Saturday, September 24, 2011

Charts Galore!

Since last year, I have made SO many anchor charts to help my kids... unfortunately I purged all of my ones from previous year (after all, I like to make them WITH the kids). 

Here are a few so far this year:

 One of our standards this year is to write a narrative using details including thoughts, actions, and feelings. So Ms. Austelle and I came up with this little graphic organizer. The thoughts refer to the head, the feelings refer to the heart, and the actions refer to the feet. We have used it a couple of different times, and they did an EXCELLENT job with it!

Post-its might be my favorite invention EVER! We were reviewing short vowels, so they posted some words under the different word families. Word families are great for the EL kiddos. It gives them a place to start.
And this week, we talked about text features that help us understand a text. Since we read a book about tarantulas (yuck), I decided to use that topic. After we made one together, the kids chose an animal to label by themselves. I have to show this one, because it is a skunk. Not sure why she chose a skunk, but maybe she has a lot of knowledge about skunks (that was a prerequisite).
And yes, spelling may not be a strong point for this youngun' (see title). We're working on it. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anchor's Away!

I don't know about you. But, I love anchor charts!

I use them so much in my teaching because they are a great way to get my kiddos excited about what we're learning. And, I have to say that blogs have completely changed my outlook on anchor charts. They're all so cute! Mine are nothing compared to some of the awesome ones I see out there, but I thought I would share some of the types of charts I use in my classroom. Some of these are new from the beginning of this year and some are from the end of last year.

I used this chart to teach my kids about labels. I was all proud of it until one of the kids told me she loved my drawing of a lady bug. (??) But, this is still hanging in my room and the kids refer to it daily as they draw pictures.

There's absolutely NOTHING cute about this chart. But, it has helped my kids SO much this year in writing sentences. They will actually touch their heads while they're thinking, touch their mouths while they say the sentence and then go back and check it. I'm probably going to need to make this a more permanent poster in my room to help them out all year.

I got this idea from The Inspired Apple. Her stuff is so cute! I did change some of the strategies to be more specific for my kids. I plan to have this up all year for them to refer to.

We do a TON of these charts! This is just one I happened to still have from last year. You can tell from the lact of "cutesy" that it's pretty old. But, it does the job. I love having charts that they can add to all week.

And, seriously, how cute is this:
It says "how I now a tornatoa is comin is by waching the news."
Me too, friend :)

We made this chart last year to help write paragraphs. This format worked GREAT because it helped them organize the format of their writing into five sentences. I definitely plan to use this again later in the year!

This one is just cute :) We used this on the last week of school last year when we had Pirate Day - which was a total blast! I think they gave some pretty good guesses about why pirates wear an eye patch.

One thing I do try to do is to add initials to our anchor charts. I think it gives them some ownership for their responses.

This is one of our biggies in first grade. We call this a GO chart and it comes from the book "The Power of Retelling." We use it with basically every basal story we read. We talk about the vocabulary and then they make predictions about words they think will be in the story. (LOVE this idea!) Then, they make predictions about the story before we read. Then, under the third column, we do some kind of comprehension (depending on the week's skill.) This little chart is super easy, super fast and super effective.

I've also been trying to incorporate anchor charts into math.

We made this at the end of last year. I really enjoy the "schema" and "misconceptions" categories. And, I swear, they gave me every single bit of that information to put on the chart!

Sometimes we use anchor charts to review...

and sometimes we use them to ask questions.

These t-charts are my new favorites. What a great way to organize their thoughts. We even used this today to write three sentences about our pets.

I can't take ANY credit for this one. The whole first grade does it. We make a new one every week. It's suuuuch good practice for them to read and repeat all week. At the end of the week, I tape them to the edge of the dry-erase board and they read them at the fluency center. They roll a big dice and the number it lands on is the number they have to read to their partner. I LOVE this!

This is the last one. Promise. I saw this on Pinterest and I couldn't wait to copy it! My kids read this every day. And, they are even starting to refer to it when they are spelling and when they are trying to decode words in Guided Reading. It's such a great resource to have in the room.

I can't wait to see everybody's anchor charts.
Have I mentioned that I LOVE them?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Grade's A Hoot! A look into my classroom!

Here are a few pics of my first grade classroom!  I went with an owl theme.....because no one else had it on our hallway!  So glad I did!!!!  Owls seem to be quite popular!

Here are my math center buckets (thank you KM and LR for the "plan").  Love those containers! 
Isn't this the cutest box EVER?  A most wonderful parent made this for me.....I keep treasures and prizes inside.  The little ones earn the opportunity to select something!  It is a big hit!  Notice how the mom put OWL ribbon on top!  The the details!

My reading area....

More of the reading area...have more pillows but they need to be mended....
and there just hasn't been enough time.

Could not live without my mailboxes!  I also keep my reading books/notebooks for the extra students I have in the lower sections - handy!

