Monday, June 29, 2015

Reading Workshop: Unit 2 {Characters Face Bigger Challenges - And So Do Readers}

(Click on the image above to be taken to the first post in the book study)

Hello all! I am joining some great ladies for a book study about Reading Workshop.  I just finished my first year of teaching workshop, and  I am thrilled to receive some more PD on the topic. 

I was asked to focus on chapter 3 (even though I've been reading the whole thing and love it!).  One of the first things I noticed when reading the chapter was how you as a teacher can assess students on their reading.  I know that I often feel that I need to do a detailed running record each time.  She mentioned that you can simply sit and listen to a student read- then you can determine whether the student is at an appropriate level or not.  I wouldn't advise doing this every time, but when working at the lower reading levels - I think this could be appropriate. 

This chapter goes in great detail about focusing on characters in text.  The unit is based on fiction text, and the author said this was a great time to push students to higher levels to encourage higher order thinking.  You can even sit and read the first few chapters with the student if it is a difficult text to help get them started. This may be time consuming, so you could also suggest parents to do this!

When starting this unit on characters, this book explains how you can help prepare the students for the lessons and help them relate to the unit. When students make a connection to what they're learning, I find that they are much more willing to learn.  

Characters can be tricky, especially for the simple books because the author clearly states how the character is feeling or shows it in the pictures.  However, this unit focuses on thinking with more depth about each character and finding connections within the story.  Students will also learn to look for the problem in the story and focus on how the character responds to the problem. 

Use this to teach character personality/traits. 

You might use something like this when asking students to describe the character in the story or when they are focusing on the problem and how the character responds.

Once they know how to find the problem in the text, students learn to infer character feelings and explain why they think the character did something.  Students will also make predictions about their characters based on what they have read and the schema they have created.  I believe that teaching students to build their schema and use what they know to make inferences is very important. This is a life skill.  This can be tricky to teach, but I found a fun lesson by Libby Swanson here!
Students will also learn to make connections to the characters in the story by asking questions and thinking, "How would I react to this situation?" This helps them better understand what is going on in the text.  I also think that when students connect to the book, they become attached to the characters.  Then, once you're attached you'll love to read!  And, that's the whole point right? To love to read!

Look at that smile!  Doesn't that make you happy! :]

When teaching this unit, you'll also want to keep in mind how students can track the characters in the book.  Students will need to learn to explain how a character's feelings or traits change throughout the story.  This is important because it helps students make connections within the book and find text evidence to support when or why they think the character changed. 

When they are learning about discussing how the character changes in the text - this might be a good anchor chart to use!

When you get to wrapping up the unit, you'll want to remind students to practice rereading important parts within the text.  This can often be difficult for students to figure out how to find important parts, so you'll have to teach them how to do this.  Then, encourage students to look closely at these parts to help them better understand the characters. 

This might be helpful when trying to find important parts of a book!

Then, there is always a celebration with Lucy Calkins!  You could celebrate this unit by having students pick a character within their book and compare and contrast themselves to the character.  You could also have students make a fun drawing of the character and then place bubble words around the character's head describing his/her character traits.  Students could share these with the class!  

I hope you've enjoyed reading about unit 3.  I created a fun unit to go along with this and it matches the season of November perfectly (which is when you would teach the lesson).  You can check it out below!

Then, be sure to check back Friday for our next book study post!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Stock Up!

I am joining the amazing Primary Gal for the Summer Stock Up!  I am so excited to share with you the two products I am showcasing.


First, I am going to talk about my Kindergarten Homework Pack.  I created it in order to help myself stay organized for the year.  I wanted to make sure that I was hitting all of the standards and providing my students with a variety of homework pages.  I tried to make this packet as easy and useful as possible.  I absolutely love it and get great feedback from parents. 

I print off this fun cover and staple it to the front of a folder.  You could even add your name (the teacher) on the star so if it gets lost they know who to return it to!

