Monday, October 5, 2015

Reading Wonders Weekly Teaching Plans

Hi, Friends! 
Last year, I blogged about how I organized all of my Reading Wonders leveled readers and resources….Many people requested for me to share my weekly plans that I used to teach the series. Today, I am finally back to share that with you all! If you'd like to go back and check out that organization post, you can find that here
When we first started using this program..I was just so overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done. The plans in the TE completely stressed me out because there was NO WAY I could do all of that in that amount of time.
I'd like to think that I'm a pretty tech savvy kind of gal, but the online component also overwhelmed me. There was so much offered online, but I felt that things were just all over the place. To help myself out, I ended up creating resources for myself to use to teach each week. 

I created visual anchor charts so my students could refer back to the skills and strategies that are taught throughout the week. Also included in these packs are various worksheets to use throughout the week.

Creating these resources really helped me to know and understand what I was teaching each week. It forced me to read all the stories and understand the content I was teaching. I ended up creating a generic skeleton for my weekly plans. I mapped it out days 1-5 and listed all the things I would do each week. 
 Comprehension checks are included in my weekly Wonders packets. There are comprehension questions for the Reading Writing Workshop story as well as the Literature Anthology story. Practicing writing constructed response answers truly help my students with their writing and to prepare them for question 21 on the weekly assessment. 
For planning purposes, it was really easy to stick to my schedule and pull out the resources I created.  I would stick my weekly plans in a sheet protector and use the same plans week to week. In my planner, I'd just write down specific page numbers or activities that I would be doing for that week.

In the afternoons from 12:00-1:00 I teach writing and grammar. 

I hope this post was helpful to you. If you're new to the Wonders program, give it some time. It can definitely be very overwhelming at first, but it'll get better once you've established routines, procedures and become a little more familiar with it. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September Currently!

It sure has been awhile since I've linked up for a Currently! but I'm so happy to have made it in time for this month's link-up.

LISTENING: Hubby is addicted to Game of Thrones. Anytime I go into my office to get some work done, the TV immediately goes on.

LOVING: I am in dire need of catching up on some rest…and relaxing. There just aren't enough hours in a 2-day weekend to get everything done!

THINKING: That I need to decorate my office! Since I'm not in the classroom this year, I've been placed in a trailer-yup…a trailer! It is nice to have my own bathroom, full size refrigerator, and water cooler……but it needs some loving. I need to turn it into a pleasant and welcoming place for teachers to come to have meetings. 

WANTING: Speaking of office- my home office looks like a tornado hit! I had to move ALL of my stuff out of my classroom into my 1100 sq. ft town house! I didn't really have much room for it all, nor the time to sort through anything….so it's just kind of all piled in my office. Not to mention that I didn't want to get rid of anything….because I may choose to go back to the classroom next year. Can you say hoarder?! There is no visible carpet space. 

NEEDING: To exercise and eat healthy. This NEED will become a GOAL that I WILL accomplish :) 

1. Being that I'm in a new position, the job responsibilities that come with being a curriculum coordinator are much out of my comfort zone. I HATE public speaking and get really awkward and nervous. My goal this year is to work on speaking (since I'm a nervous wreck each time I need to present something at a faculty meeting). I also want to work on communicating my thoughts to people. I'm on the shyer side when it comes to talking/communicating/expressing things to others, especially when it's people who I'm not too familiar or comfortable with. I'm really trying to grow this year--and working on expressing all my positive thoughts about others to their face. What good will it do to keep things in…especially when it could make someone else's day!

2. Goal 2 kind of goes along with goal 1. I'm working on being a motivator and encouraging people. It's human nature to complain, and I am definitely guilty of doing this. This year for myself, and for others, I am working on motivating myself and others to come up with a plan of action that will help to solve/make these complaints better. Complaining and grumbling will never fix our problems nor change the outcome. It takes US to spring into action to make a difference. Plus-being around negativity isn't always pleasant.

3. Last but not least, I am going to exercise, eat better and lose some weight. Enough said! :) 

What are you CURRENTLY up to?! Head on over to Farley's blog to link up!

Monday, August 31, 2015

September Morning Math FREEBIE

Today I'm here to share how to turn your students into Mathematical Thinkers! 

During my first year of teaching, I found that my students really struggled with word problems. They had a difficult time understanding what to do and how to solve; especially when all 4 operations have been introduced. In order to get better at anything, students must be given practice. They need to be exposed to word problems frequently..not only during your unit in which word problems are covered. 

So--I ended up creating weekly morning math problems. I wish you could see how this set has transformed since my first year of teaching! I've probably revised this product a total of 4 times. 

Each day, students will take care of their morning business (turning in homework, copying down the night's homework, getting their supplies out for the day, etc). As a part of morning business, students are required to work on 3 math problems a day. 

In the beginning of the year (August), they start off with only 2 problems which review 2nd grade Common Core State Standards. September transitions them into 3 problems daily with the exception of some Fridays. 

