Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reader's Workshop Curriculum Mapping... The First Four Units

 I love to sit and plan all my teach points for each unit then come in and build the anchor text and anchor chart for support.  I've been working this summer to map out our first grade teach points in reader's workshop.  I've finished the first four units.
Unit 1- Launching Reader's Workshop
Unit 2- Adventures of a Fiction Reader
Unit 3- Comprehension Strategies in Fiction
Unit 4- Non- Fiction Readers Explore the Words
             in Books

Each unit has targeted teach points to drive the overall unit theme.  I'm attaching the 4 unit map out for reader's workshop.

Unit 2- Adventures of a Fiction Reader
I've completed an entire unit using these teach points.  It includes a lesson plan for 20 days of teaching, anchor charts for each day, and a suggested mentor text.  This will bring you through and entire month of planned reader's workshop lessons.

 Theses are some of the anchor charts that I used in Unit 2- Adventures of a Fiction Reader

Click here to download the reader's workshop curriculum maps

Monday, August 17, 2015

Classroom Decorating.....What I LOVE

Y'all I just can't seem to get away from the pink and green palate...... I mean no matter how many other colors I look at and think about, I'm always right back to where I started.  This year I set up a PD/model classroom where we can all learn together and teachers can access material to use in their lessons. I created a backdrop in the library where any child who walks in immediately feels the warmth of reading. I also decided this year to add black into the color scheme for some boldness and color offset.  I like the depth black adds to the alternating colors.  I created a black background with colorful chevron patterns for the alphabet, numbers to 20, word wall, workstation signs and more.  You can click here to check it out. 
I'll be posting more areas in the room just as soon as I finish!  I hope your classroom decorating is going well. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Who's Ready for a SALE??

Yay!!! It's the annual back to school TPT sale. My cart is filled with goodies from all over!
I can wait to hear about what everyone stocked up on.  Everything in my TPT store is on sale.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Math Journaling Part 2..... Working with a Buddy

Hey y'all! Last week we talked about how introducing a daily math journal into each day, has huge benefits for your little mathematicians. If you missed that post, you can see it here... Math Journaling Part 1. Do you ever find an idea easier or clearer after you have talked about it with someone? I mean really talk it through....... I recently sat down with my best friend who is also a teacher and discussed the framework of a readers workshop lesson.  We talked for about 2 hour straight hours that day, and I walked away with a bag full of new ideas, old ideas validated, and a fresh outlook on a new year of reader's workshop.  During this conversation she and I took what she knew about reader's workshop, what I knew, and what research supports and put it all together.  We agreed, disagreed, and pondered over many ideas. In the end we both seemed to have a clear understanding of the work of reader's workshop and how we would create an even deeper workshop learning environment than before.  Working with a buddy really helped me solidify my understanding in this topic.  This is exactly how our students work.  As students are becoming risk takers in math journal and numbers, they need someone to talk through their problem.  Math buddies offers a great way for students to connect math thinking, share ideas, and grow understanding.  
 In my classroom students work with their math buddy during math journal time, 3 days a week and on their own the other 2 days.  They love working with their buddy and it really fosters that good conversation between two learners. When thinking about grouping my buddies, I always group on like ability level.  I want my students to grow and they need someone on the same level as them.  I would never group a high and a low together as math buddies, because the high has no one to have a deep conversation with and the low will continue to be confused.  I try to think about a few things when grouping buddies....
1. like ability levels (strategic with strategic, high with high, etc.)
2. Who will have good conversation together?
3. Which students will nurture each other's thinking?

Then I group my buddies and change them out each quarter.  Wow, think about how powerful that is to have four different people throughout the school year that they have had a chance to think deeply about math with for an extended time.

I also have math buddies work together during mathematician work after the mini lesson from time to time.  Sharing a conversation about numbers builds such good foundations in number sense and problem solving.

This is a way that I display my math buddies in the classroom. Students know who their buddy is, no confusion, and that equals more focused mathematicians. Click on the poster pic. for a freebie copy. 
I put their pictures on the poster with velco and switch them out each quarter.  I've also seen teachers use post its on this chart and just write the students' names. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Math Journaling....An Important Part of the Day

 Hey y'all!! About 4 years ago, I realized that my kids needed more practice with problem solving and they needed a longer amount of time to do it.  I also realized that I wanted them to be stronger communicators in order to deepen their understanding of the concepts.  I decided to introduce math journaling into my math block.  I wasn't sure at first how this was going to go, but I will say now that I would never teach math with out the component of math journaling.  When I talk with other teachers, they too feel like introducing math journaling in their daily routine has built strong foundations in their students' number sense.
Each morning, my kids come in and immediately get started on math journal.  They'll work for about 30 minutes in their journal.  It's my favorite part of the day!!! Whether you choose to purchase a math journal or just have your students do story problem solving with some deep analyzing, it's the purposeful thinking they carry out in this process that really grows dendrites.  

