Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So...How are my stations going? Gingerbread Style and some FREEBIE on top!

Here is a glimpse of my stations in action!

Click on the images to find the source.

Some of you asked about seeing my Writing Station.  Here it is.
 A closer look. Want the edit ready portable word wall?... FREE!  It is in Power Point... so you may have some formatting to do.   Will you let me know if you grab it and how it worked out for you?
 Write the Room FREEBIE
Students can self-select the game they want to play with their partner.
 Cute activity  from Deanna Jump

 I love my sorting station. Students also use this activity if they finish their station (or morning work) early.
I get the sorts from this book.
Here are the FREE sorting documents that I use.

One student sorted by initial sounds.  Another is working on ending sounds.  The response page picture above is sorted by word families... 
YAY!   Differentiated sorts!

 Domino Math FREEBIE
 Reading about math FREEBIE
 Gingerbread Patterns... FREEBIE
 Oh my GOODNESS!   That is  a lot of pictures!   I promise... I have been teaching (not just taking photos)!

Do you need to see my station lesson plans for this last week?

Need other holiday ideas?  Holy smokes!  Check this post out!

She created a linky party with lots of ideas.

Then, if you are like me, I think I HAVE  to do gingerbread again next week because I also have these outstanding products...  SHEESH!  Can I do gingerbread station until January?   Probably not, but check these out.

Ok...I have to quit now....  Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Small group word study and a look ahead.

I love the flexibility of teaching in small groups.  You really get the opportunity to zero in on some of the skills that are being taught in whole group.  Right now I am working with my kiddos on transferring some of their reading skills to writing.  This lesson was part of my 5 minute warm-up we do before our guided reading book lesson.

Here are  a few photos from today.

To prepare: I put the magnetic letters we were going to use in a Ziplock bag.  
We were looking at the -op word family today.

Miss J. spelled the word "hop"
 Just like my whole group lesson, I said, "Since you can spell hop, change one letter to make the word mop."
For oral language development, each student took turns using the words in a sentence.   We counted the words in the sentence they said (great if your district uses DIBELS). We applauded each attempt.  For some, I needed to assist them in starting the sentence.  I helped those who created an awkward or grammatically incorrect sentence.

 "Now change one letter to make the word top." Here my student is checking his letters and stretching the sounds.
 After running through building 6 or 7 words, we got our white board markers out and wrote the words.
How did I differentiate?
My "advanced students" worked with words like chop, shop, and drop.
My more "basic students" worked on finding the initial sound and more energy was placed on the oral language part of the lesson.

I grabbed my word lists from my Word Explorer Word Study Unit, but you can use your own word families.

What else am I working on?

I love these books. So I am in the process of creating stations (literacy and math) to go with this series.  I am going to gear them towards kindergarten. I hope to have them finished by the end of the weekend.  
 Please let me know if you have any special skills you want me to include.
I had purchased Erica Bohrer's Author Study Unit and I think these will go great together.

This is a hard time of the year for those who can't celebrate Christmas directly in their classrooms, but I think this author study will be wonderful.  We can also include this wonderful book...
How is that for Jolly?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Peek at my Week~Gingerbread Style

I just returned from a wonderful holiday visit with my husband's family in the Dallas area. We drove there and back in what can only be described as the "Arctic
Express."  My husband loves to crank the AC down regardless of  the time of year
(FYI: It was set to 68~Really?   Really!)
So I can not think of a more fabulous surprise than to receive the Sunshine Award!

Class Full of Special Kinders
Learning with Mrs Parker

Thank you ladies... I can actually feel my toes defrosting.

With all that car time, I made a few FREEBIES for you. Some are embedded in my "Peek"  document, but this one is not.

Click on the image to get it for FREE!

I think I will need to work this into my week also!

I have been thinking a LOT about differentiation.  Like you, I have a wide range of abilities in my class.  Therefore I wanted to add more differentiation in my stations.  For the most part, I will let my students self select the activity they want to do. You can see the options in my "Peek" lesson plans.

First, I want to talk about my Pocket Chart.  I got this idea from Kim Adsit at Kindergals . Her post talked about this book and how she used it. I let that post simmer in my head for a few weeks.  Then I FINALLY got my act together.

I have had this book for few years and L.O.V.E. it! To prepare this station, I copied sorts 1-20 on different colored construction paper.  I laminated them, cut them out, and put the sort number on the back of each piece (mucho, mucho importante!)

Students have a menu of sorts they need to complete.  They can do this as their center.  I also give this as an option for early finishers.  The kids are very motivated because once they complete 10 sorts (that I have checked for accuracy) they get to go to the treasure box... HELLO???

Talk about differentiation? I have some students sorting words by beginning sounds, some are sorting by ending sounds, and some are sorting medial sounds.

I have found this is a great (quick) reteaching opportunity.  I promise to have pictures of this in action next week.

Onward... You can grab this document with the hyperlinks by clicking on any page below.

Ok... I promise to be back mid-week to show these stations in action... Especially, the sorting station.

I also will be back with more on Writer's Workshop.  I have had a few people suggest I make a product for TpT, but honestly... I'm having a hard time putting something together that feels authentically mine. So until I am struck by a bolt of lightning, you will get my posts as I travel through Writer's Workshop with my kiddos.

