Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Books I love Linky and my Classroom Library!

Well, today's wind chill did not allow us to have school again today! This was my first thought:
:) In the true teacher spirit, I'm still working on this snow day! Today I'm linking up with Mr. Greg at the Kindergarten Smorgasbord to share some of my favorite books!
 I am a little obsessed with books :) Let's just say, it's an amazing thing that those little white and red boxes from Scholastic are delivered to my classroom and not my home! I can't say a have one favorite book or author, but there are several I (puffy heart) love!

Elephant and Piggie. Nuff' said. These books are FULL of voice and my kids and I absolutely adore these books! Wal-Mart has an awesome deal where you are able to select 5 of these books in a bundle for $25! Mo Willems is an author rockstar!

This book... oh, my. I hold a special place in my heart for little Lerch!! I LOVE him!!

Since I never got around to posting a full tour of my room this year, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my classroom library with you!

Here is my cozy little library nook! This is one of my favorite parts of my room this year. I love looking over and watching my kids snuggle with a reading buddy and plop themselves down in the library! I love watching them look through all of the books and get excited about them!

Above my library is one of our ELA focus walls. On the top left, we have "guidelines" a.k.a rules for our language. below those is our Reading Genre poster. We refer to this poster each day and I just switch the center poster according to our current focus. In the middle are past anchor charts and vocabulary charts for us to refer to throughout the year. On the right are non-fiction text features we review while reading. Below this board are our "Good Fit" books posters and Read to Self posters.
My anchor charts are held with binder clips on a push pin.
 To the left are our truffula trees where our Read to Self charts live, along with the Lorax!
 On the adjoining wall is our most recent Author's Study. This has a list of books we have read, or are currently reading, the author's name, biography, and features we are studying. In the blue bucket on the top of the bookshelf are all books by the Author we are learning about that the students are able to read during Read to Self.

This bookshelf is tiered according to our small groups.

 Beside the blue author study bucket, the red bucket contains class books we have made together.
 The Cat in the Hat and the gem and Fish bowls are part of our whole class behavior plan. Students add gems to the bucket for specials and hallways behaviors, etc. This is located beside our individual behavior cards that you can see sneaking in on the left.
 On the top shelf in this picture, you can see the rectangle red bucket. This bucket contains a "have to book". This is a book that students are required to add to their book buddy each week. This is a text that focuses on a skill we are learning about as a whole group such as a word family, blend, etc. The round red bucket on the right contains all sorts of fun goodies students can read with (close-up pic below).The red, yellow, blue, green, and purple buckets are leveled readers for each one of my small groups. These buckets contain a variety of books at each group's reading level. If a student is struggling during Read to Self, they can easily find several choices here to read.
Inside of each group's bucket, there is a mini-recorder. This contains a message from me for the group. These are reminders of strategies we are focusing on, or any other message I'd like for them to keep in mind.

Here is a close-up of goodies students are able to use while reading. Silly glasses, mini-magnifying glasses, fun pointers, and microphones.

To the left of this bookshelf is the rack that  holds all 29 of my kids' reading book buddies. Inside of these bags are their "Book Club" journals, and other leveled readers we have read previously in small groups or as a class. The blue bucket contains reading rugs that students are able to take around the room to find a cozy place to read when the library is full.
 This is a closer picture of the reading area. The students are able to use any of the animals around the room to whisper read to.
 Although I never put my labels on my bins this year, my kids do a wonderful job of putting the books back where they belong!

 I hope you enjoyed a peek into my library! :)

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a FREE copy of February's journals pack in yesterday's post! You can find it here

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MLK wrap-up, newbies, and a GIVEAWAY!


 This week has been an uncharacteristically cold week here in Ohio. We were closed on Friday due to the wind chill, as well as today and tomorrow! I was out on Thursday last week, home taking care of my sick little man (who so lovingly shared his germs with me!). So, I feel almost as if we are on a holiday break of some sort with only working 1 day out of the past 6! When I came back on Monday, this was what my quote of the day was! Just perfect to brighten my Monday morning! :)


I teach at a charter school with students coming in from multiple different districts. On Monday, 2 of the districts were on a 2 hour delay, so many of my students did not arrive until almost lunch time. (Adding to my crazy feeling of, Is this a holiday break?!) We did finish most of our MLK, Jr. activities from last week. I just had to share our crafts and this writing with you! (Both found here)

Isn't this ADORABLE?! Peace means "white (and) brown can swim." Even the little sign on his illustration says white and brown! Love this! :)

I just love how all of their crafts turned out differently, as well as their unique sentences about MLK, Jr.!

