Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently

It's time to link up with Farley for this month's Currently...

Listening to the TV in the background...the movie The Perfect Storm is playing right now.

Loving that it will be the Fourth of July soon and that means fireworks.  I love the thundering sound of them and the breathtaking displays.  So much fun.  You're never too old to enjoy some fireworks.  :)

Thinking that I should soon get ready.  We have dinner plans at a restaurant downtown called Tracy Mansion to celebrate my 
daughter's college graduation and a few birthdays as well.

Also thinking that I am thisclose to reaching 100 Followers, but with Google Reader going bye-bye I'm nervous it may never happen.  

Wanting the sun to shine for our holiday plans.  Every year we attend a huge family-style picnic complete with swimming, entertainment, and fireworks.  Pray for fair weather. 

Needing my son Thomas to recover quickly from a "mono-like" virus.  He was supposed to compete in a lacrosse event this week. Many college scouts will be there, but he is not cleared to play.  :(

Tips, Tricks, Hints... Do what you love to do.  People will love you for that. :)

If you haven't linked up with Farley yet, hurry over there and join the fun.  :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's a Blog Hop!

I'm linking up with Tori's Teacher Tips for a Blog Hop.  Check out all the blogs that have made the switch to Bloglovin' and find some new friends.  :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Word Power Wednesday: Vocabulary Games

As teachers, we know that vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension. It plays an important role in learning to read as well as reading to learn. To ensure academic success, young readers must develop a wide base of word knowledge and the ability to learn how to acquire new words.  So, how do we foster vocabulary development?    

This week we'll explore a a few of my favorite ways to engage students in vocabulary word play.  

For many of the games listed below you will need a deck of vocabulary cards.  To make them, simply write each vocabulary word on an index card.  

1.  CharadesDivide class into four teams.  Each team sits together and is given a white board to record answers.  One student is chosen to act out a word for the class.  The student selects a vocabulary card from the deck (mentioned above) and begins to silently act out the word.  The first team to display the correct answer on their white board earns a point.  Another student is chosen to act out a word and play resumes.  The team with the highest score wins.  

This drawing illustrates the word, "exchange".
2.  Pictionary - Played like charades except the person illustrates the vocabulary word (on chart paper or white board easel) rather than acting it out.  

3.  I Have...Who has... - This is a wrap-around activity.  You can create your own game by using this {template maker}.  Begin by filling in the blanks on the ‘I Have Who Has’ template with your vocabulary words and definitions. The last card you fill out must have the question that matches the answer on the first card, thus completing the loop.

Hand out a card to each student. Some students may need to have two cards.  It is important to use all the cards in a set.

Choose a student to go first, and have him read the card aloud. This card will give a definition and ask for the matching vocabulary word.  For example, "Who has a word that means able to be seen?"  

The student who has the card with the matching vocabulary word then reads that answer aloud, “I have visible”. This student will then read the question at the bottom of his card, "Who has ___?" The student with the matching card responds.  Play continues until all of the cards have been played.  

Every card in the set is connected to a card before it and a card after it. Therefore, the game will end with the same student who started.

Just bought these Fly Swatters at Wal*Mart for $1.  :)
4.  Splat! (also known as Fly Swatter) - For this game two fly swatters are needed.  I have a variety of fancy ones from the dollar store and Wal*Mart.  Tape each of the word cards from the deck (mentioned earlier) onto your large whiteboard or chalkboard in a random, scattered formation.  Students are divided into two teams.  One member from each team comes forward, fly swatter in hand, to play.  The teacher gives the definition of a vocabulary word.  The first person to swat that word card earns a point for their team.  The team with the highest score wins.  

I remember watching this game as a child.
(Circa 1973-1988 with Dick Clark)
Students write their answers on a white board so
that the other team does not hear their responses.
5.  $100,000 PyramidThis game is a simpler version of the old game on TV called the 100,000 Pyramid.  Divide the class into two teams.  Each team needs 2 chairs; one faces the class and the other faces the chalkboard. (For this game two students from each team are paired up.)  The teacher gives the students facing the board a word. They must describe the word (without using the word) to their teammate.  For example, if the word is bus they student might describe it by saying, "It's long and yellow, kids ride to school in it."  The first team to guess the correct answer earns a point for their team.  Two new team members take the 'hot-seats" and play resumes.  The team with the highest score wins. 

6.  Blurt! - This is a great small group game.  One student draws a vocabulary word card and begins to define/explain/give examples of the word.  The first student in the group to blurt out the correct vocabulary word earns the card.  Each member of the group takes a turn presenting a word.  Play continues until time is called by the teacher.  The player with the most cards wins.

Click on the picture to visit Pam's store.
7.  Question Cube - I found this great question cube activity from Pam at Teaching by the Sea.  You can see her students in action playing the game {here}.  This is a super partner review game.  The vocabulary notebooks her students use are great too!

