Sunday, November 11, 2012

UPDATED Individual Reading Charts

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I updated my FREE Student Reading Level Charts.  I have added several charts to reflect the new Fountas and Pinnell levels released last month.  I know some classrooms/schools aren't changing their expectations so I left the original charts in the document and just added the new ones to the end.  Here are a few pictures of the leveled charts included:

Just click on any of the pictures to get your own FREE copy of these charts!  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Those were the words I heard over and over on Friday.....words that can make a teacher melt! They also tend to make me think, "Ok, the extra time I spent planning paid off this week!"

We had a mission on Friday...get everything done, have fun, and only move clips up! I am proud to say that is exactly what we did. I was so proud of how hard the class worked and kept focused even during the fun, unstructured activities!  I know our classroom has been lacking a lot of the fun things that I have always done in the past, but somehow there just isn't the time!  So today was a sort of catch up, have some fun and still learn but in the best way ever--hands on kind of day!

Our day started normal with our reading groups and then whole group reading where we wrapped up the butterfly life cycle (part of our Benchmark reading series) with a very cute handout that was exactly what my kiddos needed to go over their sequencing words once again. They absolutely loved drawing a picture for each step. I found it {HERE}.  Thank you Today in First Grade!

We moved onto our spelling test, then a working brain/snack break. While snacking we had to color our coffee filters and wet them for our coffee filter turkey project planned for the afternoon. I was cutting it close for drying time...but it worked out. Whew! Barely.... (Sorry-no pics of the turkeys)

Then finally--Contraction Surgery! I have been so excited waiting for this activity...the kiddos had no idea we were going to do this. I had a mom donate gloves and masks, I picked up a whole bunch of band aids at my local dollar store and I even wrote out Dr name tags. Once I explained what we were doing the class was ecstatic! They were so engaged and came away understanding contractions so much more, it was awesome!  I may have annoyed some other teachers because my kids were bragging the rest of the day about how they were doctors! They proudly wore their name tags to lunch (and even wore the masks on the way out to the buses at the end of the day!)  I had one little cutie tell me, "Well I finished another surgery, that will be $800." I think he may be a great doctor someday!

My hard working doctors went to lunch and recess, came back and got straight to work on a large math lesson. I had forgotten to do the next unit's pretest, so we had to squeeze that in before we started the next math unit. They rocked it though!

Next it was writing time. Since we worked on some writing during reading, we took some time to review and practice identifying and naming nouns. We did a word sort with pictures then a whole group sort where I tried to trick them with some verbs and adjectives.  I guess I wasn't very good at tricking them because I was told, "Sorry Mrs. Friedauer, you didn't trick me!" This coming from the same cutie that was charging $800 for a surgery! Loved it!

Finally, it was Turkey Time after recess. The kids did great on this as well. It's a pretty easy project, except for the legs and beak.  (The following picture is one I found on Google--mine look a little different...)  First, color a coffee filter with markers, spray with water while on a paper plate, let the colors mix and then dry.  Cut out main body turkey parts, glue onto dry coffee filter and then construction paper background.  Super cute and the kiddos just love mixing their colors for the coffee filter part!

As you can see, we were super busy, it was nonstop all day!  I left exhausted, but oh so worth it when you hear those three words....Best.Day.Ever.

Random teacher tip:  I use power towers alot in various station activities.  If you aren't familiar with power towers, the kids have to do a problem or say an answer to a question on the bottom of a cup.  If they are correct they get to use that cup to start building a tower of cups.  The students love making tall towers that eventually tumble everywhere.  I have just recently added a vocabulary station to my literacy rotations.  So I made some vocab power tower cups to put there on Monday.  I did a set with the word on the bottom and they have to say the definition, and then I did a set with the definition on the bottom and they have to say the word.  I love power towers, but dislike writing the words so I thought--use a label maker!  Duh!  So much neater than my sloppy handwriting trying to write a bunch of words inside of a cup!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Intervention Update and Small Groups

