Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Coming....

Hey Everyone!

I am really sorry to be neglecting my little 'ole blog yet again :(

I promise you it is for a very, very good reason.

Yes, I have another surprise up my sleeve... see I work hard for you all....for the good stuff :)

I will have a GIANT post about it tomorrow (so make sure you stop back), but for today I leave you with this....

Friday, July 26, 2013


Hey everyone!  I'm super excited to giveaway ALL my math products to one lucky winner!  If you want to read more about these and see pictures of math in action see my previous post or click {here}
Here's a look at all thing things you can win:

This also comes in a SET 2 or a BUNDLED SET 1 and SET 2 :)


Or GRADE 1 or 3-- your choice!!

one of my older products...but a GREAT money activity!

I'm excited to throw in....
I looove this pack!

**You can click on any of the pics above to check them out**

This is about $36 worth of products!!

Enter the rafflecopter below.  Thanks so much for entering! Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday- Math Block in Pictures

Hi Friends!
This is my first link up with First Grade Parade's Throwback Thursday!!

The reason I decided to join this linky is because I have been talking A LOT about my reading/Daily 5 time and I wanted to take a minute to talk about Math.  I have spent the last few years trying to get my math time just right.  And now with CCSS coming our way I think I Finally have it just right.  So I will take you through my math block today. I originally posted this on 
October 6, 2012.

I am excited to share the entire day's math block in pictures.  I hope that it will help you better understand the flow of the hour.

We start our time with "Problem of the Day"  I love this so much I can't even tell you!  This is a sample page from a student's math journal:

We don't do one EVERY day but I would say 3-4 days a week.  The kids are getting really good at the steps and how to represent the problem with a picture and an equation.

After they have time to solve the problem, I call several up to our document camera to teach the class how they solved the problem.  It is so great to see the variety of ways the children decide to solve the problem!  And having them "teach the class" is perfect math talk!
Click {here} to see the word problems at TpT.

After about 10-15 minutes on the word problems (this is after they are independent) I gather my students for a whole group lesson.  I love to use my smart board for this time.  I spend about 15-20 introducing a skill or reviewing a skill.

This might also be a time that we stop and record a new vocabulary word in our math vocabulary books (like the word "digit" as seen above).  I then add the math word to our math word wall. (to see the vocab pack click {here} or {here}).
I also have first and third grade too!!

Depending on the day or my timing, at this point I might have all the kids do an independent practice sheet based on the lesson.

  Then we break into our Math groups. 
I work with a group based on their needs (High, Medium, or Low group)- this is my favorite part because I can really cater to what they specifically need to work on!

hehe... my aide took these photos and they crack me up!  She was SO careful not to take any faces... including mine! :)

This is a group of about 5-6 kids... you just can't see them all here.

The rest of the kids are either in a "Math with a Friend" group:

Or a "Math On My Own" group:

The Math Workshop is a product in my TpT store and it has changed my math life!  This is from a teacher who grew up not a fan of math, struggled with math all her life and dreaded teaching math.  Now I can't get enough of math!!  And my kids are so disappointed when we don't do Math Workshop.  Gone are the days of all paper pencil activities and kids slipping through the cracks because you think they are all "getting it."
Sometimes my math time ends here.  Other times we gather back together for a recap or even an "exit slip" type of activity.  We spend about 20 minutes in our groups.  I have about 60 minutes devoted to math (give or take).
Once a week we do a math timed test (mad minute).  I test the kids on the facts that they already know and they work on a set of facts that are the best fit.  For example, if they are struggling with the 10 facts, their mad minute is all sums of 10 or less for their addition math fact test.  I started doing it this way because in the past I had kids that were trying to do a 40 problem mad minute (TOO MANY problems) and were stuck on the first problem that was 9 + 8 when in reality they needed problems more like 5 + 1.  They were defeated before they even got started!  I then created all my own timed tests, assessments, and parent letters for addition and subtraction.  You can see them
here(+)  and here(-)

I hope this helps a bit!  It took me 14 years to find a great balance to my math time, and to do things that REALLY work!  (and that have improved my math scores!)
PLEASE let me know if you have any questions... 
just email me! :)

Thanks so much for reading... as always I looove your comments!
How do you divide your math block?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Daily 5 wrap up {freebies!}

Hi Friends!
I will be wrapping up my Daily 5 series in this post.  

ps.. did you like the posters that I had each time?  I have a variety of them as a facebook freebie.  Head to my FB page and click the purple box to get them all! 

