Monday, August 20, 2012

Literacy Workshop/Daily 5 (Freebie)

Last year I incorporated The Daily 5 into my classroom for the first time and really enjoyed the freedom of choice it gave to my students. They became such independent little workers in all areas of their studies and I think it was due to all the practice time we spent building our stamina. I am very excited to work with The Daily model in my class again this year, especially now that I am going to be teaching Grade 3. I am also planning to use all the fabulous strategies I learned during the Guided Math book study, so I can only imagine how independent and self-sufficient (fingers crossed) my little friends will be!!

This year I am moving onto a team that plans together! Yes, we already have our language and math long range plans done for the year. (And they are so pretty...all organized and on a chart!) But none of them had read or used The Daily 5 before. So I handed around my copy, got a few from our resource room and got everyone reading. That being said, a few of my team members use The Power of Retelling as the main part of their reading program. So, I got my hands on a copy and I have been reading that throughout the summer. 

The plan is a mishmash of the two models that is ultimately designed with our students in mind. Simple? Ha!

The one things that I need to wrap my head around a little more is using a Monday-Friday schedule. Come from Grade 7-8 I have always taught rotary where I have very little say about when I am teaching which subject. My students would come for 45 minutes, leave and then I would have another class for 45 minutes. My school system works on a Day 1-10 cycle so I was stuck teaching what was schedule for each matter how things may have been going. Now that I teach my own class all the subjects, with very little rotary I have a lot more flexibility to play with my schedule as I see fit. So excited about that!

Here is my basic plan:

 It's a very rough outline. 

I think it's going to take a few weeks of working with the 2 models to really see how things go, and to be honest those won't even be the first weeks of school because I have to work through the launching of all the aspects of the Daily 5. Maybe November? :)

I have also decided to call my program "Literacy Workshop". I disliked using the word "daily" last year because we didn't always fit it in everyday. I also don't want a number in the title because I am hoping to incorporate a little media and a responding to reading when I can so our rotation choices will be changing and flexible as the year progresses. 

The Power of Retelling uses a "Book of the Week" approach for modelling, teaching, and assessing the students' ability to retell and respond to what they have read. My teaching partners and I have discussed that this would be a good area to incorporate the Daily 5 as we could use vocabulary words during Word Work or a specific writing prompt for Work on Writing. Really, the possibilities are endless. I can also see a lot of possibilities for extending my students' learning during our guided reading groups as I use all the wonderful strategies from our Guiding Readers Bookstudy. 

I am very excited about developing my literacy program as the year progresses. I know it will be a lot of work but I think it will be very rewarding for both myself and my students. 

The third component of my literacy program will be guided reading and using all of the wonderful strategies that I learned during the Guiding Readers Bookstudy. My one concern is finding and having enough levelled texts to use with my students. This is going to be a goal of mine as soon as I can get back into the school. I want to check out what is available. 

Lastly, will be Writer's Workshop. This is always an ongoing project for me. I'm not sure that I've ever really liked my program in the past! I'm hoping this year is better...somehow! Something else to add to my list of goals, I guess. I have always found that the program I used in the past was too cumbersome and too involved somehow. I want to parr things done and make it more simple so that more time is spent writing and less time is spent doing whatever else we did!!

So, to get ready for all these changes in my classroom I have made a few freebies that I thought some of you might enjoy as well. 

I've decided to decorate my class using a Dr. Suess theme so I purchased some backgrounds and borders that fit in with my theme for my freebies!

This first freebie is for the book of the week work I will be doing related to The Power of Teaching. It follows along the weekly plan that I laid out above and includes a header for the work to be done on each day.

The second freebie is a Daily 5 inspired set of posters and schedule cards. I've decided to add a few of my own rotations (Respond to Reading and Interact with Media) so that I can be more flexible with my program. Here's a hint of what it contains...

Enjoy!! Don't forget to leave a comment after you've downloaded the freebies.

Morning Math Meeting/ Calendar Time (Mega Freebie)

After reading Guided Math this summer as part of the book study I have created a few goals for my math program. I know it is unrealistic to implement everything at once, especially since I am moving to a new grade, so I have some short and long term goals for myself.

