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
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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