Friday, September 28, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Craft

We studied Johnny Appleseed this week and were very excited to do our first big art project of the year!    The kids were so excited when they were told that we would be doing an art project. 

We had a lot of little giggles in the classroom as they got their hands painted (they all thought they were a little ticklish LOL). 

This cute project was found at The Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

The kids did a great job with it!  Check out the results:


Hope you have had a great week!  Kristi

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Laptops, oh my!

So...apparently using a laptop is quite different than using a desktop computer. This is something I really had not considered until Monday morning when we kicked off "Listen to Reading."

I had the laptop cart ready and handed them out with a smile first thing in the morning (8:15). The kids took them back to their desks and then I had to give an "impromptu" lesson on how to push CTRL-ALT-DEL. I hadn't planned on that, but we made it through.
Then I told the kids to click on the Programs folder (this is a folder created on our server that students are familiar with from computer lab). Immediately, I had hands going up. I thought, "What in the world? I know they use the Programs folder in computer." Turns out...double clicking with a laptop is different than a desktop.
As is moving the does not require your whole hand, by the way, in case you were wondering. And yes, Kristi and I both had students trying to use their whole hand.
By this time I'm thinking: NOT FUN and the  smile is barely hanging on. 
So I finally get everyone into their programs folder so they can click on ConnectED...that is a double click...again. Sigh!
We are on the home screen for my class to login to ConnectED. Each student needs to click on their name and enter a user friendly password.
To get to the "login" button, you must SCROLL DOWN. Seriously? Yes, I had to give a lesson on how to scroll down.
9:10 (and losing my smile - totally not the kids fault - they actually waited so patiently for this)
Passwords denied. Why? About half of the students had not clicked on THEIR OWN NAME!
9:15 (and taking deep breaths)
We are in to our To-Do list and finally listening to the story.
9:25 (and ready to pull my hair out)
I have just enough time to show them how to get into the phonics activities...which require a CLICK and DRAG.
I give up!!!!!!!!!
And besides, I am out of time with the laptops and happily deliver them to Kristi (who I strongly advise to get started if she wants to accomplish anything with them before recess at 10:35).
Now, thankfully kids are such quick learners when it comes to technology. Today we were up and going quickly AND they had extra time to do some of the activities that go with the story.
They are going to love having this as a Daily 5 choice. We are having them listen to our main selection and then they will be able to do the activities that go along with it (if they have time).
Lesson learned with laptops - plan to teach laptop basics before accomplishing anything on the plans. :-)
Have a great week!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Calling all Decorators!! Group Table and Chairs

Now that we have fully launched our Daily Five, I feel like I am spending more time at my lovely group table and chairs.  What I have is two long tables and I have placed them in an L shape.  Then the chairs we have our the regular student chairs.  I'm really wanting to do something else that may be a little more comfortable in this area since we are spending more time there this year. 

I know that some have made chairs out of milk crates and paint buckets.  There are so many creative ideas on these things, so I wanted to see what you have and do you have any ideas on what I can do for tables and chairs?  I'm anxious to make a change in the decor there but am hoping someone has some cool ideas that are affordable.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Hope all of you have had a great week!  Kristi

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Groups - How is it going?

Well, if you've followed our blog for any amount of time, you know that this is our first year launching the Daily 5 and that we have combined this structure with our reading curriculum - Treasures. Kristi and I are now teaching what would have been "whole group" lessons to our small groups during the Daily 5 and we are loving it!

We've already learned a few things and made some adaptations along the way...
Check it out:

This is my small group table all set up and ready for tomorrow morning. I take my high group first thing, so I always leave a little list for them to start on while I quickly take attendance. In this case, they are re-reading our main selection (we read it together today) and working on their selection test. Then we will start on Thursday's lesson.

