Saturday, November 22, 2014

Liebster Award #2

I am SO excited to have been nominated for the Liebster award for the second year in a row! This year I was nominated by Meg over at Tales and Teacherisms. I'm hopeful that next year I will have too many followers to be nominated for the award since nominations need to have less than 200 followers on their blog!
The Liebster is great to get traffic to newer blogs so great posts that might normally not have many views will get view and then hopefully followers!

Here's the deal with Liebster... I answer 11 questions so you can get to know me a little better, then I choose 11 bloggers to nominate whose blogs I love!

So here are the questions...
1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
Originally this blog was an undergrad assignment I started back in 2009. It was for a reading instruction class and we had to read books and review them, providing resources, activities, etc. The blog then kind of went to the wayside until last year when I was in my 2nd year of teaching and decided to expanded it to a lot more than just book reviews.

2. What 1 word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
SHARING because just about everything I post on my blog I share with my grade level partners and other colleagues and of course by posting I'm sharing with all my cyber-teacher-colleagues!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey that you wished you knew before?
I hate to steal Meg's but I have to agree that link-ups are SUCH a huge way to spread your blog to more readers and I only started linking up in the past year or so. Some of my favs are...

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
Well obviously teaching... haha! But other than that, I'm a runner (hence the blog name) I don't compete much at all anymore but I ran competitively middle school through college and running/working out remains a big part of my lifestyle. I also spend A LOT of my time on the beach (in the summer anyway) because we live a mile from the beach, so that's a big part of my life too.

5. How many hours do you dedicate a week to your blog?
This funny makes me laugh because I was nominated for this award last week and am just now finally writing the post about it. This week is not typical (conferences!) as I spent hardly any time on the blog at all. Normally (during the school year), I spend a few hours between Sunday and Monday night getting 2-3 posts ready for the week. In the summer I try to blog every other day or so.

6. What category of blog post do you enjoy the most?
Also have to steal Meg's here... FREEBIES! I especially love posts where the blogger posts about how they used the freebie in their classroom too because it helps me to envision how I'll use it! (Check out some of my freebies below... I need to update this page to include them all!)

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
Things that either make my kids smile in my room or are super effective in helping them learn or helping them to make smart choices in the classroom.

8. Which post have you written that you are most proud of?
I am really proud of all the Whole Brain Wednesday posts I've been writing over this school year. WBT has become an integral part of my teaching life (as in I probably couldn't survive a day without it!) and I love sharing the strategies with others.

9. Is there any post you've been planning on doing but have been postponing for a while?
Not really. Once in a while I'll start a Whole Brain post and it takes me a few weeks to get back to it because I want to try whatever the strategy is out for a little longer in my classroom, but right now I don't have anything on the back burner.

10. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Connecting with other teachers! It's beyond awesome when a teacher likes my ideas or tells me they are going to use an idea I had in the classroom!

11. What recipe, project or idea on my blog would you most likely try yourself?
I love the Monday Made Its from Meg... like recovered pillows for example... that would be super awesome for my mix-matched & somewhat gross pillows in our classroom library!

Now that you know a little more about me & my blog, here are the nominees...

1. Emily at Munchkins Inc.
2. Sarah at Frampton's Fundamentals
3. Briana at Sun, Sand & Second Grade
4. Kandice at Time Two Teach
5. Amber at Peppy Zesty Teacherista
6. Miss B. at Butterflying Through Teaching
7. The Magic of Teaching
8. Pixie Ann at Growing Little Learners
9. Stella at My Kindergarden Blog
10. Katie at Teaching Voracious Learners
11. Alexis at Laugh Eat Learn

Here are the rules for the nominees...
1. In your post, be sure to link back to your nominator as a shout out & a thank you!
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above)
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice who have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions or ask them to answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator the link to your post, so they can learn more about you... leave it in the comments below!
 And that's it!... so excited to learn more about my nominees!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Sight Words Part 2

Hey everyone, I'm back with a 2nd week of sight word learning through Whole Brain Teaching on Whole Brain Wednesday.
 If you missed last week's post about sight words, I recommend you check it out before reading this post. You can find it here.

Today I'm going to talk about Electronic Superspeed 100 and Electronic Superspeed 1000. How you use these will definitely depend on your grade level as well as level of your students.

