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Monday, March 23, 2015

12 Ways to Compose and Decompose Numbers 11-19


“Have you ever said, “I’ve done everything but stand on my head and they still don’t get it?” Well, this is one of those standards—composing and decomposing numbers. Now, when I say “get it” I mean do they REALLY get it?

  • Do, they understand what is happening when they snap ten together and what does the “1” in the front really means?
  • Can they show my multiple ways to make each number 11-19?
  • Can they explain what is happening?

So when Michele and I got together to plan how we were going to teach this unit, it took a little longer than usual, like a lot longer! Each month Michele and I meet for dinner at Panera. After dinner, we spend a few hours mapping out how we are going to run our small groups the next month. After we come up with the activities, we each “do our part” at home.  I usually create the games and make the photo directions. Michele does the scripting! (Glad she likes doing it, because I don’t!)


These are the easy to follow “general” photo directions  for each game. In the scripting, Michele explains how to use the activity in more detail with your intervention, on target, and challenge level kids.


I make each game in color and black and white…so you choose which works best for you!


I got the idea of asking for proofreaders on facebook from my friend Deedee. So…how exciting was it to see that one teacher who proofread last night could use the game today!!! She chose to make the game black and white and run it on brown paper. Love the page protector and dry erase idea for the recording page! Here’s the game they were playing…..


Be sure and follow us on facebook! If you like to proofread, for a free copy in exchange, you might be next!

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

French Lick Teacher Tool Gift Exchange

We had such a fun time in French Lick, IN last weekend with over 100 bloggers.

Holly Ehle from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections put together quite the meet up! It was so much fun to get together with other teacher bloggers and discuss all sorts of things about teaching, blogging, and helping other teachers.

One of our favorite parts of the weekend was the teacher tool gift exchange. They separated us by grade level and Amanda Pauley told a left-right-left story that was hilarious and made the game so much fun!

We were so excited about our gifts that we only took a few pictures. 

I got quite the large collection of Flare pens. They have already made it into the cup in my office and I use them every day!

Megan got some really cool sharpies, pencils, and a precious notebook, She may have gotten a bag of peanut M&M's that didn't even make it back to Georgia. 

Ginny got a container of binder rings. Those will be great to use when making flash cards!

Here are a few other gifts that we thought were really neat!
Wipe-off dice
Write the Room apron
Erasable markers
Mini mailboxes from the Dollar Spot at Target
Scentos Marker Holder

The Scentos marker holder was made by Katie Mense's husband! I cant wait to order mine soon!

Head over to Miss DeCarbo's blog to link up!
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Guided Reading Unit and Easter Redo!

Just a quick post to let you know that I finished up with the April Guided Reading Unit .
Here are the titles
Here is a sample of some of the phonics, writing, and non-fiction text practice pages.
If you already have our Easter Math Game Unit, I updated it with new graphics. I added another sharing game and another measure me game.
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chapter 5 Book Study: Mission Organization

“….these tools are some of the best friends of a teacher who desires to facilitate the comprehension of students. They address both the left and right hemispheres of students, so they are beneficial to all.”

This is  quote from Marcia’s book! Doesn’t it feel great when we can find a strategy that is helpful to all of our kids?

Here’s what else she says:

  • “Because the brain remembers images more easily than just words, graphic organizers are one of the tools that are effective for organizing patterns.”
  • “Graphic organizers are powerful tools for instruction since they enable students to organize data into segments or chunks that they can comprehend and manage.”

So here some of the ideas we have used in our classes. These were some circle maps we made during our Thanksgiving. The kids brainstormed words that were all about Thanksgiving. They loved the craft…remember chapter 2?


This is an example of a bubble map. On this map we brainstormed words that described plants.


This is an example of a Venn Diagram we made during our Bats Unit to show the difference and similarities between bats and birds.. A great non-fiction activity for Stellulana.


This is an example of a double bubble map we made during our farm unit. We made the craft earlier in the week. Then the kids answered the question to decide where to glue their face.


This an example of a tree map. I LOVE tree maps for writing! They are a great way to get your kids writing!


Having kids sign-in using this 2 column tree map is another example.


This is an example of a brace maps. Brace maps are used to show the parts of a whole. The slide below is another example of a brace map.


This is an example of a flow map. These are also great for retelling stories, sequencing events, and for concepts that show change over time.


This is an example of a double bubble map that is great for cause and effect!

So….how are you getting your kids thinking organized? Hop on over to Michele’s Blog and see what other teachers are doing! I am loving this book study! Not only has it given me great content for a blog post, it has affirmed us of many of our practices as well as showing us some new ones we want to try!


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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites Book Study Chapter 3: Field Trips Without Leaving the School

“The purpose of the brain is not to make good grades or to score high on a standardized text. The brain has but one purpose—survival in the real world.”

With all the focus on testing and limited budgets, field trips have been eliminated or greatly reduced in many schools. So how can we “take” field trips and not leave the school property? Here are a few things we have done:


One idea Marcia suggests is one that we have already done! We took a shape walk around the school to find shapes all around us. We then went back to the classroom and made a tree map of what we saw.


