Week 2 – BTS in a flash – Curriculum Must Haves

Hi!  I am linking up with Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher to share with you curriculum must haves for upper elementary grades!

 

 

week 2

 

A must have item:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 12.43.08 PM I have used my morning for the past 3 years!  It has been wonderful to have something common core aligned.  It spiral reviews all 3rd grade standards :)  It also has back to school pages, 2nd grade review, getting ready for 4th grade pages, and end of year activities.  PERFECT 😉

A new item i’ve created:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 12.43.23 PM After the great feedback on my 3rd grade morning work, i’ve started a 4th grade packet!  Currently the 1st and 2nd nine weeks are added :) It will have everything my 3rd grade packet has :)

 

An item on my wish list:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 12.46.15 PM I would love to have this item in my classroom!!

 

Back to School – Tips, Resources, & a Giveaway!

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All of us over at Upper Elementary Snapshots thought it would be fun to have a whole week of giveaways right before the new school year! That’s right…a whole week!! To start off our week, we are going to be linking up all of our blogs just for you, and giving some great “Back-to-School” tips and freebies to help you start your year off right!

My Back To School Tip…Set up ‘Weekly Test Folders’!

I like to take advantage of the BTS sale and purchase about 25 (same color) folders and set up weekly test folders.  Here’s a list of what they are..

  • They go home every week (usually Tuesdays)
  • They are collected by Thursday each week.
  • They hold weekly reading, math, spelling, science, etc. grades
  • They hold a parent/teacher communication sheet with student grades & weekly behavior (freebie below)

1st:

Go to Wal-Mart (or Target 😉 ) and purchase you folders.  Purchase extra for new students.  In my classroom, if students lose them/ruin them, they need to use their ‘treasure box’ for the week to get a new folder.

2nd:

Number them!  Don’t put their names on the folders just yet.  Class lists always change! Write ‘RETURN to School’ on the left side and ‘KEEP @ Home’ on the right side.  You can also get fancy and use address labels for this, but I just like to write it with permanent marker.

set up weekly test folders

3rd:

Print the weekly grades/behavior communication page FREEBIE and place in the left side.

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—> Download WORD file here!

—> Download PDF file here!

For more tips and FREEBIES, make sure you visit all 12 of our blogs! You can use the links below to help you get there faster.

Also, don’t forget to enter for a chance to WIN one of our AWESOME prizes in our “Back to School” Giveaway!

That’s not all!!!  Watch out this whole week for ways to collect even more goodies from all of us at Upper Elementary Snapshots!  We are going to be doing some special promotions through Facebook and Instagram too!  Make sure you follow us to hear all about it!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


5th and 4th Grade Guided Reading Sheets

After several requests, I have finally found some time to create the guided reading sheets for 4th and 5th grade!  These comprehension sheets follow the M-H READING WONDERS basal.  They follow the short stories in the ‘Workshop Book’ and are to be used on Day 1 and Day 2 of instruction.  They are currently ‘growing bundles’ and available at a reduced price!

How I used them in my reading block

I have been making comprehension sheets way back since we used the Story Town basal.  I found them very helpful, because they gave students a place to WRITE down their thinking.

My reading block does not look the same the entire year.  It takes time to train students.  I also change it several times a year to fit the needs of my students.  Below is a list of ways I use these Guided Reading Sheets.

  • Whole group – We read the vocabulary words at the top.  I keep it simple.  I tell them the definition and an example.  I then invite students to share other examples. I model how to read the passage, read the questions, re-read the passage to find the answers, and write an answer using text evidence.
  • Small group – Many times I have used these sheets during my small groups for my students that need that extra practice.
  • Partner work – Later on in the year, students complete these with a partner :)  – a quick independent center!

Check them Out!

Click on the image to view the items – currently available at my TPT store!

SQUARE PREIVEW -5th.001

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Spring Cleaning Giveaway and Sale!

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Guess what?! The girls and I over at Upper Elementary Snapshots are getting together to throw a ‘Spring Cleaning’ Giveaway and Sale!  Click on the picture to visit the blog post on our blog :)

Spring Cleaning

We are giving away 6 $20 TpT gift certificates.  Use the Rafflecopter below for a chance to enter on March 25th and March 26th.

Then, on March 27th and March 28th, our individual TpT stores will be on sale.  This is the perfect time to grab some fantastic resources to finish up this school year!

Here is a list of our stores – get up to 20% off all of our resources for 2 days ONLY! (Friday/Saturday) Happy shopping!!