Let's talk about Electronic Superspeed 100 first. This powerpoint offers a slide for each of the 100 most common sight words. The slides look like this:

The sentence on the bottom can be used in many ways...

  • Have students share as many sentences with their partner as they can that match the sentence outline.
  • Give an example using the sentence outline, then ask students to come up with NEW sentences using the sight word on the slide.
  • Ask students to use oral writing/brainies to read the sentences.
  • Use to teach parts of speech.
  • Other ideas? - comment below!
The letters and ? on the left side of the slide gives students beginning sounds to rhyme with the sight word. The ? means the students should be able to come up with other beginning sounds that work. I'm sure you can think of MANY ways to use these rhyming words.

Here's another example of an Electronic Superspeed 100 slide:

All of the words are featured on the Superspeed 100 game I discussed last week and in the same order.

Onto Electronic Superspeed 1000.
This slideshow features different levels of excitement... First for words 1-100, here is an example slide:

As you can see, the slides are very basic. After every 10 words, there is a 'zinger' just like in the Superspeed 1000 game I talked about last week:

These first 100 words automatically advance slides every 10 slides, stopping at the zinger. Each level gets a little faster which gets the kiddos all excited, trying to read the sight words as fast as they can.

For the rest of the words, the teacher can advance the slides as slowly (or quickly) as they would like. For words 101-300, there are 2 words per slide. You'll notice yellow is made up of 2 colors. All the words that are multi-syllabic are separated this way. I have noticed the visual separation of the word helps visual learners and struggling readers.

Every 20 words in this section feature a zinger following:

For words 301-600, there are 3 words per slide, with a zinger every 30 words.

For words 601-1000 students go on the Nightmare Rollercoaster!!!!

These slides feature 4 words per slide & roller coaster graphic zingers!

For these words, make the students feel like they're on a roller coaster... go fast through the slides, go slow, go backwards, go forwards... so much fun!!!

Both of these powerpoints are FREE to download off the WBT website after you create a (free) account. You can edit the powerpoints how you'd like... for example: adding slides of words your students are struggling with.
You can also use this powerpoint in SO many ways... turn it into a class competition teams playing reading each other, boys vs. girls, etc. My kiddos LOVE when I pull up Superspeed 1000 on the promethean board and I know your kids will too!!!

How do you teach your students sight words?

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Oughta Know November Blog Hop!

You Oughta Know About Door Decorations!
Welcome November's You Oughta Know Blog Hop hosted by Mrs. McCclain!

Today I will be sharing what You Oughta Know about Door Decorations (here's one I created for the beginning of the year this year)...

My first year of teaching, I only decorated my door 2 times... the beginning of the year and in June during our door decoration competition. Both doors took me quite a long time & as much as I LOVED having my door decorated, I had a million other things to do!

Each year more and more teachers in my building have AMAZING door decorations each month. The most amazing part is VERYYY rarely are any of the teachers decorating the door themselves (except of course for the start of the year). So how do we do it?!?...

Fabulous parents are SO willing to help out in the classroom especially when they can't volunteer during the school day.

So, during open house, we post sign ups that include door decoration months and 2 years in a row, almost every month got filled up!

Here are a few of my favorite doors from last year:

October - one of my kiddo's moms had all my students write their favorite candy on the candy corn cut outs. She also included their names on the bats!

March - One of last year's families LOVED St. Patrick's Day and created a VERY fun door for March!

June - my sister actually helped out with this one (I didn't have anyone sign up for June, which retrospectively made sense since we are only in school for half the month, so this year I combined May/June on the sign up). We had the kiddos create a fish or a turtle to decorate the door. My sister cleverly made tissue paper look like water & seaweed!

And after creating a welcome back door in August...

Here are the great doors this year's families have created for our class... October's door was designed by 2 of my kiddos, I also have a picture of the two of them looking very proud of their awesome creation:

November was created by one of the awesome moms after each kiddo wrote something they were thankful for on their heart. I think the turkey is just the cutest:

I can't wait to see what the other months have in store for my classroom door. The kiddos are always so excited (even if it is their mom or dad who designed it!) to see 'their' door design. The rest of the class always anxiously anticipates the new door, especially when they were asked to do something as a part of the door (i.e. the candy corn & Thanksgiving hearts).

It is amazing how much time is saved having families create the doors. Every single family told me they had fun decorating and they always love to know (or see) the kiddos' reactions. If you have families who would love to support your classroom but can't volunteer during the day, ask if they would be willing to decorate your door for the upcoming months!