Short Term Goals

1. Start Math Stretches and Math Meeting  (Calendar) during the first week of school.
2. Integrate more games and small group work on a daily basis.
3. Use weekly math homework to practice necessary skills not just the strand we are currently working on.

Long Term Goals

1. Look towards starting Math Workshop (a freebie will be coming soon!)- I am thinking that about the start to middle of October I will be planning on moving towards a math workshop model in my classroom
2. Learn more about math manipulatives and problem based learning
3. Look into completing my Math Part 1 Additional Qualifications (very long term)

Whew...don't you always feel better when you set some goals? 

So in order to achieve these goals I have been working on creating what I will call Morning Math Meeting. Since I will be teaching Grade 3, not a lot of our time will be focused on an actual calendar so I didn't really feel that calling it calendar would work for me. However, as I have been perusing the blogosphere for ideas, I can tell you that it's basically going to be calendar. 

If you are new to Thinking of Teaching, then you may want to check out my previous post about Math Stretches and my Calendar Outline. I have some freebies posted there as well.

This year I will be teaching in a portable, which is what we call those small (very small) trailer type rooms they put outside of a school when they need more space. I've taught in one before and actually kind of like it, and I'm not worried about being segregated from the rest of the school school has 20 of these!!! We are waaaaaaay over capacity! It's a whole second school outside the main building. But I digress...

Since I am in a portable with limited wall space I have decided to put my Morning Math Meeting board on a portable cork board. I have all the pieces ready to be printed, cutout and laminated but just haven't had the time yet with the baby arriving and the wedding tomorrow. But, I didn't want to make you all wait for a freebie! Especially since it is Friday!

This is what I envision my Morning Math Meeting will entail in September. I plan to make it an ever changing, flexible part of our math program and even hope to integrate Science down the road. I am still thinking about how much writing my students will be doing, versus orally communicating together. But perhaps, that is a post for another day?

So, without further ado here is the freebie. I would really appreciate any and ALL feedback from you if you choose to download this freebie. Comments are wonderful and help so much! Thanks.

The clipart in this freebie is from Scrappin Doodles and the font is from Kevin and Amanda.

My calendar/math meeting was inspired by:

Primary Inspired

Teaching in Room 6

Mrs. Meacham's Classroom Snapshots

Mama Jenn

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's so sad...

To be a blogger without the Internet! I'll be back when my provider has come to fix it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Beautiful Family

This post has nothing to do with teaching. I just to give you a heads up before you get to the bottom and think, "Hey, this has nothing to do with teaching."

My husband, daughter and I had family photos done while we were at the cottage back in July and they are amazing. So fabulous that I wanted to share them with all of you.

The photographer we used was from Misfit Photography in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. If you live nearby or are in the area I would HIGHLY recommend her. She was great with Avery, my daughter. 

Sigh. I love my family.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Teacher Planning Binder: Information and Forms (Freebie!)

I'm still plugging away at my teacher planning binder. So far everything is just on my computer or in my head, but I am still 4 weeks away from starting school again so I have time to compile everything. When that is done I will definitely post some pictures for you all to see. 

If you missed my first two posts about my teacher planning binder ideas click on the links below...

I do feel like this is going to be an ongoing process, or at least should be an ongoing process. As the year progresses I will be adding and removing items from my binder as I need to and as it suits my teaching. Some things I plan on NOT putting in this binder are:

1) My guided reading plans- I hope to create a "Pensieve" a la the Cafe book 

2) My guided math plans- still not totally sure what I plan to do here. I know I will be keeping my Math Stretches and Calendar Math plans in one binder/or spiral bound as I outlined in this post.

Click on the picture to head to that post and pick up those freebies if you haven't already!

Other than that I keep my math units in separate binders (or have in the past) based on the unit/strand I am covering.

My Teacher Planning Binder is (hopefully) just going to contain the most vital information needed on a daily basis. As I see it right now, I plan to have the following information in my binder:

1. Assessment Profiles- I moved from a class list style assessment sheet last year to having one sheet per student for assessment. This way I can see my students' achievement in all the areas of their academics in a glance. Don't worry...I will be posting about this soon!

