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.