Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Peek at My Year: Fourth Grade Literacy

Last week I shared my third grade plans, which you can read HERE.  Today, I want to share my outline for fourth grade.  I used very similar ideas, but tried to elevate them for fourth grade.  Also, the texts we share will be more sophisticated.  Remember that I am teaching a supplemental program, so I'm not trying to cover every single ELA standard.

September and October for all grades will focus on those beginning of year workshop mini lessons. Students will learn how to choose books, set goals and we will review fix up strategies as needed.  I plan to read aloud Stone Fox and The Tiger Rising.  

For November and December, all grades will work on character study.  We will refer back to The Tiger Rising for most of this work.  We will share another text, but I haven't chosen it yet!

For January and February, we will study biography.  My students have loved the Who Was Book Series last year. 

For March and April, we will work on historical fiction book clubs.  I'm thinking of offering Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,  Sarah, Plain and Tall and the I Survived Books.

For May and June, we will deepen our analysis of text.  We may use short text because you know how the end of the year is!

In my next post, I'll share my fifth grade year long map and my favorite unit from last year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Peek at My YEAR - Third Grade Literacy

I wanted to share some of the planning I've done for my role as literacy teacher this fall.  If you missed it, I will be working with third, fourth and fifth graders this fall.  I'm going to be push in with classroom teachers in the mornings and teach literacy in the afternoons. I'm hoping to have each class twice a week, but I haven't seen the schedule yet, so I don't know!

My objective is to help students love to read, so to do that, I've done a ton of reading about reading.  Thank goodness for the Internet!  There are so many great reading units and year long curriculum maps to pull from!  A quick side-note: because I'm supplementing a reading curriculum, I didn't try to cover every single CCSS standard.  I'm focused on reading literature, but each grade will spend time reading non-fiction as well.

Here's a look at my year-long plan for third grade.  I'm sure you'll notice that I borrowed heavily from Lucy Calkins Units of Study.

This little map shows some of the mini lessons I'm planning for my readers.  In September, we will share Horrible Harry Moves Up to Third Grade.  I'm expecting most of my readers to be below benchmark, so this book should work well.  I have other Horrible Harry books that we will read after that.

For November and December, we will most likely move onto another book series, probably The Magic Tree House.  I'll keep Horrible Harry books available for my readers to read independently.

In January and February, we will move onto a nonfiction study. I like using book sets - first read a book with basic information, then a more detailed book and then an even more detailed text - to teach readers to become experts.  I will read books about sharks and my readers will choose their own book sets.

For March and April, I plan to teach using book clubs.  The classes should have begun literature circles, so I will build upon those literature circles.  For these clubs, I plan to offer Cam Jansen, Encyclopedia Brown, A to Z Mysteries, etc.

Finally, in May and June, students will read books that include social issues. { I'll wait until after school begins to see what levels we are working with before I choose books} 

Tell me: If you have favorite books in L-O levels, please let me know! I've been in the S and up levels for so long! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Each Kindness - A Book to Notice and Note

Hey, friends!  I have two more Fridays before school starts, so I'm finally sitting down to write some actual lesson plans. I spent part of the summer writing unit plans and this week mapped out my first units for Grades 3, 4 and 5.  {If you missed it, I'm teaching literacy to Grades 3, 4 and 5 this year.  I'll likely work with guided reading groups in the mornings and then see full classes in the afternoons.  I'm crazy excited about it!}

One of the books I plan to share with my classes is Each Kindess by Jacqueline Woodson. She is the author of Brown Girl Dreaming {link to previous post about this AMAZING book} and The Other Side.  Her picture books are gorgeous and teach important lessons.  This book, obviously about kindness, is also about thinking about the choices we make and how they make other people feel.

In the book, a new girl named Maya appears in class.  It's obvious that Maya comes from a less fortunate family.  Her clothes look old and her shoes are for the wrong season.  When Maya sits and smiles at Chloe, Chloe avoids her and moves away.  This pattern of avoiding Maya's attempts at friendship replays itself through the first half of the book until Maya finally gives up.  Soon after, Maya's family moves away and Chloe's teacher discusses kindness with the class.  Using the image of a rock in the middle of a pond surrounded by ripples, the teacher says "each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world."  The final half of the book follows Chloe as she grapples with her behavior and lack of kindness.

It's a unique book about a more silent form of bullying.  And also unique in that unlike books like Thank You, Mr. Falker, the book focuses on the bully, not the bullied.  Chloe isn't awful to Maya, but she is unkind. Chloe bullies Maya by excluding her from the friendship of the group.

Another part of my summer was spent reading Notice and Note.  After reading Each Kindness, I can see ways to use this book to model some of the signposts from Notice and Note.

1.) Again and Again - Maya tries to be friendly to the girls by smiling and showing them different toys she's brought to school.  Each time she asks them to play, the girls say no.  Students can notice and note by asking "why does this keep happening?"

2.) Words of the Wiser - In this case, the teacher is the wiser.  Her words "Each kindness...each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world."  We can help students by asking "what is the lesson here?"