During journal we play classical music in the room. I find this helps set the tone for the work that needs to be done and it promotes that deep thinking. My favorite part of math journaling from a planning point, is that you already know your kids are doing for morning work.  There is nothing worse than having to plan something new for morning work every single day!
As I started liking math journal more and more, I began to see that there were 4 areas of need to focus in on.  Students needed a deeper understanding of problem solving in a story problem.  I don't know about y'all, but when I was in elementary school and the teacher said word problems, you could bet there was a long sigh from the whole class. I didn't want that for my kids.  I find that math journals promotes... deep thinking..... structured conversation...... risk taking.....and a love of math. 
Each day when my students come into the classroom, they immediately begin math journal.  Our journal is comprised of four components. 
1. Number of the Day- This is a safe place for students to take ownership of thinking deeply. They can be comfortable taking risks using numbers.  Students are writing and creating ways to make a given number.  
Y'all it's sometimes so amazing the things they come up with. One day our number was 47 and this is what one student came up with.  1,000- 200- 200- 200- 100- 100- 50- 50- 30- 20- 3= 47 It was amazing! The greatest part of this was when this child shared out during journal check, the other student were just as amazed and they started taking risks like that in the following days.  
2. Thinking about numbers- I wanted my students to have a deep understanding of number sense. In thinking about numbers, students have a focused problem to help build a strong sense in numbers.  
3. Story Problems- This is where students get to analyze and think deeply about problem solving. Students 
4. Daily Data- This is where I thought my teaching really lacked.  I didn't like the idea of only doing a unit on data for two weeks out of the school year.  In this journal, students work with a new set of data each week.  They use an interactive graph for the entire week. The data is generated by the students each Monday. 

This graph was so fun y'all!  You wouldn't believe how difficult it was for the boys to pick a favorite.  

 All I did to create these graphs was take put that cute patterned duck tape on a poster board.  You can have your students write their name on a post it or use their picture and velcro each week.

Here is a little sample to download of the math journals we do each day in our class. Sample Click

If you like it, you can check out the math journals in my store.  The graphs are included in the journals as well.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Thriving Community of Math Learners

Y'all, I love back to school time, because that means the beginning of community building in the classroom. If I had the say the most important contributor to student success in my personal classroom, one of the top placeholders would be building a community of learners. Meaning that students learn from each other, a safe place to make mistakes, a safe place to be a risk taker in thinking, a safe place to build upon each other's thinking, and a place to grow together as learners.  In my math class, we work on building each other up when a fellow classmate is confused or doesn't understand.  We do this through providing a help line.  Students ask the classmate if they 1. Need help 2. more think time 3. or the question asked again. This way another student can lend a thinking helping hand and either explain how to solve the problem or send the student on the right track of thinking without blatantly giving the answer and doing all their thinking work for them.  I love when they are so in tuned to  helping each other think through the problem.  This is one way for the students to visually see how to help each other in those early stages of building community.  The are helper ques. I lay them out in our circle during teaching time and hold them up when a student is stuck.  I have even had a sweet baby go and grab a helper question when they were in need. I find they really provide that visual support for help. All you need to do is print, cut, laminate, and hot glue to a popsicle stick. They can be used for any subject.  I particularly use them in math.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Check out the newest blog in the family......

It's been soooooo long!!!!! We'll I can tell you I've been crazy busy! Since my move from first grade teacher to curriculum coordinator, I've been working with all grade levels this year.  I decided that if I was truly going to keep this blog about first grade, then I would need to start a second blog to share all the great things we're doing in all the other grade levels.  I'm excited to kick off my new blog
i heart learning and teaching. This blog is dedicated to show a glimpse of my day as curriculum coordinator. Here, I'll be sharing what I'm planning with teachers across grades PreK-7th in all subject areas.  I'll also be featuring youtube videos about teaching and learning that we create right here in my own house classroom. Isn't that just about the funniest thing you've ever heard?? Who sets up a classroom at their house? Well I missed my own classroom so much, that I had to recreate the magical feeling!