What do you do to decorate your classroom door?
Be sure to check out all the other great posts on this blog hop, enjoy!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Five for Friday: Welcome November!

Linking up with Doodlebugs for another Five for Friday!

Mustache you a question survey, data collection & bar graphs are always a hit & the photos are just a hoot!

They make for a pretty great hallway decoration too!

My kiddos are LOVING that our new classroom website has a blog section! I'm choosing kiddos to write solo & collaborative posts about what we do in school during the week. Loving the free weebly education site features! May even have these second graders creating their own websites soon - also through the weebly education site!

We are studying matter in Science and the kiddos LOVED this liquid investigation. I had mystery liquids in cups around the room (hand soap, dish soap, water, milk, glue, etc.) First the kiddos observed with their eyes & drew the liquid, then they smelled the liquid, recording what they smelled. They were then able to use their touch to observe the liquids. Finally, they guessed what they thought the liquid was. They rotated between all the liquids, recording their observations. At the end of the investigation I revealed the identify of the liquids. So fun! Grab yourself a copy of our recording sheet below:

My district has school on Veterans Day so I always try to do something to honor the brave men & women who have and are protecting our freedoms. This year we made star wreathes. Each star had a word we thought of when we heard "Veterans Day" after reading a Scholastic News about Veterans Day & going to our "Poppies & Poetry" Veterans Day assembly. We made this wordle with our words so students had somewhere to refer when creating their wreathes.

Loving the November door one of my families created! Be sure to check out tomorrow's post on Mrs. McClain's Blog Hop to learn all you Oughta Know about door decorations!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Sight Words

Welcome to another Whole Brain Wednesday!

This week I will be sharing a super fun way to practice sightwords... Superspeed 100 and Superspeed 1000!

I got an email from a coworker who has started using WBT asking if I'd heard of the sightword games Superspeed 100 and Superspeed 1000. A friend of hers had sent her the files and told her it was a WBT game. I had COMPLETELY forgot that at the WBT National Conference we had been shown the NEW Electronic Superspeed 100 and 1000 slide shows that had been created to accompany the game. I immediately downloaded them onto a flashdrive and began passing them around to everyone in my building. The same day, I used the Superspeed 1000 slideshow with my kiddos and the next day we played the game... They LOVED both versions of Superspeed 1000... are you curious to know what it's all about yet?!

Before I share how wonderful Superspeed sightwords are... ALL of the files I mentioned above are FREE on WBT's website! You just need to create a (FREE) account.

Okay so Superspeed 100 and 1000 involves a list of sight words. but NOT your traditional list. No, the 100 list has "levels" of repeating sight words. Each level adds another sight word. After 10 levels, the easier words start to disappear as other words are added. There are 100 words in the Superspeed 100 set. The sheets look like this...
When kiddos play Superspeed 100, you have students partnered up (groupings of one stronger reader and one weaker reader works well). Give students 1 minute to read as many levels as they can. If a student gets stuck or reads the word incorrectly, their partner can give them a "helpsie" before moving onto the next word. After the first minute, have the students record how far they got, then, read for a second time, to see if they can beat their first record. Because the words repeat, it doesn't matter if the partners switch who goes first or have the same student go first. If your whole class has mastered words at the beginning of the superspeed 100 list, you can tell the class to start at a certain level, or even differentiate having some groups start at different levels.

Superspeed 1000 is a little different. The lists of words do not repeat and each "level" has a silly word called a zinger at the end (such as 'zoink'). When students play this game, they read for a minute, mark their progress, then read the list again having the opposite student start (since the words DON'T repeat, it is important for the students to switch who goes first). Zingers are worth 5 points and all other words read are worth 1. This gives students motivation to get to each of these zingers! Here is what a Superspeed 1000 sheet looks like:
At the end of the Superspeed 1000 file, there are sheets with stars for students to record their points each time they play. They can then try to beat their previous record.

 Like I said earlier in this post, there are "Electronic" Superspeed games that are available as powerpoints FREE through WBT's website. Tune in next Wednesday for a post all about how to use the powerpoint files in your classroom to help your students learn sightwords!!! And in the meantime, think about downloading Superspeed 100 and/or 1000 to use in your classroom. I am even thinking about printing out the 1000 list to give to parents at conferences for them to use as practice at home!

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