Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Centers... Revisited and Revised

Ok, so a few weeks ago, I showed you how I started my centers off in the beginning of the year. We started off slow, doing one center a day, and only 2 people were allowed at a center at a time. My kids did surprisingly amazing - and only 3 days after school started! If you didn't see that post, you should definitely check it out. It's a great starting place for centers! It really goes into how I do centers. 

I also said in that post that I wanted to start doing 2 centers a day eventually. 

Well that day has come! Last week was our first week of doing them.

After I figured out who could "handle" centers, which students I was going to be spending the most time with, who took longer to complete seatwork and activities, I figured out how I was going to do them. And it worked out pretty well this week, so I think it'll work for us!

Ok, So. 

Let's see if I can explain this. 

I have 2 different sets of reading centers: the Blue Centers and the Green Centers. And the students have blue cards and green cards with their numbers on them. Each day they will pick a Blue Center and a Green Center. Now, not everyone is going to get to do the green centers. These are the students that I will be working with longer than the rest of the students, so they really won't have a lot of time to do the 2nd center. BUT, I didn't want them to miss out on centers at all, so they get to do the Blue centers.

So... blue cards to the blue centers and green cards to the green centers.

You can see that I have less students at the green centers, and sometimes a lot of kids at the blue centers. That's okay about the blue centers though, because I call 3-5 students back to my table for small group, so that helps to break down the groups to be a little smaller at the center.

Now the blue center goes to the blue buckets and the green centers to the green buckets....see how that all worked out?? It's actually purely coincidental that it worked out that way.

SO, what are my centers? 

They change weekly, but I think I've figured out my "constant" of the centers each week.  The "TOPIC" of each center will stay the same each week, but the activities will change through out the time.  Here is an example of my Center Menu. (The one the kids get don't have the pictures... although that's a good idea! ha!)

By the way, you can download this center menu to find out where the activities come from on {THIS} post.

The Blue Centers are the "must-dos" which are the core centers... practicing spelling and sight words and comprehension and such. And "Write the Room" is always a favorite, so that's a constant, but the actual activity or product I use will be different each week. These are the centers that I want EVERYONE to do, so even my kids who only do 1 center will do the "core" centers.

The green centers are the "extra" centers that some of my students get to do.

So, I set the big timer for "Round 1" and if they finish that center before the timer is up, then they can finish other work (old centers included!) or read a book.  Once the timer goes off, they quickly clean up and I go around and quickly check off those centers and tell them they can go to their green center or finish their blue center if they don't have a green center. I set the timer for Round 2. I usually save my lower groups for the "Round 2" time to call back to my back table so that they have time to do their blue centers... they are the ones that have a hard time ever going back to finish work, so I really want to give them time to do their centers during round 1. 

I know. This sounds really confusing. But I promise, once you do actually do it and put it into motion, it's really smooth flowing!

I hope that gives you some ideas... coming up soon is a new post all about my guided reading binder... what's in it and how I plan for my small groups - the whole reason to have centers to begin with! Gotta meet with those small groups!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peek at My Week! 9.15

 OK, I'm going to give this Peek at my Week a whirl again!

I doubt I'll be able to keep up with it, but you never know! ha!

This week is all about Little Red Hen. It's actually quite perfect because our phonics rule this week is short e. Perfect, right? Yeah. I planned it that way. Sure, I did. ha! Anyway, here are some books that I like to use during this week:

  There are way more, but that's what I have on hand...and some of my favorites!

I didn't go into detail about our phonics poem on each day, but you check out my schedule for our phonics poems on {THIS} post.  This week's poem comes from {THIS} book.

So here it is for this week. Click on the pictures to download it as a PDF and  you can click on the links in the PDF to find where to get some of what I'm using. (If you download them, make sure to leave some love!)

