Sunday, June 8, 2014

Monday Meet Me!

I am linking up with my friends at The Teaching Tribune for...
Here are a few things about me...
I would love to know all about you! So head on over and link up at TTT or if you prefer, just tell me all about you in the comments! =) 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday Meet Up

Hi friends!!! I know, it's been months since I last posted. But I have a really good reason for going MIA... On January 26th, we welcomed Grace Lynn to our family.
I have spent the past four months at home enjoying every minute of being a mommy. I have just returned to work for the last three weeks of school, and I am already counting the days until summer break. But coming home to this precious smile is just the best feeling ever! 
So that is where I have been. I am ready for some summer fun! Our collaborative blog, The Teaching Tribune is hosting a summer long party! Every day you'll find some new teaching and life ideas. You'll get to know other bloggers and have some fun! 
http://www.theteachingtribune.com/2014/06/monday-meet-up-2nd-june-2014.html
Meet my friend and new first time mommy also, Martha...
http://www.myprimaryparadise.com/



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Remembering Sandy Hook


As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cause and Effect

 First, I lost the month of October and now, I've lost the month of November! I cannot believe it's Black Friday already! 
(Make sure you read through for a Black Friday Sale & Surprise!!!) 
I have been teaching 11 years, and every year I tell myself that I will not loose the holiday months. But the next thing I know, they are gone. The first 60 days of school just seems to be a blur as everything is happening at once and at neck breaking speed! November was no different...from safety days and drills to parent conferences, and end of quarter assessments, there was no slowing down! 
My county is off this week, I am thankful for the chance to just breathe. I had every intention of getting ahead with lesson plans and station activities, but I have just been too pooped out! I just hit week 29 of my pregnancy, and I feel great. But my body is just a wee bit tired...So instead of getting my creative juices flowing, I've just been nesting around the house.
Today, I have some extra energy, so I am taking advantage of that to share with you my cause & effect lessons from November.

I don't know about you, but there are some things my county will not give us wiggle room on. One of those being following the scope and sequence of the reading textbook. I have to be honest and say I am not in-love with it. I am not a fan of teaching a comprehension skill (1) this week, only to move onto a new one  next week (2), and then back to the first skill (1) the third week. It just makes no sense to me, the kids are just starting to really get it by Friday. But then on Monday, we throw a new one at them. I can hardly keep up, so I feel for my kids! 

With that in mind, I have been trying to find more visual ways to represent each skill so when we are flip-flopping skills around, the visual will hopefully help my kids remember the skill. 
For instance, when I taught visualization, it was all about referring back to the images in the brain. 
This time, I used puzzle pieces to represent the relationship of cause and effect. For the first lesson, I read Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. After I read the story, I introduced the idea of cause and effect. I provided a few examples and then asked my students to think of others. 
I created a chart with the cause and then we went back through the story to locate the effect.
After a brief review the next day, we played partner match-up. Each student was given a cause or effect card. They had to walk around the room and find the student who had the matching piece. My students loved this. It really had them talking and thinking about whether the cause and effect could match. 
Next, I gave each student a puzzle piece to illustrate the cause or effect. Again, they had to match-up to find the missing piece. 
Throughout the week, we worked on several other activities. One day the added the cause and effect flaps to their interactive reader's notebook. They wrote the definitions on the top and then lifted the paper to draw and write an example of each. 
We also read Giggle, Giggle, Quack. I provided the cause on the chart, and they had to locate the effect using the text. 
Next on the list, was Thump, Quack, Moo. This day, I provided the effect and they had to locate the cause. 

This was a little more challenging for them. It was a great opportunity for them to discuss what was actually in the text and what they thought in their minds. It led to a great lesson on text based evidence. 
For response to this lesson, I gave each student a puzzle piece with the cause and they had to write and illustrate the effect.


Here is a picture of the bulletin board as it began.
Now, when the skill comes back after Thanksgiving break, there are a few more activities we will do. I created a cut and paste match-up. 
 Also, a quick assessment with a cause and effect matching sheet.
I am still working on the next set of books we will focus on for cause and effect. I know I will be using The Rain Came Down for the first lesson.
Now, for some other news...I have teamed up with a bunch of my bloggy buddies to bring you a Black Friday TPT Sale! To say "thank you!" to all of my followers, I am throwing a 20% off sale at TPT on Friday, November 29th. 
To make it even sweeter for you, between midnight tonight and noon on Friday, November 29th, if you purchase 2 products, I am going to send you 1 product of your choice for free (of equal or lesser value)! It's a B2GO free Black Friday for you! 
**This is the important part...**
You MUST email me at ms.smartypants@rocketmail.com 
the following information:
1. your TPT user name
2. the name of the products your purchased between midnight tonight and noon on Friday, November 29th 
(only purchases made during this time will receive the free product)
3. the name of the product you would like for FREE!
I will email you your product choice Friday evening. =) 
You can find Cause & Effect in my TPT store here... 
For those who may miss my Black Friday Sale, don't fret! You'll still have a chance to grab what you need on Cyber Monday. Make sure you enter the promo code CYBER for your discount on Monday & Tuesday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Should The Fly Have Dinner with the Spider?

Hi all! It has been a crazy few weeks!!! I feel like I completely missed the month of October and now we are half way through November!
Here are some updates from my class...from October!!! 
We wrote our first opinion piece which needed to tie in letter writing. 
I started by reading Mo Willems...
Then I wrote a letter to the Pigeon, giving him my opinion. My class was great in helping me draft this letter. Several made the connection that the pigeon thought taking care of a puppy was like taking care of a plant. 
I was able to briefly touch on the pieces of a letter as well as opinions and reasons.
Then I read 
Now it was time for the students to write the Fly a letter and explain their opinions on having dinner with the spider. 
We brainstormed a list of opinion statements on the first day. 
I had them choose which one they wanted to use. Then we began our letter graphic organizer.
We had another brainstorming session for reasons...
So after two days, I had a modeled teacher letter, opinion statements, and a list of reasons. 
 The students began drafting sentences for their reasons. In the next lesson, we restated our opinion for the conclusion. 
 For the final lesson, I modeled for the students how to use my graphic organizer to complete a final draft. I first went through and edited my organizer. Then I transferred each sentence onto my chart paper. My students then completed their own final draft. I had a pop-in from my administration at the same time, and it was fabulous! The kids were able to read their pieces to her and several caught their won mistakes with conventions and spelling while they were reading to her. They actually stopped and made corrections right then and there! I was so proud of them. =) 
You can find this writing lesson here... 

 Student work...




 During October, we worked on retelling for our comprehension skill. This year, we are being asked to assess each student one-on-one twice during the nine weeks with a retelling rubric. I have really been trying to hit this hard, and work with my students who are still having trouble retelling a story. 
 I began with a review of beginning, middle, and end. 
Then we moved onto the sequencing words. 
You can see more of my retelling and sequencing activities here...

In my next post, I'll update you about how November is going! 


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