five for friday

 happy long weekend!

we are linking up with doodle bug teaching 
here are our five favorite things this week...

πŸ’šthe kids illustrations

πŸ’™ a problem solving center in kindergarten

πŸ’š interactive writing {the kids made up the story}
πŸ’› persuasive writing

πŸ’š what is poetry?
happy weekend!


magical monthly reads

 the little tree by loren long

teeny tale:  

the little tree is a story about a tree who is afraid to let its leaves drop. season after season he holds on to his brown leaves staying small while all the other trees around him are growing and changing. many of the animals in the forest try to convince him to let them go and he still can’t. eventually, he gets the courage to let the leaves go, and he grows into a big tree. this is a beautifully illustrated book.

touchstone text:  character study for reading workshop, illustration study writing workshop  

turn and talk :

  1. what do you think this story is mostly about?
  2. why do you think the tree would not let it’s leaves drop?
  3. what do you notice about the illustrations in this book. 
  4. what did the tree realize or learn?

    what might the little tree be thinking?

     what might the little tree be saying?

    tiny tips:
    • great book to use to study the illustrations
    • how do the illustrations tells us more about the tree
    • who are the characters in this story
    • great book to retell using fingers first, then, next, last
    • student’s could stop and jot the feelings of the tree during different parts of the story
    • why do you think the author wrote this story
    • we think this is a great book to talk about the author’s purpose

    topics: courage bravery, friendship, change 

    life lesson: don't be afraid of the unknown
    believe in yourself!
    jessica & laura & melissa


    five for friday first-grade book clubs

     it's five for friday. we are linking up with doodle bug teaching

    we had the opportunity to visit a first-grade classroom while they were in the middle of teaching book clubs focusing on favorite characters.

    learning and talking about books

    πŸ’œthat the kids help create the anchor chart.

    picture support little learners.

    this anchor chart comes from the lucy calkins reading unit of study.

    the lesson we watched focused on how to compare and contrast books from the same series.

    some of the book club series: mr. putter and tabby, henry and mudge, fly guy and mercy watson.

     each child had a small anchor chart to remind them of what they
    could work on during workshop time.

     students picked a post-it from their independent reading.
     during book club talk, one student would read their post-it and the other
    club members would talk about that idea.

    laura shared with readers how she started reading clubs in her class too!

    happy weekend!

    jessica & laura & melissa


    monday makeover

    welcome to makeover monday.  we will be helping a first-grade teacher make her reading anchor chart go from good to GREAT!
    here is the chart that needs a makeover.

    how can we make this anchor chart go from good to GREAT?? 

    we can... 

    • add images to our words (so important)
    • add  bright color Post-its to give it a POP!  
    • make a bold title in black
    • build our anchor charts with our student's
    • make a color rim that matches the Post-its (orange rim)
    • look on pinterest for chart ideas (images/layout ideas)
    • look at examples in the book smarter charts

    happy charting!

    jessica & laura & melissa


    five for friday

    we are linking up with doodle bugs teaching.  

    here are our five favorite things...
    first graders are making rules for book clubs. 

    during interactive writing laura's class made a list of words to use in place of the word good.

    first graders starting a new unit of study focusing on character book clubs.
    second graders writing a recommendation letter to a first grade class.
    first-graders leaving post-its on lockers for the kids who have to take MCAS.
    we think this is a wonderful way to cheer our school community on!

    happy friday!


    teacher tip for making anchor charts

     if you get exhausted from handwriting all of your anchor charts, then this blog post will show you how to use the computer to type parts of them.

     you will need:

    • microsoft word
    • printer
    • colored paper
     first we are going to set up a template in microsoft word.
     open up a document in microsoft.
    go to file (at the top) and click on page set up...

    go to paper size (above it says US letter)
    click on manage custom sizes (bottom of list)

    for this anchor chart we selected 5X5 (click okay)
    type your text.
    here is the template we created (the font will look funny if you don't have elizabeth skinny)

    get your paper ready

    cut 5X5 squares 
    check in with your tech person on how to feed the paper in the printer.
    our printer looks like this...

     ta dah!!!

    flip over the paper and add illustrations.
     students can help make the pictures. 
     different fonts can give it a different look.
    happy printing!
    jessica & laura & melissa


    Monday Makeover

    welcome to makeover monday. today's blog post will help a first-grade teacher makeover a writing workshop anchor chart.
    makeover monday

    here is the original anchor chart made.

    how can we make our anchor charts go from good to GREAT??

    we can... 