Folders! While I don't think all the worksheets that come with the curriculum are necessary or valuable, there are a few that I like to have students do (selection test, frequency word cloze activities, etc.). I found that I had stacks of worksheets and was having trouble remembering which group had done them and which hadn't or just remembering if we had to stop in the middle of something. I had to check my gradebook and make myself sticky notes. I had a brilliant idea - at least I think so! :-) - and made these folders today - colors match my "teams" and inside are the worksheets I think are valuable enough that I'd like to have time for this week. I also put some blank paper in there so I can take notes if I need to remember something about that particular group. Super excited about these!

This may be my favorite D5 update. Kristi and I tried the clip chart thing and it just was not working for us. We now have these posters and the kids can easily see what they are doing each round. We also took away the power to choose - I know shame on us - don't tell the Daily 5 police. It took entirely too long...and we had some "requirements" anyway. They have to do Read to Self and Work on Writing daily. Their choices were Word Work or Read to Someone and if they chose one on Monday, we made them choose the other the next day and so on and so forth. It is so much easier to have it up on the posters for them to check each morning. 

Word Work - We have spelling books with our Treasures series and handwriting books. When to fit them in? Here is our solution - again don't tell the Daily 5 police. We put 5 pages up on the board on Monday. The kiddos know that all 5 pages must be done and correct so they can do Fun Friday. Our suggestion to them is to do at least one page before moving on to Word Work activities. We also give them time throughout the day (i.e. after math).
Next week, we are going to do our Unit 1 Treasures testing. We like to have these to show at conferences. So our plan is to kick off Listen to Reading. I know the kids are going to love it!
Whew! Glad there is not really any Daily 5 police. We might be in trouble! :-) That being said, it has been great for the kids - which is what we wanted.
Have a great evening!

The talk of the new hair color (it was blonde). We had to have a little chat to avoid the later questions of "What happened to your hair?" LOL! Kids are so funny. :-)


Saturday, September 15, 2012


So we did our first full week of Daily 5 and I am loving it!!  I feel like the kids are benefiting so much from it already.  I will have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first (especially since I'm really not a centers type of gal).  After experiencing it.....I'm loving it!!

Below you will see some pics of my kiddos working hard during read to someone.

I do have a question about the individual conferences and time management.  We did our first individual conferences on Friday and I barely made it through them.  I started stressing toward the end because I was afraid that I wasn't going to get to all the students.  Luckily I made it, but it was close.  What do you do during your individual conferences and any tips on how to get through them time wise?

I look forward to hearing about your individual conferences!  Hope you have a great weekend!  Kristi

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daily 5 Pros???

Okay, so we are full-blown Daily 5 now…well, sort of. We have not introduced “Listen to Reading” because we are waiting on a couple more computers to be available. However, we have the other four up and going.
Yesterday was our first day to “go for it.”
Kristi and I taught our normal whole-group lessons in a small group setting during each of our four rounds of Daily 5. I loved that part! It was so much easier to ensure all were engaged when only teaching to 4-5 instead of 19 at a time! I felt like I was able to go more in-depth and do a better job of teaching the skills and strategies from our reading series. It was wonderful!
My kids did surprisingly well! I was nervous, but for the most part, it went great. I even had one teacher stop in for something. She stopped at the door, looked around, and then looked back at me in my group and mouthed, “Wow!”
I was thinking, “I know. Isn’t it great?” J
I do have a question for those of you who are Daily 5 pros…
What do you do with the student who is simply not capable of staying on task?
Obviously, this question is coming after LOTS of modeling and LOTS of building stamina.
The “look” and proximity really do nothing to help this kiddo. It also doesn’t help to have this kiddo practice at recess.
By the way, I forgot to mention that I am completely jealous of those who do not have morning duty! :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

10 Frame Fun and I Love Pinterest!

I just love Pinterest! Today we talked about ten frames and I used some ideas that I copied right off of that wonderful site.
Here’s a peek:

I couldn’t find the original “Pinspiration” for this, but the kids loved the idea of getting to paint the dots instead of coloring or using counters. Also, it was a perfect motivator for my students to get their FIRST EVER Math Box (Everyday Math) done. Those can be horrible, but my firsties were so motivated to paint they worked hard – well, most of them. J
I also used this idea to introduce the concept of Ten-Frames, but I forgot to take pictures during the lesson. You tape two ten frames on your floor and use the kiddos as counters. They loved it – anything to be up and moving!
I, on the other hand, was ready for them to settle back into their seats and work on the Math Box and painting ten frames page. Ha ha!
Have a great evening!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Recess After Lunch - No Thank You!

