Sunday, September 23, 2012

Catching Up... And a Freebie!


Wow, these past few weeks have been SO busy!  Each time I think of a post I’d like to write, I spend my evening with a school to-do list instead!  The changes in my classroom and curriculum this year sure have required some extra time and effort, but I must say, I am beyond happy with them all!

I already raved about our initial Daily 5 launch, but I feel like I must continue!! My firsties have now built stamina with Read to Self, Work on Writing, and Word Work (in that order), and I am just so, so thrilled with this program.  Comparing these kiddos to past groups who did not do Daily 5, they are much more independent in reading and writing and more willing to read and write, with a calmer atmosphere all around.  For example, we have a writing workshop time separately, during which we focus on Common Core writing genres.  I taught Narrative the last few weeks, the same way I always have, and this time around I was so pleased with what the kids did independently!  Without waiting at my side for spelling help!  Without whining that they didn’t know what to write!  Without turning in work that was obviously done with little effort!  Writing time is quiet and focused…I don’t know how to act!  I am so excited to see how much we will accomplish this year!


Speaking of writing, we began our writing workshop this year by creating our Heart Maps.  Heart Maps showcase what’s in a student’s heart – all the most important things!  Students use these any time in the year when they need writing inspiration.  They turned out so cute!  Here is mine:

Click here to get my Heart Map download.
 Another new addition this year is Math Workstations, inspired by Debbie Diller.  We haven’t completely launched these yet.  We have learned 8 or 10 math games and talked about workstation expectations with an I-Chart (inspired by Daily 5!).  The plan is to put workstations into action this coming week….stay tuned!

One last new addition, definitely needed this year…and a freebie for you!  I could tell from day one that I had two boys who were going to test me with bathroom visits.  We’re talking asking every 20 minutes, all day long.  With the little ones, it’s always hard to tell whether they actually have to go or just want to roam the halls, but I knew we’d have to do something to help them go less frequently.  So, I created Restroom Passes for them - 4 cards for each boy, labeled with their name, 2 for morning and 2 for afternoon.  I laminated the cards and put them in their desk pockets (also used for our Reminder Cards and Positive Point cards).  The boys know that they get these 4 chances each day, and otherwise may not go to the restroom (unless it is a REAL emergency).  We’ve been using the cards for about a week, and they immediately helped!  If you’re having a similar problem, I hope these cards will be useful for you!  

Click here to download the Restroom Passes.
That’s all for now!  Week 5 begins tomorrow… Have a happy Monday friends! :)

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