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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Canada Day Blog Hop and Sale

For those of you who have been following me for a while now, you have probably either decided that I am an awful speller ("Geez that girl can't even spell color and favorite right!") or you've figured out that I am Canadian. Which I am, a proud Canadian blogger.

 I am linking up for my first every Canadian Blog Hop. (Sorry to my American Readers...but today is all about my Canadian Readers) 

***Hint: to my American friends, true the freebie probably won't interest you but I'm sure the sale will!***

If you haven't read the "About Me" section of my page, I'm from Ontario. I live in Cambridge which is about an hour southwest of Toronto. So when Desiree from Reading With Mrs. D, suggested a Canada Day Blog Hop I knew I was game! 

Reading with Mrs. D

My favourite Canadian product is my Canadian Coin Pack. This First Grade pack is amazing! It has everything you need to teach first graders about money.

This Canadian Money product is jammed packed with posters, worksheets, activities and games.

Click HERE or on the picture to get a free sample of this product!

Don't forget to stop by my store and get 20% off from June 28 until July 1.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

100 Minutes Book Study! Chapter 8 and I'm the Host!

I can't tell you how excited I am to host this week's book study chapter. Don't forget to check out the giveaway below.

Chapter 8: Small Group Learning
Initially I chose this chapter for two reasons. 
1. I knew I had awhile to get my post done, and since I had never been involved in a blogging book study before I wanted to take my time to get myself organized.
2. I think that small group instruction is so important in my students' learning.

According to Lisa Donohue small group instruction is the key to differentiation. I think we all know this is key. Small groups allow us to strategical pick our groups, whether its by reading level, or a strategy that the students need to work on, which then allows us to differentiate our instruction. Small groups allow for accountable talk, and what I think is most important is that they can get instant feedback. They can also give feedback to their peers.

Forming Instructional groups:
Lisa suggests a variety of ways to group students, one I already mentioned is by reading level. Being a grade one teacher I, more often than not, group my students by reading level. But it's not the only way.
  • personal interest (i.e. non fiction vs. fiction)
  • areas of needs (i.e. fluency, expression, substitution errors)
  • personal learning goals
Lisa cautions against always grouping students by instructional level, because she feels that struggling readers can learn from the ideas of others.

Lisa wrote on her blog about being careful what you name your groups. Giving them numbers, students might think it has something to do with skill or ability level.  She suggests giving names based on a class theme, school theme, sports teams, and animals. She also suggests making sure there are no negative connotations, e.g. "naming a group Turtles implies that they are slow." pg 123.

Guided Reading
Guided reading lessons should be about 15 to 20 minutes. The majority of the time should be spent reading. The following is adapted from pages 124-125.

Before Reading:
Lisa suggests a formula, for a guided reading lesson. Yeah! I do these. 
  • have students make predictions based on the title
  • have the students take a picture walk
  • state the learning goal
  • review specific reading strategies
  • provide background information
  • give the students ways to share their thinking as they read.
During Reading:
  • focus on the reading skill or strategy
  • No round robin!!! (I have to admit, for the longest time this was how I did guided reading. :( )
  • chunk text into pieces so students can manage the reading
After Reading:
  • revisit questions posed before and during the reading
  • have students respond to HOT questions and provide evidence from the text
  • reflect on a reading strategy that they found helpful
  • provide feedback
  • provide a follow up activity
  • make next steps for the students
  • record observations

Writing Conferences
This is what I was interested in reading. I think that I do a really good job with guided reading, I could work on providing a follow up activity for the students to complete but I sometimes feel that there isn't enough time. 

I do individual writing conferences with my students, but I feel this is something on which I could improve and do more often. I also wonder what group writing conferences would look like?

AHA! (Can you tell that I'm writing as I'm reading? LOL Last week of school is coming up things and things  are crazy busy.) My question all along has been that if your writing lesson is at the end of the literacy block how can students effectively show that what they have learned in the lesson is in place? Now it makes sense. What Lisa suggests is that while you are working with the guided reading group, the students that you are going to conference with are working on a writing task. Therefore, when you conference with them they are getting immediate feedback. The next day they can then apply the feedback that they were given. Makes sense! I am now in love!

Lisa makes a good point about feedback. Feedback needs to be descriptive and skill-based. "Good work!" doesn't tell the student anything. Students need to know what their next steps are. I think feedback needs to be timely and relate back to the goal, for it to be effective. I really like how the teacher's job as an editor is draw attention to areas of confusion or areas that need improvement but not correct it for them.

Engaging All Authors
Giving the other students a job to do is a great way of engaging them in the conference. 

Click HERE or on the picture to download the Freebie Job cards.

Tracking Student Goals
Lisa suggests tracking student learning goals on a clipboard. She also suggests getting students involved in the tracking and creating their learning goals. I have my students record their learning goal in two different ways. Please note this was created before this book study. 

Students attach their learning goal  to their writing folder as a visual reminder what their writing goal is. Click HERE to get the writing folder covers.

