Sunday, August 2, 2015

Reading for Meaning Preview

So excited about this new line of fluency for first graders!
Over the last three years, I've been working on creating the right balance of fluency resources for my students.  This is the final piece of the puzzle! :)
I have really appreciated all of the feedback that I've gotten from the wonderful teachers across the country that have purchased other lines of fluency from me! :)
This last line of fluency is a reflection of suggestions that I've received and I hope that you'll find it's some of my best work! :)
This series of passages is lower and has less words than most of the lower passages in other fluency sets. The text is large so that its easier to read.  Each passage has clip art and or captions to help support understanding.  Several teachers asked me to consider adding a written response to my passages, and I did that throughout this series. Another thing that teachers asked me to add was the level number on each I did that too! :) Each passage is numbered and has a corresponding comprehension standard.
I plan on making these through the winter.  If my class has students that still require more sets past January, then I will continue to put out one for each month throughout the year.  My hope is that I can transition from this tool to the BTG series by the middle of winter! :)
Three sets are available now in my store.
Each set has a preview and in the preview is one passage from the unit.  Feel free to download any of the previews and try the passage out with your students! :)

I will not be bundling any of these sets until I am done with the whole set through January.

You can pick these up for sale in my store on Monday or Tuesday! :)
Don't forget to use the promotional code for even MORE savings! :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What's Cookin' in Your Class: August Edition

School does not officially start for me for another few weeks, but I'm going to post about what I'm doing a bit ahead of time for those of you who are already in the classroom, or going back in the next few days! :) Did you know that I already posted about my long range plans for the year?  You can see at a glance exactly what I'm up to for the entire year! :) I offered the template as well to all of the teachers who are following me via email subscription.  So, if you're headed into the time of the summer where you are planning for the year, consider checking out my plans and then making your own with the free template! :)
Here are a few of the resources that I'll be using for my back to school prep! :)  I wonder how many of you are using some of the same things! :)  I'm so blessed that I've found so many wonderful bloggers to follow on line that offer great materials!  I love creating, but sometimes, its nice to just be able to press a button and buy something that I didn't make.  Who doesn't love easy?! :)
Every August, these are some of the first resources I get prepped! :)
They are some of my favorite things EVER! :)
Leigh's School Forms & Checklists are now editable and I can tweak them to my heart's content...although, full disclosure, I used them as is last year and they are really fantastic.  Everything that you could possibly need to get yourself together!  The parent reminder notes from Katie are all small enough to be attached to an agenda, or a group of weekly papers.  Just something quick to remind parents of everything under the sun!  Katie thought of everything!  The Fluttering in First girls have been such great mentors to me these last four years of blogging!  I can't say enough good about these two ladies! :) These Listen UP activities are genius and they help me cover standards in a way that my kids LOVE! :) I found Becca's Classroom Cheers last year, and they became part of the culture of my classroom.  No one celebrates kids as well as Becca! :) We have a cheer captain of the day who selects cheers throughout the day so that we can take a break and CELEBRATE! Thank you Becca! :) You are a shining star! :)  I added my phonics tests and my fluency folder because I like to get all my copies for this done ahead of, next week, I'll get started on that, since my pre-planning is the following week!

Deana's Literacy Handouts are a total must have! :) I can't believe all that goodness is free! :)  It's just what parents need to connect with what we do in the classroom.  Great for BTS night for sure! :)  Nicole from Rowdy in Room 300 made her cafeteria expectations a few years ago, and I've used them EVERY YEAR since.  It's a great way to teach the kids what you expect in a fun way! ;)  I've blogged about Jen's line up chants so many times, you might think I came up with them.  I {puffy heart} them so! :) *sigh*  You don't know how much fun lining up can be until you start it off with a song from Herding Kats in Kindergarten! :) #thatisall.  If you're looking for a cute template for your Open House, look no further than this free gem from my bloggy buddy Leigh! :)  And if you need help figuring out how to manage the year well, download my management questions during pre-planning week to start thinking about how to tackle challenges in the classroom before they become problems.  
If you're interested in making any of these a part of your classroom, just click on the links embedded in the post.  If you'd like to check out what the other bloggers have going on, just click on the links below! :) Don't forget, the Teachers Pay Teachers Annual Back to School Sale is coming up on Monday and Tuesday!  Take the time to give feedback on paid purchases to increase the savings you'll get on the sale purchases you make this time! :)  
Thank you to the lovely Deana Kahlenberg from Primary Punch for this fantastic graphic! :)
I hope you'll find these resources helpful to start your year! ;)
If you'd like to link up...please make sure that when you reference this post, you link to it as well!
Make sure you visit the person before and behind you to leave meaningful feedback! :)
Thanks so much!
Happy Back to School Season!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teaching Estimation


The toughest part about teaching estimation is the concept of reasonableness.  The goal of estimation is not randomness, but an approximation of a close answer.  The best way to help students understand what a 'reasonable response' would be is to have many, many concrete examples of estimation that students can relate to and understand.
I use the CPA method when I'm introducing new math concepts.  It's been popularized by Singapore Math enthusiasts.  Basically, the idea behind it is that each time you teach children to embrace a new math concept, you start with something concrete that they can touch and feel, then move to a picture of the same types of things they've been working with, and last move to an abstract concept like writing about their math knowledge.  My students have really thrived in math, since embracing this style.  I first heard of it at an SDE training many years ago with my math teaching IDOL, Catherine Kuhn.  I could probably write a book on how this woman revolutionized math for me when I taught third. #seriously Imagine my surprise to find that she's also written books for primary. #winning
Her latest book has some great ideas on numerology, and I'll be doing quite a bit with her estimation section this year.  CHECK THIS OUT! #forreal
The thing I like best about Catherine is that she has such great ideas for a hands on approach to math.  That's your C:concrete.

Have you ever heard of Bruce Goldstone?  He's my new estimation bestie! :)  #realtalk

This book has the BEST pictures! :)  Kids love looking at them! :)  Bruce uses these AMAZING pictures to help kids conceptualize numbers.  Using this book in your classroom would be a great way to introduce P:pictorial representation to your students.

The last thing is A:abstract
For this, you'll want students to record their findings and look for patterns.
One of the things I learned to embrace while learning from Catherine is to have a hook!  In her classes, she loves to work with FOOD! :) The kids love it, and then after...sometimes, they'll even get to eat it.  Once I feel like my students can really embrace estimation, we finish up with this activity.  You'll need baggies of skittles with 20 skittles per bag.  You should have enough baggies that each team of two in your class can have their own. You'll need pencils and recording sheets.
Show the students your bag of skittles.
Ask them to predict..without many of each color of skittle there are.
Next, record those guesses.
Sort out your skittles by color.
Record how many of each color there ACTUALLY were.
Discuss with the students what kinds of strategies they used to come up with their approximations.
Then, send them out to try it on their own.

Give it a go with your kids!  If you want this quick worksheet, designed to go with regular Skittles, please click HERE.