Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Let's Try Daily 5

If you follow my blog, you may remember that I had started reading the Daily 5 book. Well, during airplane time of April vacation (mostly because no matter how early a flight is I can't sleep) I not only finished Daily 5, but I also read the CAFE book.

I NEVER write type this much, so sorry in advance...

I highly recommend these books to ALL teachers, but especially teachers like myself who are questioning the value of literacy centers, guided reading and even their literacy block in general. I know it's only my second full year of teaching, but especially this year I found myself asking how meaningful center work is for my students. I hated that it seemed center work was more of a "keep them quiet while you meet with reading groups" rather than activities that were truly making my students better readers and writers. Sure my centers have been differentiated since day one, and sure most of the activities were an extension, re-application or second/third exposure to work we were doing in the classroom, but it just felt like I wasn't making the best of my students' time. Plus, it's A LOT of work to organize 8-10 centers every week and a half or so (I always have had enough centers so no more than 3 students were at each).

So long story short (or not so short), this is when I decided Daily 5 HAD to be the way to go! One of my FAVORITE teachers, and former across-the-hall-mate started it this year and LOVES it! And well, I stole borrowed a lot from her last year, including my beloved WBT, so she had to be on the right track! Here's her CAFE board...

It gets even better though... I start talking to one of my grade level partners and he is also fed up with centers as well as guided reading... and he wants to try Daily 5 next year too! (It keeps getting better!) So I tell our super awesome, super supportive principal (who used to be a reading teacher) about our idea and she LOVES IT and suggests at our next grade level meeting that we should do a "book study" in lieu of grade level meetings for the next month and ORDERS US ALL THE BOOKS! AND our other grade level partner also LOVED the idea! We even got to spend our most recent PD session watching Daily 5 and CAFE videos... so cool! AND we are going to visit my beloved, used to be across-the-hall-mate (mentioned above) next month to see how she runs Daily 5! Ahhh life is good in second grade land at our school, that is for sure!

But wait, there's more! Another favorite teacher of mine, who I met through my grad program, but happens to work in the same district as me, just started Daily 5 over the past few weeks with her grade level team, and our principals want us to collaborate, hooray! Here's her adorable clip in system for Daily 5 in her room. I know she got them for free on TPT, but I'm not sure from which TPT store... sorry :(

Here's my lame-o system at the moment, since I haven't had time to get anything laminated... grr! I don't have read to someone open currently, it's on the flipped around sentence strip. The sentence strips are just to remind students their choices, I'm not having them clip in or anything right now.

I'm having my kiddos make a choice and I keep track on a clipboard so I know where they go. I think even if I move to a clip in system, I would still want to keep track in some way so I know where they are going and making sure they are definitely doing Read to Self every day. But all those details I don't mind waiting until next year to figure out!

I introduced Read to Self as "SSR during our normal center time"... the kiddos picked up on it quickly and easily!

I used my old center bins for word work bins with different spelling word choices in each bin. This was easy for my kids to transition to as we have always had a spelling center. I told my kiddos word work was different spelling centers, which made for an easy start to these! I am letting 2 kids work per bin right now. If you've seen pictures of my classroom before, you know next year (or sooner) these bins will be much cuter! I'm also trying to decide if I want one bin per student to limit the temptation to chat with whoever they are sharing their bin with.

Unfortunately, I don't have a listening center in my class (or many books on tape/CD for if I did) so Listen to Reading is called Read on the Computer for the time being. My students can work on Lexia and Successmaker during this time. I am not sure what I will do for next year.

Finally, my kiddos are able to work on any of the writing in their writer's notebook or writing folder during Work on Writing. Next year, I'm considering melding my writer's workshop into Daily 5, so my kiddos work on whatever our writing mini-lesson was about that day. Any thoughts from teachers who use Daily 5 in their rooms?

