Sunday, September 14, 2014

Anchor Chart Storage

Hey y'all!  I'm here today to talk about an organizational tool that I wish I would have started doing years ago.  Do you make anchor charts only to conclude that you don't like them?  Do you end up making them year after year?  Once you get a nice anchor chart, do you ever wonder where to store it?  Well, in my classroom space is {VERY} limited.  I rarely have room for the essential areas in my classroom let alone anchor charts.

Last year, I decided to {steal...hehe} my son's laundry basket.  I thought the depth of it would work great for storing my anchor charts!  Plus, it fits right inside my easel.

Not only does it store my anchor charts, but it is large enough to store my smaller chart paper packs and my large post-it notes.  I absolutely love it!  Another organizational idea that makes this storage system even better is placing labels on the bottom backside of each anchor chart and rolling it up so the label is visible.  I then place these on top so I can easily find the anchor chart I need.  I got the idea about the labels from Mary over at Teaching with a Mountain View.


How do you store your anchor charts?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Literary Elements

I always like to review literary elements pretty early on in the year because we use it so much in our reading.  A BIGGIE for 5th graders is comparing characters, setting, and events in a single text and across multiple texts.  But, before we compare, I like to review first!  Although theme is part of literary elements, I like to save it until last because students seem to really struggle with it.  For this lesson, we reviewed character, setting, events, and plot.

First, I started off with making this adorable anchor chart!  We went over this during our whole group lesson on Monday.


As we went over it, I had the students record their notes on a simple cover page I attached to their packet I gave them for the week.

 Our packet includes pages from Jen Jones' Comprehension Strategy Sheets for Grades 3-6.  I LOVE this packet!  It is well worth every dime spent.  I use it any time I teach a standard.  It has the sheets organized by standard which is very time saving.  She also has an informational packet that I own, too!  Here's a two-page preview of the pages I use.  You should totally go check it out.  Our packet just for these four skills is about 10 pages.  And, since it includes standards 3-6, you can remediate or enrich as needed!  Score!

We work through this packet for the remainder of the week in whole and small groups.  We use our read aloud to complete the activities so we can all work together or with partners.

Before we moved on to talk about character traits that a specific character had, I introduced character traits with a character trait checklist that I found online.  Then, I use Leslie Ann's Character Trait Reading Passages to practice.  I also incorporate some writing about the characters and have the students support their writing with evidence from the text by using our evidence board.

Once we have mastered all these things we move on to theme and author's message.  We spent about 2 weeks on this unit.  Well worth the time!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Favorite Pins Friday

It's a little late in the day, and I'm winding down from one crazy week.  Between work, kids, soccer practice, and revival, I'm exhausted.  But, I've been doing a lot of things in my classroom that I am eager to share with you.  This weekend, I am hoping to schedule a few blog posts for next week.  I feel like I am *finally* catching a break!  Next week, I am going to try and leave at 4 each day... we'll see how that works!

Now on to my Favorite Pins Friday that I haven't been able to do in quite some time!
I have been pinning a lot of anchor chart ideas lately.  Sometimes I get on a roll with one particular idea and go crazy with it!


 I just love this classic, casual look.  GAP had a cute top like this a month or so ago.  I'm really thinking I need to go back and pick it up!

This is a really cute anchor chart to use when teaching your students the difference between editing and revising.  I think every student could benefit from this knowledge!


I actually made this last year for my students to help them see the difference in questioning.  Not only did it help them understand the questions they were answering, but it also helped them to come up with their own critical thinking questions.

Who doesn't need help with volume control in their classroom?  I actually need to use this THIS YEAR!!!  I have a very talkative group this year!

This is too cute NOT to share!  I am having a new deck added onto the back of my house, and this would look SUPER cute by the door!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Weeks 1-3... Where has the time gone?

Oh my!  Time sure does fly when you are running around like a back to school teacher!  These past three weeks have been a whirlwind of craziness!  I've been trying to survive and get to know my students as readers.  I still don't feel like I am where I need to be, but I'm still trying to fill out my reading bio for each student.  I am almost finished with my running records and retelling for my advanced students.  I am completely finished with my other students.

