Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm Back and Mentor Sentences

Wow!  I can't believe my last post was in June.  My goal was to post several times a week over the summer but that definitely didn't happen.  I'm not completely sure why, but I was very unmotivated to do much this summer.  There were many things that caused this lack of motivation, but that is the past.  Now I'm back and excited about the new things that are happening in my world.

The first bit of big news is that I am now teaching third grade.  I really can't explain how excited I am about this.  After teaching fifth grade for the last four years I am now back to my beloved third grade.  Fifth grade had its advantages, but my passion is working with kids that are a bit younger.  And I must say that I lucked out with my group of 22 students.  I am in love with my class and can't wait to continue their third grade journey as their teacher.

Now to the main purpose of this post...

I ventured into the world of mentor sentences.  I first read about mentor sentences last spring from Ideas by Jivey.  I made the decision then that I would give a try this year.  When I found out that I would be teaching third grade I questioned that decision, but after thinking about it this summer, I decided to jump in.  

I used a sentence from the book, Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes.  The sentence was Lilly's parents were amused when Julius blew a bubble.

I chose this sentence because of the plural noun and possessive noun.  I have already noticed that my students have been mixing up when to use the apostrophe and when not to.

On Monday when the students walked into the room I had them glue the sentence into their notebook.    Together we did the Invitation to Notice.  This is where they notice all of the elements that make this sentence worthy of being a mentor sentence.  This is what we came up with.

I was shocked that one of my students came up with the fact that blew was a homophone.  (He didn't actually use the word homophone but he explained what he meant.). If I hadn't introduced mentor sentences I wouldn't have known that he knew that.  My students have also found several other homophones over the last week which tells me that they are already connecting to what they are learning.

On Tuesday we did the Invitation to Notice-Parts of Speech.  I had the students copy the sentence in their notebook, skipping lines.  Today was very informative for me.  I realized that they knew vey little about the parts of speech.  In fact, they only really knew what nouns were so that is all we labeled this week.  This is what we did.

I will introduce the other parts of speech starting next week.

On Wednesday we did the Invitation to Revise.  I spent some time explaining what it meant to revise.  I don't think many of my scholars had heard the word revise before.  I showed them my example.

Overall I was satisfied with what they came up with.  Most of them just added an adjective to describe the bubbles but that works for me for now.

On Thursday, we had the Invitation to Imitate.  I spent some time explaining what it meant to imitate and that writers imitate others all the time.  I showed them my examples.

We talked about what parts of the sentence was imitated and then I had them get started.  I was very nervous of what they would come up with, but I was extremely surprised by what they came up with.  I checked them as they finished and selected four of the best ones and had them write them on sentence strips. 

Then I hung them and the mentor sentence in our classroom window.

On Friday, I gave them an assessment where they had to correct the sentence and then circle the nouns in other sentences from the book since we focused on nouns this week. We completed this first assessment together so that they knew exactly what I expected.

I can't believe how well my first attempt at mentor sentences went.  I'm excited to see the growth of my students as we venture further into our mentor sentences.  

You can learn more about mentor sentences from Jivey here.   

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! Time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bug Teaching.

1.  Last Saturday, a group of friends and I participated in and for the second time.  Activities included dodgeball, survivor volleyball, dizzy bat, pie eating contest, an obstacle course, and several more activities.  We had a blast. I will definitely be participating again next year.

2.  Our kids' last day was last Friday.   But teachers had three workdays to close out our rooms.  Monday we had a staff meeting as our final Common Core training of the year.  My district required a certain amount of Common Core days this year.  I'm not quite sure why they would have one after the kids left.  Thankfully the training wasn't too long and I was able to complete my student cum folders and work in my room a bit.

3.  I finished packing my room on Wednesday.  And therefore said goodbye to the classroom that I've occupied for the last 4 years.  (I'm changing grade levels, therefore changing classrooms.) I'm not looking forward to moving rooms but I'm excited about the change in grade level.

Goodbye, Rm. 419

4.  Thursday was an amazing day.  I had the opportunity to sleep in and relax the entire day.  It was much needed.

5.  This summer I will be teaching summer school.  I'm not super excited to be working this summer, but it is necessary.  Today I attended the first if two trainings.  I will be teaching literacy.  Today's training was for Making Meaning which is a reading comprehension and vocabulary program and Monday's training will be for Being a Writer which is the writing component.  Both of these programs require read alouds to teach the material.  The amazing thing is that because I am teaching literacy this summer, I get to keep all of the teaching materials I received which means I just added over 50 books to my classroom library which I'm extremely excited about.

