Monday, November 28, 2011

Literature Circles

 So I love to do literature circles.  I'm nearly the only one in my building so we start from scratch.  The one good thing about that is there is no where to go but UP, right!!  This class amazes me.  They have worked their tails off this year, and I don't know if they just like to "suck up" a little or what, BUT  they seem sooo excited and really get into discussing the book and their roles.  It's hard to get them to understand that reading has a purpose but I model for them how I still as I read make notes in margins about things I find in the stories I read.   I always pass out my copy in the beginning and the lucky student who gets it is always like "YES, I won the jackpot!!" Thinking they won't have to do the work.  I take the book away eventually giving them a clean copy but it's my teach-to moment of how reading is a life-long skill, yadii-yadii!!! 

This year I have decided to add a project to the end of the literature circle to wrap up their understanding, and a fun way to review the stories read.  I am so pleased with their final projects that I wanted to share with you how they turned out!

Sweet little thing, loves to scrapbook
so when she found out that was 1 option
she jumped on it!!

Indian Monopoly, funnies game ever 
Jamie landed on "jump on
1 leg, and hold your nose & ear"
Good Game Friends!!

Surprise game prizes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Family turkey projects

       I have fallen behind on grading this weekend! But instead of worrying, I took a much needed break and went out last night with some girls from work! I love that we have more than just working relationships in our building! 
     But on to this months main craft project. I started two years ago by sending home a family turkey project with instructions that are simply. With your family and any medium you chose decorate your turkey outline to represent you and your family. Boy I love to see the creativity start to come through! We then hang them in the hall and have the other 4, 5, 6 classes vote on a winner. I am sending this home this week so they will be done in time for thanksgiving break. I have an amazingly artful class this year so I'm excited to see what comes of them! Here are some pictures of previous years "family turkey"projects. 
This girl is obsessed with PINK! I know
for a FACT she re-did her bedroom this summer
with these colors :)
Yes, you'll never guess CAMO!!

Can't be for sure of why he chose a scottish theme, BUT super cute don't you think?

I started doing this because I remember the excitement I had as a 4th grader doing it with my now mentor teacher Mrs. Thalheim! Yes, she is still teaching and it's sooo fun to work with her :)  It was such a big thing that I remember planning my turkey design for a WHOLE YEAR!! I started in 3rd grade. I was in the room across the hall and we got to go vote on her class.  My turkey the next year got 3rd place I glued blue sequence ALL over that blasted turkey!! HAHA!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I've just finished my 3rd day of 6 hours of training.  I hate prepping for a Sub and I find that I miss my classroom kiddo's so much.   In fact when we got out early today I had to rush to see them before they were dismissed.  I missed bus kids (BOO!!) but got to see the walkers.  Much to my surprise on my desk was a TROPHY!! Yes Mrs. Fahrenbruch's class won the trophy dash race for Multiplication this week. (Folks no lie, it has been 2 years!!!! Since my kids won that thing, my kids really struggle learning their math facts)  If any of you teacher's out their have any helpful hints... throw them my way.

Anyway MTSS training. What a long day. This "system of supports" is suppose to help create a learning environment meant to explicitly teach missing reading skills that students haven't mastered and enrich those who Core Reading is working.  After thinking long and hard about the presenters information today, I can't stop wondering what are some great ways to enrich with Vocabulary.  If kids don't have vocabulary they can't use context clues to help them.  She says that  the average student should learn 1000 WORDS in a year.  Well I know I can't teach that many but I definitely need to beef up the vocabulary skills taught to these kids.   I thought of myself as a fairly decent teacher but I'm finding that I lack in a variety of areas.  I'm hoping MTSS helps me to continue to grow as an educator and do what's best for my kids.

If any of you out their have had experiences that you can share, please let me know.

I have found one of my new favorite fluency books is called Six Minute Solutions.  The kids love the "competition" it creates for reading fluently and accurately.  Anything to get them excited about reading.  Another amazing website that has helped guide some instruction this year is This site has got skills broken down across the Phonemic Awareness/ Phonics continuum... Wahoo, I love these two resources right now!!