2. Long Range Planning- My team and I completed our Math and Language Arts long range plans before school was out in June (awesome!) so that's done. I need to look over the other subjects I teach but as I like to integrate as much as possible it will really be a matter of fitting Science and Social Studies (mainly) in with my Math and Language programs. 

3. Monthly Calendar- I like to be able to see ahead a few weeks at a single glance so this is an important section for me! I downloaded the calendar pages from Leslie over at Kindergarten Works and so far, these are the only pages in my binder!

4. Student Information- I use this section to keep track of birthdays, transportation, allergies, and past achievements. I have a profile sheet I have used in the past to get a glimpse of my students' past grades and learning skills from their student records but, like many things, I plan to revamp this! 

5. Staff and Team Meetings- This will be new this year. I have always just grabbed a sheet of paper for meetings with my team but had a designated notebook for full staff meetings. I am hoping that if I keep it all in one place I can be more organized in this area.

And that's it!! I don't want too much in one place because I don't think that leads to increased, it'll just be too big to lug around with me everywhere. 

So I imagine that by now you are wondering why I wrote freebie in the title...and if you are this far into the post (and have read through all my blabbering on) then you definitely deserve a freebie!

Here are three forms I've created for my teacher planning binder that all free for you!!

Do you have a teacher planning binder? 
What do you put in it? 
How did you go about planning and organizing your binder? I'd love to hear from you!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Math Stretches and Calendar (Freebies)

I have been slightly obsessed with planning for my new math program every since finishing Guided Math and the book study. I plan to start slow, so as to not overwhelm myself, and work towards having a fully integrated guided math program. My first implementation is going to be Calendar and Math Stretches. 

By starting with Calendar and Math Stretches I think that I can get a handle on this new way of teaching math and not overwhelm myself right from the beginning. The Daily 5 will be an integral part of my literacy program and this will only be my second year using it, so I am planning to make changes there as well. As much as I want to jump right in and do EVERYTHING that I read about in Guided Math, I also recognize that I need time as a learner to adjust and stretch my own thinking. Diving right in and doing things just to do them isn't going to help my students and will probably just stress me out. As teachers, I think we need to give ourselves time to learn and grow as much as we give that time to our students. 

So, back to the freebies! Here is my initial set-up for calendar math. I went through the Ontario curriculum for Grade 3 and tried to identify what I felt were the key ideas/concepts that my students would struggle with throughout the year. Grade 3 is also one of the years that our students write EQAO (which is the standardized testing in Ontario) so I wanted to include concepts that would help them across their math studies. It is important for me to recognize that this calendar set-up will change, and should change. This is just my start-up plan to get me going and using this routine in my class. 

Click on the image or title to get your own copy!

I also plan to start each day with Math Stretches as they were outlined in Guided Math. I moved the math stretches around to the days I felt would work better for my class/teaching style and also revamped one math stretch completely. On Tuesday I will be doing "Make It Different" instead of "Number of the Day" that is outlined in Guided Math. I decided that I wanted to do a number of the day everyday as part of our calendar math routine, and that it was important for my students to have a weekly practice with composing and decomposing numbers. 

Math Stretches
Click on the image or title to get your own copy!

My next step is to print off a Math Stretch Planning template and five Calendar Math Outlines for each week of the school year and then bind them together. This way I will have a consistent record of what we have covered in both our Math Stretches and during Calendar Time as I plan through the year. However, even as I write this I realize that I plan to change my Calendar ... so maybe just a binder instead of a spiral bound book?

My one thought/question is this...I want to keep my Math Stretch and Calendar time brief and I will be teaching Grade 3 this year so my thoughts are that I will not have my students copy down anything that we do during this time for the good chunk of the beginning of the year. Instead it will be a whole class oral exercise in order to develop our math literacy! Thoughts about this??

I also plan to have my Friday Math Stretch "How Did My Family Use Math This Week?" as part of my student's weekly homework...but that is another post for another day!
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