Organization - couldn't live without buckets for daily work, morning work, important math and reading files!

My prized possession in the room - The cords take away from the awesomeness of the desk....hand painted...I won bought this at a silent auction and had it for several years...knowing that some day it would find its way into my classroom!

Front view!

Behind the desk....clutter hidden behind the curtain!

My favorite saying.....

Cute noun posters I paid an artist to make....kinda stupid that I paid someone to make them.....
but I do love them!

My Writing Center - the new favorite spot for the let's see what they can produce!

A view from the door...

Forgot to take a picture before you enter the room - but here is the opposite view.

My basket of "stuff" I use every minute...could be a little better organized....but it works.  LOVE MY OWL TIMER!!!!!  That was a pinterest find!

So........I can't believe I just "blogged."  Thanks for inviting me to share some pictures of my classroom ya'll!  I love the "tracks" we are making for the COOOOLLLLEEEEE TTTTRRRAAAAIIINNNN!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Soaring High in 2nd Grade!

Welcome to 2nd Grade!
I'm fortunate enough to share a classroom with another wonderful teacher, Mrs. Bowen.  We are entering our second year job sharing together in 2nd grade!

Upon walking into the classroom, we've utilized the back of our bookshelves for a pocket chart station.  
(The pocket chart will be moved the the left side once I buy some more hooks this weekend!)
As with most of our workstations, we usually always have an "I Can" list that we will add to throughout the year after introducing and modeling new activities.

Here is the other side of the doorway:
Although this spinning shelf takes up a great deal of floor space, all of our AR leveled books are stored on two sides for checkout, and the 2 "magazine sides" display our previously studied author books for our kids to revisit and explore on their own.  The big apple chart on the wall is used as a management system for the school library and AR testing.  Once introduced and practiced, this system pretty much runs itself!
 Next to the bookshelf we post our class rules and our behavior management system:
Here's a big picture view from the doorway.
Due to only having one bulletin board in the classroom, we created a "Reading Strategies board" that will display strategies we use with our guided reading groups.  Since we just finished testing and grouping all of our students, we still have a blank canvas:
The colored boxes in the middle are used for our five reading groups.  Organization is key in a classroom, especially when there are two teachers!
To the left of this, we house all of our students' book boxes.
After introducing new books to our guided reading groups, students will store their books in these (free) cereal boxes!  We will usually allow students to keep all of their guided reading books in their boxes around 6 weeks.  That way, they always have books on their level in which they can be successful readers!
Continuing to the left we have our "Wall of Fame" to display great student work:
We will soon have completed work displayed.

Here is a view of our back wall:
To the left of the bathroom door, we house all of our math and literacy workstation tubs on two metal shelves:
Here's our math side!  We began using the Debbie Diller math station set up this year and so far it's been a huge success in our classroom.  The numbers on white labels correlate with identical labels that can be found on the floor so students always know where to go.  The blue numbered tubs at the top of the shelf house each team's math manipulatives from our whole group lessons.  This helps waste less time passing out materials.

Due to having such little wall space, we made our back cabinets part of our vocabulary word wall:
Each week we introduce 7 new vocabulary words.  By the end of the year, our students will have learned in-depth, 168 new vocabulary words!  We continue to promote use and recognition of these words by keeping a year long tally.  Above the word wall is our goals banner that our students created at the beginning of the year.  They each wrote one math goal and one reading goal.

Here's a full view of the next wall space:
This space is contained by four white bookshelves, 2 on either side.  All of the books shelved on the left side house our non-fiction books.  Our fiction books can all be found on the right side.  Our computer workstation is hidden behind the two bookshelves on the right.  We found that other students were far too distracted around the computers, so we placed them away from our other workstations.  All of our graded work gets filed into the two red pocket charts.
All of these books are categorized into genre buckets (some labels obviously need to be replaced!).  I spent hours doing this about 5 years ago.  In order to check out books, students will place their "library card" that's attached to a ring on the bin where the book belongs.  I have used clothes pins in the past, but I have found that these work better.
The floor space between our fiction/non-fiction bookshelves is where we meet with our kids on the carpet.
  Our reversible literacy/math workstation assignment chart, our Steck-Vaughn "Elements of Reading" vocabulary words, and our math meeting chart are all housed on this wall.  

And last, but not least, here is a view of the front of our classroom:
Our ever changing word wall is to the left of our white board.  Our daily schedule, along with our objectives, are posted to the right of our board.  Our sign language cards are posted to the left of our clock (which we use for water breaks, bathroom breaks, questions, etc.), and our dot math numbers are to the right of our clock.  Below our board we hang anchor charts made from previous weeks, and our "Wow Words" poster.
Although not used much during the day, here is how the two of us stay organized day by day!

I hope you enjoyed a tour of our classroom!