We also attach their name to the writing goal that they are working on our Writing Rainbow.

The Writing Rainbow and Goal cards are available as part of my Personal Recount unit. Click HERE or on the picture to find it in my store.

I love the section of this chapter with the Guided Reading and Writing Prompts at the end of the chapter!

So did you manage to read my whole post? Here is the fun part. Don't forget to enter my giveaway. 

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Stock Up!

Amanda from The Primary Gal is back with another amazing idea! The Summer Stock Up! This time we have tried to incorporate our blogs, Facebook pages, and Pinterest, as well as getting you ready to go back to school! 

Ahhhh! Back to School! If you are like me the words make me cringe! I haven't even finished school yet! We go until next Friday, June the 27th! But the weather is beautiful and it's a perfect time to "Stock Up" on all those things you need to make your classroom look amazing!

Have you checked out Pink Cat Studio. She is an artist out British Columbia whom I absolutely adore. A lot of my products feature her work. My absolute favourite is my animal-themed word wall.  

It was a huge hit in my classroom this year. The students loved it. It also got them interested in some uncommon animals such as a Yak or an X-ray Fish. 

What I also love about my word wall is that it is interactive. When a student needs a word they can go up to the word wall and help find the word, take it to their desk and return it when they are finished.

On the back of each of my words is a magnet. Which makes it super easy for students to take the words down and put them back up.

If animals aren't your thing, check out my store for all my different themed alphabets: space, super hero kids, pirates, monsters, dogs, robots, kids, and transportation.

This year, other than my alphabet I went with a monster theme in my classroom. One of my favourite monster products is my visual timetable or schedule. 
Sorry about the glare!

My students use it all the time! It saves me from the dreaded, "Is it lunch time yet?" or the "What are we doing now?"

I have included over 30 cards, and I am always willing to add more. If there is a card that you really need to have, please let me know and I will add it to the set!

Alright, so I just said that my  monster visual schedule cards was one of my favourites ... well this is my FAVOURITE!!!!

I made these posters last summer in a variety of themes, but I used the monster ones in my room this year. The students really liked the little monsters. 

They are big enough that students can see the words from their desks.

In Ontario, Grade One students explore different ways that numbers can be represented. I tried to use a variety of different tools to represent each of the numbers.
Check out more of my Themed Number Posters. Click on the picture to see the item in my store.

Don't forget to head back to my facebook page and get a free sample of each of the three products. 

Don't forget to enter to win $10 to "spend" in Emmy Mac Shop.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guided Math: Chapter 4

We are back again with Chapter 4 from Laney Sammons book "Guided Math". I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I am in love with this book. It is such an easy read. It makes sense, and it's useful. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, do it soon. :)

This is a good question. How much of my mathematics instruction last week was whole class? Maybe 25%? Perhaps 10 minutes per day.

We have just begun a unit on Fractions. Since for some of the students in grade 1 it's the first time they had heard the term fraction, a whole class lesson is a great way to introduce it.  

Monday: We did a mini lesson on what a fraction is and when we might use fractions in real life (i.e. to cut a cake, pizza, sandwiches, apples, etc).

Tuesday: I did a read aloud of the book, "                " as an introduction to what a fraction is. We then got our lunches and found things in our lunch that were broken into fractions.

Wednesday: We did a mini lesson on how to write a fraction and we made an anchor chart of what a fraction is.

Thursday: I set the stage with a problem. I gave them paper plates and told them that they were to cut the plates to show as many different fractions as they could. 

We then came back to the carpet to do a Math Huddle. Students looked at the fractions that the other students had created and decided whether they were correct or not. The students really began to understand that it has to be fair or equal.

Friday: was a PA day. So no school for students. :)

 I use whole-class instruction when I want to:
  •  teach a brief mini lesson to all the students so they get the same information at the same time. 

Depending on how long and engaged the students are, I'd say its partially effective. I'm sure I'm reaching the middle of the pack. Those struggling mathematicians are lost, so I know I will need to work with them.

  • present a read aloud: this is something that I'm trying to do more often. I'm extremely disappointed with our math related read aloud section in our library. It's almost non-existent.

I think read alouds are very effective. Students love to be read to, especially if it's an engaging story. Using read alouds also allow students to make connections.

  • setting the stage: either explaining math centres or engaging the students in a problem

Setting the stage, when explaining math centres is not overly effective. I'm always hoping that enough of the students will get the idea so that when they go to their center at least one person knows what they need to do. When engaging student in a problem, I feel that it is highly effective. My school has really focused on authentic, open ended problems. I think because they are authentic, that students buy into the problems, and because they are open ended the students know that everyone can be successful.

  • Math Huddle: In my board we call it reflect and connect. It's a time to share our learning. A time for students to look at what they have done to solve a problem, and to reflect critically on their work.
When a Math Huddle involves all of the students it is more effective. I'm always trying to look for ways to get my students involved in the discussion and to develop strategies that they can use.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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