I am planning on a little video on their writing folders...  Brace yourself for my voice~YIKES!

It's a Sale!

Happy Holidays!

Click on the picture to go to my TpT Store!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Writers Workshop-The Anatomy of my workshop and some conferring

I had received an few emails asking more about the logistics of my Writing Workshop, so this will look familiar to a few of you (I just cut and pasted into my post... la-zy)

So here is the anatomy of my "New Writer's Workshop"
WARNING: This is a long post, you may want to get a snack and something to drink

1.  Students get their writing folder and meet me on my carpet for my mini-lesson.  The students sit on their folder to keep the chaos to a minimum. NO PAPER FUSSING ALLOWED

2. Students know this is time for me to model write. I do a LOT to think alouds.  Before I added a page, I modeled how I went back and reread the previous pages to be sure what I was going to add would fit in the book.  I asked,  "So writers, if I wanted to write about what I made for dinner, would that go in this book?"   Stuff like that.  I did this EVERY day.  Because sometimes the kids need to hear it over and over.  My kids also helped me think of what else I could add in my book about Theodora.  They helped me form the sentence that I would write.  Once we had decided on the sentence, I drew the lines for each word.  Then I would write the words with their input, "Help me spell 'the'".... (10 minute mini-lesson tops)

3. Before they went off to write,  I did my usual "status of the class"... What are you going to write about today?  On day two with the books, my question changed to, "Are you going to add to your piece or start a new one."   I have let my kids choose a single page (like we had been doing) or starting a book.  

4. This week we set the timer for 20 minutes.   The students could write, draw, and add words during this time.  CONTROL FREAK WARNING:  I require my students to use a pencil to draw and crayons to exceptions.  I have not embraced the markers yet... just can't seem to go there.  I put on classic music while they write (nothing with words...sorry no opera).

5.  During this time, I meet with my small group writing kiddos (4 students per day).

6.  When there is about 5 mins left on the timer, I say, "Writers, you have about 5 minutes left.  If you have not worked on your words yet, please do so."  This has been a standard announcement since we started Writer's Workshop on day 1,so they have gotten good at jumping to it.

7.  When the timer goes off, I brisk around the room and have the students read their work.  They have gotten good at quickly reading it to me (not the case back in Sept.)  I quickly jot the words down that I think will be hard to figure out later (this is contrary to the KWR mindset).  I usually do the reading recovery check marks above the sounds they were able to write.  I praise the heck out of efforts.

8.  Those kids who don't have word attempts down I say, "Oh boy, you need to get some words down and I'll be back to check on you." I am moving at a super quick pace.  This is not my conferring time (I do that with my small group).

9.  Students come back to my rug and sit on their folder, NO PAPER FUSSING ALLOWED

10. My small group shares their writing for the day on the document camera.... Praise, praise, praise.... from me,  Kind comment from a peer. (10  minutes)

11. Students then get with their writing partner to share their work.  (3-5 minutes)

12.  The folder goes back in the pocket chart for the next day.

Whew!  Simple...ya... right!

Here is what I modeled this past week.

Here is what one of my students worked on this last week. The print is kind-of small, but if you click on the picture, you will get a larger image.

Here is what I could say about this writer:

He is able to generate his own topic for writing.
He can hold the language in his memory while he transcribes his message.
He returns to the beginning of the sentence and will reread if he needs to remember the next word.
His writing contains a logical and sequential order.

He says words slowly and records the sounds he hears.
He uses our classroom resources (word walls) although,not all of our word wall words are spelled correctly.
He uses spaces between his words.
He writes some high-frequency words correctly.
He uses punctuation.

My goals for him?
He is a risk taker, so I am planning on challenging him to vary the way he starts his sentences.  These all start with "I am" and I think he is ready for a little sentence variety.

I could also challenge him to go back and reread for correctness. I think he could do a little revising for clarity.

I am sure there are more ways my conference could go... Wanna give me your ideas?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Peek at my Week...ok just 2 days

I feel like I am cheating, but I decided to keep my stations the same for Monday and Tuesday.  We will be off the rest of the week so I did not see the need to make any changes.  

 That left me with LOTS of time to create some new things for December!

Click on any picture to go to my TpT store.

We love Roll, Say, Keep! Mean fox!
 This is bigger than ever.  I included numbers to 20 so you can differentiate your instruction. I also added a game to use for telling time to the nearest hour.  Still an important skill!

Some of my students still need to work with letter identification (response pages are included).

As requested...I made a December version of my Writing Work Station. It includes 32 vocabulary cards and 4 different types of writing choices for your kiddos.  Each one comes with an "I Can..." chart so your sweeties can be independent. I plan on keeping my Thanksgiving vocabulary words available for many weeks because I suspect my kids will want to write about what they did during Thanksgiving.
Christmas Cookies Math Board Game.  This can be easily differentiated as well.   Students can use the 0-9 cards or simple addition and subtraction. I love this clip art... made me a bit hungry!
I brought my student's writing home with me, so I'll be back with more on writing tomorrow.

I was thinking about showing you the anatomy of my writer's workshop... sounds risque!
I will also include some student samples.  

How are you guys on conferring?  
Do you feel like you would like to see how I analyze my kiddos' writing?

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