Last year around April, I came across a great teaching lesson from one of my favorite blogs to read, Teaching with a Mountain View.  She mentioned on her blog, and I totally agree with her, that teaching students the differences between summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting are very important and should be taught early on in the year.  Last year, I decided that this would be one of the first skills I would teach my students.  All of these ideas came from her blog, and I totally encourage you to go check it out as she explains it so much better.

First, we went over paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting.  The students have heard the terms before, but I don't think they ever looked at each one with its own individual meaning.  I'm not going to lie, it's difficult to explain the difference between the three, but the more you talk about and explain it, the more clear it becomes for you and the students!


What helped the students {and myself} the most was looking closely at the two that were mostly alike and comparing the two.  We created this graphic organizer together on the board.  The students were able to use the anchor chart to help them.


In small group, we worked on these wonderful task cards by Mary from Teaching with a Mountain View.  

I copied the first one on a sheet of paper like she recommends here.  Then, I created a small flip chart foldable that the students glued to this page and used it to record their thoughts.  

Once we completed this activity in small group, the students completed a few more task cards independently.  Then, for an assessment, I had the students complete an activity where they took a Civil War article (what they are learning in social studies) and read it a few times.  I gave them a week to work on summarizing their article and then transferring that information into a comic strip.  Here are a few pictures of their work.




Here are links to the resources I used.  The project explanation page is specifically for my classroom, but you can use it as a guide to help you with yours.  I found the comic strip templates online.

Comic Template #1
Comic Template #2
Explanation Handout

This past week, we worked on supporting our answers with evidence from the text.  I created an evidence board similar to this one here.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you have already seen this picture of my board.

This past week, we talked about our evidence sentence starters.  I got these sentence starters from Jen Jones' Text Talker sheet that she has for FREE in her shop.  I typed them up two different ways.  I ended up going with the more simple cards that I printed on bright card stock.  I still have to take the examples the kids came up with while we were modeling how to correctly use them and make a cute anchor chart to go on the left side of the board.  It's amazing, but I have already witnessed this transfer over to their homework and even their weekly reading assessments.  It's amazing what these kids can do when you model for them and train them up right!

Here are the links to what I used!  You may use them in your classroom, but please don't try to pass them off as yours :)

Simple Cards
Designer Cards

I have so many other things I want to share... but this post is long enough already :)  I have three ELL students this year, and one requires alternate homework.  I can't wait to share how I modify her 5th grade homework to help her read!

Is there something new you are using this year that you LOVE???

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who? Monday

Hi, y'all!  I will be {once I get off work} linking up with Blog Hoppin' for their Teacher Week.  Today is Monday which means...

Who am I?  That's a good question! :)

#1
First of all, I {LOVE} God and believe he sent his only Son to die for me... enough said! 

#2
I am also SUPER crazy about my family.  I love them, and they are my entire life.  Every minute of my life revolves around them.



#3
I love to cook, and I cook for my family every.single.night.  It's exhausting, but I'm hoping my boys will have memories of helping me in the kitchen and will one day search for their future wife by using the qualities I have shown them.  Qualities that a wife and mom should have.  That is one of my wishes for them.

#4
I have been a consistent runner for over 2 years now.  I am currently training for my first half marathon that will go down in October.  Please pray for me... no joke!


 I believe that running makes me a better person... no joke!  I let out so much steam when I'm running.  All teachers should take it up to run out the anxiety and frustration of teaching!

#5
I'm a Sunday napper.  Every Sunday I take a nap while my boys nap.  Unfortunately, I then stay up waaay to late on Sunday nights.  Like right now, for instance.  I am sitting here at almost midnight with no desire to go to sleep.  When 2am rolls around, I'm going to be mad at myself for taking that crazy nap.  Just like I am EVERY Sunday!!!  LOL

#6
I am a UGA alumni, and I love my UGA Dawgs!
I grew up around Athens, GA and still live there today.  It gets a little crazy when students are in town, but I love it!

#7
I am a life-long learner.  In my first five years of teaching, I received my master's and specialist degrees.  Even though I am currently not in school, I continue to find time to read professional development books to learn new and innovative teaching ideas for my classroom.

#8
I.LOVE.TEACHING!
I am so very thankful that God spoke to me, I listened, and I love going to work each and every day.  The most amazing part is that I get to help change the lives of children every single day.

