Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Well, the dust has settled and my class has settled into a wonderful bunch of readers practicing their reading skills on a daily basis. Currently, my first graders are doing three rounds of the Daily Five. We begin with four leveled groups either working on listening to reading, doing word work, writing, or meeting with me. For round two, we all buddy read. To wrap it all up and practice our strategies, we read to self for our third and final round. I don't know why I never thought to set up my reading time this way. I find it works so much better and the students are more focused when we buddy read before going to read to self. It seemed when we read to self first, the students just wanted to talk and share their books anyway. This just gets it out of the way!

Today I will do a focus on Word Work. For my word work right now, students have a selection of word work centers. Most of which revolve around our Fundations word program. A few of my favorites are the Boggle center. I'm sure you have seen this on Pintrest. Letters hang on the back of a door and the students make words.

I included a printout so that students can copy the letters. That way once I change the letters, students can still work on the old board if they want to. I will attach the Boggle recording sheet as a FREEBIE for my followers!

Another fun one is called Souper Speller. I found Campbell's soup containers which contain letter cards. Students manipulate the cards to make words and record them on the sheet.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Slow and Steady!

That is our key right now. In our first grade we are continuing to work on read to self all together. As of last Friday we began breaking into our four groups and two groups are buddy reading while two groups listen to reading. Prior to this, we were all buddy reading. The students do very well buddy reading. Not sure if I posted this already, but I actually launched read to self and buddy reading at the same time this year. I must say it was a good move.

Listening to reading always has its difficulties. Students don't know how to independently use the computers or listening center. I love giving them a cassette tape and watching them attempt to open the case like it was Pandora's Box! This year, I put one student in charge of computers for the week. I teach them how to get the computers up and running and the hope is that they will in turn be able to get them up and running for the rest of the week. In a perfect world, it works, but it is still better than me doing it all the time.

For now, we are holding here. Just continuing to practice with these three until they become second nature. We are also doing our fairy tale unit right now which is new for us at the beginning of the year. I love it though. It works nicely into getting things up and running.
I will keep you posted!

Practicing read to self

Practicing buddy reading

Sunday, September 8, 2013 evidently resolutions are not my strong suit. Well here we are a new year and a new chance to try again. It is one of the reasons I love teaching so much. My kiddo have had 2 days of school thus far. We haven't even begun practicing for our reading time. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't even know what to call my reading program anymore. Does it even matter? It has morphed into this crazy "Daily Guided Workshop" model. It has tiny hints of Guided Reading and a full bouquet of Daily 5 and Readers Workshop...sounds more like a nice bottle of wine doesn't it? I suppose as teachers we all do this...utilize several programs/theories/philosophies until we achieve what we want (or an identity crisis). I am just happy to be teaching quality reading instruction to a bunch of wonderful students! How does everyone else feel?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wow! To say I have been lax in updating this blog is an understatement! One of my 1500 resolutions for the new year is to be better about updating this blog. Of course out of those 1500 I make, I will be lucky if I keep three... but hey! The important thing is the promise that January brings right? So in that spirit, I say, I will blog more. Maybe if I could figure out how to blog using my phone....hmmm... Any who, my plan is to update and add some websites since I am told many of my sites have changed hands, I also want to upload some videos and pictures, but of course I don't have any with me over vacation. I am part of a presentation on Friday January 4th at Bridgewater State so at least I have a timeline to work with. I sure hope this past year has been better to you than it has to me. I suppose every one's year is filled with ups and downs, but I swear, I'm beginning to feel like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and trust me, that is NOT me. I wish you all a wonderful year. Thank you to the nine of you who continue to follow me. I promise to be a better blogger in the new year!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Anyone Else's Head Spinning?

Does anyone else feel like the beginning of the year is extra stressful? I mean, I know that September can be nuts, but it always seems that something "extra" comes up. Maybe I'm nuts, but it just seems that way. I apologize for not updating this site in a more timely manner, but life happens. At least, September has come to an end and October is upon us.