"He was a great leader"
 "He loved everybody"

"He saved the world."

Now, for a few newbies :)

These are differentiated strips or cards you can use at a center or during a small groups! You can differentiate by giving your students cards to write the whole word, write the beginning sound only, the middle sound only, or the ending sound only. All of these are available in color and black in white in case you are in need of ink-friendly resources! (Just click the picture to take you to the listing where you can get a closer look in the preview!)

This is an adorable and also easily differentiated Math Center! Students can perform tasks from simply ordering numbers, to comparing numbers, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers!
Next up is this adorable Gingerbread activity that could also be used as a craft or center. Students could match the alphabet, sight words, or build a sentence! (Just click the picture!)
Lastly- a GIVEAWAY!! I am GIVING AWAY 2 copies of my new 168 page February Journals! (details below) This pack includes 6 differentiated levels of 25 writing prompts all themed for the month of February. This pack is truly suited for all grade levels K-2!

Want to win a copy?? There are 2 ways to win! On my blog- Just leave a comment below with your email and I'll pick a winner tomorrow! "Like" my facebook page (if you haven't already) and there's a Pin-It-to-Win-It! Just click here

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So, you have pink on your shoes????

I know you're probably wondering about the title of this post, right? Well.... this is how I introduced MLK, Jr. and segregation to my kids today. Directly after our meeting, as an intro to our Reader's Workshop, I asked all of the kids wearing pink, orange, or black on their shoes to please stand up. I then told them to have a seat at their desks, that they would not be able to play at recess today. Yeah, I know. You can imagine the looks on their faces! They just stood there for a second, almost in shock as if they couldn't move. Finally I said it again. They reluctantly moved to their seats and sat down. While I was walking around the room I asked the friends at their seats how they felt about what I had just said. They were very eager to shout out, "Mad! Sad! Angry! It's not fair!" while kids at the carpet were content they were still going to play at recess, but also a little uneasy about why their other friends couldn't play. A few of them were brave enough to ask me why they couldn't play. I simply told them because they had pink, orange, or black on their shoes. I'm telling you, their minds were SPINNING! They were completely perplexed as to what had possessed me to come up with this idea. After a few minutes, I finally told them I was just kidding, and that I was proud of those who spoke up for their friends and themselves! We then talked about segregation and began our MLK study for the day!

I LOVED their "W" questions on our KWL chart... some of them are just magical! They were really reaching on the "K", having no clue who MLK was or why we were talking about him. When they started to say, "I know he wears shoes" we decided we were just inferring and should move on to the "W". Check out #4 on the "W" section. She said, "How did he believe in himself?" I all but let my jaw drop when that came out of my little Who's mouth!

 Next, we worked on creating a sentence and illustrating our sentence. Today the sentence read, "You can change the world".

Next, we watched a FREE Brainpop Jr. video on Martin Luther King, Jr. You can find this here:

For Writer's Workshop today, we started our biography projects!! We started by coloring our covers, and then starting our organizer with bullets points about MLK's life.

To manage the actual writing of the biography, I use my easel to make bullet points the students are able to copy onto their "All About MLK" recording sheet. Next, we discuss how these could be made into a sentence and the students write a sentence on the corresponding paper. They are then allowed to draw and color a picture.


"He had one brother and one sister."
For our Poem today, we read the story The Crayon Box that Talked along with the corresponding poem you can find in yesterday's post!
In Math, we are working on subtraction story problems. To correlate with our MLK studies, I brought out a bag of M&M's and we discussed how they were the same, and how they were different. My favorite quote was, "They both have chocolaty goodness inside!" After we acted out subtraction problems with our M&M's, I let the kids eat their M&M's. This little one came up to me with his coffee filter of M&M's and said, "Can you bundle these?" HOW adorable!! He was thinking about a rubber band, and how we "bundle" a group of 10!! So sweet!
Whew!! We had a very busy day today!! Stop by tomorrow for more fun! All of these products can be found here