Of course I can't leave anything alone too long....I have revised, no-- tweaked my intervention a bit this year due to many reasons, which is a whole new blog post.  I have a few extra hands helping me out this year so I wanted to be very efficient in what I was planning for them to do, as well as documenting it and their progress (or lack of :/).  Originally, I used my Intervention Planning sheet to plan the intervention groups, as well as to let helpers know who they were working with and what they were to do with each student/group.  Then there is a place to check off if the group is done--meaning they don't need that help anymore.  They were expected to jot down notes on my individual intervention student sheets about the progress (that were kept in my Intervention Tub).  Well, I found a few things wrong with this system--There is no room for notes on the planning sheet, some helpers were just checking it off as done after one time, it took longer to take the individual notes than expected, and I was not keeping up with checking on their progress as well as I should have because the notes were going straight into individual student files.  I wasn't looking at these on a regular enough basis.

So, onto my new plan!  I still use my planning sheet as seen above, but it is for my use only.  I then came up with a document for my helpers to use that has a space for explaining the intervention, as well as a place to write individual notes on each student and the date that they worked with them.  I added a spot that lets them know if this is an individual activity or a group activity. 

This is much easier for me to check on on a regular basis.  I then transfer the notes and intervention dates to the individual student intervention sheets.  This makes me a lot more accountable, as well as aware of what other people are doing with my students.  These are now kept in a binder for easy access.  

**On a side note, I use these sheets as well when I pull students for interventions--either the same or different than what I have my helpers doing.

I still use my Intervention Tub for interventions as well.  It is where I keep supplies needed for the interventions--student files now keep flashcards, papers that need to be corrected, as well as documents used for interventions for that individual student.

This new system seems to be working quite well for me so far....


Now, onto small group reading--We have a lot of help during our small group reading time.  So, my students are out with various teachers and teacher's aides every day.  We switch every two weeks, so it takes quite some time for me to see all of my students.  I am obsessed with control and with all this help, I am NOT in control.   To help with this, I came up with a quick checklist for all the reading group instructors to quickly fill out about their groups so I (and the other classroom teachers) can have an idea of how the groups are going.   This helps communicate progress, as well as help decide whether or not students move up reading levels. These are filled out during the second week of rotations.  There are 3 of us classroom teachers that share students for reading, as well as teacher aides for reading groups--in all there are 9 of us.  It can be difficult keeping on top of your students as readers when there is that many people involved and that many sheets to go through.  So after these progress sheets get turned in, they are used by classroom teachers to make the new groups for the following week.  Then I look over them and document the notes made about my kids.  I made a separate document to keep track of those notes since the progress sheets include students from other classrooms.  As I explain all this it sounds like so much paper work--which it is, but it helps me keep track of everything and I feel better informed of where my students are at without having to look it up.

 The individual small group reading sheet can also be used to see reading behaviors/patterns that may need to be addressed in future reading group and/or a small intervention group with other students struggling with teh same behaviors.  All too often reading groups are based on level, and not behaviors or strategiesso this is a great way to help look at reading groups a bit differently.

 If anything catches your eye, these new sheets are part of the updated Intervention Notes {FREEBIES} at TpT.  I included the pdf document, as well as the PowerPoint/word documents so you can edit them as needed.  Just click on the following link to download them all.

        NEW Intervention FREEBIES here!

To read my other posts about interventions, please see THIS post.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Numbers, Fluency, Birthdays, Common Core and Teacher Evaluations!

What do all those things have to do with one another??  Just another random catch up post of course.  I really wish I had time to post regularly...I think I've said this before but I really don't know how some people do it!!  I appreciate them doing it because I just love reading their blogs!  I looked at my last several blog posts titles and they usually say "I'm Back!" and/or "{FREEBIES!}  I love giving stuff away and catching up, but it's all I seem to do!

So, I finally sucked it up and paid for a TpT freebie license so I could post my freebies on there instead of on Google Docs all the time.  Beware, there are lots of links to a bunch of freebies I just posted on TpT.....Time for a Happy Dance!!!