Ok, lesson learned this week.....we had picture day this week and it was our turn right before our recess.  Therefore, we didn't get our morning recess.  So, we decided that we would take one a little after lunch.  NOT A GOOD PLAN!  (at least I figured that out later).  Recess was fine, everyone playing and having a great time.  We line up as usual and all is great....then it happened.  As we were walking in, one of our little kiddos is holding his mouth and looking not so well.  :-(    Poor thing tried to make it, but didn't quite make it......he got sick in the hall.  I felt so bad for him.  But the story continues....we take care of him and then get our drinks and go back to the room.  I thought ok, it is time to get back to work.....wrong.  Once in the room, I see another student holding his stomach and not looking so good.  So I immediately point to the bathroom and off he went.  Yes, another one sick.  Poor things!  :-( 

By then, I think everyone was thinking that they had an upset stomach including myself. 
Of course, I checked with Crystal and she had nothing like this going on in her room.  I decided that it was probably for the best because if you didn't know, Crystal has a weak stomach and mine isn't as weak as hers. 

So, we were off schedule the entire day.  I am one that really likes having a schedule and when it is messed with.....I get totally off!  So, the next thing that occurred was as I dropped them off to music, I thought....oh no......we didn't change our shoes for PE.  They go straight from Music to PE and we usually change our shoes right after lunch, but like I said our schedule was off and so was I.  So, I immediately went to our PE teacher and apologized that they would be coming to her without their PE shoes on.  Of course, she was nice about it.  I then walk back to my room and to my surprise I see their regular shoes sitting on their desks........Oh my......we did change shoes. I had forgot between sick kids etc. I did have them change shoes.  Needless to say, I'm pretty sure our PE teacher is probably thinking that I'm losing it.  LOL!

Luckily, the next day our schedule was normal, kids were all healthy and day went smooth and great!  YEAH!!

Hope all of you have had a great week! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Calling All Morning Duty Ideas!

I must apologize for not posting last week - glad Kristi popped in on Saturday! 
We had morning duty last week (a pleasure the torture we have every 6-7 weeks or so). Ugh! It makes me feel completely behind. Add a Back-To-School Revival at my church Monday – Wednesday evenings, my son’s first cross country meet and my daughter’s first volleyball game on Thursday evening, and you will understand why I was MIA.
I literally came home Friday and laid on the couch all evening – blissfully doing absolutely nothing playing words with friends and even that was too taxing for my worn out brain so I had to stop. LOL!
Speaking of morning duty, I’m curious how other schools handle it. None of us are completely happy with our current system, but we don’t really have any better ideas.
Here’s how it works…we are a K-6 school and morning duty lasts from 7:45-8:10. The students are grouped by grade levels – K-1, 2-4, and 5-6. One week a grade level group will be in the gym doing activities with our awesome PE teacher while the two other groups are sitting in the hallway “reading.” I put that in quotes because most of the kids just pretend and to be honest I don’t care as long as they are quiet. The K-1 group sits in the library and watches a video instead of reading in the hallway for obvious reasons.
I know we’re all busy right now, but if you can find the time to post a comment about your morning duty, we’d love to hear from you!
Happy Labor Day - enjoy the extra day off!
P.S. Here’s some pictures of us “building stamina.” We are up to 15 minutes – woohoo! I give the kiddos the choice of sitting at their desk or on the floor near their desk. This particular day most of them picked their desk.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Word Work

We are so excited about the Daily Five that we just started in our classrooms this year.  So far, it is going great!  We have introduced the read to self and work on writing.  Next week, we plan to launch word work and read to someone.  We were curious about the word work and wondered what others were doing as activities for this part.  Would love to hear about the things you are having your kiddos do during this part of the Daily Five.

Hope all of you are starting your year off great!  Kristi
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