that we are needing more "skill-based work" with the more rigorous reading series we have this year.  So that will be a whole other post in itself!  Coming soon to a blog near you... :)

10:00-10:25 Recess

My favorite time of the day!  Just kidding...kinda.  Honestly, I DO love watching the kiddos interact with their peers in a social setting.  It's interesting to see how they play, cooperate, solve problems (or not), and just have fun and be silly!  It is refreshing after a 90 minute intense ELA block, I cannot lie.  :)

10:25-10:55 Science/Social Studies

This is our first year adopting the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and I have to say I really like that they have an engineering connection.  After all, we are preparing today's kids for jobs that don't even exist yet!  These standards go deeper and are more rigorous than our state standards for science in the past and they are grade-specific, which definitely helps to cover content and hold grade levels accountable for specific standards.  Also if you visit that website in the link above or {HERE} and dig a little deeper into your specific grade level on the site, you will see that it links up with the Common Core State Standards so that you can integrate and do some pretty awesome cross-curricular thematic units if time and pacing guides allow.  I really like this component of the website.

With only having 30 minutes for Science AND Social Studies, we alternate between units of each.  With having a 90-minute ELA block above, it's pretty difficult to squeeze in science and social studies, but we definitely feel that it's necessary to cover both, even if for a short time.  So we do what we can and try to cover the standards to the depth and rigor required.  We are still using our state standards for Social Studies at this time.  We also try to be thematic about our planning.   For example, we cover Patterns of Movement and Human-Environment Interaction when we cover the history of Thanksgiving and Native Americans in November.  We also cover Elements of Culture and Geography as we do Holidays around the World in December.  We try to be as thematic as possible and also to integrate subjects as often as possible.

10:55-11:25 Reading RTI

This is when our interventions take place for our Tier 2 and Tier 3 students.  We have some pull-out services with interventionists who service our students and we also ability group during this time to provide support, supplemental, and enrichment so that we are meeting the needs of all of our students during this time.  I teach the enrichment group so we have lots of novel studies, author studies, literature circles, and other activities planned.  I have my Gifted and Talented Endorsement, so I love to provide those high-achievers and the GT students with some enrichment to keep them challenged and to take their thinking to a deeper level than what they get in their regular Core Reading time.  This is something I am VERY passionate about.  The GT kids shouldn't get left behind or be given more/extra work!  They should be pushed to a higher level of thinking!  Blog post to come about that....

11:30-11:55 LUNCH

We are lucky enough to have a duty-free 25-minute lunch!  Can I get an Amen?!  I hear there are many of you who do not have the luxury of a duty-free lunch, so I feel blessed to have 25 minutes to scarf down some crackers, go to the restroom, check my mailbox, and scan my email.  :)

12:00-1:00 Math Core

This is our Core Math time.  We use a non-traditional basal series which I LOVE.  It introduces the students to a whole other level of thinking about math.  I will admit, it took a LOT of getting used to.  I had to brush up on my math skills myself.  We are trying to steer away from the traditional algorithms and think more about composing and decomposing numbers.  This directly aligns to the expectations in the Common Core State Standards.  I use my Common Core Math Quick Assessments as formative assessments to make sure that my students are mastering the standards being taught and meeting the rigor of the Common Core.  I just thought of another blog post I need to write about the shift in paradigm in how we teach our students mathematics.  I have my Elementary Math Specialist Endorsement as well, so I'm equally as passionate about math as I am Gifted and Talented.  :)  OK, that blog post is added to the to-do list of blog posts.  Back to the schedule...sorry!

1:00-1:30 Math RTI

This operates the same as the interventions for Reading RTI that I mentioned above.  Tier 2 and Tier 3 students are being serviced with something more or something different (research-based) with interventionists, while Tier 1 is being serviced with supplemental or enrichment activities.  Bring on the PBL (Project Based Learning) for those enrichment kiddos!  ANOTHER blog post to come about PBL... (my blogging to-do list is getting pretty lengthy as I continue to write this post).

1:30-2:15 Special Areas

Our kiddos go to Guidance, PE, Music, Art, Media Center (Library), and/or Computer Lab during this time.  This is 45 minutes to plan, attend meetings, check emails, make copies, attend PLCs, analyze data, use the restroom, etc.  I don't think any teacher's planning period is actually used for "planning" right? ;)

2:15-2:30 Read-Aloud

Love this time of the day!  The kiddos come sit at the carpet and we enjoy some awesome children's literature.  No tough thinking, no paper/pencil work, just time to sink into a good book and enjoy.  Probably one of my most favorite parts of the day!  It's amazing how with just one book, you can turn some kiddos onto reading just like that!  Love it!

2:30-3:00 Grammar/Writing

I usually reserve Mondays and Tuesdays for introducing and practicing the grammar skill for the week with hands-on activities and technology of course.  Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are spent applying that grammar skill in our writing.  I like to pull from my Common Core Writing Activities to teach some authentic, Common Core-Aligned writing.  I have a really helpful Q&A blog post about my Common Core Writing Activities {HERE}.  I have them listed in my TPT store by the month or bundled in two bundles to save you 20%.  I also have FREE Common Core Writing Rubrics to accompany those.  You can download those for FREE {HERE}.

3:00-3:15 Behavior Calendars/Dismissal

During this time, we fill out our behavior calendars which I will post about on our collaborative blog, Owl-ways Be Inspired later on this week when I blog about my Classroom Management.  We pass out any important papers that go home during this time and then pack up and prepare for dismissal.

