Sunday, July 24, 2011

Safari Themed Literacy Centers!

Well, it has been a work in progress, but I have finished my safari themed word work centers!  I have been diligently working to make centers that I would be ready to use next year with my 3rd graders, and I am super excited with how they have turned out! Please visit my page on TpT and let me know what you think!

Safari Word Work Centers

The thumbnail generator wasn't working, but hopefully those will be coming soon!

Preview of the super cute graphics that I got from Lettering Delights......

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arrrgh!!! Summer Reading Camp.....Pirate Style!

For the past two weeks, I have been lucky enough to be a part of my school's summer reading camp.  It is a 2 week intensive reading intervention camp for our rising 2nd and 3rd graders.  I totally viewed this camp as my chance to THEME OUT!  I usually don't have a classroom theme, because I like a combination to too many things, but with a camp setting like this, it was the perfect time to try out a theme.  And, being that we are living in the home of the PIRATES....what better theme could there be!!  I mean, at one time I even WAS a pirate!!  I bleed purple and gold!! (see below)

Arrrgh!  Me and Mike (now referred to as hubs) cheering on our Pirates!
Anyway, that's another story for another day, and all of these things lead to our decision to go with the pirate theme.  We collaborated ideas, collected read alouds, smartboard lessons, and printables from Anna Brantley on TpT.  LOVE the CENTERS!!  These centers were pirate themed and perfect for our struggling readers!

Here are a few snapshots of the things that we were doing during camp!  Enjoy!

Our reading rotation chart for center time

Up close:)  Each group had a "pirate name".  So for this rotation, the landlubbers were at the reading center.

Here is our work journal, where we recorded our morning journal entries and all of our reading work.  Also, there is a bookmark on the desk that I downloaded from this website.  The pirate on the corner was used as a name plate!

Close up of the name plate!

My Crew!!
Predictions in our Reading Journal (for Pip the Penguin)

Anna Brantley's Read the Room Center...Love!

Read the room cards from Anna Brantley!

Arrrgh!  Room Decoration aka Yard Flag:)

Anna Brantley's Pirate Literacy Centers-laminated and organized for storage!

Pirate read alouds used for teaching reading skills

Work Samples from our Good Work board in the hallway

This is our class work board that I hung in the hall.  Each camper had work on the board, and a gold coin with their name on it to identify whose was whose.

My co-teacher's board hanging across the hall!

Eager campers!!

A circle map of the new reading words that we learned about during camp!  I am so proud of them!!
 So, overall I would say that reading camp was a huge success!  The kids had fun, and I enjoyed getting to use a theme!  Happy Camping!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Food for Thoughts on Math

So....in my last blog I said that I was going to a one week math workshop this summer.  I did it-I loved it-and now I am totally lost in thinking about how to use what I learned next year in my classroom!  I am constantly searching for ways to improve my math instruction, and the workshop I attended has really got the wheels turning!  Here are a few of my most common recurring thoughts:

-Content should be taught to mastery
-Small Groups=Differentiation=Quality Instruction

Now, the challenge I face is changing my current way of teaching (which unfortunately often skips straight to the "abstract" part of math instruction) into a new, more student-centered way!  My school uses the Envisions Math adoption, which I love....but, how can I make this my own?

Immediately after the thoughts of changing my math schedule entered my brain, I called my first grade BFF to chat about her ideas.  I have found that when I am short on ideas, I can always count on a K-2 buddy to give me something fresh to try!  She suggested using "Math Tubs", which to my understanding is kind of like math centers. She got the idea from Ms. Meacham.  Using these, I can differentiate and work with small groups.

Here's what I'm thinking:  5 tubs for 5 groups.  There are 5 strands in the current NCSCOS-so I would have one math tub for each of the strands.  I would be using the tubs as a kind of spiral review.  I really want the tubs to be more than glorified worksheets.....and like the idea of playing games that involve the use of manipulatives.

I really would love suggestions and comments about things that have worked for you!!

How do you differentiate math in your classroom?

What kinds of activities do you use if you use tubs?

Thanks for the input!!!!