Being a Writer

 Making Meaning

There are some amazing titles included so I will be reading a lot this summer to see how I can use these books next school year.

Well that was my week.  How was your week?  Don't forget to stop by Doodle Bug Teaching and link up.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Goodbye Rm. 419

As of 3:00 this afternoon, I am on summer vacation.  I also had to say goodbye to my classroom today.  Due to my move to third grade, I have to change classrooms.  I have been in this classroom for four years which is the longest amount of time I've been in the same room.  In my 10 years of teaching I've been in 6 different rooms so it was nice to settle into a single room for a while.  This room has been my home away from home for the last 4 years.  I love this room.

Because of the change in grade levels, I spent the last few days separating my personal materials from the school's fifth grade materials.  That was a dreadful task.  I did however throw a lot of stuff away, which was nice. Then I had to pack pretty much my entire room into boxes to prepare for the move.  Classrooms have not been assigned yet so I was unable to move anything out of the room.  I think I know where my new room will be and I'm not excited about the location.  It is on the main hall and every class will need to pass it to go to lunch and out for recess.  Therefore there will be a lot of extra noise that I'm not looking forward too.

Even though I am looking forward to teaching third grade again the process of packing and the thought of having to move everything in August is not a happy thought.  But being in a grade level I love will make it all worth it.

So I want to say goodbye to my beloved classroom, but along with the move comes positive changes which I'm super excited about.

Goodbye Rm 419!

On a brighter note, I'm obviously looking forward to next year.  I've already started creating things for my classroom next year.  I will be sharing a lot of things this summer.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five for Friday - The Last Week of School

School is officially out for summer.  (Well, at least for kids.  I still have 3 teacher workdays next week.)  But I'm happy to say that I survived my tenth year in the classroom.  This weekwas crazy busy but a ton of fun.  So here is my Friday Five....

1.  Field Day
Tuesday was field day.   The kids enjoyed all 16 stations including the two water stations in which most of them got drenched.  It was an amazing day, despite the irate parent who caused a scene in front of my entire class by trying to start an argument with me. Thankfully my principal was there because of the possibility of this occuring.  She was escorted away from the area an banned from the school for the rest of the year.   I was extremely proud of how my students remained calm and focused on their activity while thiswas going on.

2.  Staff vs. Fifth grade Soccer Game
After a long, but fun field day, we held our 3rd annual staff vs fifth grade soccer game Tuesday evening.  There was a great turn out with about 35 kids and 10 staff members.  After all was said and done, the staff remained undefeated by winning 4-1.

3.  Fifth Grade Dance
Wednesday was a very busy day.  We had our annual fifth grade dance Wednesday morning.  This was the best dance we've had in the four years that I've taught fifth grade.  Most of the kids danced most of the time.  We also had a dj.

This is one of our former teachers and who currently tutors.  He also happens to dj part time.  He graciously offered his time to give the kids a great dance.

I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts that my school had a book drive with the goal of collecting enough books to ensure that all of our kids would take home at least 5 books to read over the summer.  We exceeded our goal by collecting close to 7, 000 books.  Throughout the day there were guest readers who volunteered to read to various classes. We also had an assembly on Wednesday afternoon as a kickoff to summer reading.  There was music, cheering, dancing, mascots, and more.  At the end of the assembly we passed out the bags of books.  The kids were so excited to get their books.  It warms my heart to see kids so excited about reading.

5.  Saying Goodbye
We had our Fifth grade promotion ceremony on Thursday morning.   Many students left early so I said some final goodbyes then.  A few others knew that they would not be at school today so there were some final goodbyes yesterday afternoon as well.  All of those were easy compared to today.  After a pretty uneventful day, it was time to make our final walk to the buses.  After I had given each student a big hug, I was headed out to our usual spot where the staff waves goodbye as the buses pull out of the lot.  Another teacher walked up to me and said that three of my boys were crying.  Yes, 3 now sixth grade boys, two of which were behavior issues were crying.  I went back over and gave each of them another big hug and I started to tear up.  (This was the first time that I've cries on the last day of school in ten years.)  I just couldn't help it.  Seeing two of those students crying just broke my heart because I know how far they have come and despite how hard of a time they gave me this year, they really do care and relied on me.  It breaks my heart and yes, I'm starting to tear up again.  After getting them to calm down a bit, I head over to my coworkers to wave goodbye.  As we are walking back towards the building, I see another student who was a behavior issue crying while he's waiting for his bus to come.  I couldn't believe it.  I teared up again.  I'm really going to miss this group of students despite the difficulties that they gave me.