I am sure there are many out there feeling the pressure from Common Core, as well as new teacher evaluations.  I am no exception!  Lots of changes to prove that I am (and have been) doing what I am supposed to be doing.  One thing is really being organized and keeping documents.  We also have been doing alot more pre/post testing--which leads to more and more checklists!  We need to say/and have posted our goals for that days lessons.  Well, we started with some common core standards posting but found that it wasn't working out so well for us.  We are not required (yet) to post the common core standards being addressed.  So, our grade level decided to post a more simplified version that aligned with our curriculum. I have a goal posted for reading, math, fluency, writing, and phonics.  Phonics is the only one that pretty much changes daily-which is much more manageable.

I was inspired by the idea of how to display them from my colleague down the hall that used sheet protectors.  I actually laminated a full sheet of construction paper after gluing "Today's Goal:" to the top.  Then I taped a sturdier clear book cover to the bottom to create a pocket.  (I used my zebra duck tape of course!  Now my goals slide in and out easily and they can hold quite a few goals in the pocket for storage.  Also, because I used a heavier clear pastic material, I can write and rewrite on the using a dry erase marker.  (This is useful in phonics where we review letters/sounds and all I have to do is change the letter/lette rcombination that we are doing that day.)

With our new evaluations, we are alot more responsible to show growth in certain areas.  A major frustration for me has always been all the MClass testing we have to do....and never use for classroom instruction--I know they use it for the data wall and usually the resultsare what I have already observed in the classroom.  So, since they will look at the data to see if my class has shown growth as part of my evaluation, it definitely gives me more of a purpose to include it within my day.  Our grade level decided to include a part of it on the report card to make it more intentional as well.  I made 2 powerpoints to use on my projector to use a daily math warm up.  One is to practice identifying missing numbers and another can be used for either number identification OR next number.  I plan on showing parts of them at a time (because there are alot of slides) and either have students say answers orally or write them on dry erase boards.  These slideshows can be downloaded from TpT for free.  Just click on the picture.

Missing Number Slideshow

Number Identification/Next Number slideshow
To practice fluency with a purpose I implemented Open Mic Friday.  I may have already posted this, but here's a link again to my free poster.  {Pinterest Inspired}

I finally posted my kiddos birthdays on my new jungle themed birthday chart.  Click on the picture and make one of your own-for FREE!

I finally got my math stations going!  Man, do I need to get faster at getting them going.  It sure would have been a lot easier to get my MClass testing done if I had.  I am doing 6 basic stations, but with 2 versions of them so students are only working with 1 other person--so much quieter this way.  I have a "teach me" station (they get to teach their partner), a "pocket chart" station (basic sorting/matching/sequencing activities), a "hands-on fun" station (get to play with manipulatives), a "math games" station (play any games we have learned during math), a "time me" station (time eachother for 1 min using activities from MClass), and a "numbers/math fact" station (writing numbers or practicing math facts).  I typed up I Can lists after we learned/discussed each station and decided what activities would be where.  We have been doing them for 3 days now and so far so good!  The hard part is changing/adding/taking away activities.  Hopefully we will get a handle on this as well!  I have a talkative group, but they sure catch on quickly!  If you want a copy of my I Can lists or the numbers I used to put on my tubs and around my room, click the picture below.  (Again, for Free!)
My numbers/math facts station focuses on writing numbers neatly and reading/writing nuymbers 0-120 right now.  {We just started our math facts, so they will be added soon.}  I did make some number grids and a number blast off game to go into that station.  I use dry erase pockets so students can choose what activity to do and can do over and over again without using tons of paper.  It aligns with Common Core Standard 1 NBT.1  These can be found at my TpT store.  {It is the only thing in this post for sale- but only for a $1}  Check it out by clicking on the picture. 

If you survived and read this whole post, I hope you found some useful things.  Thank you for checking in with me...even if I only check in every now and then.  Leave me a comment so I know you stopped by!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm Back!! And check out my {FREEBIES}!!