3.) Aha! Moment - When the teacher asks the kids to drop a stone and tell her kind things they had done, Chloe can't think of anything.  We can help our students by asking "how might this change things?"  This could also be a Tough Question, as we might assume the teacher asked "what kindness can you share with us?"

4.) Memory Moment - When Chloe is alone, her "throat filled with all the things I wished I would have said to Maya," one can view this as a memory.  We can help our students notice and note by asking " why is this memory important?"  For older students with experience studying characters, I would probably ask what it reveals about Chloe.  Perhaps this scene could also be a Contrast and Contradiction, as before Chloe had nothing positive to say to Maya, but now her throat is filled.  If I used this scene for a contrast, I would ask "Why is the character doing that?"

It's definitely not my goal to try to teach all six sign posts in one text, but it is nice to see them in play and know that I'm now in the practice of "Noticing and Noting" when I read.  It is also a quality, short text that can be read and re-read throughout the year as you work on the signposts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Two New Products - in time for the TpT Sale!

I'm popping on today to let you all know about two products I've recently posted on TPT.

First, I created a set of centers based on the place value standards for fifth grade.  I love the theme: Space!

I really love these.  I printed them out and cut out all the individual planets to give the centers more of a tactile experience.  I love variety.  Anything I can do to keep my kids engaged!  There are SEVEN centers included in this set and a complete teacher's answer key.

I always post new products at a discount, and these are discounted even more with the sale happening right now!  You can check them out HERE.

I also added a set of print and go pages for 5.NF.A.1 and 5.NF.A.2.  These two standards focus on replacing fractions with equivalent fractions to add and subtract. This is a half page booklet but there is a ton of content packed in there.  Each student booklet is 18 work pages, plus a cover sheet.  A complete teacher's guide is included as well.  This book is so easy to prep and only uses black ink for the student guide (the teacher's guide has a few color graphics).

You can easily use these to teach or review content.  I used the half size pages last year to save some paper!  You can see them HERE.

Be sure to leave feedback for all of your previous purchases to get TpT credits as well! Don't forget to use TPT code: MORE15 at check out to save an additional 10% off your purchase!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Football Themed Decimal Math Centers for Fifth Grade {with a freebie!}

Hey everyone :-)

I wanted to share my latest set of math centers with you all!  I'm a huge believer in math centers.  Math center work is critical to my math workshop.  I use math centers to give my on-level students additional practice while I work with students who really need small group instruction to master skills.  I also find it useful to have centers available for students who need a review later in the year, say around testing time.

These centers are designed to be used at any point during the school year.  While I LOVE seasonal centers, I'm not sure many students want to revisit Halloween centers in February!  These football themed centers focus on three decimal standards for fifth grade math: 5.NBT.3a and b, 5.NBT.4 and 5.NBT.7.  Each center has 6 cards, a recording sheet and an answer key for the teacher.

Take a look:

 In this center, students add and subtract decimals.  They can match their answers to the answer cards provided.  This makes the center self-checking!  There is also a multiplying and dividing version included.
 In this center, students work with decimals to the thousandths place.  They round to the underlined digit and record their answers on the sheet.

 On each card, students read two similar decimal numbers.  They compare the values using <, > or = symbols.
In the writing decimals center, students practice writing decimals in word form, standard form and expanded form.  You can grab this center for free right HERE or by clicking the image above.
And one final center: problem solving.  Students apply their operation skills to word problems!

As always, new products are listed at a discounted price!  You can get the full product HERE.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Keeping Track of Reading Conferences

Hi all!  I just wanted to pop on to share how I keep track of my reading conferences.  I use a really simple form which you can download at the bottom of this post!

I write the student's names in different colors to indicate their reading levels.  Red pen is for students who need frequent reading conferences.  {Truthfully, you can have a higher level reader who still needs frequent conferences but that's another post!} Yellow/orange pen is for students who are approaching grade level expectations.  Green pen is for students who are reading at or above their grade level.

My struggling readers need the most support, so I try to make sure to check in with them every few school days.  I particularly like to check in on Mondays to make sure they have been reading over the weekend and that they have the books they need for that day.

Ideally, I try to confer with every reader once every 10 school days.  The dates that are circled in red above are when it was longer than 10 days since our last conference.  Since I don't like seeing those red circles, it keeps me on track with who I need to see and when.

It's a simple form, but it works!  You can grab the PDF HERE and the editable PowerPoint HERE.

I try not to over plan my conferences.  I know some teachers really thrive on schedules, but I like to indicate a reader or two who I plan to confer with in my plan book and then leave myself some flexibility with conferring with other readers.  The more conferences you have, the more likely it will be that a reader will request a conference with you.  This is how you know your conferences are on the right track!  When readers find them to be helpful and valuable, they will ask for your assistance!

Don't forget that today and tomorrow are the back to school sale at TpT!  My entire store is on sale, including the bundles!  Don't forget to use code BTS15 at checkout to save an additional 10% off.