Monday, June 23, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapters 3 and 4

Welcome to week 2 of our summer book study (kind of...I am a little late to post)!! If you don't have your Daily 5 (Second Edition) book yet, you can purchase yours HERE.  I had a couple questions on my Facebook page on whether the first edition Daily 5 book would work...if you don't want to purchase the second edition, then I would say read the first edition then log on and read some of the blogs in the book study and compare!! The second edition is different and has great ideas! You can also read week 1 of the summer book study containing chapters 1 and 2 HERE.
 Chapter 3 was a BIGGIE! I will take you through some of the notes I wrote down on the 10 Steps:
1. Identify what is to be taught: Articulate to your students exactly what will be taught BEFORE the lesson begins.  This way students know what to expect and they will focus more.  I do this before EVERY lesson (not just during the daily 5). I think this is SO important and truly makes a difference.
2. Set a purpose and create a sense of urgency: Students need to know why-make sure to articulate (or write on the top of your I-Chart) reasons we do Read to Self, etc.
3. Record desired behaviors on an I-Chart: Don't brainstorm the desired behaviors as a class.  This takes too long and as the sisters mentioned before, their attention span isn't long.  Just record the desired behavior and explain each one. 
Last year I used these words and pictures to create an I-Chart (click on the image to grab a set). After we went over the behaviors and modeled them, I had all of the students sign their name right on the I-Chart.  This was their 'promise' to me to follow the 'reading rules'.  
We hung the I-Chart together in our classroom library. I loved having it in there as a reminder!
4. Model most desired behaviors: Pick students to model. Refer back to the I-Chart as they do.  When they are finished modeling the desired behavior end with, "If they continue to do this, they will be a better reader."
5. Model least desired behaviors and most again: Model the wrong behaviors and say, "If they continue to do this, it won't help them become a better reader."  Always refer back to the I-Chart. Show students that they ARE capable of following the most desired behaviors. 
6. Place students around the room: Don't dismiss all students at one time to get their book box.  Call on 5 or 6 kids at a time to get their book box and find a spot.  Place them in a spot at the beginning to save time.  Call on the shortest stamina students last. 
7. Practice and build stamina: Don't set a timer, just let them practice.  Keep a stamina chart with the date and minutes.
8. Stay out of the way: Let students practice and don't step in until they are not following your expectations.  Don't walk around, don't even praise students. They will start to get used to that and depend on you doing that.  When you are launching the Daily 5, you won't be pulling groups.  If you see a student off task give them a second before saying anything, they me just be 'resetting'.
9. Use a quiet signal to bring students back to the gathering place: As soon as a student loses stamina, stop and gather. You don't want them practicing incorrectly/spending time managing the barometer children, this will defeat the purpose of learning independently. If you use a loud signal to stop students, then they may get loud.  Play low chimes and have students clean up, put their book box back, and gather.
10. Conduct a group check in: How did it go? Refer back to your I-Chart and reflect on the day.  You can use a scale if needed.  Go over one rule at a time (example- How did we do at getting started right away?) Then, share your goals for the next time. 

WOW! Told you Chapter 3 was a BIGGIE!! This is one I will have to review a couple of times!
To get started, you definitely need to figure out what you want to use for book boxes.  I know a lot of people use these from Really Good Stuff
But, I ended up switching to these because I had an entire piece of furniture that wasn't being used (only problem is, bigger books don't always fit!)
You also need to have a gathering spot for your focus lesson.  Hopefully you have a big carpet in your classroom.  I LOVE my carpet because it has squares and I can assign each student a square to sit in :)  You can kind of see my carpet under the pile of lamination! It is from Lakeshore Learning
Have a space in your classroom where you can hang your I-Charts. Make sure they are somewhere accessible so you can refer back to them.
Also, make sure you have a variety of seating! You can have low tables, regular tables, high counters for standing, comfy chairs, area rugs, a loft (I wish!), single seats, etc.  Support your students in finding a good place to sit.  Maybe discuss with them that you trust them to make a good seating choice and that may mean they can't sit by their friends. 
I love these little chairs I bought at the Container Store.
I also have tons of pillows, a reading nook, a couple different areas with a carpet, etc.

Make sure you head over to my friends' blogs to read their take on these two chapters! As always, I would love to hear what you think as well!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teacher Essentials Giveaway

Bridget from Little Lovely Leaders (who just so happens to also be my sister) sent me this AWESOME binder that is going to keep me organized and on track!  It is called the Teacher's Life Binder! It covers everything from the classroom, to substitutes, to bills and grocery lists!! The binder is extremely detailed, Bridget didn't skip a thing!
The Substitute section in this binder is PERFECT and will keep me organized!! I'll fill out this section at the beginning of the year and then I should be good to go!! It will be great to have for subs and in case there are any emergencies throughout the year, a fellow teacher can just pull this binder out!
 This section is something I needed BADLY!!  I am not the best at staying on top of my monthly finances and now I will have all of my finances written down, including bills, charitable donations, etc.  This will make taxes a breeze next year! YAY!
 Bridget included cute quotes throughout the binder to make you smile. Love this one...totally written just for me, haha ;)
 There is also a section in the binder for us bloggers!  LOVE this!
 Please tell me I am not the only one who ALWAYS forgets their passwords.  Our school email and other school sites make us change our passwords like once a month.  The passwords can't be anything we've used in the past and they all require us to include special characters, capital letters, etc. SO confusing! This page is another perfect page for me!
 The calendar pages are wonderful and have just enough space for me to write down what I need. There are also extra pages monthly for meeting notes. If you are anything like me you grab any piece of paper you can find when heading to your meeting...then you end up losing it! haha Having these pages in my binder will be great.
 This page is actually one of my favorites because I have never done this before and I'm really looking forward to implementing it! I send happy notes/emails, but I am very random about doing it.  I think parents will love receiving happy notes more often and this page will help me stay on top of writing them! 
 Another page that I need badly.  I always forget who my past Students of the Month are!!
I am SO in love with this binder! There are so many unique/useful pages that I'm not including in this post!! One of my favorite parts is the fact that I don't have to do anything to get this binder ready! You can order it already printed and ready to add into a binder.  The paper quality is awesome and the pages are so perfect!!