I'm back (again)!  Well, I have been back at it for almost a month and have not had the time to do any blogging, time for blog stalking yes, but not updating my own blog!  Way too busy getting back into a schedule, at home and at school, as well as making things to use in my classroom to implement some new procedures.  My own kids (now in 2nd and 6th grade) also keep me busy with their schedules.  To give you an idea of how hectic things can get (this is an extremely busy week), here's my practice, taekwondo class, volleyball (that one's for me-just for fun), overnight Camp Eberhart with my 6th grade daughter (I signed up to chaperone) Thursday-Friday, football game, run a 1/2 marathon on Saturday, soccer game after the marathon, walk 3 miles for a Juvenile Diabetes fundraiser on Sunday. Wow!  That's even exhausting just to type!  And of course I have to prepare sub plans for Thursday and Friday.  Oh, yeah, did I mention that I am getting observed this Wednesday?  Good times... but the sub plans brings me to something I just created and am giving away to anyone that wants it!

I am big on Whole Brain teaching and I can not say enough great things about how much it has changed my teaching.  I use it all day long!  I am not sure how I survived first grade without it?!!  Anyways, since I am going to be gone two days in a row (and it's still early in the year) I decided that I would put together a Whole Brain Teaching cheat sheet for my guest teacher(s).  Most are unfamiliar with whole brain teaching, and I would really like for my class to not have to change too much from what they are used to when I am gone.  I am hoping that it will help them out and mayne it can help you too!  You can find this resource at my TpT store.  Just click HERE!

How many of you have seen this picture pinned on Pinterest?

I {LOVE} this, but when I went to the website I couldn't find a link to print it out.  You can go there by clicking HERE.  She has some cute pics and love her ideas.  Anyways, I decided to make my own Open Mic sign up sheet, jungle themed of course!! 
If you want a copy of it, just click on the picture! 

One more thing I made was a Jungle Themed I Pick chart.  {Which of course I don't have picture of right now....} But I will still share the document tonight and just add the picture tomorrow...or when I get around to it!  Just be sure to print on legal sized paper.  Click HERE for the chart. Here's a YouTube video that goes with the chart.  It is a cute little song teaching kiddos about picking "just right" books.

I am thinking of putting together some Kid Friendly common core" I Can's" to be displayed in the classroom.  I have a TpT seller's  version but they are pretty wordy for my kiddos and are hard to see. Has anyone found a good kid friendly version with a decent sized font?  Believe me, I've been looking!

Well, I think I have out done myself by blogging tonight and actually sharing a few things!  Time to get some rest for a very busy week! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale

I am participating in the TpT Back to School Sale! Click below to go to my store and save 20% on all my products starting tomorrow morning!!!

BTS 12 250x125

**I just got back from our family vacation yesterday and start school on Monday (no kiddos) then Tuesday with kiddos!  So be sure to check back soon to see how the first week went!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Few More Pics of My Room....

I spent a few more hours at school again today. And with the help of my daughter I erased several things off my to-do list!

But first-as promised a picture of my hanging names! Love them!

Also got to label my math station tubs/drawers. I only did 6 last year with students working in small groups. I decided I like partners much better so that's why so many tubs!

We cleaned up and straightened up my poetry station. I was hanging "later in the year" poems on those top hooks and my daughter asked..."how are they going to reach those?". I literally laughed out loud! Never a dull moment.

I actually did this the other day, but I organized all those zillion manipulatives/games for my stations into supply tubs. It might actually be easier to find things this year!

The before and after of a project right up my daughters alley! Duct tape table for word work station. (I took the legs home to spray paint. For some reason the blue does nothing for me!)

And today was labeling day-labels for writing tub, graded papers, intervention tub, student files, closet hooks, mailboxes and lunch chart. Yikes! That was a lot of labels. Some I did numbers so I shouldn't have to redo next year, but others were student names. I am waiting til the day before school starts to adhere many of them. I hate when I gain/lose students those few days before school starts-always messes with abc order!

And finally a pic of student book baskets-including their number and 2 clips to check out books from the classroom library.

Oh-I cannot forget a big thanks to Molly for cleaning out/organizing my indoor recess games! That was a task I was avoiding for sure!

One more day in my room and I should be good to go! Yeah!