Monday, September 15, 2014

A Peek at Our Week: Main Idea and Similes/Metaphors

Good evening, friends! It finally feels like fall here in SW Ohio. The colder temperatures made me grateful I had my favorite black bean soup cooking away in my Crockpot tonight. :)  

Last week, our focus skill was main idea.  Which can be such a hard skill for my bigger kids, especially when the main idea isn't explicitly mentioned in the first sentence or two of a paragraph/text.  

We started our week by watching BrainPop's Main Idea video.  It is one of their free videos and you can find it {here}

It does a great job explaining how topic and main idea are not the same.  I highly recommend using it when you teach main idea!

Our Treasures anchor text last week was A Walk in the Desert. Which can be a really long/difficult text to read.  So, we only read chunks of it and I did lots of think a louds/modeling to demonstrate how to find the main idea and supporting details of the pages we read together. 

On Tuesday, I had my students complete a formative assessment on main idea. I also had them rate themselves on their understanding of main idea. 



This is the rating scale that my partner teacher and I use.  It really helps that both of us use the same language. 

I used their formative assessment/self assessment rating to create tiered activities/groups for the next day.  



My group that had low self assessment ratings/poor performance on their formative assessments worked with me. 


We started off by constructing paragraphs using Christina's Main Idea Race.  The hands on practice was SO beneficial and really helped a lot of my students differentiate the difference between main idea sentences and detail sentences. 

Then we completed one of Tracy's Main Idea Practice Pack passages together.  My students LOVE this pack.  I love it too because of all the differentiation options it has.  



My students that rated themselves a 3 and only missed a few on their formative assessment completed Bright Concept for Teachers Main Idea Task Cards and a reading passage with a main idea web. 




This passage is from Kim Miller's Find the Main Idea With Non Fiction Texts Freebie.  

My students who rated themselves as a 4/had a perfect score on their formative assessment, completed some of Teaching With a Mountain View's Main Idea Task Cards.  


They really loved reading these passages. :) I heard lots of giggles/"I didn't know that..." while my students were working through the task cards. 

Later in the week, I introduced similes and metaphors.  We revisit this a lot throughout the year. So last week, I just focused on the differences between the two.  As the year goes on, we'll focus more on determining the meaning of the similes and metaphors we come across in our reading. 

I always play this similes and metaphor song at the beginning of our first similes and metaphor lesson. My kids always LOVE it and request it often, it also makes a great brain break!


After watching the music video, I read this book to the class to build on their knowledge of similes and metaphors. It's a fun little book and my students always enjoy it. 



You can find it on Amazon {here}

After the music video and read aloud, we used a flip book from my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack to take notes/write examples of each. 





Then we played a little Simile and Metaphor Tic Tac Toe, which was a great way to practice differentiating the difference between similes and metaphors in our reading/writing. 

 Similes and Metaphor Tic Tac Toe is from my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack too. 

We were very busy last week and we are starting the Daily Five this week!  Our first day of rotations was today and it went pretty well.  Of course we have some things to work on but overall I'm very pleased. 

Have a great week! :) 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back to School Recap

Hello friends! :) I'm back! The first few weeks of school are always so hard to juggle teaching, blogging, and being a wife/dog mom.  Thankfully, I am able to leave work a little earlier each day now and I should have some more time to blog, share, and create. 

The first three weeks of fourth grade have been wonderful.  I am so blessed to have two very sweet classes who love reading and writing.  They also have such fun personalities and I love spending my days with them.  One of my sweet students brought me an apple the other day and it about made me cry. A student hasn't brought me an apple in a very long time, so I cherished this sweet gesture. 

One of the first things we did this school year was starting our school year scrapbooks.  You can check out my School Year Scrapbook pack {here}.

I am really excited about our scrapbooks and I know that they will be such a great keepsake of our year together.   It has been fun to read through my students' scrapbooks and learn more about them! 