I know this is officially number 6, but I couldn't stop at just 5.  Once back in the building, it was time to party.  Yes, we dance in the halls each year once the kids are gone.  We did all the line dances: The Wobble, The Cha Cha Slide, The Cupid Shuffle, and The Electric Slide.  I always look forward to this.  Many of the staff then headed out to continue the celebration with a few drinks.  Always a fun time!!

It was a bit of a rough school year, but I learned a lot about me as a teacher.  I will be writing a post soon to reflect on the school year.

Well that's my Friday five (six) for this week.  Stop by Doodle Bug Teaching to link up.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Currently June Goals

Today I'm linking up with two different linky parties for the first time.

First up is Farley at  Oh Boy 4th Grade with the June Currently.  I've seen this link up for several months so I'm finally taking the time to link up.

Listening: I'm listening to the Cincinnati Reds gam.  Baseball is one of my favorite things about summer.

Loving: Last week, I was issued a iPad from my school.  I'm loving the time "playing" with it.  I'm looking for some usefuk apps to use.  All suggestions are welcomed.

Thinking: I'm thinking about going to Walmart, but I'm struggling with leaving the house.  It's so hot outside.

Wanting: I really want to stay on my couch and do nothing for the rest of the day, but unfortunately I have some stuff that I need to do.

Needing: I desperately need to do laundry.  I have no clothes to wear this week.

3 Vacation Essentials: I love reading a few good books during the summer. I also ccouldn't do without my phone.  It serves multiple purposes especially as a camera.  I definitely need my camera when spending time with friends this summer.  I love recording the memories.

Secondly, I'm linking up with Jess from  I Heart Recess to share my June goals.

Personal: My closet is a disaster area.  I will take everything out and reorganize it.  

Family: I just finished talking to my mom on the phone.  With our busy schedules, we hadn't talked for over a week.  I will make the effort and time to talk to her more often.

Health: In an effort to live a heathier lifestyle, I will walk at least 3 days a week.

School: I am teaching summer school starting in a couple of weeks so I need to start preparing for that.  I also already have an extremely long to do list to prepare for teaching 3rd grade next year.  I have already started tackling that list.

Blog/TPT: I will blog at least 3 times a week.  I don't want to forget about my blog over the summer.

Read: I've heard great things about the book Wonder so I'll definitely be reading that this simmer.  I've wanted to read The Book Whisperer since last summer, but I haven't had the time.  It is a must read this summer.  I'm sure I will also be reading many other books this summer too.

That's all I have for today.  I guess I'll put on some real clothes and head out to Walmart now.  Well, I'll do that after I start a load of laundry.  

Don't forget to stop by Oh Boy 4th Grade and I Heart Recess to join in on the parties.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  I survived another week.  Only 1more week left before summer vacation.  That's 5 days, 35 school hours, 2,100 minutes, 126,000 seconds!  Can you tell how excited I am? Although I am definitely ready for summer break, I will miss mu students.  This was a rough year, but I will miss each and everyone of them.

Since it's Friday I am linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday linky party.  (This is the first time in about a month I have actually posted on a Friday.)

This was a great week so here we go.

1.  Book Drive
About 6 weeks ago, my school initiated a Book Drive with the hopes of collecting enough books to send 5 books home over the summer with each student.  We sent flyers home with students, placed boxes around the building, and reached out to the community and our friends and families.  After all of the books were collected and counted we had a grand total of over 6,000 books.

This week, each teacher "shopped" for the books for their students.  We are going to have a Summer Reading Kickoff Assembly next Wednesday and students will receive their books then.

Here are the carts of selected books ready to be delivered.

After all 36 teachers had shopped for books, there are still a lot of books left over.  Therefore, students will be able to take home two extra books.

I'm super excited to pass them out next week.

2.  Puzzles
After testing each year I pull out puzzles for my students to work on.  This year the selected a puzzle of all the  Disney villains.  Here is our progress.

3. Summer School
I was interviewed and hired to teach summer school this summer.  I'll be teaching a third grade transition class.  Ideally I'd love to take the summer off but since that's not possible, I'm happy I'm working with an age group that I love.

4.  Third Grade
Speaking of third grade.....It's finally official,  I'll be teaching third grade next school year.  Words can't express how excited I am.  Third grade is where my heart is and I can't wait until next year.  I do have a lot of work to do over the summer to prepare for the change of grade level but it will be well worth it.

