We also spent some of our Christmas vacation going geocaching...super fun! I'd heard of it before but had never done it. We downloaded the free geocaching app on our iPhones, read the clues for nearby caches (pronounced catches) and went searching...they're all different and some have treasures once you find them. I see a lot of potential with this in the classroom (or technically, outside the classroom). Have you ever done geocaching with your students? And if so, what? What are the educational possibilities?
Back at Lake Myra, we spent the last week before track-out with a festive week of spiritwear. Monday was jeans with a red or green top, Tuesday was jeans and Tacky Sweater Day (which we renamed Festive Sweater Day to not offend anyone who actually wears these sweaters...like our grandmothers :-) Wednesday was jeans and fancy shoes/fancy top day and Thursday was Lake Myra spiritwear.
The last week of school was very busy with assessments, report cards, Performance Matters and universal screening. We benchmarked all Kindergarten and first graders individually using our RTI team of benchmarkers in the media center. We got all 10 K & 1 classes done in two afternoons in Early Numeracy.
I created my own set of Foundational Numeracy assessments for RTI which you can download HERE.
My Foundational Literacy assessment for RTI continue to be a best seller, too. They are HERE.
I also finally managed to get all the Critical Thinking Language frames laminated and distributed to all the teachers...now these language frameworks for critical thinking are posted in every classroom at Lake Myra. You can download too, for free HERE.
Something else I tried this quarter was this form I created to keep track of questions and answers during guided reading. I wanted to quantitatively capture which students were participating, at what level, how often and if they were participating through answering questions and/or asking questions. Try it if you like, and see how it goes...you can download it free HERE. Let me know what you think and if it helps guide your future instruction.
Let's see, what else have I been up to? Was super jazzed that our district science department was having a holiday give-away of science materials...out of 115 elementary schools in Wake County, there were only about 25 schools that showed up to rake in the awesome FREEBIES of science materials...and boy did we rake in, I would have gotten more, but one, I didn't want to be greedy and two, this is all that would fit in my car. Among other things, we got cups (all sizes), beakers, soil, pebbles, ph paper, tuning forks, batteries, wax paper, trays (all sizes), solids, hammers, peg board...the list goes on and on.
Was also featured in our state department of education's December 2012 issue of The ELA Scoop with a link to my last spring blog post on Informational Text...here is a link to that ELA Scoop.
Also had the opportunity to present my Fifty Shades of the Common Core presentation to a great group of teachers at Siler City Elementary in Chatham County on December 5th. Will also be traveling to Sonora Elementary School in Arkansas on January 7th to do the same thing....am loving all the opportunities to provide Common Core ELA professional development to so many schools and districts outside Wake County...thank you for asking me and thank you for having me...it's really been a pleasure!
Also wanted to spotlight Deb Rosenella, my teacher partner who also teaches small group core instruction because when I walked into her intervention room and saw how she had utilized the classroom cabinet doors with black butcher paper and chalk to track Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes...I was super impressed, as always, Deb Rosenella is an amazing upper grade reading teacher (and science, and everything)...she really ought to start an upper grade blog, I know she would have a ton of followers!
I've also had the wonderful opportunity to go into Kindergarten and 2nd grade classrooms to model Text Talk vocabulary lessons. If you follow my blog, you know how much a vocabulary fan I am. With the common core not introducing text complexity until grade 2, our school has used Text Talk lessons (based on Isabel Beck's book, Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction) to tackle text complexity at the listening comprehension level of our youngest readers. Here I am doing the lesson from the book Amazing Grace. Simply, the a text talk lesson has two parts, the read-aloud first, then the explicit vocabulary instruction of three words from the text. Here I am reading the book to them and stopping to ask text based questions. Here I am teaching three words from the book: exploring, paved and amazing...to a group of Kindergartners.
Beck's book lays out the framework for creating your own Text Talks lessons and I have written several lessons myself and uploaded them to my www.hellofirstgrade.com site, but some wonderful teachers in Utah created over 100 text talk lessons a couple of years ago as part of a Reading First project, so we use print and use those lessons too. You can access those free Utah First vocabulary lessons HERE. I also took those lesson one step further by creating vocabulary notebook sheets, vocabulary posters and word cards for each of the 100 books in the Utah packet. You can download my Vocabulary Text Talk Notebook and Poster Set HERE. There are over 350 pages here of vocabulary lessons for the entire year.
Here is a sample poster:
Here is a sample word card page:
Here is a sample notebook page:
Now that I'm tracked out for the next four weeks, I'm working on a several TpT projects that have been on the back burner, including my Rainbow Phrases packet, which should be up in the next day or so.
It's a system that is designed to follow my Rainbow Words program, but featuring all phrases including conversational phrases and idioms. Like I said, I'll have that posted tonight or tomorrow.
Also included in the packet is "My Conversational Phrases" book that will also be sold separately.
...it will include 25 sheets of idioms like this one.
I think that's about all for now, but it's good to be back blogging again, and I look forward to your comments and emails. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Oh, and everything in my TpT store is 20% through New Year's Eve!
Happy Reading! -Jen