Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring Break!!

WoooHooo!! Isn't vacation great! I'm so excited for this one because it is going to be our first vacation with our son! There is so much to prepare though so not really looking forward to that!

As I said goodbye to my kids today I tried to give them good tips on staying active with reading during the break.  When they come back they have to face 3 days of rigorous testing! (Unless they refuse to take it! - fingers crossed!)  I wanted them to have something to do over vacation that wasn't just busy work with them reading random stories and answering questions.  I put together a close reading pack with tons of stories of ocean animals!  I leveled all the stories (because ya know I have so much free time!!!).  This way each of the stories met the needs of all my students.  I'm really happy with how it came out!

This is one of the stories about crabs.  They have a close reading guide on the right side to help them locate important information.  On the bottom right is a small dot.  That is the lowest level story.  On the teacher guide for each pack it tells you the level of each of the stories.  They are leveled with a lexile and I used a conversion chart I found online to convert it to Fountas and Pinnell.  So the Fountas and Pinnell levels are estimates as there is no direction correlation between the two leveling systems.  

Check out the whole pack here!!

After getting home today I was so tired! I picked up my son from my parents house because I am lucky they can watch him for me during the day!  I definitely stopped for coffee because thats my fuel these days, that and the gym.  I haven't been to the gym in a few days so happy to get back tomorrow!  I settled in and decided to start working on a close reading pack on water pollution.  I figure its a great pack for Earth Day.  My class is doing another module from EngageNY at the end of the year and it discusses conservation so I thought this would be a great way to help my students gain a better understanding!

Make sure to watch for it!

I find it hard to work at home lately.  I feel guilty because I don't get to see my son all day while I'm at work so I really want to spend all my time with him but I also need to get work done!  Lately I have been having him sit next to me while I work on projects so at least I can interact with him while I'm trying to work!


Beach Bum Literacy Chick

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Close Reading Pack

Today is going to be such a long day! I have parent teacher conferences tonight, which means a lot of running around inbetween school and the conferences to get my son ready. I'm very lucky my parents are always ready to babysit (my husband is in the process of starting his own business so he always works late). I don't know about you guys but we start our spring recess this Thursday and we are going away on vacation on Saturday so I have a lot of packing to do. 

Last night I finished my Easter close reading pack (Logan, my son, fell asleep early!). This is such a great pack because it is differentiated on 3 different reading levels so it meets the needs of all my students. I'm using this pack with my AIS students this week because it reviews the close reading strategy and also gives them practice answering short response questions. 

Make sure to check it out!! 
Easter Close Reading Pack

Beach Bum Literacy Chick

Monday, March 30, 2015

A New Direction...

So as I sit at home trying to get so many important things done I try and think of what my next blog post should be... if I actually can fit in writing it.  I realized that just writing about what I do at work is such a small fraction of my life.  Trying to balance a career with being a new mom is rough and I often find myself trying to find other blogs out there to relate to.  I decided to shift from just education to fitting everything in because I'm hoping to have other people relate to me and my blog.

So I had a baby in September (2014).  I was lucky enough to stay home with my son for 10 weeks which wasn't nearly enough time but would any amount of time actually be enough?  I really doubt it.  So I went back to work knowing things would be harder than they were already but I never imagined it would be as hard as it was.  I was miserable leaving my son, knowing I was probably going to miss all the milestones like rolling over and crawling.  I also had a really hard time adjusting to being a teacher and a mom.  Being a teacher, like many of you I'm sure know, is beyond a full time job.  My school is completing 3, yes I said 3!!!!!, modules this year.  That in itself is an adjustment since it is all new.  So how do you balance being a mom and a teacher? Well if anyone has an answer please share!!!

Things have definitely started getting easier as I have found tricks to help me multitask.  I do still have breakdowns almost weekly where I just sit and cry because I don't really know how I'm going to get everything done.  Then I pick up the pieces and get everything done!