5.  IPad
My district is starting a new program to test the reading levels of our students in grades K-3. In order to use the program we have to use Ipads.   We are all required to go to a training this summer, which means that the Ipads had to be issued prior to vacation.  I received mine yesterday.  Although it technically belongs to my district, I am allowed to use it personally too.  I love that I have the entire summer to learn how to use it.  However, I did allow a few of my students use it today.  Here they are working on it instead of playing at recess today.

Now I need some help from you.   What are some free apps that you use on your iPad?  I'm looking for both professional and personal suggestions.  Thanks in advance.

I'm off to enjoy a relaxing weekend before a hectic last week of school.  There's so much paperwork and packing that needs to be done but I also want to spend the last few days enjoying the time with my scholars.  I'll have to find the balance.

Don't forget to join the party by stopping by Doodle Bug Teaching to link up.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy Saturday!  This week has been crazy busy and I got home yesterday and passed out so I completely forgot about creating this post.  I also never wrote a Five for Friday post last week so I'm combining the last two weeks in this post.

So even though it is Saturday, I'm linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching for Five for Friday (two week edition).

1.  Testing, Testing, Testing
We took our End of Grade Tests this week. Reading was Tuesday, math was Wednesday, and science was Friday.  For the most part, my students worked really hard on their tests and I'm extremely proud of their hard work.  Unfortunately we won't find out how well they did until October.   Fortunately I don't have to see the disappointed faces when delivering bad news of any students who may not have passed.

Now testing is over and its time to have some fun and enjoy the last two weeks of school.

2.  Puzzles

After testing each year I always pull out some puzzles.  This year was no different.  I pulled out the puzzles yesterday afternoon.  This one is a compilation of all the Disney villians.  There were about 6 kids working on it and they loved it.  Unfortunately we will be working on this puzzle blind, I can't find the picture of the puzzle so it may be a little difficult.  I love doing puzzles so I love sharing this love with my students.

3.  End of School Year Activities
This week my team and I planned the end of year activities for our fifth graders.  Activities include  staff vs. fifth grade soccer game, fifth grade dance, talent show, and fifth grade promotion ceremony.  There are a few other activities but thankfully my team isn't in charge of those.

4.  Mother's Day Weekend
I know this was two weeks ago but I wanted to share my weekend with my mom.  This yearwas the first ttime in about 10 years that I spent Mother's Day with my mom.  It was an amazing weekend and I'm glad she was able to come visit me that weekend.  I don't get see her as much as I'd like to so any time I get to spend with her I
is great.  Here's a picture of my mom and I when I was 4 years old.

5. Now for the best news of the week...
My principal has been working on grade level placements for next year. And I'm finally getting my preference. I'll be teaching 3rd grade next year and I'm extremely excited about it.  I already have so much floating around in my head that I want to do next year.  I've learned a lot while teaching fifth the last four years but my heart is truly in third and I'm happy to be returning.

Well that's my Friday five. I'm ready to enjoy the long weekend and then the final 9 days of the school year.  Don't forget to stop by Doodle Bug Teaching to link up.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Five for Friday

I know it is Saturday and I'm a little late but yesterday was pretty busy.  (I'll explain later.)  So now it's time for my weekly Five for Friday with Doodle Bug Teaching.

1.  Teacher appreciation week waFriday and I really did feel appreciated.  I hope everyone enjoyed their week as well.  As part of Teacher Appreciation week, we had a drawing for massages. A massage therapist will be at our school next Tuesday and only 15 teachers won a twenty minute massage.  I was one of the lucky 15.  I'm super excited about it.

2.  I've mentioned before that I have had a lot of behavior issues in my class this year.  Let's just say that I have a very needy class this year and it has been a struggle.  Well,  yesterday a student surprised me.  He brought me this watch.

It's hard to tell from this picture but there is no glass on the face of the watch and the hands don't work.  But this was the most precious gift I received this week.  This child and i have a long way this year and this present symbolizes the hard work that we have both put in this year.  He was so proud when put it on and wore it the entire day, even though it was my least favorite color.  And I plan to wear it for the next 19 days as well.

3.  Wednesday we had our final orchestra concert.  I'm so proud of thr 2nd-5th graders who played.  Here are pictures of some of our violinists and our bucket band.

Three of my students are in the orchestra.  Their playing has come so far this year.  I'm so proud of their musical growth.

4.  My school is holding a book drive wirh the attempt to send five books home with every child over the summer.

One of our teacher assistants told her mom about the drive and she jumped in to help.  She held a drive at her school in Mississippi and they were able to donate almost 3,500 books.  Rhe books were delivered on Friday morning.  With that donation and what we have collected at our school, we are extremely close to our goal.