It is important that your students practice, but it is even more important that you students engage is mathematical conversations. Your students must be able to explain and justify their reasonings for choosing a particular answer. 

For about the first month and a half, I will model for students how to lead the class in correcting their morning math as well as how to facilitate conversations. After that, the correcting is all up to the students. 

Every afternoon we take out our Morning Math Books and a red pen. Students go up to the front of the room and share how they solved the problem. If a student got the incorrect answer or are having a difficult time understanding, they raise their hand to let the 'teacher' know. It is then up to the 'teacher' to come up with another way to explain to help out their friend. 

It is so amazing to hear your students saying things like "How do you know your answer correct?", "I like the way you solved the problem", "Don't you mean to say 4 tens, not 4?" "I got lost when you explained ___, could you go back and say it again". 

I love to hear them having conversations about math, helping each other to see math in different ways as well as how to explain and justify their answers in different ways. For those students who may have difficult time explaining their answers, it is so valuable for them to be able to hear others explain. Eventually they get the hang of it, and will be begging to be the 'teacher' to correct the day's Morning Math. 

If you'd like to try this out with your students, I have a FREEBIE sample of September's Morning Math available for you here

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Math Workshop {The Beginning}

Yesterday I posted about how and why Math Workshop started in my classroom. I also mentioned that I would be doing a mini blog series about what it looks like in my class and how I structure the block. If you're interested in reading about why I started, you can check that post out here.

Before we even begin Math Workshop, I explain to my students what it is and WHY it's important. I explain to students that by doing Math Workshop, I am able to be a better teacher and better meet the needs of each student. We talk about how sometimes certain math concepts are harder to learn for others but then the next concepts may be easier to learn. In small groups, I will be able to see what a student is struggling with and address their needs immediately…rather than letting them practice a skill the wrong way and then catching it after I grade their work. 

 I show them the rotation board, explain generally what they will be doing at each station and then we practice moving. Only moving and reading the board. 

The large circles are the different groups. The cards to the far left are labeled: Rotation 1, Rotation 2, etc. Each day during workshop the students will rotate to all four stations- work with teacher, independent work, hands on, and computers. 

After I am done explaining what they'll generally be doing at each station, I assign them a group and we practice reading the board. After that, we discuss HOW we move about from one station to the other. Students are expected to put whatever materials they are working with away. They will get a signal when it is time to switch. I ring my little bell and call out "SWITCH". The students then repeat back to me "SWITCH". I then begin a countdown. I say "10", then the students repeat after me. I continue to count each number and the students will echo the same number aloud. This gives them a total of 20-40 seconds to switch. (I usually start at a higher number during the beginning--but once they get used to it they get better at putting things away and moving quickly). 

Only after I know that each student knows how to read the board and move about…we practice. Students don't do anything at each station…they just practice counting, moving, and pretending like they're working at their station. We continue to practice as much as we need until I know that students know the expectations. 

Some of the expectations in our classroom are:
  1. Students are not allowed to interrupt me when I am working with a small group of students. I only have 20 minutes with each group, and they understand this time is valuable. 
  2. Students must be on task…the whole time.
  3. Students must put their materials away.
  4. Students must come to each station prepared with necessary materials (will go into this later).

Ensuring your students understand the value of Math Workshop as well as what is expected of them is crucial in order for this to be successful. Spending the time in the beginning to make sure your students understand your role and their roles will help the process to run smoothly in your classroom all year round. 

Next up- I will post a little more about the structure.

If you have any questions about starting math workshop in your classroom, please feel free to send me an e-mail or leave your questions in the comment section below :) 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Math Workshop {Introduction}

During my first year of teaching, I made a quick discovery that my students all learned at different paces and had varying needs in regards to learning math. I knew that I needed to do something other than whole group instruction--because that was definitely not working in my room.

This is how math workshop started in my classroom...although it originally began as math rotations (my students changed the name because they got it mixed up with rotations where they switched classes for science, social studies, health, and art.

I decided to start grouping my students based off of similar needs with certain skills. While I was meeting with said groups, others would be working on center activities and games to reinforce other math concepts.

This worked. I was happy, and my students were happy. I am SO glad I decided to try this out during my first year of teaching...because I probably wouldn’t LOVE teaching math as much as I do if it weren’t for this.

Over the years I have refined the whole process of how math workshop works and runs in my classroom.  My students LOVE math workshop time and I LOVE that they love it!

Starting on Sunday, I will begin a mini blog series about Math Workshop in my classroom. I hope you’ll stop in to find out more!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Assess Me!! { A Get to Know You Linky!}

Today I'm linking up with the Tattooed Teacher for a fun new linky she's just started! 

For the next 3-4 weeks, Rachel will be posting new 'assessments' to help us all get to know one another a little better! I can't wait to see what else she has in store :) 

On to today's assessment……

Don't forget to head on over to Rachel's blog so you can link up too!