Sunday, September 29, 2013

Surviving October

October can seem like a such a long month.  Often, when I leave home to go to work it's dark out and when I return home the evenings seem to fly by. I have found that the newness of back to school has worn off (for me and my students).

So, I have decided that one way I can muster up some energy and enthusiasm is to teach some creative and fun subject matter. What can be more fun that October themed activities? See, just thinking about all the fun October can bring gives me energy and enthusiasm.

Wendie and I worked on these products with the October "blues" in mind. Our hope is that it provides you and your students with some variety, fun learning, and time to re-energize.

 You can view our products at our TPT store- just click on the pics.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Opinion Writing- Freebie

I have to admit, I had my reservations on how my students would manage opinion writing, but I have been greatly surprised by their enthusiasm and effort.

This summer, Wendie and I worked on providing our students with nonfiction passages that would help them compare two similar concepts. Then we worked on scaffolding the writing process to make it meaningful and engaging for our students. The results have been amazing!

We started with the "The Coolest of the Pioneer World" where students read about Johnny Appleseed and then Daniel Boone. Once they find similarities and differences they are able to choose who they believe is the coolest pioneer. They loved this! Then, they moved on to the writing piece where they used their passages to provide evidence to why they believe their choice is the "coolest."

We are still in the final stages of publishing. But I wanted to share our little successes and remind you that it is one of our freebies on our TPT store.

As students finish their writing we will place it under the pioneer of their choice. Click on the pic if you would like the posters for your opinion writing board. Enjoy and Happy Fall!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Teacher Discount

I just saw this ad...

I did not know teachers could save every day at Michael's. What a great surprise!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Currently in September

This is the first time I'm posting a Currently- Woo hoo! Thank you Megan from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade I think they are a great way to share what's new and connect with others.

Can you believe it's September?!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Reciprocal Teaching

I recently have been thinking about reciprocal reading and how to incorporate it into my primary classroom. I am thrilled with the progress my students have been making working collaboratively. I had to explicitly teach/show them what that looks like and it has taken some time for it to start looking like a collaborative group. I still have some ways to go with a few of my students, but I am hopeful that we will make some great improvements this year.

So, this leads me to Reciprocal Reading. Reciprocal Reading has been around since the 80's and is an instructional activity that uses four comprehension strategies (predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing). Reciprocal Reading also allows the students to take on the role of teacher.   Students are actively involved in monitoring their own comprehension and thinking about their own thought process.

This past week I started by teaching each individual strategy and doing more think alouds than I have ever done in my life. My goal is for them to have a firm grasp of each strategy - at the same time I realize that much of the true learning will be done by trial and error. I guess this is where I have to let go and know there will be some bumps.

Through my researching and thinking about Reciprocal Reading I put together a guide that I hope will keep me focused and may help anyone wanting to try Reciprocal Reading with their primary class. The information I gathered has been taken from a variety of teacher resources I have collected over the years and online freebies.

If you decide to use, let me know what you think. Click on pic to download.