We also did lots of the Find Somebody Who pages from my Fabulous Back to School Fun pack.  They got us up and moving and learning a lot about each other.  These are always a hit with my kiddos and I always love participating in them too!


We also had lots of fun with my Cooking Up a Great School Year pack.  Both classes loved it this year and the books have sparked a lot of really great discussions on how to be a good classmate this year. You can check out my original post on Cooking Up a Great Year {here}.


As always, the Cooking Up a Great Year Trail Mix was a big hit, and quite tasty too!

This year in addition to reading and discussing the books, I tried to do some hands on activities for each character trait included in the pack. 

We did graffiti walls to talk about sharing. 
We put puzzles together with our tables for teamwork. 
We drew self portraits for being yourself.  I'm so in LOVE with their pictures.  They always make me smile. 

The activities that I added this year really made the traits stick and I look forward to adding them to my pack very soon! :)

On our first Friday of school, we did the Skittles Sharing activity from my Fabulous Back to School Fun pack.  My kids loved it and it was a great way to hit some speaking and listening standards and close out the week with a fun treat!


 Behavior Bingo is still rocking my behavior management world and both of my classes just love it.  They have both earned a bingo already and are super motivated to earn their next one.  
You can check out how I use behavior bingo {here} and check out the awesome behavior bingo board pack I purchased from Dots n Spots {here}



I also have found a morning work that I just adore. Denise's Weekly Word Work has already made a big difference with my kiddos.  It's a very well thought out resource and I love using it.  I write their assigned boxes on the Smartboard with our lunch count each morning. 

We have also been busy launching the Daily Five. I am hoping to start guided reading groups next week.  We did a trial run today and it went wonderful, so I am very hopeful for another great year with the Daily Five!


My new students are also loving our new classroom library set up and have been doing a great job at putting their books pack where they belong. 

I put a small label on the back of each book this summer and haven't found a book put in wrong bin yet. You can find the labels I used here

I'll be back later this week/weekend to share some of the things we have done this week as we focused on main idea and detail for the first time.  

Have a great rest of the week, friends!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Classroom Tour Post!

Hello! My sweeties and I started school on Wednesday and are finally starting to develop a daily routine. :)  It always feels so good when that starts to happen.  I really am blessed to have two sweet classes this year that are SO excited about reading.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Since I have a little bit of energy tonight, I wanted to share my completed classroom with you.  As I looked as these pictures, I realized I missed a few shots.  So hopefully I'll be editing this post soon to include pictures of my desk, the front of my room and my storage area for our clipboards and dry erase boards. 

Subway Art: Hope King
Lanterns and Tissue Paper Puffs: Hobby Lobby

This is the view from my desk.  I use a piece of felt cut into four pieces and rubber bands to keep the chairs from scrapping on the floor.  It works wonders.  I have to replace most of the felt throughout the year but it's SO worth it to not hear scrapping sounds all.day.long. :)




Here is a picture from the opposite corner on the room.  I need to take a close up picture of what is hanging up in the front of the room.   




Bookshelf: Mr. Fourth and Ten :) 
Library Tubs: Sterilite via Home Depot
Library Tub Labels: Lessons With Laughter 

Reorganizing my classroom library was a labor of love this summer. I purged a lot of books and organized them by genre, author, series or topic this summer. I can already tell that my students LOVE it!  It's made it book shopping so much easier.  

Word Work Tubs: Dollar Tree
Task Card Storage: Target
Fluency Tubs: Sterilite 
My library continues over to this large shelf as well. It also stores my word work centers, fluency tubs and reading task cards.  


Stools: Ikea
Here is where all the magic happens, my small group table!  I haven't always had the space for one at my current school, so I cherish every moment we spend over here. 



Border: United Arts and Education
Theme Team Letters: Cameo Creation
Theme Team Posters: Primary Punch

Even though I love my black and neon classroom, I couldn't pass up this Ohio State Bulletin Board Border!  :)  Theme is big in fourth grade, so I decided to put up a Theme Team wall for us to reference throughout the year. 

