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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Are you Ready for St. Patrick’s Day?

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Here are some of the ideas from my Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day Unit. We made a paper plate leprechaun and wrote a how to piece for How To Catch a Leprechaun.
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Do you believe in Leprechauns survey graph during math centers….
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Spin an ordinal number St. Patrick’s Day Parade also during math centers…Slide7
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How to make green science experiment….
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Shamrock Shakes Cooking and Procedural Writing Activity…Slide9
Making ock family words during literacy centers….
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This number line mystery game is from my St. Patrick’s Math Game Pack. The kiddos pick up a number card. They look at the card and have to determine where it goes on the number line. Once the figure out where it goes, they pick up the card that is laying there and put their own card in it’s place. Now they have to figure out where the new card belongs. They absolutely love this game! 
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finishing Up February because here comes March!

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This week I will be finishing up February in Iowa and Nebraska! This is my last chance to see some real snow! I thought living up north this year I would actually get enough snow to measure…but no…not yet! So bring on some snow!

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I am also presenting the DI for the Little Guy in March.

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Also in March I will be in Baton Rouge for Destination Common Core. I am super excited about going back to LA. I worked there last week with a great group of teachers from Plaquemines Parish and they are all coming to this seminar. I can’t wait to see them again! They are super pumped about common core and are already doing lots of great things!

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They took me to a great little restaurant for some “Louisianan Cooking”! I think I gained a gazillion pounds! During break I couldn’t resist this photo bomb opportunity!

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This is one of the biggest conferences I do all year. If you live in the Chicago area you don’t want to miss this one. There are tons of great presenters, great vendors, and lots of fun! Hope to see you at this one if you live any where near here!

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And finally, I am going to Southern California! Enough said, right? Plus I am going to spend a few days visiting with my sweet friend Kimberly Jordano and her precious little girl. On Friday I will be presenting at their conference. I was there quite a few years ago and it was a blast! We are doing make and takes for both literacy and math common core! You don’t want to miss it if you live close by!

So throw in a few days of customized training in Virginia and West Virginia and my month is full!

The end of the month I am taking a full week off! My sweet daughter Megan is coming to DC with my mother in law for a week of DC culture! It will be a blast during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Can’t resist sharing my new favorite book that Megan bought for me! BTW, she bought one for her dad, too…only it was for Grandpas!Slide6

You can click right on the book to go and buy one for that special person in your life! They will love it…I do! Or, get 40 Uses for a Grandpa for that special dude!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

It’s Finally Done—Reader’s Workshop Unit 7 Building Foundations

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Can’t believe it; but, yes it is finally done! (Be sure and read ALL the way to the BOTTOM for a surprise!)Every time we finish a unit, Michele sends me an email and says, “Okay, I think this is the best one yet!” Is it because we are excited about teaching it? Is it that it is like having a baby? Aren’t all babies the best? Or is it just because we are DONE?!!!!!
I just love the clip art by Nikki at Melonheadz! She is the best! This unit uses her tool clip for a building theme to teach the reading strategies. We’re kinda over the whole animal themed reading strategies and wanted something new that our reluctant readers, who are mostly boys, would make a connection to! I think we hit the nail on the head…no pun intended!
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Some of y’all might wonder how we split up the work load. Well, first we meet together at a local restaurant and hammer out the unit…what it will be, what will be the theme each week, what are the mini lessons, what do we need for the teach and active engagement portions of the lesson, and what pieces we need to make it all fun and exciting for our little readers. (We tend to take up the table for most of the day, so we try to be REALLY nice to the servers!) In the units Michele has scripted the mini lessons as well as the monthly overviews. I think she is a gifted writer and has a way of explaining things very clearly. My job is to make all the “pieces”. I make the anchor charts, the games, the celebration, and any other items we need to support our readers.  Michele sends everything to me and I proof read and add clip art! Yes, we both read it and yet we still seem to make a few mistakes!
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Here are two of our games for stretching out words and for looking all the way through the word!
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We also spent two weeks teaching author’s craft! This is one of my most favorite things to teach during Reader’s Workshop. I love how they start using the craft in their own writing.
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We finish the unit with this fun craftivity where the kids actually make the tools and a little tool box to hold them! Super fun!
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Recently Michele and I bundled units 1-3 and units 4-6 for a discounted price. So from now until midnight Sunday, 25th unit 7 will be at the discounted bundle price for a single unit—$8 instead of the normal $10! Click on the cover or follow this link to see the unit:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Readers-Workshop-Unit-7-Building-Foundations-Aligned-to-the-Common-Core
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rekenreks, Smart Boards, and Chicago?