Bridget, myself, and my blogging bestie Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle decided to have a fun and BIG giveaway.  One winner will get a Teacher's Life Binder (delivered to your door), a Busy Teacher Bundle of choice, and a Hot Seats Unit of Choice.

Here are the two design options for the binders:

Choose a HUGE bundle...either kindergarten:

or first Grade:

or second Grade:

 And then, choose a Hots Seats Set of your choice:

The giveaway will run for a week and is SO easy to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 9, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapters 1 and 2

I am so excited to join some of the other Freebielicious girls for The Daily 5 Summer Book Study!! If you haven't received your copy yet, grab your book on Amazon by clicking on the image below!
I use the Daily 5 in my room; however, I have adapted it a tad to fit the needs of my schedule/my students needs.  After reading the second edition, I think I will be making a few more changes to my reading block this year!
The first chapter describes how the sisters realized that doing all 5 rounds each day was too much for our little ones!  Now, they recommend only doing 3 centers daily, two centers being Read to Self and Work on Writing, while the other center is choice.  The chapter goes on to explain how to start the daily 5 and how to set up for the daily 5.  
At the beginning of the school year, you will spend the first 20 days building a sense of community, working on behaviors, building stamina, and assessing the needs of your students.  You can do all  5 of the centers daily, with students participating in each center.  During this time, they will visit each center for a short amount of time.  You won't set a timer; however, when you see the students start to get restless, you will gather them together and move on to the next center.  As they start to build their stamina, drop a center.  Now, students will do 4 centers a day.  Continue doing this until students have long enough stamina for 3 centers daily. 
One of my favorite parts in this chapter was how the sisters described setting up the daily 5, specifically the Word Work center. You should never put activities in the Word Work center (or any center) just to keep students busy.  It should always be activities that will keep students engaged in literacy tasks and make a difference in their learning.  You also shouldn't have to constantly tidy and restock the Word Work center.  If you are, you are going to work so hard to put centers out each week that you will start to dread setting up or creating centers for the following week.
This was my goal this year when I created my Word Work packs.  
 Each month I created word work activities that my students could complete independently.  Even though I changed out the centers monthly, they were similar enough that I didn't have to reteach how to complete any of the centers...the students knew exactly what they needed to do.
I keep the centers organized by month is a big 2-gallon ziplock bag.  Next year I can just pull out the bag and my Word Work center is ready for the month!
To read more about how I set up my Word Work center click HERE or on the image below.
Chapter 2 discusses the different Steps of Independence. 
Trust and Respect: If students aren't engaged during the daily 5 centers, then you know that they need more guided practice and instructional support to build their stamina.  Trust the students to do their best! 
Community: Make sure your students feel a sense of community within the classroom.  Let them design your schedule with you, make your classroom rules together, share stories together, etc.  This will students will feel more accountable and they will begin to encourage each other. 
Choice: Let students choose what they read and what they write about.  Let students choose where they want to sit and at least one of the centers they want to participate in.  Giving them choice will also allow ownership.
Accountability: Students are accountable for choosing a comfortable spot where they will be engaged and also for their voice level. If they are not following the rules for either, then you should review the I-chart.  If it is just one individual student not following the rules then hold a conference with them. Also, hold students accountable for selecting meaningful reading/writing activities.  This way, they will be naturally motivated and engaged which is the ultimate accountability.
Brain Research: Research shows that students age is about the same amount of time that they are engaged. Which means in kindergarten, most students can fully pay attention for only 5-6 minutes.  
Transitions as Brain and Body Breaks: Each daily 5 rotation should run for the length of time that students are engaged/their stamina.  When students start to get restless, gather together and do a quick physical break like 'Simon Says'.  Some of my favorite brain breaks are Just Dance For Kids videos on YouTube or  SO fun!!!

Join us next week for Chapter 3! Also, make sure you head over to my friends' blogs to read their take on these two chapters!! I would love to hear what you think!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kindergarten End of the Year Party

This was actually the easiest end of the year party I have ever planned and for some reason it was the most FUN!!
 We played this 'minute to win it' game.  I had a parent set the clock for one minute and the students had to see how many beans they could transfer from one plate to another...only using the straw.  They actually did awesome with this!! We kept score and ended up having the top two students compete against each other at the end!
 The students made this cute and easy treat! They rolled the marshmallows in icing and then they were able to decorate the marshmallows with their choice of toppings-sprinkles, mini m&m's, chocolate chips, etc. YUM!
 My room mom sent in some cereal boxes that we cut up and turned into puzzles.  They competed against each other to see who could build the puzzle the fastest!
 Each student received a beach ball.  They had to blow it up--am I crazy for making them do this? haha They were all capable of it! Then they went around and had each other sign their names.
 Each student also made this yummy 'beach' treat. They put vanilla pudding in a cup, smashed up vanilla oreos for sand, then added gummy turtles and a beach umbrella!
 At the end of our party we played two games together.  I put on some beach music and we played limbo.  
 They absolutely loved limbo!! They loved watching the string get lower and lower!
 Then, we played musical chairs. This was awesome!! They are so competitive but such great sports at the same time!
Such an easy party to plan, not a lot of prep, and such a blast!! Hope you had a great end of the year party as well!!