Our TPT Stores:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Test Prep – Math Rotations

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I usually complete a short whole group lesson and then 3 math rotations where I meet with each student each day.  HOWEVER – I am adjusting my math block to include test prep for the big state test.  I am now going to complete a whole group lesson for the full math time in the morning (45 min).  In the afternoon – I will dedicated about 40 minutes to test prep rotations THREE times a week.

Below is  a screen capture of the sheet students from group 1 have in their math folders.  It tells them exactly where to go and what to do.

Click here for the full word file.

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I split my students into 4 groups.  Groups 1 and 4 are the students that are struggling.  I organized them so I could meet with my struggling students twice.  The picture above shows where students keep their math notebooks.  This notebook holds a sheet that tells them what group they are in and where they go.  You also see where I store the math packet for that week (to be completed during independent practice).

I have organized my my rotations into Day A, Day B, and Day C.  I made a very simple sign that I put on the board to keep track of what day we are on (see the top picture of the post.)

There are a total of 4 rotations

1. Independent Practice – Math packet

2. iPAD – QR code task cards or iXL math

3. Teacher – Topic students are struggling in

4. Computer – iXL math

—–> We only complete 2 rotations per day.

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The picture above shows a look inside the student folder.  This is where they keep the math packet they work on during independent practice.

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Another rotation is to play a math game (during Day C).  This can be task cards or a board game.  This week I had students complete this time task card center.

 

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When students come to Teacher we complete a math tri-fold that focuses on a skill they are weak on.  This week we worked on fractions on a number line.  Notice how I also keep a master list of where students are supposed to be in my math binder.

Why do I love the new rotations?  Because I get to meet with 3 to 4 students at a time instead of 4 or 5.  It makes a HUGE difference.  My favorite thing is the sheet that student keep inside their folder – they know exactly where to go and there is very little time spent switching.

:)

Working With Wonders

working with wonders

After receiving many questions on how I run my reading block, I’ve finally sat down and typed up a summary for you to read! Please keep in mind that what I do in my reading block changes from week to week – I am sharing with you a quick summary.

working with wonders

  • My reading block starts right after specials/snack/bathroom. 10:25

We have uninterrupted time up until 11:55 – This is when my students who require extra remediation time outside the 90 minute reading block leave for small group reading instruction (Title 1 Reading Teacher).  During this block (when some of my students are at Title 1 Reading) we finish up our reading stations.

Let me get into detail…

A SUMMARY OF MY READING BLOCK – WEEKLY VIEW

  • 10:25GRAMMAR/WRITING – I follow our reading series and students complete the practice pages from the grammar book.  Our team is also great about sharing – Mrs. Baty, Mrs. O’dell and Mrs. Mauriell will often create/share grammar practice sheets/quizzes.
  • 10:45-11:00 SPELLING/VOCABULARY – There are 2 main worksheets that I use for vocabulary.  Mrs. Wiggins makes wonderful practice sheets each week :)  The second one I use in the worksheet located in the student reading practice book.  We also spend this time writing in our writing notebooks (writing a sentence and drawing a picture, sorting spelling words by pattern).  We don’t do this all in one day.
  • 11:00-11:30 – STORY OF THE WEEK – During this time we will work from our workshop book, anthology, reading practice book, or complete a close read practice sheet.
  • 11:30-12:30 – READING STATIONS – During this time I will work with students for guided reading instruction.  My other students are at a reading station (independent or computers).

It took me several weeks to get a schedule that works for me.  I have to work around several things – First, I have students who get pulled out for extra reading instruction (outside my 90 minute block) – Second, We have a very different Wednesday schedule due to our Mentor reading program.  Below is a look at my crazy schedule.  I call it crazy because there is no way I’d remember it all if I didn’t write it down.

reading stations schedule

As you can see – I only complete 3 rotations on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday – is just…different.  Thursday and Friday I complete only 2 rotations due to testing.

A CLOSER LOOK AT MONDAY

workshop book

After grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, we start our WORKSHOP book story.  I read the story aloud to my students. We stop, discuss, and record our thinking on my close reading worksheets.  After this, it is reading stations time.

11:35-11:55 – ROTATION 1 :

  • SMALL GROUP:  On Monday we complete the SMALL COMPREHENSION worksheet inside the reading practice book.  I don’t have a picture, but its usually only half a page long.  It’s short and sweet and focuses on skills we need to cover for the week.
  • INDEPENDENT: This varies – I usually extend what was practiced during grammar or vocabulary.  Sometimes students simply use this time as silent reading time.
  • COMPUTER: This varies – I usually have students go on iStation (a reading program).  Sometimes they will go on a keyboarding practice site.  Sometimes they will type sentences using their spelling words.

