Monday, September 23, 2013

Writing is in full swing!

We've jumped into the writing pool and the water is just fine!

I revised my student writing journal to incorporate the Common Core focus on the three types of writing: opinion, informative and narrative.  Last week we started by doing an opinion piece about fall.  The sentence stem was either: I like fall because, I love fall because or I don't like fall because.  Then, after reading 2 non-fiction books about leaves during Storytime, we started an informational piece on leaves and will wrap that up today.  Tomorrow we'll start writing a narrative piece about an autumn memory.  
Before we even started writing, Writing Dude visited us and taught us about the 3 Types of Writing.  I also have a poster that I display at our Writing Station to remind us of the types of writing.

It's a freebie that I'm sharing over at 

If you'd like to see what my writing journal looks like and what it's all about click below

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Slugs....they're not my cup of tea.
But my daughter (5) and I saw one last night and stopped to watch it and talk about it.  It's been raining for weeks on end and this was the first day that we've gotten outside in our yard to play in I don't know how long because there was a break in the rain.

I used to teach 2nd grade with a fantastic colleague named Misti and she LOVES slug....gross, I know. I came across a book about slugs one summer and thought of her.  So I thought I'd share some more slug books because it could fit into a science unit or it could be a writing piece:

A slug is a snail without a shell.  It leaves a smelly trail behind it so it can get back home.

Once upon a time there was a slug named Sally.  Sally, like all slugs, leaves a trail of slime behind her so she can find her way back home.  But one day...

I don't like slugs for many reasons.  First of all, they are ugly and creepy looking.  Secondly, their slime doesn't wash off your hands!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Read to Self

I do not speak Japanese nor can I read it.
Don't worry, this will make sense a moment.

I started doing the Daily 5 in my classroom last year.  I actually call it the Daily 6 because kids do: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Word Work, Reading Games, Listen to Reading and Computer Time.  Guided Reading with me is also a group.  So last week I launched Read to Self and it has gone really well!
The first lesson I did was "The 2 Ways to Read a Book".  Reading the pictures and/or the words are key for me.  I know you can also retell the story, but I like to keep it simple and go with 2.  I don't think kids really believe that reading the pictures is truly reading.  To prove that pictures CAN be read, I borrowed a children's book in Japanese.  Remember what I said about Japanese earlier?
I read this book to my students and only read the words.  I still have no idea what the title is but I had a BLAST reading the pictures to the kids and they loved it!

I do speak French and used to teach 2nd grade at a French immersion school, so I have lots of books in French.  I'm thinking of bringing them in so my kids can read the pictures....and I know my very bright kiddos will even try to read the words!

You can download my Two Ways to Read a Book POSTER here for free:

I also created a SmartBoard file that I use to conduct and manage my Daily 6 groups and it makes life SO easy!

Watashi wa yomu no ga suki

Monday, September 9, 2013

Trick -or- Treat in the Heat!

Halloween is 53 days away, but here in Anchorage we get ours a little early!

Several years ago, a caring neighborhood banded together to give a terminally-ill 5-year-old something he loved before he died.  This act touched so many that it's now a yearly tradition.  There are now 4 neighborhoods in the Anchorage area that participate and kids simply buy a $10 wristband to participate.  All proceeds go to charity and this year there were 3 different charities that benefitted.

We recently moved into a new house, in one of the participating neighborhoods, so we got to get in the spirit and hand out candy!  My daughter and I decorated our porch and driveway and then the kids and I dressed up as pirates and hit the pavement.
But just as the festivities started to RAIN!  We've had rain for more than a month straight but it was sunny and dry all day, so I thought it would be Trick -or- Treat in the HEAT....but it turned out to the Trick -or- Treat in the RAIN & WIND!  Both kids were troopers but we were soaking, cold and tired and didn't last very long.  But the underlying cause made everything worth it and I'm proud to be part of this neighborhood community!

Even though there are still 53 more days until Halloween, you might be an early planner or on the prowl for some Halloween fun now.  If so, you can check out:

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Flushing, Oh My!

Yes you read my title correctly!
Today I'm talking about the sometimes lack of flushing and chronic lack of hand washing in my 1st grade classroom bathroom.  I'm done with gentle reminders, so I whipped up some bathroom reminder signs and threw in some technology to get their attention.  Watch this:

So I'm linking up with Charity over at 
to share a Bathroom Signs freebie :-)

I guess my last resort is to wear a t-shirt like this:

Happy Labor Day and a reminder that all my Readers' Theater plays are on SALE until Wednesday!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Readers' Theater is on the Horizon!

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring...
I wonder where in the world that came from?!  But needless to say I'm ready to build an ark up here in Anchorage and the only one snoring is my husband.  It's 12:35a.m. and I just got home from working up at school.  I usually stay late on Friday nights, wear my jammies and get tons of stuff done.  This weekend I was there Friday and Saturday night...lots to do.

As I was planning out my first quarter I got excited that we will start doing Reading Groups in 2 weeks!  We have a Back-to-School unit to do first with our Houghton-Mifflin reading curriculum.  Then I get to start meeting with small groups of kids and really zero in on where they are at with their reading.  I have some VERY high readers and some pretty low readers.  In addition to using guided reading books, I started supplementing with Readers' Theater plays last year because #1 The kids have FUN with them, #2 It's fantastic fluency practice and #3 I LOVE to write scripts!

Come take a peek at these free scripts:

I'm getting so excited to do Readers' Theater again I'm throwing a
on all my Readers' Theater scripts from Sunday - Wednesday over at my 

You can also grab this free Readers' Theater poster that guides you and your students through the process of bringing a play to life!

Happy Labor Day everybody!