8.  Memory - This is a quiet game for 2-4 players.  One set of vocabulary cards and one set of definition cards are needed.  The cards are shuffled and arranged face down.  Students take turns flipping two cards up.  If the word and definition match, the student keeps the cards and takes another turn.  If the cards are not a match, they are returned face down. The next player takes a turn. Play continues until all cards are matched or time is called.  The student with the most matches wins.

9.  Chalk Talk - This game is a favorite of my students.  However, it may need renamed since we no longer use chalk boards.  ;)
Divide the class into four teams.  Divide the whiteboard into four sections. One student from each team goes to the board.  

In Round 1, the teacher calls out the definition of a vocabulary word and students write the word on the board.  Each team with the correct answer gets a point.  (Optional bonus points: Each team with the correct spelling of the word gets a bonus point.  The first team write the correct answer gets an additional bonus point.)

In Round 2, the teacher says the vocabulary word and students must define it.  Each team with the correct answer gets a point.  (Optional bonus points: The team with the most complete definition gets a bonus point.  The first team a correct answer gets an additional bonus point.) 

10.  Bingo - To prepare for this activity you will need blank bingo boards and a deck of word cards.  Tape the vocabulary word cards to the white board or place them in a pocket chart.  Students write the word on the bingo spaces of their bingo cards (in random order).  The teacher calls out vocabulary definitions and students put a marker over the word if it appears on their card.  Play continues until someone has five in a row. Click on the Bingo card to download this freebie.  :)

There are so many other vocabulary games that students enjoy playing. What are some of your favorites?  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin'!

I'm pretty sure you've heard already, but just in case you haven't, on July 1, 2013 Google Reader is going away...forever.  Boo!  :(

With the end of Google Reader in sight, I have made the transition to Bloglovin’ to read the blogs I follow. It was super simple; it only took a few quick minutes.

When you create a Bloglovin’ account, you will be asked if you want to import the blogs you read to your new Bloglovin’ account. Just click to import and your'e done.  :)

Even if you don't use Google Reader, but still follow blogs using Google Friend Connect, you may want to consider making the switch.  There is speculation that Friend Connect will eventually disappear as well.  

If you are a follower of this blog, thank you!  I appreciate each and every friendship I've made in the blogger community.  Please hop on over to Bloglovin' so we can stay connected!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Picture Book Party

If you're like me, the current school year is barely over before you're making plans for the next one.  Lately, I've been thinking about all the books I enjoy reading to students the during the first week of school.  I wanted to share a few of them today.  

First Day Jitters:  This is a great story about the first-day-of-school jitters with a surprise twist at the end.

Wemberly Worried:  Use this story to spark a discussion about worries and put student-fears to rest.

This Is the Way We Go to School:  This story is great when used as a springboard for building a class transportation graph.

The Name Jar:  This is one of my favorite books for the first day of school.  After reading it, consider playing a game to introduce students to one another.  I love "Hello Bingo".  It's a variation on the classic name bingo - as students names are called, they must stand up, wave, and say hello to their classmates. 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: I think we all use a writing activity like this at the beginning of the school year. :)  This boy's tall tale about his summer vacation will make you giggle.

Froggy Goes To School:  Who doesn't love Froggy?!  

Do you have a few of your own favorite back-to-school picture books?  Link up with First Grade and Fabulous to share what you'll be reading during the first week of school.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What's in the Box?

I'm so excited that my Really Good Stuff order arrived in the mail.  I love planning for the upcoming school year and ordering new school supplies.  

Special note:  I am not a paid affiliate of Really Good Stuff.  In fact, I'm pretty certain that they have no idea who I am.  ;)

So what do you think is in this box?

Give up?  Let's open it and see...

Yep, all of this fit inside that little package.  Let's take a closer look...

I plan to change things up from time to time by using black dry erase boards.  The kids are going to love it!

Every reading teacher needs fluency timers.  Students will use these quiet sand timers to practice fluency in pairs.

White board strips will be great for my first and second graders when we write dictated sentences.  Dictation is one element of our primary intervention program.  Students count the words by sliding tiles onto their board, then write the sentence.

This running record notebook has tabs to organize notes for thirty students.  I thought I'd give it a try this year.

Story map white boards will be great for my primary students when we read fiction.

Vocabulary is a huge push in our district right now.  The bookmarks above are two-sided and will be great to use with intermediate students.  They would also be great for students working on expanding their vocabulary during Daily 5 / Cafe. They were only 1.99 for 100!  

This pocket chart has a large magnet that runs along the back of it so that it can be hung on the white board.  There is space for two sizes of sentence strips, index cards, and sticky notes.  It will be great to have these items at my finger tips!