So multitasking tip number 1 for me was to really utilize my time while I'm pumping.  My number 1 goal after having my son was to breastfeed for a year but after some complications I became and "exclusive pumper".  This is so time consuming but I'm still determined to last a year.  So back to my multitasking tip! I have found I can get work done while I am pumping at work!  I now bring my computer back and forth with me and while I'm "in my office" as my friends and I call it I can get work done to run my TpT business that I am so desperately trying to succeed in!

I'm definitely open to anymore multitasking tips if you have any! Please share!!

Beach Bum Literacy Chick

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two Bad Ants - Bundle Pack!!

My activities for the book Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg has been flying off the shelves!  I've decided to bundle them all together to help everyone save over 20%!!!

There are 4 different items available in the bundle pack.  The first one is one of my best sellers.  This is an inferencing pack.  This is differentiated to meet the needs of your students.  This particular activity below gives different quotes from different parts of the story.  I have also added in the clues for the students.  They then take that information to make an inference.  This is also given with the clues box blank for them to complete.

Next I have a point of view activity pack.  This book is a great way to teach point of view!  This was also a great way for my students to identify evidence in a text.

Before I read the story with my groups I introduced vocabulary.  There were a few words my students were unfamiliar with throughout this story so reviewing the words before hand really helped.  I put them on the board and we read them together.  Then when we came across them in the text we worked together to identify the meanings.

Finally I let my students play a comprehension board game.  They worked so hard throughout this unit it was only fair they get some time to play a game.  Plus the game was measuring their comprehension of the story so it definitely was a great addition.


Beach Bum Literacy Chick

Friday, December 12, 2014

Higher Order Questioning

With the introduction of the common core, questions have become much more complex. When answering Short response questions students have to make sure they are using a correct format to ensure they have answered the question correctly and with enough detail!

Adding enough detail to a short response question is where I notice my students struggle the most!  In order to get better they need to practice. I decided since it is the holiday season to start answering a question daily. I chose to base my questions on The Polar Express by Chris Van Allaburg. I know my 6th graders have heard this story many many times but I figured I could use that to help them succeed. 

For this activity I'm not really assessing their comprehension of the story. I am assessing whether they can analyze a question using evidence from a text. I created this graphic organizer for them to use to help map out their answer:

This allows my students to make sure they have all the information they need before finalizing their answer. 

You can download this product by clicking HERE!!!

Literacy Centers.. Effective strategies for older students

Hey all!! Hope you are all getting ready for the holidays. I just wanted to share some tips on using literacy centers in the upper grades. A few people have asked me how I am able to keep the centers going once the students get older!  

The first thing I do is organize my centers on one board:
I put the students into random groups and each day they are assigned a new center. Next to this board I keep bins with all the response pages in. The envelopes I have hanging hold different sorting or task cards they may need or any other needed materials (highlighters, paper clips). 

Every Monday I go through each center with the whole class so they know what to do. I also write the directions for each center on a dry erase board in case they forget. 

On this board I also put the objective of the center. 

Since I teach 6th grade the writing center activity usually takes them a week to complete. Whenever they finished their assigned center for the day they go onto writing. 

During this time I am pulling reading groups. If I pull their reading group and they miss a center they know that sometime during the week they will need to make up that center! 

It takes a lot of training in the beginning. I usually start in September and just have then do centers for a month before I start pulling groups. That way they really know what is expected of them during the reading group time. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What To Expect... Reading Carousel **FREEBIE**

I always like to start the year off with my kids moving around the room.  I don't want them to come in and think I'm going to just lecture to them and give them rules.  This carousel allows them to create the rules and tell me about their feelings about reading in a fun way instead of just giving them a worksheet.

I put each of these questions on file folders and have the students write their responses on the inside of the folder.  In the past I had them write on chart paper but it was hard to store.  The file folders go right into my file cabinet and are pulled out at different points in the year to have the students reflect on their progress, or to remind them of the rules they created!

(I'm going to add more pictures after my students complete this activity tomorrow!! Stay tuned!!)

To download this activity FREE click HERE!!

Enjoy :)
Beach Bum Literacy Chick

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday