29 March 2012

Story Snapshot

I decided to create a Story Snapshot pocket chart as a visual reminder for students of the key elements of the stories we're reading in class.  I have incorporated the Ice-Cream Scoop Skills/Strategies that I posted a picture of earlier.  I ran off an extra set to use in my pocket chart. I think it's so important to make connections as much as possible.The genre signs are the same signs I have hanging from my genre tree in my Book Nook.  I LOVE them.  They are so bright and colorful.  I purchased them from Really Good Stuff.  The images on the Theme signs I found on-line a long time ago and I'm still trying to locate the site because her posters are great.  I will add a link if I happen to come across it. The themes included are- Be a Good Friend, Be Yourself, Kindness, Responsibility, Sharing, Teamwork, and Try New Things. At the bottom of the chart is my Making Words Station.  I try to choose a word that connects to the story of the week.  Each week I change out the letters and they use the form below.

Click the image above to get the FREEBIE. 

27 March 2012

Small Moments

We are continuing to work on Small Moment Stories from Lucy Calkin's Units of Study.  We are having a great time storytelling. This is a picture of an anchor chart we created. We are taking large watermelon topics and pulling out the "small moment" seeds. They wrote their small moment ideas on post-its and we discussed whether their topics were watermelon or seed topics. After several read alouds and sharing stories from my own life, they are finally starting to see the importance of zooming into that smaller moment. This also gets them away from writing stories that are merely lists and moves them towards writing stories about a moment in time.


26 March 2012

Transition Words

We are still working on Small Moment Stories.  We talk about transition words daily as they come up in both our reading and writing.  We talk about how transition words connect our thoughts and make our writing sound smoother and better.  My students LOVE songs!  We have songs for just about everything.  If there isn't a song, then we make one up.  This is our transition word song and the list of transition words that my students keep in their Writing Folders.

Click on the images below for the free printables.

Thank You!!!

I wanted to thank everyone for commenting and stopping by my blog. I was really intimidated by blogging, but knew I really wanted to give it a go. So a huge thank you to everyone for your support!!! My friends ask, "Where in the world do you find time to do it?" Have I mentioned that I have a teenager and a 2 year old? Well, I could say it's in between algebra homework, hide and seek, potty training, and Little Einsteins, but honestly it usually ends up being when it's more like this in the house.


25 March 2012

Wiggle Words

I must have vocabulary on my mind today. I'm always looking for ways for my students to make connections, so I created this Wiggle Words Station. For each of their vocabulary words they do the following: (1) Write the word on the mouth (2) Write the definition (3) T-T: Make a connection to the text. How is the word used in the story? (4) T-S: Make a connection to their own lives. (5) Illustrate
I usually run it 2-sided because we generally have 6 vocabulary words that go along with our story of the week in Reading.  The vocabulary words used in the example below are from the book, Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Brown.
 *** This handout is available at my teacher store. You can click on the image to head to my teacher store. 

Vocabulary Voyage

My students use this form in stations to practice their vocabulary words. We call it our Vocabulary Voyage station. I usually run it off and keep it in our station crate.  Each week they use the same form, but with different words. 
Click on the image below to get a copy of this printable.

24 March 2012

Spelling Wizards

I send this form halfway through the week with those students that need additional practice with their spelling words.  Anyone that did not pass the prior week's spelling test, is also responsible for completing the form.  They return it to me on Friday, and  I usually give color changing pencils or stickers when it is turned in completed.  I've found that it really helps improve their grades on Spelling Tests and it holds them more accountable.

 Click on the image below for your free copy.

Reading Strategies

The one item in my classroom that I think I refer to the most often and am most in love with would be my Scoop on Comprehension visual. I have it hanging at the front of my room near the carpet where I do read alouds. Each scoop is labeled with either a reading skill or strategy. I teach them all very early in the year. Throughout the year, we refer to each of the different colored scoops as we utilize the skill or strategy in our reading. By the end of the year, my students have a real and deep understanding of all these reading skills and strategies because we refer to them several times per day across the disciplines. You can find all 15 scoops at my teacher store at Teachers Pay Teachers. There is also a  mini scoop page that contains all the scoops on one page.   I have my students color each of the scoops the correct color to match the large class cone. There is also a 2 page handout that students can use as a reference page.  It gives a description of each of the skills and strategies.  I also use the scoop below in stations to reinforce the skills/strategies. For instance, I may have them write fact/opinion on their scoop and then write 2 facts and 2 opinions. Or I may have them write Ask Questions and they would write 4 unanswered questions they had as they read the story. The handout is open ended and could be used for any of the scoops.