Marcia also suggests taking your class outside under a tree to conduct a lesson. During our insect unit, we took our magnifying glasses and our books and headed outside. We laid in the grass to see what we could find. Then we recorded what we saw in our books.


On another day, a windy day, we headed outside to see what wind would do. Before going outside we predicted which one we thought would move the most. Then, we did our experiment and recorded our results. I love these simple direction cards for our science experiments. It is a great way to put nonfiction text to work!


On another spring day, we put an old sock on over our shoes and headed out for a walk. We walked all through the tall grass to see if we could collect any seeds on our socks. We planted our socks in one gallon containers to see if anything would grow!


One of our favorite events is Whale Day sponsored by our ecology club. The sponsors and kids set everything up and each grade level is assigned a time to do the events. We did rubbings of whales. They made a life sized whale using  rolls of black plastic.


We played a predator/prey game to show children how a balance is important.


We put our hands down inside ziploc bags, one made with crisco between two ziploc bags and one without, that were inside buckets of ice. This was to show the kids how the blubber keeps the whales warm. We played a game where children drew a whales tale and then we tried to match them with the one they copied. This is because we can identify whales from the markings on their tails.


We had film cans with various items. For example, there were 4 cans with pennies, and 4 cans with beans, etc. The kids had to shake the cans and hook arms with the whales that were in their families. Whales can locate their family members by the sounds they make!

So why is this all important:

“Because students need concrete, real world examples and need to see, touch, and experience the world, a field trip can be a useful teaching tool prior to starting a teaching unit.” (Gregory & Parry, 2006)


“Enhancing higher order thinking skills, refining observation and questioning skills, and increasing the confidence and attitude of students are all benefits of field trips.”

One thing I want to try:

Marcia suggest planning a scavenger hunt so that when students are on the field trip they are looking for predetermined items and finding the answers to predetermined questions. I am thinking this would be kind of like our “back to school” scavenger hunt, but I think we could do WAY more with this idea!!


Click on the image to see what others are saying about field trips!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chapter 2: Drawing and Artwork Book Study

I decided to split up Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 because I just loved both Chapters so much! So here is Chapter up with my friend, Elizabeth, to check out more about Chapter 1 & 2!

“When children play-draw, dance, and sing—they engage every sense and help wire the neurons for learning successfully.” (Sousa, 2006) Wow! Now that makes me stop and think….. What has happened to play, art, blocks, and even recess in many classrooms? As I travel around the country training teachers, it is always a little sad to hear them say, “My principal says we don’t have time for art.” We don’t have time to NOT have art! We have to teach with urgency. We have to do more authentic teaching. We have to see the value in what has been perceived as “wasting time.”
Reading this chapter made me thing of a few activities that we are doing that are “spot on” with this chapter.
Academic Vocabulary
We use the Marzano framework for academic vocabulary. In his thinking, children should show a linguistic and non-linguistic representation of the word. This means they should draw a picture to show their understanding of the word. This is not done with every vocabulary word…just the ones that the children need to take to a deeper level of understanding. Here’s how we do it. 1. Define the academic vocabulary words. The words in your standards that the children need to know.
2. Make word wall cards for each of these words.
3. Identify the most important words. These are the words that you will conduct a lesson for. These are the ones that the children MUST know to be successful in the content area. Have the children draw a picture to show their understanding. Work together as a class to determine a definition for the word.
4. Children make an academic vocabulary journal. Here they practice the word independently.
Another way to use this strategy is to engage in “craft” type activities. In reading we are working on “What do you do when you come to a word you don’t know?” Since I really want to turn my boys into book lovers, we decided to take a “tools” approach. Here’s what we did.
1.First, we thought about the reading strategies and picked a tool to represent each of them.
2. After teaching a lesson on each strategy, we made a tool box as a reminder of what we know. Cut and fold a paper bag like the one in the picture.
3 We made a little book with the tools and each strategy.
4. Then, we made the tools. 
5. Now, as the children get ready to read a book, invite them to look in their tool box and pull out a tool that they want to remember to try. Have them lay it by their book while they are reading. This will remind them to use the tool like a good reader does!
We use artwork as a way to demonstrate comprehension of the stories we read. Here’s how we do it.
1. After reading the story, we say “Authors help us in special ways when they write their stories. One thing they do is they let us know where the character goes in a story—what the settings are. If we can remember the settings the character travels to, we can use that to help us retell the story.”
So now we make a list of all of the places that the character went.
Now we say, “Good readers know to go back to the text to help them recall what happened in the story. Let’s go back and look to see where Rosie went. Let’s get them in the right order so we can retell the story.”
2. Invite each child to make one of the “settings” that Rosie travels to. We used the scrap box of paper, but children could draw, paint, etc!
3. After the pieces have all been made, invite the children to sit around the paper. Using the book, like good readers, have the children sequence the settings.
4. Now using the paper Rosie and the fox made by a few of the children, invite the children to tell the story by passing the characters around the circle. As they get the character, they tell what happened in their part of the story.
You can also do this as an independent activity like we did here in the Gingerbread Boy:
or here for The Three Pigs
Loved this idea: Have children draw a class mural to show what they remembered from yesterday’s class. I think this is a great way to check for understanding and to be sure they are grasping the ideas. I’m thinking this would be a great way to do a formative assessment!
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