  There are calendars available for each month of the school year (mid-August to June) within the packet.  This allows you to stay organized and provide parents with an outline of the month's teaching points.  I like to place the calendar on the inside of the folder.  This way, parents know what to expect each week (and it helps me remember what goes home!).

I just staple the calendar inside the folder.  You could also use folders with the three rings and place a page protector on it.  Then, put the calendar inside the page protector. 

There are also editable calendars for you to adjust!  Yes- I said EDITABLE!  I know that some of you have different schedules throughout the year, so you can adjust some of the assignments.  I made over 160 assignments so that you can place them where you want them and even remove some if you would rather use a different assignment!  There are two different editable options within the pack so that you can pick what meets your needs.

Examples of homework pages

I do not give homework on Fridays - just Monday-Thursday.  The homework assignments are only 1 worksheet a night.  They cover reading, writing, and math curriculum.  The style of the homework is also repetitive so that your little kinder students can complete the assignments without parent help if necessary.  

Examples of homework pages

I know that Kindergarten seems too young to give homework, but I feel that it really helps them become more responsible.  My students also loved getting homework because they felt like "big kids." 

Examples of homework pages

Now for some of my Reading Wonders users - this homework calendar follows the Kindergarten Reading Wonders curriculum.  When the letters of the alphabet are introduced, as well as the sight words - this homework packet follows the calendar!  But, as I said there are editable calendars so that you can make adjustments to follow your class needs if necessary.  Therefore, you do NOT have to have Reading Wonders for this packet to be useful.
Here is another great deal - I will update the calendars each year!  Once you've purchased the product, you get an update for free.  Woo hoo!  :]  We always want to try and make our jobs as easy as possible, and I am here to help you!

I reward my students for completing their homework by allowing them to write their name on a ticket and place it in a jar.  At the end of each month I draw out 3-4 names (depending on how many points I have on Scholastic) and those students win a book.  The kids LOVE this, and they even get excited to just put their name in the jar.  Its a quick reward and doesn't cost me any money. :]

Now, I would like to share my Ocean Themed Classroom Decor Pack with you.  I created this to go along with my ocean/hawaii theme.  I love having a classroom where everything ties together!

Within this pack you will receive 13 Ocean themed items.  You may also purchase each of these items separately if you are just looking for one of them instead of all of them.

This packet includes:

ABC Posters

Table Numbers

Beach Jobs

Birthday Posters

Days of the Week

Word Wall Cards (Dolch)

Guided Reading Level Labels

Math Workshop Posters

Months of the Year

Place Value Posters

Schedule Cards

Sharpen/Not Sharpen Labels

Today is Poster

These are the place value posters.  You can see them hanging on the math wall below.  They are simple, but definitely follow the ocean theme! You may find them individually sold here.

Here are the birthday posters I created.  I laminate them and write the students names on the sheets.  Then, I use a dry erase marker to color over the names at the end of the year and a tissue to wipe them clean! 

It also includes the cute Happy Birthday banner you see across the top!  You can find this individually sold here.

Here are the table numbers I created.  They are color coded.  So, table 1 is red, table 2 is orange, table 3 is yellow, etc.  Who doesn't love a rainbow pattern? ;]  You can find these sold here!

Here are the ABC posters!  These are my favorite!  I lined them across my windows and hung vocabulary words and sight words under each letter.

You can find these individually sold here.  You can also find the Dolch Word Cards here

These are the fun labels I created for my library.  They can be found here.

The lovely months of the year.  I post these above my calendar each month.  You can find them individually sold here! The Days of the Week are also included and can be found sold individually by clicking here.

Beach jobs are pictured below.  You can find those for FREE in my TpT store by clicking here.

Math Workshop is one of my favorite things to teach.  You can find these ocean-themed posters sold individually by clicking here.