In addition to launching a modified Daily 5 in my room over the past few weeks (keep in mind, we don't have book boxes, we haven't done all the explicit lessons for each daily 5, etc.) I'm testing the waters of CAFE strategy grouping and individual conferences. I have to say I LOVE individually conferencing with kiddos and helping them to set goals SO much more than typical guided reading. The cool thing though is the CAFE strategies (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Extending Vocabulary) can be used in typical guided reading too, which is what my beloved former across-the-hall-mate does. My kiddo here is practicing the CAFE Comprehension skill of summarizing with his independent reading book using sticky notes at the end of each chapter.

I am not sure for next year that I want to completely divorce the guided reading setting, and perhaps will do "book clubs" certain days of the week or have my amazing para do book clubs (she already takes reading groups and skill groups for me... like I said, amazing!). No matter what I decide for the rest of this year or how Daily 5 and CAFE look in my room next year, I really hope you'll join me on this journey as I figure out how Daily 5 and CAFE will fit into my classroom life for the rest of this year and next year!

Do you use Daily 5 and/or CAFE in your room? What are some of the pros/cons you find?

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Giveaway at Frampton's FUNdamentals and Munchkins Inc.

I have a soft spot for second grade bloggers and since I found Sara on Frampton's FUNdamentals I have been a frequent visitor of her blog.

When reading her 5 for Friday post, she talked about her giveaway and it is FABULOUS! She's teamed up with her grade level partner at Munchkins Inc. and they are giving away lots of goodies!

Check out the giveaway:

And be sure to check out both of their blogs, links above.

My fingers are crossed that maybe I'll win their giveaway :)

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Post Vacation Science & Earth Day

I hate to say it, but boy did this week feel long! May have been because we got back so late Sunday night from our honeymoon cruise (I know you feel sooo bad for me haha!) But I must say I'm happy it's Friday!

I'm linking up with Doodlebug's 5 for Friday on my first post in about 2 weeks...

As I'm sure you know, Earth Day was on Tuesday! It was supposed to rain during the day Tuesday (it didn't!) so our grade level took the kiddos out Monday and cleaned up the school grounds. Between the 3 classes we had 3-4 full garbage bags after only about 20-30 minutes of walking around the grounds. They were very proud of themselves! Unfortunately, I had my phone with me to take pictures, but completely forgot in my effort to make sure we all stayed together, whoops!

Continuing with the Earth Day theme, we spent a good hour on Tuesday dedicated to recycling. We watched the Earth Day brain pop video on conservation. It was actually the free video of the day so even if you aren't lucky enough to have a subscription in your school, next year I'm sure they will have a free Earth Day video again! I read a simple recycling book to them and then they partner read this year's Scholastic News magazine about Earth Day. This year it focused on trash getting into rivers and other water supplies. With the information they learned from the 3 sources, the kiddos made brochures about recycling. The brochures answered questions such as: Why should we recycle? Where does the trash go? What can be made with recycled material? etc.

 We've been working on letter writing, and have switched gears to persuasive letter writing. I took the opportunity of Earth Day falling the week we started persuasive letters to have the kiddos write a letter to our school convincing our community of students, teachers and staff to recycle. The kiddos did a fantastic job giving detailed reasons why it is important to recycle. 

I ended up combining our brochures and letters to create a "Can we persuade you to recycle?" display outside of our classroom.
 Our caterpillars arrived this week! Last year, first grade did caterpillars/butterflies and second grade did millipedes, pill bugs, moss and some other plants that we made terrariums out of. I must admit, I'm a little more excited about butterflies :) The kiddos went wild when they got to see their caterpillars for the first time yesterday. We had to have a talk about not naming them and not saying any certain cup is "theirs" since not all the caterpillars will make it to butterflies... which caused some sad little faces, but better than tears if someone's caterpillar named "Cattie" died!

I just can't end this post without a few honeymoon pictures. True it was 6 months after getting married, but it was worth every second of the wait. We went to Honduras, Belize and 2 ports in Mexico. Every port was beautiful and we couldn't have asked for a better week!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

It Takes a Village

Here is the final book review for my graduate class...

