Friday, September 26, 2014

Busy Week with Lots of Literacy Activities & Some Apps! "Five for Friday"

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs' Five for Friday to show you what my students have been accomplishing this week during my guided reading groups. 
My students have been busy writing all week.  They used their personalized writing books to respond to their reading.  My 2nd graders wrote facts they learned from their nonfiction texts, while my 4th graders used nonfiction text features to write about the cycle of milk becoming ice cream.  I loved how they went back into their books to help them spell tricky vocabulary words!  In addition, some of my 2nd grade groups participated in various Interactive Writing activities about their fictional texts.
My 2nd graders need lots of practice instantly identifying sight words while reading.  We *mixed and fixed* sight words on the iPads with the Magnetic ABC App (which is FREE), as well as on cookie sheets with magnetic letters.  Soon we'll be using the iPads and the SCAN App to listen to, match and spell PrePrimer through 3rd grade sight words.  You can check out the Audio QR Code sight word activities HERE
Magnetic ABC App icon
Explicitly teaching and modeling the use of fix-up strategies is a major portion of the time spent with the students in my RtI groups. To help support my students with visual reminders of the strategies, I've created posters and bookmarks for my students to reference while reading.  If you're interested, you can check them out HERE.  My little readers sure are getting the hang of it. :)
I took my first running records this week, since the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark testing has ended.  I documented my students' reading progress to see how they are doing with their strategy use.  I used the online running record resources from Fountas and Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Intervention Kit.  So far, so good. :)
My 3rd graders have been working with words containing silent letters.  After recording the words on chart paper, the students practiced spelling and identifying the silent letters on the iPads using the ScreenChomp App.
ScreenChomp App icon
Well, there you have it.  That's my week in a nutshell.  Check out our Twitter and Instagram buttons for mini-blog posts of our literacy activities throughout the year!  Now, head on over to Doodle Bugs to share your Five for Friday. ;)

Have a great weekend!

P.S. On a side note, stop back next Friday for another literacy blog hop with a trail of freebies!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wine, Cheese & Massages on Curriculum Night?

I'm linking up with Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday!

The pictures above say it all, but I'd like to explain a bit further.  I'm going to start with...Wow!  What a night my husband and I had at our own children's Curriculum Night.  It was comparable to our date nights out on the town.  

Our twins recently turned 3 years old and now attend preschool (mixed with a dash of daycare) at Little People's Country near our home.  An invite to attend Curriculum Night was placed in their cubby.  After reading the invitation, our curiosity was piqued.  Wine and cheese being a school...on Curriculum Night?  For the 19 years I've been in education, I could never imagine massages with liquor being served at my own school.

On the day of the event, we were sent a friendly reminder through our parent-teacher communication *lifeline* called Life Cubby.  The reminder came in the form of an online photograph of a hand-decorated sign saying, "Welcome to Parent Night".  If you haven't heard of Life Cubby, it's an online parent-engagment and communication platform.  It is a fantastic way for the teachers to communicate the classroom happenings throughout the day with parents.  I find it especially helpful with my little preschoolers because when I ask them them what they did at school, they usually respond, "Play!"  With Life Cubby, I get updates and pictures at the end of each school day of my kids participating in hands-on learning centers.  It better prepares me for the conversations with my little ones at the dinner table. ;)

Anyway, as my husband and I entered, we were led into the art studio to be welcomed.  We were given wine, cheese, crackers and an array of fruit with...(drum roll, please)... MASSAGES!  My husband is in the picture above getting his massage after a long day of teaching Art to K-6 students. ;)

Following the massages, we were corralled into our children's classroom (with food and drink refills) to listen to the teachers explain the curricula and routines of the little ones.  When they were finished, the teachers handed us a packet of information and flowers to thank us for attending the event but, most importantly, for being significant partners in our children's education.   

It was quite an experience!  Has anyone else out there been to a Curriculum Night similar to this one? 

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Sunday" Link Up x2!

Once again, I'm linking up with one of my favorite bloggers, Michelle, over at BigTime Literacy for her "Sunday Letters", as well as Teaching Trio for the first time to join in on "The Sunday Scoop" linky.  Thanks, Ladies! :)

Click HERE to learn more about Lexia Core 5!

Click HERE to view more Designs by Kassie! 
That's all for this Sunday's edition of link ups.  Loads of appreciation goes to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs and Kelsie Felix for the notebook paper clip art and to Kevin & Amanda for the scrapbook fonts.  Enjoy your Sunday!