I've had the BEST comments and heard the nicest things.  I am so glad that the posts have been helpful to you!
In case you are just finding me, you can read about all the posts here:
Read to Self
Read to Someone
Work on Writing
Word Work
Listening to Reading

I just wanted to share a few more things.  First, I went to my school and took a picture of my anchor charts.  Now...I CLEARLY was in a hurry when making these this past year.  Usually I try and cutesy these up a bit more.  But you will get the idea.

And my handwriting is all wonky too! Ugh.  Don't tell anyone I showed you these ;)

When creating these charts with my class I actually have a "cheat sheet" that I use to help me remember the way to guide the discussion.  It is a flip book and it looks like this:
Now It is not this colorful- this is just a sample of what it would look like.  I have the printer friendly version for you.  Just click on the pic above and it will tell you how to make it.
(I haven't printed this one yet as I made this one fresh and new- can someone please print it out and tell me if it worked- my printer is not working--- boo!!  THANKS!!)

We also talked about the word collector that the kids keep in their book boxes.  I FORGOT all about the giant class word collector that I have hanging on my door.  This was just made from poster board and laminated- kids love it! :)

Again, ignore the shape this is in... usually it's full of colorful words! :)

Here is a pic of my stamina graphs that we talked about.  These graphs look pretty good- usually the kids last a minute before we have to stop.  I laminate the graphs and use them year after year.

It will be important for you to create a signal for your class -especially when you are building their stamina.
I use this wand that makes the best chime sound.  It is only $4.95 and you can check them out HERE.
5-pointed star

Finally, I mentioned CAFE here and there.  I highly recommend you get that book and read it!  I describe D5/CAFE as ....

Daily 5 is the bones and CAFE is the meat.

  I LOOOVE CAFE and it has really transformed the way I teach reading.  And you get to create a cute bulletin board!

Get the book, read it, and do both Daily 5 and CAFE- you won't be sorry! :)
Product Details

Product Details

So I leave you with something that I wrote when I did a presentation to our school staff.  I hope it gives you a little taste of how I truly feel about Daily 5!

What really drew me to the Daily 5 was my struggle with constantly needing to create cutesy center activities or copying stacks of worksheets to keep the kids “busy” while I pulled guided reading groups.  The 5 choices of Daily 5 just made sense- I thought “why didn’t I think of this!”  Giving the students the choice of reading and writing time was an ah ha moment.  I’ll never forget the time when I was first letting the children make their choice and we were on our second round, I had a child say to me can I choose “read to self” again?  I was like YES, yes you can!  How amazing that feeling was that I had students choosing to READ and wanted to READ!  My students now beg for daily 5 and are thrilled when they get to curl up in the corner with a book in hand- it is such an amazing thing to look around the room and see the entire class so engaged in such meaningful activities and know that all these activities will enhance their reading skills.  Now during my guided reading time I don’t have to worry about a center finishing too early or if I explained the list of worksheets well enough so they don’t interrupt me, they all know what to do and they are completely self motivated and independent workers!  Last thing-just the other day I was with a group and I heard noise coming from my reading corner so I thought… OK, here we go.. it’s December and my “D5 routine” is coming unglued.  So I get up and I see where all the noise was coming from… one of my ELL students was outstretched on the rug and half on the beanbag chair trying his hardest to sound out the words on the page of a book.  Then I smiled and thought… yes, this is what it is all about.  If the only noise I am worried about is a child trying hard to read, then my job is done here.  It was a proud moment. J

p.s... up next.... "What's in the box?"  
hmmm... I wonder!! :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

FB hop is HERE!!!