That's it!  You made it through my day!  If you're like me, you're exhausted just reading all that!  If you made it through the entire post, thanks for hanging with me.  Just as I was writing this, I came up with a whole list of blog posts to come, so here's what's coming soon:

* Re-thinking ELA Centers - Making Changes
* Gifted and Talented Students Shouldn't Get More Work!
* The Shift in Paradigm for How We Teach Math
* Project-Based Learning in the Classroom
* Classroom Management Tips on Owl-ways Be Inspired Collaborative Blog

So let's hear from you!  Comment below.  What does your schedule look like?  How long is your ELA block?  How do your RTI/interventions work in your building?  Do you have a duty-free lunch?  I would love to hear from you.  Leave me a comment and tell me about your day!  :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Better Late than Never...with a FREEBIE!

Tonight I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky.  Yes, I am fully aware that it is now Saturday night, but I'd rather be late to the party than not show up at all.  Now Five for Friday is all about randomness.  And randomness, my friends, is what you're about to find.  Seriously.  I apologize in advance.  :)

ONE (From the Heart)
It's the little things y'all.  Teaching can be so stressful.  The following has been on my mind lately and I might as well share it with all of you who can so easily relate.

The Things that Make it SO HARD:
The never-ending paperwork.
The amount of work to do and not enough hours in the day.
The rigorous content.
The assessments.
The copy machine being broken.
The laminator not working.
Analyzing data, setting goals, and sometimes not accomplishing those goals.
The progress monitoring.

I'm sure you can relate if you've ever stepped foot into a school building as a parent, teacher, aide, substitute, or volunteer.  But it's so important to's the little things.  See below.

The Things that Make it SO WORTH IT:
A smile from the kid who never smiles.
A hug from the kid who never hugs.
An 85% from a kid who averages a 50%.
A thank you from a parent.
A sweetie so engrossed in a book that they miss the bus.
A student you had years ago who still remembers that ONE lesson.
The life lessons that happen every day in the classroom.

The small moments, my friends.  That's what makes it SO WORTH IT.

It's easy to get caught up in the first list.  But what's more important than all of that, is the second list.  Those are the things these kiddos are going to remember for years to come.  Treasure each moment with every kiddo.  Let the negativity and stress go.  Remember the bottom list overpowers the top by a long shot.  :)

TWO (Only a Teacher...)
Last night I made a trip to my local Sam's Club.  Man, do I LOVE that place!  I seriously love to go and get new supplies.  Just a couple of the things I picked up on my trip.  I'm all ready to print my next set of centers!!  Does anyone else get really excited over cardstock and colored paper?!  My husband looked at me like I was a little bit crazy... Perhaps you teachers will understand :)

THREE (iPad Fetish)
I have a problem.  I need your help.  I have a friend who has been giving me books when she finishes reading them.  She loves to read and knows that I love to read too!  Sounds like a great deal right?!  I read them, pass them on to my mom, who passes them on to someone else.  It's a win-win!  However...

My name is Jamie and I am addicted to reading on my iPad.  Yes, that's right.  I love, love, love reading ebooks.  Now I know what you're going to say.  You love the feel of the paper, blah, blah, blah.  Guess what I don't love?  My husband getting annoyed when I am reading a real paper book in the bed with the lamp on!  Hence, the LOVE of reading on the iPad.  I am happily reading, hubby is happily snoring.  Now that's a win-win.

So here's the problem.  I get all of these books for FREE, mind you, and then download them for $$$$ just so I can read them on my iPad.  That's straight Crazytown, I know.  I must get over my iPad fetish and fast.  End of story.  Moving on... I told you Five for Friday was gonna be random.

FOUR (Self-Promoting)
It's terrible.  Self-promoting.  It is, but how else are you gonna know about new and awesome products that will help your kiddos have moments on the second list up there on #1?  I present you with my latest product, Fallin' Into Place Value Activities.  Look at those adorable graphics courtesy of my favorite graphic artist - Krista Wallden.  Love her to pieces!!

The contents can be seen below:

Click on the pictures above or click {HERE} to check out this product.  It is on sale today only for 20% off.  Hurry while it lasts!  When I go to bed, it will go back up to regular price.  Don't forget to leave me some feedback for those of you who have already purchased today!  :)

If you have stayed with me for this long, you will receive a nice little reward for going all the way down to #5 of my randomness.  For those of you who have purchased my Common Core Writing Bundles that I blogged about {HERE}, I have had some requests for rubrics to assess the students' writing.  I have created some and decided to offer them to you as a FREEBIE as my way of saying THANK YOU for all your support and the many purchases you all have made from my little TPT store.  The rubrics are written for the student, while tying in the specific language found in the Common Core Standards.  I think these will serve well as self-assessments or as teacher rubrics for the writing included within my Common Core Writing Packs.  As my way of saying THANK YOU, please go download this FREEBIE {HERE} to help you assess your student writing.  All I ask is that you please leave some sweet feedback.  :)

If you are new to my blog or just now discovering me, you can find more information about my Common Core Writing Units in a blog post {HERE}.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I gave you fair warning that this was going to be a very random post.  I hope you enjoyed a peek into my world with this Five for Friday.  I hope you love the freebie and thank you so much for all of your continued support.  And remember....the second list is the one that lasts.  :)