Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Johnny Appleseed and I Can Statements

It's official. I now have to post student friendly I Can statements in my classroom. Tuesday I had my pre-conference for my first formal observation of the year and one of the things we talked about was posting I Can statements in my room. I was completely honest with the boss man. I said I am really running out of wall space and I think it would be more beneficial to have meaning and purposeful content on the walls rather than something the kids won't use to further their learning.
Well, he somewhat agreed with me. He said as long as I say it before each lesson and include in some part of our learning that that would be just fine. But after some thinking I just went ahead and posted them today. The only reason I did it was because I figured out a way that it didn't take too much time and it didn't clutter up my walls.
So here is what I came up. It's so easy breezy that it would only take one 30 minute prep time to complete.
I used colored sentence stripes to write kid friendly I Can statements on. But of course I had to color code them.
Pink: Writing CCSS
Yellow: Reading CCSS
Blue: Math CCSS
I wrote the I Can statement on the lines and then below in smaller print I included the CCSS. It is nothing special, but it got the job done.
In my classroom, I have designated boards for each content area. Back by my reading tables I have our CAFE board and math focus board. In the front of the room I have a writing board used for writer's workshop, a Daily 5 board, and another writing board that is used for Daily 5's Work on Writing.
Here are what my headers and I Can statements look like for each of the boards.

Now for what we have been learning. This week, just like many others, we have been working on Johnny Appleseed. My focus was to get some science and social studies in with Johnny Appleseed but to also work on identifying facts and writing them done using a graphic organizer and then writing an informational piece using the facts we learned about Mr. Appleseed himself.
First, we watched a short, animated movie about Johnny Appleseed. While the students were watching the movie they were prompted to write one fact that they learned on a post-it note.

After the movie we gathered on the carpet with our clipboards, post-it notes, and graphic organizer. We began discussing all the new information we had learned. My little ones came up with some really great ideas, but I also had to really prompt them to get them to have the types of facts I was looking for.

As my little ones shared their facts I added them to the chart below.
While I was writing they were also writing on their graphic organizer that was organized the same way.
This is what our hallway display ended up looking like. It's really simple nothing simple but it really show cases that we are working hard and not just doing the "cutesie" things.

So that was day one. Day two began with us reviewing our chart and teaching them that we can use facts to write an information paragraph about Johnny Appleseed.
This was our interactive writing piece for the week. I haven't released them with any responsibility to write on the chart. I am going to take it slow this year. They did help construct the sentences.
I forgot to take pictures today. But I will add them tomorrow.
The Johnny Appleseed interactive writing that we did today is part of my Clipboard Writers: Fall Interactive Writing packet that you can get in my TpT store.
So that was just a part of my day. Now I am off to bed because this little guy has been waking up once or twice during the night and I need some good sleep!

Yours in Teaching,


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Classroom Happenings...5 Weeks In

Next week I will begin my sixth week back to school. It has been a roller coaster ride for sure. My class is amazing and school has been going pretty well. However, life at home has been a major adjustment. I do feel like I am finally starting to adjust to this whole working mom thing. The Mr. is still have some difficulties.
A look back at our week from the family side of things...
This past week was my little man's second week at the babysitter. This has been the most difficult thing to adjust to. So, as I walk in on Monday the sitter tells me that lice is going around. What! Seriously! You have got to be.....! was my reaction on the inside. Lice is like my biggest fear. Luckily the little man doesn't have a lot of hair yet. I think I was more worried about myself. So that was family issue number one!
Family issue number two... the Mr.'s car has been giving us some trouble and finally broke down on his way home from work. Have I mentioned he works an hour away from our hometown. So, he had to borrow his friend's car to get home that night.
Now here is where things really start to get bad. Family issue number 3...The next day the Mr. and his dad drive an hour to the "big city" to tow our car back home. While on his way down a semi (YES, A SEMI!) sandwiches my Mr. into a concrete barrier. Luckily, he walked away with only some scrapes on his hands. But the car is another story. Now, remember he was driving his friends car. So now our car is a goner and his friend's car is a goner!
So needless to say this has been our toughest week as a family of three so far. I was a mess, the Mr. was a mess, our house was a mess. Everything was a mess. Oh wait, I forgot to mention before all the car trouble our t.v. died a couple days earlier. They say bad things come in threes. Hopefully these are our FOUR things because I don't know if I can take anything else.
So, yesterday we went car shopping and got the Mr. a new car, dropped the little man off at the grandparents, and had a night to relax with friends (the same friends who no longer have a car too. :/)
Hopefully things start to get better for us.
Ok, enough of the family issues. Let's take a look back at week 5 in the classroom...
Luckily, school is going smoothly. I have an amazing class minus the usual couple of little ones that take all of your energy. But they really aren't that bad. Things could be worse. My class this year has some of the most polite little ones I have ever had.
Kid, "Mrs. Eddleblute, I'm so sorry. I am just trying really hard to stretch out my words but I am stuck. I apologize, but could you please help me out?" Seriously, this kid melts my heart. He talks like this all day. AND it is rubbing off on the other kids. I LOVE IT!
Daily 5 is in full swing. I did decided to hold off on Read to Someone this year. I just didn't like the way it went this year and I didn't want to implement it until I had a better plan. I believe this group could really handle it. I plan on introducing Read to Someone late October or early November.
Here is what our Daily 5 board looks like. (Sorry for the glare, I'm still exploring my new camera.)
 I did mention before that I am not doing Listen to Reading. I just don't have the space and the materials I need to implement it effectively. So instead I threw in Read with Teacher as the fifth option.
Here are our I Can charts for Daily 5. (I forgot to snap a picture of our Work on Writing chart.) We spent the first 4 weeks really reviewing and practicing Read to Self, Word Work, and Work on Writing. The practice has really paid off. My little ones are very independent.

The little ones in my class are definitely strong writers. Their weak point is math, but they love writing and they are really coming up with some great pieces.
This is the beginnings of our writing menu for Work on Writing. I have introduced how to make a list and how to write a story. Of course the stories are very basic since it is the beginning of first grade. But they have surprised me. Many of my little ones are starting their stories with once upon a time and ending them with a happily ever after.
Their lists are also surprising me. They always add a title, are using the paper in their writing folders that gives them ideas on what to make a list of, and even coming up with some ideas of their own. It really is impressive.
During week 6, I am hoping to add another choice to the menu. I haven't decided which one and I haven't finished my lesson plans yet.
This pink crate is where they will find all the papers to correlate to the writing menu. So far it is working fine. Of course there are always better ways of doing things but on my budget this will do for now.

I also started guided reading groups this week. So, since introducing how to write a list, we have also been using list writing in reading groups. This was our first focus on how to write about reading. Two of my reading groups read fictional stories that had a water theme. My lowest group made a list of toys that you could play with in a pool, and my low-average group made a list of places you could find water.
Since these lists were completed in reading group and looked a little more "complete" than a list they would complete independently, I stamped the paper with a stamp that said "completed together in class." Many of the things we do in reading groups at the beginning of the year is done through modeling so I like to stamp the papers so that their parents know that some things going home are completed together as a class.

Of course we did many other things this week. But once the family issues started to begin I forgot to take pictures of everything else. Next week our class is going to be wrapping up our apple unit by doing some apple taste testing and we may just have to make some applesauce. But, we will have to see about that.
Yours in Teaching,