Baskets: Big Lots
Basket Labels: Hope King
This is a better shot of the open space above my guided reading table. I keep our book club choices and our writing/reading notebooks in the baskets.  


Voice Level Signs: A Cupcake for the Teacher
Hand Signal Signs: A Cupcake for the Teacher
Daily Five Rotation Signs: Teaching With Love and Laughter
Behavior Bingo: Dots and Spots
This is behavior management central in my room! My teaching partner and I both use the voice level and hand signal charts and it really makes a difference!  I use behavior bingo for my whole class behavior incentive and this year's kids LOVE it! My morning class just earned their first bingo! :) I use the rotation chart to schedule my small groups. 

Ribbon and Fans: Hobby Lobby

I've been working on redecorating my classroom for two years now.  Next summer, I'll finally get new curtains for my classroom.  Until then, I love this little display. :) 

Reading Strategies Letters: Cameo Creation
Reading Strategies Posters: Amy Groesbeck

I only have one bulletin board.  It's a little hard to get to, so I don't change it super often.  Right now, it has the reading strategies we use throughout the year hanging up.  

I hope you enjoyed a quick glance into my classroom. Like I said before, I still have a few pictures to add, but I just love this room.  It truly makes me smile when I walk in the door.  :)

I've linked this post to the following link ups! :)
Swimming into Second




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Open House Pictures and a Boost Sale

Hello! Tonight was open house and my partner teacher and I had a great turn out. I might be biassed but I'm pretty sure my new group of fourth graders are the most darling things ever.  :)  

Since I actually have some energy tonight, I thought I would share some pictures of open house!



Outside my door was my wish list wall.  I used this freebie  at the top of the wall and used my Cameo to cut out the little hands.  They say "Thank You!" on them.  I put my wish list outside my classroom this year because it usually gets lost in the shuffle during open house since my partner teacher and I switch classes during open house.  
We switch classes so we can meet all our students and their families.  Having the wish list outside was a success this year.  I was very blessed to have lots of parents pick up a handprint or two. :)



Outside our room I had our open house sign in sheet, a welcome sign and a copy a poem called "Unity". My cooperating teacher when I student taught shared it during open house and I just adore it.  You can find this super cute version here

Once my students entered the room, they were instructed to find their desk and visit the various stations I had around the room.  I only had a few since I was going to be talking a little bit as well. 

Most of the stations where dropping off supplies such as: notebook paper, tissues and plastic bags. We also instructed our students to put their school supplies in their desk and allowed parents and students to fill out our back to school paperwork if they wished.  We also had a transportation station so we could find out how our students would be getting home tomorrow.  Dismissal on the first day of school is always so nerve racking!


This was on each students' desk. Included was our grade levels information pamphlet, an email sign up list, Jen's Parent Survey and my student survey. We decided to have our students fill out the student survey at home this year since some of them just take a long time to fill them out and we are always missing a few.  I loved having the post it note with directions on the stack of paperwork because I didn't have to repeat them a hundred times.  :)

After about fifteen minutes, my teaching partner and I each did a little presentation with our homerooms.  We introduced ourselves and talked our behavior plan, communication and our organizational binders.  Then we talked about things pertaining to our subject matter.  For example, I talked about my homework packet and a what a day looks like in my reading classroom. 

After our short presentation, we switched classes.  I briefly introduced myself to my afternoon class, went over language arts information, and mingled with my afternoon class and their families for a little bit. 

We used this amazing template from Ladybug's Teacher Files to set up the formal presentation part of our open house.   You can find it {here}.





The mix of stations and an informal presentation was perfect for my teaching partner and I and we were both glad we set up our evening this way. 

I am going to give you guys a full classroom tour this weekend but here is the view from my door. :) 




I'm off to make my lunch and review my first day lessons one more time but I before I go, I wanted to let you know I am participating in TpT's BTS Boost sale tomorrow! 


Everything in my store will be 20% off and TpT will take an additional 10% off the sale price, for a total savings of 28%! :)  You can check out my store {here}.


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