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This is a rekenrek…just in case it’s a new term to you. When we started common core, a rekenrek was one of the new tools I learned how to use. They aren’t new, just I had never used one before.  You can learn a lot about where they came from and how they can be used just by using your Google!
Anyways, I saw this idea on pinterest to make a large teacher sized one. It is made with pvc pipe and pool noodles! So, you guessed it….Andy had to make me one…along with about 6 others for friends that put in their orders. The small white card, is the student sized one!
Here are a few things about Rekenreks….
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To use them…Always start with all the beads pushed over to the right. The kiddos push their answer over to the left. Then, they are able to read their answer from left to right.
So while I was in Chicago last week, my friend Kathleen wanted me to model how to use them. Now here’s the tricky part…she has a smart board! I never used one when I had my own classroom so this was an opportunity to try it out.  I can’t believe it, but I made a smart board lesson for teaching the rekenrek. It was super funny to make and do. I had made the slides the night before. The next  morning, My friend Kath and I each had a pen and were both trying to add the “movable” shapes at the same time, each of thinking we knew how to do it best!!! We finally got a much younger teacher who was able to show us our simple mistake and we got it all done! Then, during the lesson I used the tool to drag over the shapes and write the numerals. Can I say, I was just a little impressed with myself? SmileIt doesn’t take much, I am so challenged when it comes to technology!IMG951062
First I modeled how to move all the beads to the right side of their card. (Each of the children had their own card.)
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We were working on whether an equation was true or false. (This is a first grade common core standard.) So first I made an addition sentence and we moved the beads to the left to figure out the sum. Then, we put another addition sentence after the = sign and moved the beads on their cards to the left to figure out that sum. Were the sums equal? We did start with “turn arounds”, commutative property, as they had been working on those and I thought it would be an easy place to start.
In my lesson, I had made the first addition sentence using both rows, then the kiddos made the second addition sentence using both of their rows. We compared the sum on their cards to the sum on the smart board.
One teacher suggested having them do the first addition sentence on the top row and the second addition sentence on the bottom row and it would be easier for them to compare the sums! Totally makes sense! (Teachers from Kath’s school were observing while I was doing the lesson.)
The way I did it helps them to see the different equations and her way would help them see the sums…so that would be 2 different lessons!
Then, it was time for Math Centers and Small Groups. I pulled a small group to do a different rekenrek lesson---Make a 10. Here the kids in the small group each had a rekenrek.
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Then, we would spin the spinner. Whatever numeral it lands on, the children move that many beads over to the left. Now look at the beads on the right side and that is how many to make a 10! This activity is from my Yeehaw! Wild About Numbers! Unit. (Not the smart board, just the small group lesson.) We practiced, conceptually a few times, then we started writing our combinations on the recording sheet.
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Thanks to the teachers at Morton Gingerwood! You were a great bunch to work with…I know good things are going to happen in your school because you were eager, reflective, and fun!
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Are you off for President’s Day?

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Are you out of school tomorrow? Megan is off and we plan to celebrate with a little “baby shopping”! I am home, in GA, for the long weekend and we are going to hit the stores tomorrow to get any last minute baby items before I head back to DC!

Maybe you celebrated President’s Day last week in your room. but, if it is in your plans for this week, here are a few ideas from my Hooray for President’s Day Unit. We made these cute craftivities with “cut a sentences” about George Washington and Abe Lincoln.Slide4

We compared the two presidents on this graphic organizer.Slide5

During math the children did the survey graph and interpreted their data.