Get ready to HOP people!!

So here is how this works...

Start by going to my FACEBOOK page.
Click on the green "BLOG HOP" button once you are there.  It looks like this:

Once you are there, you will see a whole list of bloggers.  Here is a snippet of what it looks like:

Start by clicking on the first button which will take you to my freebie.  

Download, save, print, whatever you want to do with that freebie and then close out those windows.  You want to get back to the list of bloggers on my Facebook page.  Everything should open up into a new window to make it easier for you to get back to the "hop."

Make your way through all the bloggers as they will ALL have FAB stuff for you...for FREE!!!  Make sure you like the page to get your free product.

Oh and say "Hi" and "Thanks" while you are there... we love your comments/feedback!

THEN... once you do all that... go back to the blogger list one last time and enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win a product of your choice from ALL of our stores!!!


Ok.. what are you waiting for... GO!!
PS.... this all ends on Sunday night- midnight!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Daily 5- Word Work! {giant freebie!}

Hey Friends!

I have been SO impressed with the comments left on these posts- thank you so much!  The winner from the last post is...
This is a fun comment- thanks Deb! :)

Here we go...

Let me first show you how I store my word work:
I got this at Target for like $25 I think.  I like having the large drawer at the bottom to hold the bigger stuff.

I had cutesy labels for each drawer but they kept ripping so my FAB aide from a few years ago made these for me and they are holding up beautifully~  the key is to laminate and then cover with packing tape or contact paper.  Those little hands are destructive and you don't want to have to constantly redo your beautiful work. :)

So let's take a look in each drawer...
This is my dry erase drawer.  It is simple- write your words on the dry erase board. :)  Usually there are erasers in this drawer but they escaped at the end of the year.
I will give you a link at the end for all the papers I show in the post. This is a direction sheet that stays in the drawer for the kids- they know to read the directions about what is needed if they forget (instead of asking me).

OH side note--- I use my spelling words for the week as my word work.  I find that works the best and we can focus on that phonics sound for the week.  
I store the word lists on the side of my word word container like this:
I have 2 lists challenge and regular. I call them list 1 and list 2.

Next drawer...
Colorful words- put makers in a bag and then the kids write their words in a colorful way.  I have the kids do this in their "word work" notebook which is just a section of a spiral notebook.

Stamps.  These little guys came from Target dollar spot- keep your eyes peeled as I usually seem them come out in August.  I believe I got the little containers from Staples.

I have a separate sheet where the kids stamp their words-

Next up...
The most popular drawer!  That is why there is only one lonely play-doh left in this drawer!  The white basket is usually full of popsicle sticks.  They are used for writing the words on a "pancake" style play-doh instead of forming each letter.  I give them the option because sometimes forming the word just takes too long.

Bottom drawer...
(lots of goodies)

These are bottle caps- water bottle caps to be specific.  I collected them during the summer and had friends collecting for me too (its not too late to start collecting!)  I got the container from JoAnns.  I added a white circle sticker to the top of the bottle cap.
The kids use the letters to spell out their words- another favorite!

Also in the bottom drawer....

These are just foam letters from Michaels.

Stencils!  The kids love these! :)

Hard to tell as these got mangled but they are Wikki Stix!  The kids had a lot of fun with these and I need to buy more!

Finally, the amazing reading specialist at my building had a great idea of using an old keyboard to "type" out their words...
What a fun idea!  I have some keyboards ready to go for this year.

If you don't have a word work notebook... I have created a cover and paper you could use to make your own!

If you like the papers I have included in this post you can grab them all at my Facebook Page OR on TpT HERE 
Please leave me some love if you like it! :)

click here to get it!

I spend a LOT of time building stamina on:
~how to get the supplies
~where to do word work
~what to do for each activity
~how to work the whole time on word work
~how I should act during word work
~how to clean up
~how to put materials back

Oh- and I try to stick to around 5 different activities.  I shared more than that here.  I don't do them all at the same time- I add new ones about every quarter.

I hope that helps a bit so that you can get your word work up and running!

Thanks for reading!!