11:55 –  It is during this time that I have students leave the room for extra reading instruction.  I make sure these students are in the group I meet with first.  This way they don’t miss out on small group instruction in my classroom.

12:00-12:20 – ROTATION 2 : Students use the chart paper to help them keep track of where to go.

12:20-12:40 – ROTATION 3 : Students use the chart paper to help them keep track of where to go.

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A CLOSER LOOK AT TUESDAY

practice book

After grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, we continue our WORKSHOP book story.  I allow my students to partner read the story and if needed finish the close reading sheet that we started yesterday.

We then gather back together and read the longer story inside the student reading practice book.  See picture below.  We simply read, stop, and discuss. We will complete the comprehension questions in small group.

11:35-11:55 – ROTATION 1 :

  • SMALL GROUP:  On Tuesday we complete the LONG COMPREHENSION worksheet inside the reading practice book (see above picture).  Some groups finish this very quickly, so we have time to complete a writing activity.  This usually involves creating a thinking map that reinforces the reading skills for the week. (compare/contrast, cause/effect, sequence, etc).  Students keep these inside a reading response journal.
  • INDEPENDENT: This varies – I usually extend what was practiced during grammar or vocabulary.  Sometimes students simply use this time as silent reading time.
  • COMPUTER: This varies – I usually have students go on iStation (a reading program).  Sometimes they will go on a keyboarding practice site.  Sometimes they will type sentences using their spelling words.

11:55 –  It is during this time that I have students leave the room for extra reading instruction.  I make sure these students are in the group I meet with first.  This way they don’t miss out on small group instruction in my classroom.

12:00-12:20 – ROTATION 2 : Students use the chart paper to help them keep track of where to go.

12:20-12:40 – ROTATION 3 : Students use the chart paper to help them keep track of where to go.

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A CLOSER LOOK AT WEDNESDAY

leveled readers

Wednesday is very different – If I didn’t have the schedule change (due to our Mentor reading program), I would follow the Monday/Tuesday Schedule.

I complete stations first (only two rotations).  During small group, the students simply read the leveled reader that follows the story of the week.  We do not finish it today.

Around 10:50 – when my whole class in back,  we complete grammar, vocabulary, and spelling.  We then start our ANTHOLOGY book story.  I read aloud this story and we stop, discuss, and write our thoughts down using the close reading tri-folds I’ve typed up.

After this, We take a little break and I do a read aloud from a chapter book at the carpet.

When we return to our desks, we complete a reading/writing activity.

 

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A CLOSER LOOK AT  THURSDAY

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After grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, we continue with our ANTHOLOGY book.  Students will partner read the story of the week and finish the comprehension tri-fold as needed.

After this, it is time for our weekly reading assessment. I usually type a written response and attach it to the the short comprehension test.  When students are done – they may silent read.  We begin our first rotation around 11:55.

12:00-12:20 – ROTATION 1:

  • SMALL GROUP:  On Thursday we continue reading our leveled reader.  Today we will stop and pick one page to focus on.  We will create a thinking map to reinforce the reading skill of the week.
  • COMPUTER: This varies – I usually have students go on iStation (a reading program).  Sometimes they will go on a keyboarding practice site.  Sometimes they will type sentences using their spelling words.

12:20-12:40 – ROTATION 2 : Students use the chart paper to help them keep track of where to go.

 

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A CLOSER LOOK AT  FRIDAY...

After grammar – I give our weekly spelling test.  We then review the strategies to follow during our reading test and complete the long cold read.   When students are done – they may silent read.  We begin our first rotation around 11:55.

12:00-12:20 – ROTATION 1:

  • SMALL GROUP:  On Friday we complete a close reading on the main article of Scholastic News.
  • COMPUTER: This varies – I usually have students go on iStation (a reading program).  Sometimes they will go on a keyboarding practice site.  Sometimes they will type sentences using their spelling words.

12:20-12:40 – ROTATION 2 : Students use the chart paper to help them keep track of where to go.

…..

