Friday, January 11, 2013

Five For Friday and a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for a Five for Friday linky!

1. Visualization- Today in reading, we talked about visualization.  I love teaching it because it is one of my favorite parts of reading.  I sometimes get mad when I see movie versions of books because the characters are not supposed to look like that!  They are supposed to look just how I pictured them.  Anyways, it's fun to hear what the kids picture and to see their drawings.  I have some seriously talented artists this year!  However, I have one struggle.  How do I encourage the kids to practice making mental pictures on their own when every book they read has pictures?!

Do you have any ideas?  Should the kids cover the pictures?  Add their own details when drawing?

2. Wonderful Writing Workshop!  Today, I got to teach one of my favorite writing workshop lessons about adding dialogue to stories.  The kids really seem to catch on to the idea of writing what people say.  I use the book Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems to introduce both speech bubbles and quotation marks.  The kids have a bit of trouble with actually using the quotation marks, but they LOVE and totally embrace using speech bubbles.

3. Fundations + Orton Gillingham = Soaring Students??  Our district/school started a new reading program this year for struggling readers.  The program is great in theory and the students in it are making great progress.  However, there is some discrepancy between the main classroom curriclum, Fundations, and the reading program Orton Gillingham system.  Since my class has 6 students in the reading program and several other low readers, I have been meeting with the reading interventionist for advice.  Today, she came in to model a lesson for me that mixes Fundations and OG a bit to help bring more consistency to the classroom and to help me make Fundations more effective.  So far, things seem to be going well, but only time will tell if this merge will work long term.

4. Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers!  I know not everyone out there feels this way, but I LOVE parent volunteers.  Last year, I had one amazing mom who came EVERY Thursday to make copies and change bulletin boards for me.  This year, I have shared the load with several parents who sign up for weekly volunteer slots on Sign Up Genius (I highly recommend using it).  I have someone come almost every Friday.  It's a great incentive for me to be sure I have my plans done and I leave for the weekend feeling totally prepared.  I also have been having a plethora of at-home volunteers help cut out lamination.  Many parents want to be able to help, but can't come in to the school because of work, so I give them projects to do at home.  It saves me TONS of time.

5. Classroom Renovation and Rearrangement.  I stayed late today to rearrange my classroom furniture.  I had been wanted to move some things since before school last year, but as a first year teacher was not sure if they would work out.  Plus, I had some difficulty figuring out where to put my computer, so I could keep the Ethernet cord connected.  Finally, after hearing from a district supervisor (she observed me) that I needed to change some things, I realized that I really did need to try something new with my furniture.  So, today I did.  I will post pictures once I finish the final tweaks.  So far, I am loving how everything is working out!

Now, here's my Friday FREEBIE.  I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict.  I found these cute comprehension strategy songs at The Learning Pad and made some cute song sheets/posters to use in class.

Click any of the pictures get the freebies.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Friday!!


  1. Oh my......I love your freebie! I absolutely, positively love teaching my students through song. Can't wait to see pictures of your new room arrangement. I usually rearrange my room before the beginning of the school year and then again at some point during the year. I have been getting the itch to switch things up, but haven't done anything yet.

    BTW, LOVE Mo Willems books!

    Have a great weekend!

    Mrs. Pauley’s Kindergarten

    1. Yay! I am glad you like the freebie! I agree that Mo Willems is awesome! I really need to get even more of his books for my classroom library.

      I have never really done a major rearrangement midyear before, but I am glad I did. It's good to freshen things up.

      Have a great weekend too! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Hey Becky,
    Visualization can be hard! Sometimes I take a book that no one has read and read it without showing the pictures. They draw the "movie" they are making in their head that goes with the book. It takes quite a while, but when we are finished, we compare it to the book. We work really hard on trying to make mental movies when we read, just like we do as adults. It's hard for them, though.

    I have Knuffle Bunny, but I've never used it. I like your idea! I'll have to try it! We start quotation marks soon!!

    I have never heard of the sign up Genius! I'm going to have to check that out! It's so helpful when parents can do the small things for us like laminating, cutting out, and putting things on the wall!! What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

    Last, but not least, I LOVE those songs! By 4th grade, kids are kinda funny about singing but as soon as they realize that they really can remember it through a song, they get over it quick! What a great freebie!!

    Have a great weekend! Sorry for the long comment!
    Collaboration Cuties

  3. Hi Amanda,

    Please don't apologize for the comment! I love comments, especially long, helpful ones like yours. I definitely will try to do more whole class visualization practice like you suggested.

    Sign up genius is great! I don't always use it for last minute lamination volunteers, but it is an awesome system for class parties, long term volunteers etc. For parties, I just put up the categories of food and activities I want and let the parents sign up. It's great because the website sends them a reminder message a few days before the event!

    I am glad you liked the freebie! I love using songs because they do stick in your brain, sometimes longer than you want them too. :-)

    Have a great Saturday!

  4. I love the idea of Sign-up Genius! I'm definitely going to need to try that for my next party!
    Thanks for sharing :)

    Joy in the Journey

  5. I found your blog through Teaching Blog Addict of New Blogs. I love your blog!! I'm new too. I'm your newest follower.


  6. I just found your blog through TBA! I am a new blogger too but you are so far ahead of me. This is my first year teaching first grade and the only one at that grade level. I feel a bit overwhelmed with it all but really want to find the time to blog.

    What do you think about Fundations? We were looking into it for next year.

    Ms. Emma's Edventure

    1. Fundations is pretty good. It is fun for the kids and pretty easy to plan and teach. I think that it is a little light on the practice for some things like sight words, but most average to high students do well with it.

  7. I'm glad I found your blog through Teaching Blog Addict! I just started blogging as one of my New Year's resolutions. Exciting but a little overwhelming, huh?

    Your blog looks GREAT! I love your comprehension songs. What a great resource! I'm one of your newest followers!

    1. Thanks so much for following! Congrats on starting your blog.

  8. Thank you Compassionate Teacher. I really appreciate all your ideas.