Set in the African village Benin, Jane Cowen-Fletcher's It Takes a Village, tells the story of a young girl named Yemi and the strong community that helps her. Yemi is asked by her mother to take care of her brother Kokou during market day. When Yemi and Kokou go for a walk, Kokou quickly wanders off. While Yemi is searching for her brother and worried he might be hungry, thirsty, warm, tired, etc., he is being taken care of by various villagers at the market. When Yemi finally finds her brother, she learns that it truly takes a village to raise a child.

This story offers an accurate depiction of the Benin culture and a reviewer on Amazon even stated that she had lived in Benin for 2 years and found the illustrations, culture and values to be extremely accurate.

Reading Level:
DRA 20
Guided Reading: L
Interest Level:

Themes: family, community, African culture, responsibility

Teachers... here are some resources to help you to use this book in your classroom.

Web Resources:
  • Scholastic Extensions:  This Scholastic page offers some discussion questions as well as ideas for connecting this story to and teaching about writing thank you notes.
  • Lesson: This link will bring you to a word document that offers a lesson plan to go along with the story.
  • SlideShare: This link will take you to a slideshare presentation for a lesson using this story. The lesson focuses on responsibility and good citizens and therefore offers a nice Social Studies connection.
Vocabulary: market, compound, mangos, wandered, vendor, searching, responsible, support, restless

Before Reading:
  • Ask students what they think the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child" means.
  • Take a picture walk and ask students to share what they see that seems different or the same from their town.
During Reading:
  • Read the story a first time without showing the pictures. As you read have students tell about the movie in their head or draw a picture showing what they are visualizing. Then read the story showing the pictures.
  • At the beginning of the story, show students Benin via Google Earth or use this link for students to learn facts about Benin. This could also be done before/after reading.
  • Right after Yumi's brother wanders off, ask students to make a prediction about what Yumi might do and what might happen to her brother.
After Reading:
  • Discussion Questions
    • How is the setting different from your community?
    • How would you feel if you lost your sibling in public?
    • How do you think Yumi was feeling when she lost her brother? How do you know?
    • Do you think Yumi made the right choice when she went searching on her own for her brother? Why or why not?
  • Create a Venn Diagram comparing your town and Benin
Across the Curriculum: Social Studies
Use the slideshare link to help you create a lesson about community, responsibility and good citizens.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

After School Fun!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Five for Friday...

This week has been busy, busy, busy and on Sunday the hubby and I leave for our honeymoon (6 months after the fact!) Yay for April Break, I really need it this year!

Last Friday (after I had already linked with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday, we had a writing celebration. My kiddos had worked very hard to write a non-fiction piece, researching, writing, typing and illustrating so we had to celebrate! Half the kiddos read a section of their piece, then we had a "gallery walk" where the students walked around and could read stories out of each others' published boxes, then the other half got to read a section of their piece.

Remember the Marcy Cook workshop I went to last month? Well, I finally introduced these number tile task cards to my kiddos. If they had started using these earlier in the year I think these cards would be way to easy, but a lot of my kids are finding these as an exciting challenge because there is only one correct space for each of their number tiles and if you put the wrong one in one place you have to practically start over. Some of the kiddos are picking up on putting the "have to" tiles down first (places where no other number would fit) and working from there. So glad I purchased the tiles and cards. I think I may order more cards for next year from her website.

We are working on place value to 1,000 so I went searching for place value games on Teachers Pay Teachers and found loads of FREE games to use for math centers. Here are a few my kiddos have loved and a link to where I found them...

The above picture show a mystery number game, available free from Love to Learn here.

This shows a penguin place value dice game. This game came bundled with a few other games as well. Get it for free from Stephanie Stewart here.

This picture shows a Place Value Go Fish game that can be played with or without recording matches on the recording sheet. Find it free from T is for Teaching here.

As a part of my grad class that I am currently in (Multicultural Literature) I had to do a community outreach project. So I recruited a high school teacher who happens to be a mom of one of my students and some of her high school juniors and seniors. The recruits came after school one day this week and helped as I read The Legend of Blue Bonnet by Tomie DePaola and then did a craft with BLUE popcorn. Find the craft idea here.

The kiddos and high school folks had so much fun, we already planned for another event in May! So excited :)

In celebration of the FINALLY feeling like Spring weather, here are a few pictures

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