Saturday, August 31, 2013

Writing & Language Learning Targets

Hello Everyone!  Today I'd like to share how I organize my writing and language learning targets.  First, I created four headings.   One is for editing, one is for revising, one is for word study, and one is for writing targets that don't quite fit into any of these categories.

As we cover each learning target in class, I will post it under the appropriate heading, like this.
(The word study targets have a slightly different background.)

I also made genre-specific learning targets (W.4.1, W.4.2, W.4.3, W.4.7).  

Some of these are skills that apply to all writing (beginnings, transitions, details, endings), so I included them in separate learning targets as well. That way students know that they always need to be thinking of these skills (even during free writing).

If you are interested in these learning targets, along with a check sheet showing which specific learning target goes with each slide, they are available at my TPT store.  You can get a copy by clicking here.
I'm trying something different with the reading learning targets.  I will post about it in a couple of weeks and let you know how it goes.

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

Thank you!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday

Hello Everybody!  Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday.  
Here are five random things from my week.

I went to Target and bought a bungee chair for my classroom.  This year, I am fortunate enough to have a class size of 18.  I'm so excited to have room for a reading corner, but I'm having the students earn it - piece by piece.  I'm looking forward to sharing the whole thing when it is finished.  
RE Bungee Chair

I updated my Teacher Binder.  I made one of these last year.  I loved it, but it was way too small.  I'm not sure why I decided to go with a 1/2 inch binder last year.  Anyway, now I have a 1 1/2 inch binder, and several new dividers.  I went with the plastic dividers that have pockets. That way, I can bring the binder to meetings and keep papers in the pockets.  When I get back to my room, I can hole punch them.

We had two big events at school this week.  The first was Meet the Teacher on Tuesday night.  I enjoyed meeting the parents. I am fortunate to be in a district with very supportive parents.

The second event was our back to school assembly.  I was on the committee that organized this, so five of my students were able to speak in front of the school about what it means to them to be a student here.  I was unbelievably impressed when one of my brand new students volunteered to do this.  He hadn't even been in the school for two weeks yet, and he already felt like he belonged.  My heart absolutely melted.

We started using Kidblog this week.  We are in the stage of trying it out, but so far, my students love it.  This was one of those things that I just had to do.  I will learn and expand as I go.  Some of my students used it last year.  They are eager to help, and I am eager to learn.
14 New Kidblog Features You're Guaranteed to Love.

I found a great recipe to reheat for school lunches.  Here is a recipe I pinned for a healthy version of broccoli and chicken Alfredo from  This recipe uses Greek yogurt and olive oil as healthy substitutions for heavy cream and butter.  I added carrots and red peppers because I'm big on eating my veggies.  It turned out great!
Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo (uses Greek yogurt and olive oil instead of heavy cream and butter)
I hope everyone had a great week.  Enjoy the long weekend!  I'm off to see what everyone else has been up to.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Workshop Wednesday - Setting up Reading Workshop

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jivey from Ideas by Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.  I will be sharing a lesson that I do to help set up my reading workshop.
One of my favorite lessons in the beginning days of reading workshop is real vs. fake reading.  To start off, I used a poem from one of my favorite poetry books, Lunch Money.
This poem is about a girl who is so engrossed in her reading that she doesn't notice anything else that's going on around her.
The discussion about the poem focused on how we know that Annie is really into her book.  Students used the pictures and the text to support their responses.  After we discussed the poem, I had the students brainstorm the difference between real reading and fake reading.  Together, we came up with an anchor chart.
After we made the anchor chart, I had groups of students come up and model real reading.  Then, they had some fun and modeled fake reading.  All students were involved in both groups.  I took pictures and posted them on the appropriate side of the chart.  (I would love to share the photos, but I do not have parent permission to do so.)  We review this chart for several days just before independent reading time to remind students of the expectations.

Here are a few other anchor charts we have made during the opening days of reading workshop.

I'm excited to move forward with reading workshop.  Right now,  I'm off to check out all the other great ideas to get things started.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Peek at my Week, starting with a Must Read Mentor Text

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week.
I love this idea for a linky! Here are a couple of things I'm planning for this week.
First, I would like to share a mentor text that I am using this week.  I am linking up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for Must Read Mentor Texts.
This week's topic is social studies.  We are starting the year off with a look at Prehistoric Indians.  I am on the look out for a great mentor text on this topic.  If anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear them.  One book that I do have is Ohio Native Peoples.
This book is a great supplement to our text and other resources the district provided.  I have six copies, so sometimes I use it for small groups of students who need some reinforcement.  This book has some great text features, such as this map showing how Prehistoric Indians crossed the Bering Strait.
I like to share this information about the Burning Tree Mastodon.
After we discuss this and information on how prehistoric people used these giant mammals, I show a short video called, "Weirdest Prehistoric Animals Collection".
Students love this!
Like I said earlier, I'd love to hear any suggestions for mentor texts covering Prehistoric Indians.  I have several good ones for later groups, but this is an area I need to "beef up".
I have my students' names plugged into Kidblog.  This week, I am going to try this site with my students for the first time.  Right now, I'm going to focus the discussion on our read aloud (Wonder).  Later, I will try to branch out a little more.  I am very excited about this!  A few of my coworkers tried it last year, and I have seen it on multiple blogs. Everything I've heard has been positive.  I can't wait to give it a try!
14 New Kidblog Features You're Guaranteed to Love.
This week, our school is having an assembly that I am very excited about.  Last year, we introduced the students to the 7 Habits, as presented in Sean Covey's book, The Seven Habits of Happy Kids.
The 7 Habits of Happy Kids
This year, we are going to have multiple student-led assemblies to reinforce the habits.  Several of my students will be participating in this first one by reading their reflections about what our school means to them.  This will be part of our back to school celebration.

By the way, even if your school is not part of the Leader in Me training, this is an excellent text for character and community building.  I highly recommend it.

Well, those are a few things I have planned this week.  

I'm off to see what everyone else is doing and to check out some great social studies mentor texts!

Thank you!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Five for Friday

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday.
I had a great week back at school.  My new students are wonderful. This week has been super busy, but I've enjoyed it.  Here are five random things from my week.
School Stuff
One of the final things I made before school started was an End of the Day Checklist.  You can get this here for free, if you are interested.

My Fabulous Family
This week my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary. They have been married for 47 years!
I couldn't ask for better role models or a better support system.
A Pinspired Meal
A while back, I pinned this recipe from for lemon cream pasta with chicken.  I tried it this week.  I am a big veggie fan, so I added broccoli, peppers, and carrots.  It turned out great - perfect to reheat for school lunches.  I add broccoli, red pepper, and carrots.
Fitness Fun
I tried some of these exercises from  They are supposed to be the best core exercises for runners.  I felt them the next day, so something is working.  I'll keep them in my rotation, for sure.
Around the House
This week was was extremely busy.  Most of my time was spent planning and getting to know my students.  I didn't have any time to work on house projects.  However, I am extremely happy with my garden this year.  I don't think I ever had begonias grow this high.  I wish I could take credit, but I have to give that up to Mother Nature this year.
Well, that's it for me.  I'm looking forward to checking out what everyone else has been up to.

Have a great weekend!