#9
Lastly, I am not very good at managing my time or organizing my actual life.  My classroom is organized and clean, but I am NOT!  If you wait, you will notice that I will have a difficult time keeping this blog going during the school year.  It's not that I don't want to, I just don't have time!  I'm trying to get better at managing my time and not wasting it on Facebook things that don't matter.

So, here's to a year where I prioritize the things that matter to me!  This little blog being one of them!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Favorite Pins Friday

This is going to be a short post because I.AM.TIRED!  Today is my first day of school.  As you are reading this, I am getting to know my sweet students!

Is this not the cutest idea for famous people?  This would be great to pair with informational texts.

I was looking for some assessments on how to get to know your students as readers and came across this.  Wonderful resource!

Yum!  This would be a great team teacher gift.  Who doesn't love a snack during the day?


Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It

As you are reading this... I'm back at school.  Insert sad face --> here!  I enjoyed my summer oh so much!  I am usually rested and refreshed for a new school year, but I don't really feel that way this year.  I feel like I still need a few more weeks to prepare.  Do you know what I mean?  

Anyways, ALL summer long I was lazy and pooled it by the pool.  I didn't do much of anything concerning my classroom.  Well, this past weekend I worked it, girl!  I found a few treasures and got a little crafty.


This was a natural frame that measures about 2.5 ft tall.  I painted it so my kiddos can get their picture taken in it on the first day of school.  I just love to see how much kids change in 5th grade.



This is a partial made-it.  All I did was paint the legs pink.  I am going to use this cute chalkboard easel to write directions on for open house.  I am going to have the parents write their name and address on an envelope, so all I have to is slip a good note in and mail it off!


This one is my favorite, but it's not quite finished yet.  When I get to school tomorrow I will need to hot glue the clothespin on the solid frame.  I am going to place this on my desk and clip my peek of the week to it each week.  If you want to know more about my peek of the week, click here.

This is a made-it because it was a chalkboard that said Prayer Requests at the top.  I know... I can't believe I painted over that, but it will work for just what I want it to!

Here's the back!



I finally made me some of the super cute pencil buckets!  Now to recruit a sharpener at the end of each day!  All I need to do now is put washi tape at the top of my pencils.

There you have it.  A quick and easy made-it.  I will have to link up when I get home from work... **sigh**

Friday, August 8, 2014

Favorite Pins Friday: Back to School

Hey y'all!  I guess you know what time it is!
This week in addition to my favorite five from this past week, I will be including a few pins for back to school that I plan on doing either on the first day or at open house.  I head back to work on Monday, and my students return on Friday.  We will see if I can keep this little blog up and running this school year... ha!

{SOURCE}
This year, I am going to focus a little more on having the students set goals in just about everything we do in class.  This is a great idea to carry that over to the entire class.


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It doesn't get much better than free, and everything that Mary from Teaching with a Mountain View has is wonderful!  This is a skill that my students struggle with in fifth grade so any help is greatly appreciated!

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Who doesn't struggle with those students who finish EVERYTHING early?  With reading, we always have something to work on in our binder, or we always have silent reading.  But, this is a quick and simple way to give your students alternate assignments besides the ones they always do.

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I made these charts last year, but they were not as cute as these!  I'm not going to include everything that I did last year because I learned real quick that I just couldn't do everything the Daily 5 suggests. BUT, I am still going to use what works for me which you can find here.  I will definitely use the idea of these cute charts this year!

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Our district went Google last year, and I'm sure there is SO much more than what I am using with it.  I honestly just haven't had the time to sit down and learn about it.  Hopefully this post will help me out... when I have time to read it!  LOL

Now for my Back to School Pins!  These are a few things I am hoping to use this year.  The pictures are pretty much self-explanatory.  The links are in the pics.

Is this not the cutest little brownie pencil?  I want to make this for my homeroom on our first day :)

 This pin is about having a student example of a binder system you will be using with your students.  I already have this put together.  One of my wonderful students donated hers last year.

I am really excited about this.  I am going to try hard this year to focus on the positive and send one good note home a week to my students.  There is nothing like getting a 'Good' note in the mail from your child's teacher.

What are your favorites from this past week?