Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reading Assessment Record Part 2

I am halfway done with my initial reading conferences. I have been learning a lot about them as readers and have been able to learn what areas they need the most support in. I use the conference sheet I posted about here. After I finish my first conference with a student I record their name under one of the headings on the Reading Strategy Assessment Record sheet I created. I write their name and the strategy needed in one of the boxes. After I have finished assessing all the students I have all the information on one sheet and can easily create my first groups. I don't do guided reading in my class. I create groups based on skills or strategies the students need to work on. I have seen tremendous gains using this method and give all the credit to the authors of the CAFE book for helping me move to this way of teaching. Click on the title to download a copy of the sheet I use.

                            Reading Strategy Assessment Record

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reading Assessment Record Keeping Part 1

My class is up to 20 minutes in read to self! So I now have time to start one-on-one conferences with them.  I started getting away from guided reading last year when I discovered CAFE and I love it. I have such a huge range of reading levels in my room that it just makes sense to group my students according to the skill or strategy they need improvement in. Now that I have a good chunk of time where the kids are independently reading, I can start my one-on-one conferencing to assess which areas they need help in and form my reading groups.

Last year I used forms the sisters include in their book or forms I had found on Proteacher. They were great but I wanted something that matched my needs and made sense to me. So I created some forms to use in my pensieve this year. This first form is the conferencing form I will use this year. It has a place for me to record the student's name, date, book title and observations I made while listening to them read.  After listening to the student read, I circle the letter that corresponds to the area needs that needs the most focus and write notes that will be helpful for grouping and our next conference. Click on the title below to download a copy. If you find it useful, I ask that you please leave me a comment. I heart comments!

                                  Reading Conference Record Sheet

What other forms do I use once I finish my inital conference with a student? Stay tuned for part 2!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chart Paper Organization

Now that we've created a few anchor charts this school year, its time to control the chart paper chaos before it starts. Last year I bought a garment hanger at Target. It has wheels so I can move it around the room as needed. I put clothespins on some plastic hangers to hold the charts. Voila! If I need to refer back to a chart at anytime they are all easily accessible. This year though the plastic hangers are not looking as great to me. I might invest in some silver pant hangers to make it look nicer. How do you store your charts?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Read with Someone

Julie at Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher is having a linky for the Daily 5! I heart the Daily 5. We've been in school a week and we have built up stamina for 10 minutes in Read to Self. Now that we have built that much time up I am going to introduce Work on Writing. We have already started a writer's notebook so it will be perfect to go into that daily next. After that I  plan on doing Word Study, Listen to Reading and Read with Someone in that order. I would like them to have enough stamina and practice with all the dailies before getting to Read with Someone so they can be focused when working with a buddy. I try to keep it very simple. I teach them "eekk" style just like the sisters suggest. They may read different books or the same one. Whichever way they choose is fine as long as they interact with each other by saying " I just heard you read...". The sisters use this model and I found it to be simple and effective. I just want them focused on reading and discussing the books so I haven't added any other questions or tasks for them to do. I created a simple checkmark that says that phrase and the kids would use it to remind themselves to use it when discussing their books. I copied it onto cardstock and laminated it so they would be durable.

Read with Someone Checkmark

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Science Scavenger Hunt

My first week of school has been crazy busy! I have enjoyed getting to know my new group of third graders. We have been practicing getting into routines. We are up to 10 minutes tomorrow for Daily 5 read to self! I so heart the Daily 5. I never jump into academics until the end of the second week or maybe even third week. I really believe that if you practice routines and procedures it will pay off later for a classroom that practically runs itself. So I'm putting the effort in now. But its not just practice. I've mixed in some getting to know each other activities and introduction lessons for each of the subjects. Something we will be doing tomorrow is a Science textbook scavenger hunt. I will have the kids complete this in groups so that they can practice cooperative learning at the same time. My fellow teammate actually came up with the questions for it but I had to cutesy it up for myself. It seems pretty general and could be used with a different Science series. Hope you can use it!

                              Science Textbook Scavenger Hunt

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Me and My Third Grade Gang!

