Sunday, October 9, 2016

Peek at My Week

My fall break is coming to an end and I'm trying to gear myself up to get back in the classroom! October is one of my favorite months and I'm excited to get some of my Halloween goodies out when I get back to school. Here's what I've got planned for next week. 

For morning work this year I've taken the idea of Daily 5 and put them into center options. My kiddos have a schedule that they follow and they can have one of five different options for morning work. my favorite to get organized each week is word work. This week students have the option to choose from Jennifer Findley's Halloween Language Task Cards or her Pictures to Review Halloween activities. 

Reading RTI is a little different for me this year since its been incorporated into my reading workshop time block and I'm working with Tier 2 students instead of my usual Tier 3 kiddos. This year we've been using our treasures books. Since we are learning about Native Americans in social studies building their schema during reading RTI is a must. 

During reading my kiddos will continue with their book clubs within our Interpretation Book Clubs unit for Lucy Calkins. If you would like to read more about how I implement Lucy in my classroom you can do that by clicking here. 

I have a love/hate relationship with writing. I'm really looking forward to teaching dialogue on Monday. My students are knee deep in their personal narratives and one of the biggest struggle that I've found so far for my group of kids correctly using dialogue.  I did some googling and found this awesome idea for  Halloween themed dialogue activities. First I plan to have a mini-lesson on when, where and how to correctly use dialogue in writing. Then have students practice with partners writing dialogue with Halloween knock-knock jokes. Next, since its October, I knew this would be the best place for a "Said is Dead" lesson to make our writing more interesting. 

I wanted something for my students to have in their writing notebook to go back to when they were using dialogue in their writing, so made this "Said is Dead" anchor chart. You can grab this freebie by clicking here or the image above. 

The rest of the week we will be continuing our narrative writing unit with Lucy Calkins. Again, if you would like to read more about Lucy in my classroom, click here! 

Native Americans is one of my favorite units to teach in social studies. This week we will focus on the Plains Native American Tribes. I'm going to be using a website that I found called Pear Deck to make my introduction PowerPoint more interactive for students.  This will be my first time using this website and hopefully everything will go as planned. I'm also excited to use my Native American Exit Slips product as well as my Native American Task Rotations.  I find that my kiddos really love the task rotations because they can show what they know in a variety of ways! 

Math this week is an intro to multi-digit multiplication. We've spent the first 9 weeks of school working with decimals so it will be a nice change of pace to work with whole numbers. I'm going to be using Jennifer Findley's The Complete Guide to Multiplication for most of the week. This is a wonderful product for so many reasons. I have 27 students in my class and I'm the only 5th grade teacher in my school so I have a wide variety of learners. This product is differentiated in so many ways that I can easily fit the needs of all of my students. We will work this week with spinners, word problems and self checking exit slips! I'm also excited to use her Spin a Word Problem Math Centers at the end of the week! 

Finally, Math RTI. I work with Tier 2 and 3 kiddos every day of the week. For my Tier 2 kids we will work on review skills and for my Tier 3 kids we will use Number Worlds. Everyone else will rotate through 5 centers during the week. Again, I had to find a place to incorporate my Halloween centers. You can find all of my 5th grade Halloween activities by clicking here or the image of my newest Halloween addition below. 

I'm really looking forward to using this Halloween resource in my classroom next week. Anytime that I am able to engage my students in learning while providing review and problem solving skills I am a happy teacher! 

What do you have planned for this week? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Lucy Calkins Newbie

Happy Fall Break to me! Anyone else out there get a fall break this time of the year? It has been a life saver for me this year, I feel like I've never needed a Fall Break as much as I've needed this one. One of the many reasons why I've been looking forward to fall break this year is so I can devote some time to Lucy Calkins. My district adopted Lucy Calkins for reading AND writing this year and its been a pretty rough transition for some of us (cough, cough, me). 

In past years I have taught reading and writing in the workshop model, just not specifically with Lucy lessons. I've found it to be overwhelming trying to implement both. I've read blog posts from other teachers and talked to a few teachers on Instagram and had many discussions with my school curriculum coach  so I wanted to share some tips for Lucy Calkins Newbies like myself. 

There are so many resources out there on the internet when it comes to how to use Lucy. I began by watching some of the videos provided by Heinemann. You can check out these videos by clicking here, or just by searching around the Heinemann website. To watch these videos you don't have to have any special code, just add in some information about yourself. 

One of the things I  was struggling with as a 5th grade teacher was that my students didn't have the schema that Lucy was referring to in her books from previous grade level lessons. By watching the videos I discovered that Lucy actually suggested going back to 3rd grade resources before teaching specific reading and writing lessons for those 5th grade students who hadn't had those lessons before. I learned so much just by watching these videos. 

Planning can be time consuming. I don't just teach reading and writing. I also teach math, science and social studies to 27 kiddos AND I'm the only 5th grade teacher at my school. This means that I can't spend hours planning each day just for reading or writing. To become knowledgeable in Lucy for my students I had to come up with a better way to plan. After talking this over with several people I cam up with some planning tools. 

These tools are super quick and easy to use. I simply jot down a few notes to keep myself on track for my mini-lesson. I've found that this helps keep me focused while teaching, since Lucy has a lot of detail in her lessons and it gives me a place to keep conferring notes to go back to each day. 

These planning tools really made a difference in the amount of time I was planning each day and kept me more organized. I wasn't meeting with the same kid two days in a row, unless I needed to, and I always have something to go back to if I forgot what I said to a student while conferring. 
If you think these planning tools will help you as well, they are FREE in my store! I have two different planning tools for both reading and writing. I've been printing off several at a time and keeping them in a 3 ring binder for storage and easy access. 

We all know time is very important and nobody has enough of it. Lucy has an insane amount of anchor charts to keep up with. I've found that I've had to pick and choose which ones I was going to actually use because I didn't have the time nor the space to keep these charts. 
I knew that this wasn't beneficial for my students, and we were always flipping through anchor charts in my room trying to find the right one that we needed so over Fall Break I've been working on a project. I've been recreating the Lucy anchor charts for writing where from year to year they are easily printable. This saves me time AND space in my classroom. My plan is for students to glue these anchor charts into their writing notebooks so they can easily flip back to the ones they are looking for. 

Hopefully this will save time and space for me in the future. I'm even thinking about printing them full page to hang in the classroom while we are in each writing unit. If you are interested in these printable anchor charts you can find them here. You can purchase each individual unit or save $2 and purchase the whole bundle, click the picture below for details! 

I'm planning on doing the same thing for the reading units as well. So check back soon for details on that! 

Last but not least, you know your students the best. What I've found in the Lucy reading units is that some of my content isn't being covered and I'm having to supplement with my own lessons. From other people that I've talked to that seems to be what they are doing as well. Just remember its our job to TEACH students, not just go through lessons in a book. I hope that somewhere along the line I've relieved some stress of a Lucy Newbie and if you have any questions let me know. 

If YOU have any tips for a Lucy Newbie comment below, I would love to hear them!