For math this week, we're reviewing and exploring math addition strategies using my Deck of Cards Pack. I've had my grades 2-4 version for a few years, but I needed some 1st grade skills, so I just made and uploaded my 1st grade edition! I LOVE it! I can't wait to get my binder set up for it as my grab and go resource! It's one of my favorite things...ever. Hands down.

And for Writing, I'm going to be using a LOT of one of my favorite ladies... Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory. She just made her Super Sentence pack, so of course I snagged it up and started planning with it right away!

And to get us ready for our Hands-On Learning with Apples Week next week, I'm starting off with some writing from A Cupcake for the Teacher's Johnny Appleseed pack.

For the centers, click on the pictures to see where I got them from! I'm using a combination of my September Literacy pack and Label It! pack and some goodies from "friends!" I'm coming back to share my UPDATED "How We Do Centers" post. But for now, you can check out how I do them {HERE}. I'm really excited about how we've "grown" into our centers routine!

Check out my newest additions to my store, both of which I'm using this week!

So many reading and writing activities to go along with Little Red Hen!

And this little pack is my SAVIOR in the classroom. I am constantly using this pack for lessons, small groups, centers, and fast finishers... or those times where you just need some time to readjust and take a This pack has OVER 20 ideas for math activities!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Click, Clack, Moo - Reading and Writing Activities!

This week, we did a lot of activities from Click, Clack, Moo.

We did sequencing, cause and effect, problem and solution, we hit all kinds of ELA standards! And that's not even talking about our writing activities.

I didn't take pictures of it, but they did a Story Structure activity with problem and solution that they glued into their reader's notebook.

Then, we did a team building activity with sequencing. I gave them the cards (2 each) and set the timer for them to illustrate what the card said. 

The, I gave them some time to work together to put the cards in order of the story.

Then I turned on the book on Bookflix, so they could "watch" the scenes as they checked their work.

This is how they came out.  I'm actually quite proud of how they turned out! Now, if I was in 2nd or 3rd, I probably would've made them do this activity alone, but my little firsties did a great job as a team.

 Then, we talked about the parts of a cow. I gave them a page for directed drawing. I found TONS of great guided drawings from ABC Schoolhouse on TpT. I feel like I need to get them all now. ha! They had some great activities to go with them too.

Then, we brainstormed ideas of everything a farmer has to do on a farm.  

We used those ideas to write our "Day of a Farmer" which hit the standard of using "temporal words."   I was actually really impressed with how a lot of them wrote their own sentences, helping them write their own version of the "story." 

I wrote all of my new sentences in different colors so that they could see when to start and end sentences. They used their planning page to help them with their writing.

After they finished their writing and drawing with labeling, they got to do their craft part to the writing. This activity came from one of my go-to books.

They put them on their "green grass" paper. I really like this one. After we did our cows, I had a few students come up to me and say "Where is the tracer for the udder? Our cow needs an udder!" lol But that the time I was too busy and didn't have any pink paper, but I like how they were thinking! I will definitely add that next time!

Here's how they turned out. SO stinkin' cute!

You can check out my pack on TpT or my Shop on the Blog. The only thing that you won't get is a craft - ha! I'm not crafty. Sorry.

Want to win this pack? Comment below with your favorite farm animal! Giveaway ends Saturday morning with my morning coffee! Make sure to leave your email!

Congrats to Lee Ann! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Phonics Poems and Poetry Journals

Something I have always done and LOVED to do is poetry journals. I'm sure it's nothing new to you.  I know TONS of people do them. I'm not very creative in coming up with this idea, lol! But I wanted to show you how I use them.

I've posted before on how I like to use poetry journals... but that was about a year ago, and not only have I moved to a different grade, I've also changed a little in how I do things. Check out those posts {HERE} and {HERE}. In first grade, I still do a lot of the same things, but I've revamped it so it's more appropriate.

I don't use anything fancy. I just use a spiral or composition book.  I just printed up labels that had a picture on it that I could reference it for a while until the kids got to know the word.

So, here's how I do it.