I am really excited to be joining Me and My Gang! They have added a 3rd grade lounge and I will be one of the contributors. It's a great way to find amazing blogs and collaborate with other teachers. Head over to  Me and My Third Grade Gang and check it out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Classroom Pictures

Today was meet the teacher night and so I finished up setting up my room for the time being. I still want to put together the math tubs and organize my class library. Now that my room is mostly done, I can't wait to start planning! Here are some pics of my portable:

The student desks are ready with paperwork and textbooks.

My Desk Area

Our classroom library and meeting area.

One view of the writing station which is across from the sink.

Another view of the writing area and computers.

My small group area. Behind the table are most of my
math manipulatives as well as reading group materials.

On the left are the student mailboxes and
my toolbox which holds letters for making words.

I put up graphs for the kids to fill out tonight.We'll use them
for activities next week. Notice the red sign with our school wide
 rules. I don't like the color but every classroom has to have that sign
up in the room. To the right is the rest of my library. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Time Capsule

Quick note- I didn't realize The Book Whisperer document in my previous post was not able to be opened. I fixed it and you should be able to open it.

At the beginning of every year, I make a time capsule with my students. I usually use a plain cardboard box but this year decided I needed to make the box look nicer. Since I'm short on money and time for that matter, I decided to get some decorative paper I had and glue it to the box. Unfortunately I forgot that glue really bubbles up if I'm not careful which kinda bothers the OCD in me. But I decided to let it be.

The kids will fill out a time capsule sheet to place in there. I will also take a picture of them and measure them using string which will also go in the capsule. I will tape it shut and the kids will sign their names on the box. At the end of the year, the kids can't wait to open it up! They (as do I) get a kick out of seeing how much they have changed over the year. It's a great back to school activity to do the first week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Whisperer Documents Linky Party!

Thinking of Teaching is having a linky party for The Book Whisperer documents we have made. I loved the book and cannot wait to incorporate the methods from the book in my classroom. I did the Daily 5 last year and loved it. The Book Whisperer will be the icing on the cake for reading this year. I am going to start the year off with a survey of reading interests. I adapted the one from The Book Whisperer for my third graders.

Reading Interests Questionnaire

Organizing Student Notes and Drawings

Today was the first day back for teachers in my district. Wow, am I exhausted! I reorganized a lot and hope to finish that part tomorrow. I will post about that when I'm done. While reorganizing today I took down all the notes and drawings my students gave me last year. I feel bad throwing them away and was trying to think of a way to keep them without cluttering my space. So I found a flexible binder I had lying around and placed some sheet protectors in it. I labeled some cute paper with the class year and placed those in one of the sheet protectors. Anything the kids gave me went behind the sheet. I had some things from 2 years ago and the class picture as well, so I made one for that year too. Now I have one place to store all their lovely messages to me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Classroom Jobs and Economy System

What a great but busy day! After spending most of my summer going to bed at 2am, I am going to attempt to go to bed early tonight since I return to work on Monday. We'll see how that goes... So now onto my post. I decided to link my classroom jobs to an economy system in my class this year. I've had trouble in the past with kids not completing their jobs or forgetting to do them. I wanted to keep it very simple for myself and the kids. Every job will earn a $1 a day. If the job gets done, they earn their money for the day and keep track of it on a log. At the end of the month, I will cut them a paycheck and open up my classroom store. They can shop and keep any leftover money for shopping the next month. Even my store is simple and I included the item price list in the powerpoint.

Here is the PowerPoint I created and will use to explain the system to my students. I would love some feedback! :)

Classroom Jobs and Economy System PowerPoint

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Free Stuff!!!

Who doesn't love free stuff?  I discovered a site called Teacher's Tape where you can order up to 7 different samples of things like magnetic tape. I just ordered all 7 samples because why would I pick and choose when they are graciously offering all 7? Here's the link!

Teacher's Tape

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meet the Teacher Night Linky Party

I can't believe that in a little over a week I will be meeting my new darlings for this year. I have not quite mastered the art of holding a great meet the teacher night. At my school it is very informal and families pop in and out of the classrooms so there is no formal presentation. I need some ideas for what my school calls Meat and Greet (We serve hamburgers and hot dogs.) What do you do that has gone over really well? Please comment and if you have a blog, I would love it if you post about it and join my first linky party!

This was not my original idea and do not remember where it came from but what I am planning on doing again this year is putting out a basket of small popcorn bags. Each bag will have a label with the saying: Thanks for Popping In! Here are the labels I use:

Can't wait to hear all the great tips and ideas!