As far as workshop goes, we are still focusing on reading to self and reading to a buddy. I have also added listening to reading with the use of Tumblebooks (a computer book library) and the listening center. I have to tell you that I LOVE watching first graders attempt to open tape cases. I am just starting to do a DRA on my kiddos so that I can figure out what their just right level is. This is always a test because this is the first time I pull students to work with them and leave the others to their own devices. Hopefully they have gotten the hang of things enough to fumble through while I read with my students.  I use a system in my room where I wear a lei so the students know to "lay off". This seems to work okay. I also let the kids use the lei when they need a little space from their classmates.

I know I haven't updated my lesson plans and I promise to add the backlog of plans and the current plans. I will get on that this week. Thanks for checking in! Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Okay, so here we are. I am in my first full week of first grade. Even though I do this year after year after year after year (you get the idea) I ALWAYS forget how frustrating and tiring the beginning of the year can be. Don't get me wrong, the class is great. I have 19 little darlings. I just want them to know and learn the routines and my expectations at the speed of light. I find myself thinking "oh man, I'll never get there this year", but I also know that they always do. I just have to be patient and keep on keepin' on. But....enough about me. You are here to read about workshop set up, and the construction has begun.

So, Monday we began by discussing how to read to self. Right now, my readers only have their Harcourt Trophies basal Guess Who in their book bins. We discussed how to pick a good spot to sit. Students first walked to their spot without books or reading tools (i.e. chairs, cushions, pillows, etc.). We evaluated if students chose a good spot or not. After some reconfiguring, we got our book bins and reading tools and read for 5 minutes. I walked around and complimented students and redirected a few. Overall, not half bad.

Tuesday we had two specials and it was picture day. I swear there is something about picture day that makes the students nuts. We only had a short time for our workshop, but we attempted the same lesson as yesterday. Overall, it went well again. I chuckled though when a few cuties informed me that they had finished their basal. Either they are very advanced, or  I have some work to do. :)

Today, Wednesday, we began reading with a friend. This year I am combining the lessons from the Learning Pad with the format of Growing Readers. So, all of my students read to self first for 5 minutes. At this point, I partnered them up and set the timer for 5 minutes again. It is clear that we need to model different ways partners can read together.  I am encouraging them to use this time to talk about their reading process so that eventually I can have  them write about it. I noticed that some students were "reading together" but they were on different stories and different pages just reading out loud simultaneously. It was cute and reminded me that this will take time. I used the closing line "Readers, I hate to say it, but our reading time is over for today". I was nearly moved to tears when I heard a resounding, "Noooooooooo!" I tell you, there is hope for them yet! During snack time we discussed and modeled how to select a book from our class library.

Tomorrow is Thursday. We will do a repeat of yesterday's lesson. The difference today will be that they have one additional book in their bins. I allowed them to chose one "toughie" book that they can look at. Today we will also select a just right book though it is difficult to decipher just right in September of first grade. For now until I can test reading levels, each student is selecting a red level book meaning a Guided Reading level A-D.

At this point Friday is a just kidding. The plan right now, is to continue to practice read to self and read with a friend. I am also hoping to go over the 3 ways to the pictures, read the words, and retell the story.

My plan is to go nice and slow until things fall into place.  I will put some videos up tomorrow. Tonight, I am exhausted! I don't know about you, but I LOVE my job!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We begin the year with a little blog construction!

Hello friends!

I am counting down the days until I go back to school. In my last few days, I have been reading a great book that was recommended to be called Growing Readers by Kathy Collins. It is filled with great Reader's Workshop ideas that I am pumped to try out this year.

As excited as I am to go back to school, I am more excited about my new website design from Design by Christi. She is amazing. I am awaiting the new format right now and feel the same excitement for this that I generally reserve for Christmas morning! I know you will love the new design as much as I do. For those of you who are lucky enough to have not seen the old design, I will include a photo for posterity.
Amazing what she did huh? If you are ever thinking of starting a blog, use Christi. She is wonderful. Trust me, I knew nothing about blog design! You can find her site at