There is a ton that I have not included on here…You all know that no schedule is perfect, but I try my best and stick to it as best as I can.  I hope this has given you a little idea on how I complete my reading block.  Below are a few more pictures from my classroom.  Thank you for reading!!

computer station independent reading independent reading2 leveled readers response

Back to School Classroom Pictures

School starts Monday!!  Am I ready?? For the first day – YES!  (There are still many things that I need to work on – and that’s OK)

I took some pictures of my classroom to share with you :)

 

I took my daughter with me on Saturday – She helped me pass the morning work for Day 1 and placed 2 pencils in each student’s pencil holder :) She was big help!

This is where I hold my small group meetings - I meet with students for math and reading.  This year, I will add meeting with students to discuss their writing :)  I still need to work on the display for rotations, but I thought that should wait until I get a better understanding of who will stay with me and who will leave for extra help.  When that is done I will also share pics.

This is where I hold my small group meetings – I meet with students for math and reading. This year, I will add meeting with students to discuss their writing :) I still need to work on the display for rotations, but I thought that should wait until I get a better understanding of who will stay with me and who will leave for extra help. When that is done I will also share pics.

 

This is a look at the back wall.

This is a look at the back wall.

 

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This is a close up view of the behavior clip chart, jobs clip chart, and AR points clip chart. These plastic drawers were used to hold their writing folder/binder, but this year I am going to use them to organize my math and reading centers!!

This is a new section - It is like a 'time out' table, but better!!!

This is a new section – It is like a ‘time out’ table, but better!!!

This is our reading area - I bought this carpet to make it feel welcoming :)   You also see all of my picture books and nonfiction books on this side.

This is our reading area – I bought this carpet to make it feel welcoming :)
You also see all of my picture books and nonfiction books on this side.

 

This side you will find most of my chapter books :)  The way I want to display them is done, but there are still a couple of things left to do.

This side you will find most of my chapter books :) The way I want to display them is done, but there are still a couple of things left to do.

 

just another view

just another view

 

Here is a pic of the 4 computers we have in our classroom - I wish we had more!

Here is a pic of the 4 computers we have in our classroom – I wish we had more!

Here's a view of the front of the room.

Here’s a view of the front of the room.

 

This is what will be on my students' desks on Monday morning :)  Simple!!

This is what will be on my students’ desks on Monday morning :) Simple!!

This is the reader's notebooks that we will use to organize our reader's workshop time :)

This is the reader’s notebooks that we will use to organize our reader’s workshop time :)

The room is ready for the first day of school, but I still have lots to do :)  I am very, very excited about this year!!  I work with the BEST third grade teachers – I know we will do our very best to reach each and every student in our classrooms :)

Reflecting on my reading block

I have always been comfortable about how I run my reading block – nice and simple.  I don’t like to complicate things with too many choices or changes.  I like routine.  My students like routine.  Well – This year we are 100% common core and it’s time for me to reflect on what has been working and what needs to change.

I’m okay with change, so this won’t be hard for me.  The challenging part will be to make sure that what I’m doing is rigorous enough to meet the demands of the new standards.  I need to make sure that I hold my students accountable for their work.  I need to be very, very careful and not throw in a bunch of filler work because I want to keep them busy.  I need to carefully pick activities that hit many standards and are engaging.  Less is more.  Since we are kind of left to pick whatever resources we want – I need to be careful and not to try and pick too many resources.  Close reading is focused repeated reading.

What I used to Do…

– I would go in order according to the basal we adopted – McGraw Hill Wonders.

– I would  teach grammar and writing as separate subjects

– I would complete long writing assignments focused on the entire story

– I would place my students together to complete an assignment and consider that collaborating

What I NEED to Do this year…

– We were given a scope and sequence to follow.  No longer will we follow the basal.  We are given a time-frame to teach certain standards – that’s it.  We can supplement however we want as long as we are hitting the standards and are teaching at a higher level (DOK 3+ – although we still need to start and hit DOK 1 and 2)

– I am looking to teach grammar and writing based on the stories that I use to teach my reading mini-lessons.  I am looking to use the author’s craft as anchor lessons and then go from there.  I will need to go in a sequence that builds on the skills – but no longer will I teach just one item in isolation.

– My reading/writing assignments need to be short and focused.  They do not need to be just questions about the entire text – they need to be reading response questions that are focused on a certain topic/standard, so students can dig deep into the assignment.

– We need to practice collaboration – learn what it looks like, how to ask questions, how to listen, how to respond, give feedback, etc.

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I am looking forward to this year.  There will be more freedom as to how to teach.  It will be challenging, but I work with a great team so I know we will support each other :)