So what supplies have you purchased so far?  I love discovering new treasures!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Manic Monday Made It

It's Monday and I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for the Monday Made It linky.  I just finished a few items on my June to-do list.  First, I repainted a plant stand and an old green flower pot, then I purchased flowers to arrange in it. Keep your fingers crossed that I can keep the flowers alive. I'm not known for my gardening skills, lol.

Paint cracking and peeling.
After:  The old green flower pot looks brand new.
I didn't make this, but I couldn't leave Target without it.
Grow, flowers, grow!

I'm also linking up with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday.  Just in case you missed the last Word Power Wednesday, I have two vocabulary freebies to share with you today.  You can read about how I use them {here}.

Students use their vocabulary words to begin a creative story or letter.
Then the note is folded and passed on to a peer to continue.
The note is passed again to a student who finishes the letter and reads it to the group.

Students write their vocabulary words inside the cart.
 Then they use the words to write an informative paragraph.

Mondays are so much more fun now that summer is here.  :)
Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Word Power Wednesday

As teachers, we know that vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension. It plays an important role in learning to read as well as reading to learn. To ensure academic success, young readers must develop a wide base of word knowledge and the ability to learn how to acquire new words.  So, how do we foster vocabulary development?    

This week we'll explore a few of my favorite activities to engage students in vocabulary review by writing and talking about the words. 

Customize this Note Pass page by adding your own vocabulary words to the word bank at the top.

1. Note Pass - This activity works best in table-groups of four.  Each person is given a blank note-pass page (pictured above) for the activity. The first person begins to write a letter or story by using a vocabulary word at the top of the page.  The teacher gives a signal to switch after two minutes; the students fold the notes in fourths and pass them to the classmate seated to their right.  The second student reads the note and continues writing the letter/story by using another vocabulary word. The activity continues until fourth player has a turn.  The fourth student must use another vocabulary word and conclude the letter/story.  Finally each group member reads the note aloud to the other members. 

2. Recipe Card - Students use their vocabulary words to create a recipe. For example, students could write recipe for Double Digit Addition.  They would use their vocabulary words (addend, sum, ones, tens) to explain how to add two-digit numbers.  I love the template pictured above from Pam at Keeping Life Creative.

This my original shopping cart activity sheet...not so pretty!

This is the revised sheet...cleaner and prettier, just for you. :) 
3. Grocery Cart - Students choose 5-7 of their vocabulary words and write them in their grocery cart.  On the lines below the cart, they use the words to write a paragraph.  In the picture above the student uses her vocabulary words to describe why animals migrate.
4. Vocabulary Rock and RollThis is a free, super fun dice activity by Christina Bainbridge that will have your students interacting with vocabulary by acting, drawing, and talking.  I love it as a partner activity!

Who said vocabulary has to be boring?!?  Stop by Wednesday, June 26, 2013 for a list of vocabulary games to play with your students.  :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Goals

I'm linking up with Jess from I {Heart} Recess for her June Goals linky.  I love the concept of this linky!  After I share my goals with all of you, I think I'll be more motivated to complete them on time.
So here goes:

Personal:  My closets are in serious need of reorganization!

Family:  I am going to make a conscious effort to spend quality time with my family, especially my parents and grandparents who live out of town.

Health:  I eat too much junk!  I want to spend the summer cleaning up my diet.  :)  I have 5Ks planned for July and September, but I 'd like to do one each month.

School:  Last summer I organized a Bedtime Storybook Night (complete with cookies and milk) for the incoming first graders.  We thought it was a super evening, so this year we are extending it to all students in first through fifth grade.

Blog:  I've been overwhelmed by the kindness, friendship, and assistance that other bloggers have shown me.  I plan to spend the summer paying that kindness forward to other blogger-newbies out there.  :)

Read:  I can't wait until school let's out.  My Kindle and I have a date planned in the sunshine.  The first three books on the agenda are And the Mountains Echoed by Hosseini, A Secret Kept by de Rosnay, and The Storyteller by Picoult.

If you haven't linked up with I {Heart} Recess yet, hurry up!  June will over before you blink!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Currently

It's time to link up with Farley for this month's Currently...

Listening to the TV in the background while I work report cards.  My reports are all narrative, and I've got a bad case of writer's block. 

Loving that we have another teacher in the family.  Our daughter, Ashley, earned her degree in Secondary Education, Social Studies.  We're so proud of her!  I love having her back home.  :)

Thinking and praying for Moore, OK.  :(  My heart is with them.

Wanting to complete my report cards, pack up my classroom, and get out in the sun!

Needing to get outside and run.  I'm signed up for The Electric Run, but I haven't run in weeks.  I must get moving!   

Three Vacation Essentials... flip flops, sunglasses, and my Kindle.  I have a long list of books that I want to read this summer.   I'm almost finished with The Third Son: A Novel, by Julie Wu.  What are you reading?

If you haven't linked up with Farley yet, hurry over there and join the fun.  :)