5.  My mom is visiting me for the weekend.  This is why this post is late.  Last night I had to finish cleaning my house and then headed to the airport to pick her up.  We had a great day today and I'm looking forward to enjoying the day with her tomorrow as well.  I don't get ro spend as much time with her as I would like so I will cherish every moment while she is here while celebrating her for Mother's Day.  Here's a picture of us goofing off today.

Well, that's my five random things from this week.  I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend and Happy Mother's Dat!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!! Two more weeks until testing and onl. 5 more weeks until summer. This was a strange week so I'm glad it's ovet but we did have some fun along the way.

Therefore, I back to share five random things from my week by linking up with Doodle Bug Teaching for Five for Friday.

1.  This week was spirit week at my school.  On Wednesday we had Bring a Stuffed Animal to School Day.  Here are the stuffed animals brought in by students.

All but 5 of my students brought in a stuffed animal.  I lent out the rest.  (I'm a bit of a collector.) The Cincinnati Bengal bear up front was my contribution.  The students kept their friends with them all day, except for lunch and recess.  There's nothing like a line of fifth graders walking down the hall with stuffed animals.  I loved it.

One of my students wanted his animals to read for themselves.

So cute.

2. Thursday was Wacky Tacky Day. Here is my outfit for the day.

3-5. We've been in test prep hell all week. (I obviously hate testing.) Therefore I try to do many activities yo break up the test prep.

3. We did a sort of gallery walk to work on math problems. Several problems were posted on the wall. The kids walked around the room and solved them.

It's funny how allowing them to wonder room makes solving math problems more fun.

4. I also pulled out the tangrams for the first time. They got a kick out of making the different shapes.

5.  We made acrostic poems using our names to give test taking tips.  They turned out really good.

I originally saw this idea here.

Well,those are some of the highlights from my week.  I'm glad the weekend is here.  Don't forget to stop by Doodle Bug Teaching to join in on the fun and share your five random things.

P.S.  I just realized that this is my 50th post. I can't believe it's been that many.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Favorite Reading Group Book

Happy Wednesday! I can't belbook  it is already May.  Only 12 more school days before End of Grade testing begins and only 26 more days of school.  I can't believe we are so close to the end.

Since we are still in full test prep mode, things have been really busy but I'm still finding time for small groups to participate in book clubs.  Therefore, I'm linking up withJessica from Ideas by Jivey for her weekly Workshop Wednesday.

A few years ago, I read the book Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan for a grad school class.  I instantly fell in love with the book.  It's about a little girl who lived in a wealthy Mexican community with her parents and grandmother.  They had servants who took care of their every needs and Esperanza gets what ever she wants.  Then tragedy strikes and he r father is killed.  Her entire life gets turned upside down.  Esperanza, her mother, and their former servants must flee the country to America and become migrant workers.  The book focuses on her struggle to adapt to het new life in America.  This book is great for theme and context clues.  I've read this book with my highest reading group for the last three years.

This year I decided to do an author study on Pam Munoz Ryan.  I wanted to allow my students to discover the connection between the various books by an author.  So I had them read Becoming Naomi Leon which was another greay book about a little girl of Hispanic decent who had to relocate and learn to adapt to her new life.  (Just like Esperanza.)  This book was also really good for theme.  My students were able to make so many connections between the two books. I was actually amazed.

While they were in the middle of reading his book, the kids found Paint the Wind in our classeoom library.  I was only planning to have them read the two books, but they were eager to read another Pam Munoz Ryan book.  (I love their eagerness to read.)

Paint the Wind was also about a little girl of hispanic decent who was forced to relocate and had to adapt and adjust to the changes in her life.  They were immediately able to identify this common theme.  This book is good for teaching kids to follow multiple story lines.

Finally, my kids saw an ad in this book for Stealing Freedom.  Luckily I was able to find this novel set in my school's bookroom.  Although it was an easier reading level I knew they would love this book too.  And I was right.  This book also focused on change in a young girl's life.  More connections were made after reading this book.

Through all these books, students were able to see how similar themes are developed differently.

As a culminating project they are researching Pam Munoz Ryan to see if they can find out why she has the tendency to write novels about girls who must relocate and figure out how to adapt to the change in their lives.

Over the past couple of months, I have grown to love Pam Munoz Ryan and I will definitely use her books in future years.

What books do you love to use with your small reading groups?  Link up with Jessica from Ideas by Jivey to link up and share.