Check out the two pictures below. I have talked a lot about CPA—Conceptual, pictorial, and abstract learning. Slide1Slide2

So how would you answer these questions? Here’s my thinking….slide one is conceptual.. Conceptual means the students are able to manipulate. The clip art pictures become a manipulative. However, she is also showing her answer abstractly by adding numerals to her recording page. Slide 2? I saw pictorial…he solved the problem by drawing his thinking…

What we know…learning should always begin conceptually! This is the only way we can ensure that real understanding is occurring. It allows children to build mental images of their thinking and not just memorize facts!

Okay, so does that sound like a text bookie or what?!?! People often tell me my personality is very different from the way I write! So for those of you who know me, just imagine me telling you this, with my southern accent, adding a few jokes, and forgetting what I was saying and it will seem more like me! Have a great day!

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Reader’s Workshop Units….bundled

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Michele and I have bundled and discounted our Units for Reader’s Workshop. Units 1-3 are in Bundle 1 and Units 4-6 are in Bundle 2.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

You can learn something new everyday!

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You know the old saying, “You can learn something new everyday?” Well, I know I am at least learning something new every week! Last week, I learned that you should take a coat to Missouri when you go there in the winter! Ya’ll I nearly froze to death! So what have I learned this week? First of all, I learned from last week and I took a coat when I flew to Indianapolis yesterday for the  Destination Common Core Training. But that’s not all….today I met this cute, young teacher at the training who teachers 12 deaf kindergarteners. That’s her in the picture! We were talking about the Reader’s Workshop Units that Michele and I are writing and how she has been using them with her kids. During the seminar, as I was sharing ideas from Unit 2, Powerful Partnerships, she shared a great idea!Slide2

I was talking about the flow map and the sticky note folder and how we can use them to mark something we want to share with our partner during partner reading time. Then, she shared this idea:

She reduced the size of the poster board flow map to fit on a half sheet of paper. Then, she glued the flow map inside their sticky note folders! Oh my word, why haven’t I thought of that? Now the kids have a reminder right there in front of them of how to use the sticky notes! Love it!

What did you learn new today?

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Is it really February already?

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How excited was I when I realized that I was going to be working close to my sweet friend, DeeDee Wills? As soon as we figured it out, we started making plans. She drove into St. Louis and spent the day at the conference with me. What a treat for the teachers attending! You could tell that Deedee was THEIR celebrity. She was soon answering questions and having conversations with many MO teachers. That night, we met up with some bloggers and had a great dinner at the Hard Rock Café. It was like I had known these girls forever! The conversation was fast, fun and at some points quite loud!
Back row:
me, Deedee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten, Meredith from Keen on Kindergarten, Becky from Paint the Sky Green
Front row:
Katie from Little Warriors, Ashlie from Goodwill Something, and Chrissy from Read, Write, Sing.
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So now it’s time to gear up for February. This week starts in West Virginia where I am working in a school modeling, coaching, and presenting on Reader’s Workshop. Then I fly out to IN for the Common Core Seminar. This seminar is picking up steam and has been lots of fun. 
Next week, I am working at a school in Chicago. Can I tell you how excited I am about this? My friend Kathleen teaches there!!! I have been there many times just as Kathleen’s friend. I just love hanging out in her class. She always lets me try out new ideas and we always have great fun teaching together. When I go there this time I am working with the teachers on Reader’s Workshop….for 3 whole days!!!!!
The best news is that when I leave Chicago, I am going home to Georgia for a few days! I can’t wait to get in Megan’s room and work with her kiddos! Who knows what we will get into! After a few days there, I am going to the New Orleans area. I am working at a district there, again on Reader’s Workshop! That must be the theme of the month!
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Then, the last week of February I head out for the DI for the Little Guy Seminar. This month will be crazy fun…not much time in DC! Have a great week!
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