Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thirty-One Giveaway

I <heart> my Thirty-One tote bag!  So when I found out about Growing Firsties' Thirty-One giveaway, I just had to enter and so should you!  Check it out...who couldn't use a new custom lunch bag??

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daily 5 Startup

So this year my teaching partner and I decided we were going to take on implementing Daily 5 and CAFE full-on in our classroom.  We both spent the summer reading/rereading the books, participating in the book study and watching numerous videos from the Sister's website (I used some of my Pro-D money to pay for a year's subscription to their $60 I've spent!).  I spent hours trying to figure out how it might look in our classroom and how to integrate it with the Words Their Way spelling program.

We are now in Day 4 of implementing Daily 5 and CAFE together.  We would not have been able to do this (well, OK, we probably could have, but not without majorly stressing) without the help of this marvelous little booklet I found somewhere on the internet...Pinterest? Blog? Lesson Planet? The Sister's website? doesn't really matter WHERE I found it...just that I did, because it has been a stress-saver!  The publication (and it's FREE) is titled, Daily 5 for Dummies, and takes you through the first 24 days of setting up the Daily 5 and CAFE structure in your classroom.  I absolutely <heart> Jayne Haenel, the author of this little gem!

So far, we've been working on Read to Self...we're up to 7minutes, I think?  The kids are enjoying it, my teaching partner and I are LOVING it.  I am sooo excited for this class.  When it's up and fully running our Daily 5 (it's actually Daily 4...we do read aloud together) will have this structure:

Round 1 — 5-7 min. Focus Lesson (Comprehension)
                    20 min. I-Work

Round 2 — 5-7 min Focus Lesson (Reading Strategy)
                    20 min. I-Work

Round 3 — 5-7 min. Focus Lesson (Writing Strategy)
                    20 min. I-Work

Whole Group Share/Review — 10 min.

Students must do Read to Self & Work on Writing daily, but choose either Word Work or Read to Someone for their 3rd choice. (Although the way I've structured it, sometimes they will have to do Word Work on certain days) not as much choice, but I think it'll work.

This structure fits nicely into our day, although ideally I would have liked more time for I-Work, but we don't live in an ideal world, so it is what it is.  Most days we will get 2 rounds of Daily 5 in the morning before recess break and then pick up the third round after recess.  I'm happy with it. :)

Fitting in Words Their Way caused the most stress for us, but I think we've managed to create a very doable structure in that regard.  Here's how we are planning to structure that:

  •  2 week cycle
  •  1st week of cycle meet with 2 lowest groups on Monday (using one round of Daily 5) and then meet with next 2 groups on Tuesday (using one round of Daily 5)
  • Plan to meet each group again the following week to touch base
  • one Daily 5 round every 2nd Friday is set aside for spelling assessment
  • Students receive 2 word study packets (one for homework, one for in class word work) that will be handed in the 2nd week of the word study cycle
 The WTW assignments will be done during Word Work.  I have a feeling that many will finish a word work activity in the allotted time, so I'm thinking I will give them the option of doing word work for 1/2 the time and handwriting/book exchange the other 1/2 of the time.  Book exchange will be on an assigned day.

I'm really hoping that once Daily 5 is up and running, it will be less onerous for the teachers as far as prep goes, because I have spent an inordinate amount of time planning how this is going to work...but then, isn't that what makes a successful program? :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Off...And Running...With a Classroom Reveal...Finally!

I wanted to link up with Teaching Blog Addicts Open House Linky Party for Tuesday's Classroom photos but, as you may have guessed, I missed it! fact, I didn't even get a chance to take pictures on Tuesday (which I had intended) because it was such a busy first day!

So yesterday, I arrived super early to school (hubby had to drive me to work because my car needed some fixing...I know...bad timing, or what?!) and managed to snap some pics of my class before the kiddies arrived.  So without further ado...Welcome to Division 6!

View straight in from classroom door.  This is the class library area.

Student book recommendation board...not the greatest picture.

This is my biggest takes up almost the entire wall.  This is the reading genres section...the other half (not in photo) is currently empty but will be used for SS and Science stuff.

My book boxes...still have to label them (our class configurations weren't finalized yet)

The cloakroom area...I absolutely HATE the pink cubbies! Yuck!

The back wall...more ugly pink cabinets...and why did they have to put the sink in the middle???  The blue recycling container is for juice boxes, the blue bin with yellow handles is for returned library books (needs a label) and the little blue basket underneath the soap dispenser is for used paper towels...we're trying to recycle as much as possible.:)  This area definitely needs some work!

The other half of the back wall...more ugly pink cabinets :(  Although I do really like my "12 Ways to a Happy Classroom" board.  More book boxes (with the notebooks ready to have covers inserted)

Ugly pink cupboard which will hopefully be filled with Bucket Filler anchor charts.  The white shoe organizer will hold each students bucket (which are waiting to be labelled).

This is part of my Word Wall/Reading Nook area.  The white bins contain picture books.  Definitely need to put something on the wall of my storage unit.

The other side of the storage unit.  This is where I keep the Word Work supplies (which need to be labelled) and my frequently used math 'tools"

Shape of the Day schedule posted on my new wall of whiteboards (bye, bye chalkboards...finally!)

Gathering area with CAFE board all set up and ready to go...along with my re'new'ed director's chair, my makeshift chart stand, and Macgilla Gorilla :)

Our Star of the Week board

My SMARTboard!! (I heart my SMARTboard) with Hand Signal signs (courtesy of Clutter Free Classroom)

Clip Chart (need a sign, I think?)

My desk area...which already looks cluttered and the day hasn't even started!

Another view of the desk area with Homework Basket and a peek out the front door.

View of my room from the SMARTboard.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meet the Teacher: Open House Week Linky

Open House Week
I am linking up with Thinking of Teaching's Open House Week. Hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of school!? Where did the summer go?? This will be my seventh year at the same school and my seventeenth (OMG!) year, where DID the time go??

This year I have a grade 3/4 combined class.  At the end of June it was a 50/50 split, but over the summer, our school had quite a few new registrations, so it looks like my class will be more of a 60/40 split with more grade 3's.

I am really looking forward to this year, more so than in the past.  Upon reflection, I think there are a number of reasons for this.  First, I'm implementing Daily 5/CAFE this year and am SUPER-excited about that!  Secondly, I got a SMARTboard installed in my class and am SUPER-excited about that too!   And lastly, but probably the main reason why I am so psyched about this year is due to all of you, my Blogger friends! TRULY... blogging has been the BEST professional development I could do.  I have been inspired, energized,  and encouraged by all the wonderful educator/bloggers out there...and have come away with so many wonderful ideas and resources.'s to a terrific, teaching year, everyone!