Friday, April 19, 2013

Reading and Writing Progress and Goals

USD 500 is closed today so I'm making the most of it! I'm caught up on all my grading and making some plans for the rest of this year and the next!

I'm going to share some of the great things I got to hear and see in my professional development meeting!


Sometimes students struggle choosing books. They will either choose something too easy or too hard. In addition to the Goldilocks rule (Too hard, too easy, just right), I think I'd like to use the IPICK method next year.

Courtesy of Ms. Peterson, 1st grade, we got to see a video of an IPICK rap for the kids to remember all of the pieces to choosing a good book.  Enjoy!

Another teacher also showed up the 5 finger method for choosing a book.  It means that when a student looks through the first page of the book, if there are 5 words they don't know then the book is too hard.

She also had her students help make anchor charts for her classroom. (3rd grade, Ms. Labar)
I think that's a great idea if I teach upper grades again someday!

Word work:  I still have some students that are struggling with vowel sounds and patterns so I created a new word work station for those students to practice matching and recognizing similar vowel sounds. There are four words with the same vowel sound and they have to match them together. There are also words on the back for an added challenge. I think they'll really like getting to manipulate these puzzle pieces. :)

The teacher leaders provided us with a format to help students work on opinion writing which is a part of the core standards.  I haven't had a chance to scan the original, but if you contact me I can get that scanned and email it to you.

I had the students write an opinion paragraph about a book in their leveled book bag (each student has 4 books at their F&P level that are swapped out each week).

We are really working on the structure of sentences and paragraphs so for this first attempt at opinion writing, several papers were selected to be published in the hall.  There were very proud! We will certainly be using this format again.

MAP testing

I am so proud of our class! We have only done the reading MAP test so far, but with three students still left to test, we have managed to exceed the district improvement goal (stating 55% of the class must reach growth goal).  So far we are at 76% and as I am beginning to wrap up Fountas and Pinnel testing, I am confident my class will meet or exceed the district goal to have 70% of students at level M by the end of the year.

Classroom Library

While I do already have my books in my library sorted by genre, I want to have at least part of my library sorted by F&P level.  So I have started to collect cereal boxes for my containers! I will need to paint or cover the boxes and label them. This is my summer goal and I've posted it on my blog so I can be held accountable! Look for a finished product to be posted over the summer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


So I've been looking for a way for students to understand the structure of a paragraph and thanks to our teacher leader I think I've found a way for them to be successful understanding AND writing their paragraphs.

Train writing

This foldable helped us create our paragraphs for Women's History month.  The green is for go which is why the TS (topic sentence) is the engine.  Yellow is for slowing down to tell more which is why it has R.F. (reasons or facts) and the paragraph has TS at the end to show that we need to restate our original statement using new words.

This is one student's completed train which she was able to successfully turn into a paragraph. She was so proud of her work and so was I! The entire class did very well with this organization tool. I plan to use it more in the future.

Anchor Charts

We had a Professional Day to meet with other 2nd grade teachers in the district to discuss techniques used with interactive read aloud.  This was a very handy anchor chart that another teacher brought that she adds to every time they read a fable. Fables are in the core standards and they are very tricky to students. I think this will be a great tool to use for them to understand a story as well as compare it to other fables.

Research display

My mom saw my blog and wanted to show off some of her great work in her junior high classroom too! She works with the highest group of MTSS and provides enrichment activities (on top of teaching science and coaching!). For Kansas Day, she assigned a several counties for groups to research and display on this flower.  She had set things the students needed to find out and displayed the projects for Kansas Day proudly. I think it turned out to be a great way to display a research project about Kansas!

Those are my updates! Lots of writing happening right now. Soon we will be MAP testing and I'll be wrapping up my F&P assessments. The running records are showing a lot of growth from the students so I can't wait to show their families how much they've improved :)