First, each month we take time out of our day to color our month cover page. I set the timer for 10 minutes for the cover and 5 minutes for the Table of Contents. Then we glue them in.

I use spirals or composition books for our poetry journals, but you can just use a 3-prong folder or a small 1-inch binder!  If you use a spiral or composition notebook, I have a little trick for you when you print off the pages... shrink them so they fit!  When you go to print them, select custom scale and print them at 85%. That's the size that will fit notebooks. Otherwise, you can just print and go if you are just using a folder or binder!

I really don't have a creative bone in my body, when it comes to writing that's when I search high and low! 

Some of my favorite poetry writers that I've found on TpT are Rowdy in First Grade's monthly poetry, Fun in First Grade (Jodi) has TONS of poetry in her Fluency packs and her Sight word poetry, Journey of a Substitute Teacher has lots of great seasonal poetry packs, and Ashley Reed has some great poems in her Fluency Homework packs.  I actually have TONS of phonics and word family poetry books.  Here are some of my favorites...

Right now, I'm using a lot of poems from this poetry book.

Since I'm using my Spelling Throughout the Year pack, this goes perfectly with teaching word families.

I actually have a weekly/daily schedule I like to keep with each week for the poems. I only do this with my phonics poems though. We do all kinds of other poems throughout time too, but I only do this schedule with the phonics poems.

Monday, I'll read the poem from the chart paper. If the poem I choose has missing letters in it (like this one did), then we'll discuss what those letters are.  Then, I'll have them read with me.

Tuesday, we'll read it again off the chart paper, and highlight skill words.

This day, I'll give them their own copy and they can highlight the words on their own poem.

I like to retype them so that they can put them in their poetry journals.

Wednesday, we'll read it from the chart paper again, this time finding any of the sight words from our week (or previous sight words) and they underline them (on my poem). Then we discuss the phonics skill words some more.  They go back to their seats and write out the highlighted skill words. Then they partner read it.

On Thursday, we come back to the poem on the chart paper and reread. This time, we focus on punctuation...knowing how to read and when to stop. We also figure out what the word family is. This week we worked with -in and -it (well, this week in the pictures), so we came up with more words that would go with those word families.

AND, sometimes, if we have time, on Thursday, we will do a poem scramble where they have to work with their group to unscramble the poem. This hits so many levels... sight word recognition, fluency, phonics, team work! They don't even know it! I make it a little game to see which group can finish first. They HAVE to bring their own poems to use as a reference, so that they get used to going back into the "story" to find the answer.

I copy 4-5 different sets, all on different color paper and laminate them, that way they last year to year and I don't have to copy them every year!

Then, the next week, this usually goes into a center as a review.

Then, on Fridays, we read it one last time... I usually have them pick a "Read It" card where we can read it in fun and silly ways. Then we head back to our seats and I have them illustrate on the side-by-side page what the poem is talking about. My rule is that they have to label at least 2 words in their picture. Can they label more? PLEASE! But I want at least two highlighted words from their poem in labeled in the picture.

Here are some examples of finished products from our journals so far.

Now, I said that I like to use other kinds of poems if they are just fun poems, like thematic ones, we usually just read them a few times and illustrate them (I always have them illustrate them AND label a few words! - helps with visualizing).  I don't spend a whole lot of time on them. Sometimes, we don't even have time to color our illustration.

When September came, we were putting in our poem and the kids reminded me that I hadn't given them their September cover yet. HA! Woops on me. Oh well, we just pretended that the poem for that day was in August. lol

I decided that this was one of those things that I would keep forgetting to copy them off, so when I did copy them, I went ahead and did the whole year. So now I don't have to remember to print them! I just have to remember where I put them - and that might be even harder! haha!

If you want the covers and table of contents, click on the picture below for the freebie!

I also typed up my poem schedule and put it in a PDF if you want that.  Click the picture below!

Hope this gives you some good ideas on what to do for poetry and phonics!