    • add images to our words (so important)
    • add some color to our anchor charts 
    • use lettering that is simple (don't get too fancy)
    • build our anchor charts with our student's
    • print some of the text on the computer (tomorrow's blog post)
    • add interactive writing to our charts  

     smarter charts by marjorie martinelli and kristine mraz is a great resource to have for making anchor charts.

    happy monday!
    jessica & laura & melissa


    five for friday

    happy friday! we are linking up with doodle bug teaching five for friday. here are five of our favorite things.
    first graders are learning about persuasive writing
    jess's class brainstormed writing reviews
    during interactive writing laura's class wrote a list of sparkly words
    this student convinced the principal to start selling water in the cafeteria!

     march madness came to an end. the winner is...mother bruce!

    happy weekend and vacation week!
    jessica & laura & melissa


    using shared reading for small group time

    i recently attended the teacher college reunion with some of my favorite teacher friends. one of the best parts of this day is the car ride home from new york.  we often talk about our big takeaways.  you often can’t pick just one workshop because as one car member stated: it’s hard to decide just one, because you get so many golden nuggets from each.

    shared reading
    Add caption

    today’s blog post will share one of those nuggets (aka: teacher tips). many of the kindergarten teachers in my building attended a workshop called expand your repertoire of small group work: bring your shared reading, interactive writing, word study and read aloud into your small group work by christine holley. of course, i am the biggest LOVER of shared reading, so naturally i wanted to hear more about how can we bring this practice to small group. this is especially true, because it is an essential part of a kindergarten classroom (even though it can easily be forgotten!!). kids LOVE shared reading and it has a lot of BANG for it’s BUCK. For the short amount of time that it takes up in the school day (10-15 minutes) it has so many teaching opportunities and learning rewards.

    the purpose of guided reading is to move kids up the levels… right?
    you may think,  “i have lots of kids who are reading b level books and I want to get them to a c. they have read almost all of the b books in the closet. I feel like this group is stuck”. one approach is to take a level c or d book and do shared reading with your small groups. this would be temporarily in place of guided reading (you are bumping them up one to two levels above their levels).

    the teacher takes the small book and tells the group they are going to do shared reading and they read it all together. the group reads the book and then the teacher passes out the individual books. students are told to read the book during workshop time and to work with their reading partners if they get stuck.

    i was excited and also curious at how this structure would work. i was fortunate to go into my friend amy’s class and watch her do this small group shared reading format.

    amy told the kids that they were going to do shared reading together just like they do with BIG books on the rug. she told them that she wanted them to try to read the book with her. the kids began by listening but eventually joined in. amy encouraged them throughout the way, saying things like, “i hear voices… great job reading with me!” at the end of the lesson amy went back and talked about a few tricky pages. she talked about the name of the characters and what letters we could find for nick’s name, amy’s name and james's name.  she then told them that she thought this was a challenging book for them and that she wanted them to help each other.

    what i found the most interesting was what happened a few minutes afterward.  the kids in the group took their books back to their reading spots and began reading them!! their reading was not 100% accurate but boy, they did a great job.  by reading the book for shared reading and sending them off immediately to work together it gave them a lot of scaffolding to make their reading experience successful.

    amy plans to have use this structure for the next four reading lessons. on day five she plans to do a guided reading book with a level C. she plans to take running records to see how they do!

     i will be excited to report back to you soon!

    jessica & laura & melissa