Click on any image below to head straight to my store.

Character Map

I created this character map that I use during stations.  I copy the Character Traits on the back and have them highlight the traits that describe the character.  Then, they write them on the front of the page in the Character Traits section.  They draw an illustration of the character in the middle of the page.  I love it because I can use it during stations for the story of the week, whole group, or they can even complete it independently using the main character from their AR book.

Click on the image below for a copy of this printable

22 March 2012

We Love Earth

Earth Day is next month and just around the corner if you think about it.  This year is flying by! Earlier in the year we made this poster when we discussed the 3 R's- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  They wrote a sentence about how they could help the Earth and then illustrated.  I still have it hanging in my class and I will probably use it as an anchor chart when we talk about Earth day next month. 


Bravo Board

I started doing this last year and it has worked wonders.  I got the idea from a friend, but she got the original idea from the fabulous blog- The First Grade Parade.  It's called a Bravo Board.  I like to use a dry erase board for simplicity.  It happened to be a magnetic dry erase board, so it made attaching the colors and title super easy!

All my desks are arranged in groups of 4-5 per group.  Each group of students gets a colored bin containing supplies.  Whichever color they are designated is the color for their group.  They learn to work as a team and have to earn tallies as a team.  This was also a simple way to teach tallies, and trust me by the end of the first 6 weeks all of my students knew how to use tallies without any problems.  At the end of the week, the group with the most tallies get their names put in a drawing for a free homework pass and they get to become the BRAVO table for the entire next week.  I have a little cone that says Bravo that I place at their tables for the week.  They honestly all work really hard to be the Bravo table!

21 March 2012

My Classroom

This is my class Book Nook.  All my bins are labeled with codes for genres and topics, so students can easily locate books and replace books when they are finished reading them. I use a sticker system with the codes written on each sticker.  The large tree above my bookshelf is my genre tree.

Good Writers...

We continued with Small Moment Stories today.  Today's read aloud was, The Shortcut by Donald Crews.  It's a perfect book to use as a model for Small Moment Stories.  As we read, students started noticing things like onomatopoeia, descriptive language, etc.   We created a chart today titled, Good Writers often...

Good Writers Often

20 March 2012

Writing- Small Moment Stories

We started Small Moment stories today, which are my absolute favorite Lucy Calkin's Unit of Study.  You can check out Lucy Calkin's books here.  There are so many great picture books for teaching small moment stories.  Some of my favorites are- A Chair for Mother, Salt Hands, The Paperboy, Shortcut, Big Mama's, The Snowy Day, and Owl Moon.  We talked about watermelon topics (big topics) and seed stories (small moments).  Here is the anchor chart we created today in class.  Small Moment Anchor Chart


I heard these phrases last year and thought they were perfect for the classroom to help build good character. I just ran them off on colored cardstock.  Click here for a copy.

Click the image below to get the FREEBIE.

Decoding Strategies

These are the decoding strategies we use in our classroom.  I have them posted right next to my Guided Reading table, so students can utilize them while they are reading. Honestly, we refer to them all day long.  When I saw Kim Adsit from Kinder Gals had the strategy "skip it, and mo(o)ve on", I just had to add it to my strategies.  It's just way too cute!  It was the perfect addition to my favorite strategies. 

UPDATE- I finally updated these posters.  If you are interested, they are now in my store.  Click below to head straight there.  You'll notice, I changed just a few of the images, but the strategies are still the same.  You can see the post where I discussed them in more depth here.

19 March 2012


This is a more recent picture of my station pocket chart.  I added the ABC station this year (it's the icon with the orange background), and it's made such a difference with alphabetizing.  I like this form because it gives me flexibility when choosing words.  Some weeks I may have them use their spelling words. Other weeks, I may have them use vocabulary words or word wall words.  When we did our weather unit, they used weather words.  The ABC station with the red background is my Word Study station.  They have a specific activity they complete for each day of the week.  I posted a pic of the Word Study poster below.

Click the images above and below to get the FREEBIES.