These two items are posted FREE in my store if you want to check them out.  Just click on each image to find them. :]

I am SO glad you stopped by!  I hope you have found some great deals, and I am going to offer a chance to win each product!  Just enter the rafflecopters below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now it's time to check out other awesome products!  Just click the picture below. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Week 2 Dare to Dream

Week 2 is here and  I am so excited about our topic.  I also love learning about all my blogging fiends - old and new!  I have many dreams.  It is hard to narrow it down to just a few, but I will. :]

If you are interested in linking up, be sure to click on the image below to find the directions.  We'd love to have you! is my Dare to Dream list!

*Buy a house - Now, this is a tricky one.  My husband and I are currently living in Chicago.  We are renting an apartment in downtown Chicago.  We absolutely love it!  However, we hope to one day move somewhere we can buy a house and live in a neighborhood.  Wouldn't that be an awesome place to have a family?  As of now, I am enjoying our young married years, but if I were living in a house in downtown Chicago I would be way more excited!

*Donate my TpT earnings - I am fairly new to TpT and I hope to one day make enough money that I can donate my earnings to others and charities.  I donate some of what I make, but I do not make enough to donate and purchase the things I need for my classroom and TpT resources.  As a teacher, I find myself buying many things for my students and classroom.  This leaves me with very little to donate.  So, my dream is to one day make so much money on TpT that I can spoil my students and give to others.  That would be the ultimate dream.  But, for now I will continue to donate the little I can and work my tail off to create products that will intrigue teachers to purchase so that I can in turn give back to others.

*Travel the world - I feel like this is probably everyone's dream, but I LOVE traveling.  I dream to travel all 50 states and go to Europe multiple times.  This sounds slightly humorous since I am a teacher, but a girl can dream right? ;)  I hope to travel and share all the experiences with my students so that they can become more worldly!

*Have children - I have always wanted a BIG family, and by big I mean 6 kids - at least!  My husband isn't really down for having 6 children, but we may have compromised at 4.  The older I get though, the more I think about how hard it would be to financially raise 4 children.  I dream that I will have enough money to raise 4 healthy children and give them all that they can to live a happy faith-filled life.  So, fingers crossed I can make this dream come true!

*Spread the Word of God - This is the most important dream.  I hope that I can make an impact on other's lives so that they will believe in God.  I hope that I am a good Christian that shares with others and shows them that they must believe.  He is our Savior, and I dream that everyone I know will be saved (including myself).  I ultimately want to be a great person that shows others how wonderful life is when God is in it.  I feel blessed to be on this teaching journey with so many other educators, and that is all because of God.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my dreams.  I know that I have to work really hard to achieve them, but I believe that I can.  Thanks for stopping by! :]

Here are the four awesome ladies that have started this whole TpT Seller Challenge.  Check them out below!



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness

I am joining these awesome ladies for this fun TpT seller challenge.  Wow!  They have put a lot of work into this great event.  I hope you enjoy finding all of these new bloggers to follow.

Here are my beginning stats and I am looking forward to meeting new teachers through this fun experience!

I LOVED this week's challenge to update a past product.  I have so many I want to go back and change to make better.  I feel like my style for creating has changed so much in the past year.  I also look at some of my first creations and cringe.  Eek!  How did I think that was cute? ;)

So, I decided to take one of my top sellers to make better - just for YOU!

Here is my addition and subtraction timed test before.  You can see the things I wanted to change, and I even did a little more than that.

Here is the after!  I am way proud of it and I am so excited to share it with you!  I love this product and use it the whole year in my classroom.  My students complete timed tests with on another and once they pass it, they move to the next fact.  I am looking forward to adding the review timed tests after they have passed 5 tests.  I think it will help students remember their facts and hold them accountable.  I am also looking forward to using the editable forms to make their certificates look more professional. :]

I am keeping this product 50% off for the rest of the week. So, please snag one before the deal is gone.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers and their products.  All you have to do is

visit one of these ladies below to check out all the other blog posts and enter their rafflecopter!