:) Colleen
Image: Keep Calm-O-Matic

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Picture Can Say It All! Where is Your Thinking?

I'm linking up with Christina over at Sugar and Spice for my very first Wordless Wednesday!  I spotted two *picture-worthy* anchor charts I thought I'd is meant to be helpful and one is to make you smile. :)

I came across this photograph of an anchor chart in an article displaying great reflective questions to help students respond to Common Core texts.  This would be handy to have up on the wall for students to reference during guided reading groups.  
Frame by Glitter Meets Glue Designs
I was in my own kids' school and came across this bulletin board outside of the Kindergarten room.  Kindergartners sure know a lot about scientists.  Do you agree? :)
Frame by Glitter Meets Glue Designs

Enjoy your Wednesday. :)

Thanks for hosting, Christina!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Educational Sites for Teachers, Students and Parents

Looking for powerful lessons (ELA and Math) that provide everything you need to teach the Common Core State Standards within all grade levels?  Need access to over five thousand categories of organized, educational videos to support your Common Core lessons?  Well, I'm here to provide two priceless resources- both FREE!  I've referred to these sites numerous times over the years for lesson ideas, however, I've never had the blogging platform to give a *shout out* to others about these resources.  Now I do, so here it is. :)

Learn Zillion is a convenient, easy-to-use site.  The video below explains the benefits of using Learn Zillion in the classroom.  The Parent-Focused Guide clarifies ways parents can use Learn Zillion at home to extend their child's learning.  

Below is a tutorial on how to navigate the extensive educational resource videos available on WatchKnowLearn.  You'll be amazed!
Hope these sites help someone out there. :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

"Five for Friday", Here I Come Again!

Hello, Friday.  Welcome.  I've missed you. :) I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs' Five for Friday to share a bit about my week! 

Since this week began with a holiday, I was able to spend Monday at our lake house sitting on the end of a pier with my husband enjoying the sun and lake water...for a total of 1 hour and 37 minutes.  That's the total amount of time our twins napped.  It was a blissful 1 hour and 37 minutes we're grateful to have had with one another.  

Of course, after nap, we enjoyed the pontoon boat with the family.  We even spotted a *car-boat* drive/motor off from the lakeside restaurant into the water.  Interesting sight, to say the least. 

There are so many wonderful books out there for students to enjoy which emphasize vocabulary knowledge, including  The Boy Who Loved WordsMax's Words and Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster.  

However, my all-time favorite book to boost students' awareness of vocabulary and word study is Donovan's Word Jar.  It's a guided reading Level N, so it works nicely with the 3rd graders I support in my small groups.  

Anyway, I was at Hobby Lobby the other day and came across this crafty little decoration.  I instantly thought of an idea for Donovan's Word Jar.  I'm thinking these wooden jars will be a fantastic addition to my classroom walls to hold interesting vocabulary my students come across when reading.  If you have any other cute suggestions, I'd love to hear them. 

We had a successful Curriculum Night at school on Wednesday.  Many parents came to learn all about the happenings at school.

For Curriculum Night, the 2nd Grade teachers passed out popcorn to the parents to welcome them to their classrooms.  One of the teachers gave me a pack to bring home to my kids.  Cute idea, 2nd Grade Team! :)

The Reading Team was introduced to the parents.  We were happy to welcome the families into our rooms to discuss what we do with the students. :)

Nancy- Reading Recovery Specialist, Colleen- Reading Specialist, Courtney- Literacy Coach
Below is a little something I made out of wooden blocks to add to my collection of sight word practice activities.  The colors represent words from the PrePrimer, Primer, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade and 3rd Grade Dolch word lists.  
Last, but not least, I was searching the Internet for resources to further support my struggling students and came across 50 Popular iPad Apps for Struggling Readers & Writers.  It is a pretty fabulous resource, especially since I have access to 4 iPads when working with my small groups.  As a bonus, once you click on the link, TONS of additional resources are available for Common Core, Technology, Social Media, Teaching and iPads.  I thought I'd pass it along to the blogging community in case someone else finds it as valuable as me. :)

Thanks again for hosting another successful linky party, Doodle Bugs Teaching!  Bloggers, don't forget to link up your Five for Friday

Enjoy your weekend!

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