Five for Friday- WOOT WOOT!

Hey! Teaming with Doodle bugs for her weekly linky. Click on her button at the end of the post to check out others! Here it goes!

1) We had yet another 3 day week. Monday and Tuesday was bitter cold- wind chills hovered around -45 degrees both days. Thursday, we got a lovely snow storm that dumped 6 inches of snow during our morning commute. Spring can get here annnnnnnytime now.

(The light just turned green... I promise, I wasn't driving and trying to take this picture.)
2) We packed our 3 days though with lots of fun. We needed to wrap up our country studies project for reading. Students took all their notes and sorted them into two baggies- important notes and interesting notes. They then had to choose which of their important notes went where on their brochure. There was a "fast fact" section where they could add some of their interesting notes. We worked on this for about an hour- the were all so focused and produce really good work considering the lack of time and choppiness with this unit due to all of our 5 "cold days."

 They showed great cooperation as they looked at post-its and sorted them out.

 I loved seeing them go back in their books for inspiration on drawings as well as using the books to help them spell things correctly. 

 Some partners practiced cooperation by reading post-its to the writer. It was really neat to see how well they all worked together.

Here are some of their finished products!

 These photos are examples of all 6 panels they had to fill out in an hour. We made noticings on my example so they knew the expectations of color, neatness, sentences and talking to their audience. I created this brochure with some of my own clip art and am so glad with how it turned out! It was perfect!

 Here are some different covers.
 Some inside panels...

All in all, I'd say it was a great success. To celebrate, we did a gallery walk, read each others brochures, and left positive feedback on post-its.

3) We've been hitting parts of speech during our morning meeting message. We don't really have a chunk of time dedicated to grammar and my kiddos desperately need it. It is slow and steady, but I'm hoping this, plus continuing to do Mentor Sentences from Jivey will help my students with their writing. My amazing teammate, Kate, over at McDee's Busy Bees, introduced me to Mentor Sentences and is helping me out. She was the one who thought of working parts of speech into our morning message!

This is an example of what our morning message looks like each morning. I always have the same visuals for their morning tasks, other reminders, etc. I've been highlighting parts of speech (just one kind a day) and then we quickly name it, define it, and add examples on my giant post-its. (LOVVVVVVE GIANT POST-ITS) We have 6 as of Friday!

4) Now that our country unit is done, we are jumping into our next unit- one of my favorites: Mysteries! However, this is also a book club. I struggle with book clubs- usually because of a lack of books. However, our district readopted Teacher's College RW and WW, so we got some $$ to get more resources. My team and I divided up a ton of books and we now are ready to get into some book clubs!

 I snagged that cart from the hallway. I'm going to give it a fabulous makeover this summer!

5) Now, for probably the most exciting day! On Thursday, we launched our mystery unit with a real life mystery! We've been reading Jigsaw Jones and have been exposed to some mystery vocabulary. We created this real life mystery to reinforce some of the vocabulary and to excite our students on this new genre. Can I just say- it was SO perfect today! They loved it so much, had so much fun, and they are pumped to start mysteries. Here's a run down on how it went down:

Students saw I had donuts this morning on my desk. I told them it was for a meeting after school. After morning meeting, they left to go to STEM. The STEM teacher was in on my little scheme. When the kids came back, I told them someone took my donuts. I asked what I should do and they suggested I retrace my steps. I wrote out where I was during my prep and it clicked to them that our STEM teacher had a donut! We began to chart out our suspects, clues, and possible motives. Also, they noticed this note on the table where the donuts were. We brainstormed all the people who could be Ms. G. They brainstormed ways we could narrow them down and with some discussions, we thought we should try to get handwriting samples from them. Throughout the day, more clues and more suspects popped up. We called and questioned some of them, tiptoed around the building looking for trails of powdered sugar, investigated handwriting samples, and "dismissed suspects" that didn't fit anymore (they came up with that term). Then it was revealed through our last clue that I had just left them in the teacher's lounge!! We all went down to the lounge, and sure enough- there they were! We celebrated their hard work by having a donut and laughing about this fun mystery. Many said it was the best, day EVER!

So although it was a short week, it was a busy one! Hope you all had a great week as well!

Check out more amazing blogs over at the linky by clicking Doodle Bug's button below!



New Follower Flash Freebies!


I'm excited to see some new friends join me on my lil' blog, many from finding me over at Diane's Blog, Fifth in the Middle! To properly say, "WELCOME," I just posted 2 new products.

I'm revamping my intervention time for my independent workers. One thing I am adding are a variety of grammar/vocabulary activities. I'm pumping them out now, with my students and their needs in mind. Go snag them! They are FREE for the next 48 (or so) hours.

Also, if you ever find a mistake, let me know and I'll give you one of my paid products (under $3.00) for free, for saying thanks (as long as you don't give poor feedback- mistakes happen, please understand :) )

Ok- now go check them out and enjoy your freebies. And if you do, don't forget to leave some love in the form of feedback. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Freebie #1: Parts of Speech Bundle

Freebie #2: Idioms



Fives & Fives

Good Morning! I'm sitting at my parents house, dog-sitting and enjoying luxuries  such as.. a dishwasher and cable tv in more than one room (oh, the life of a newlywed and new teacher). Five is my lucky number today. I'm linking up with Doodle Bug's Five for Friday (ok... you knew I couldn't do it 3 Fridays in a row... I'm not THAT good).

But also, I'm featured over at Diane's amazing blog "Fifth in the Middle" for her Friends on the Fives!

She features blogger friends on the 5th, 15th, and 25th of the month. Check out my blog post over there as well as her first friend on the five, The Techie Teacher!

1) I gotta admit. Not a whole lot of school stuff this week. Why, do you ask? Well, we didn't have school on Monday (MLK Day), we had a professional development all day Tuesday (no kids), Wednesday- YAY! SCHOOL. Thursday, oh, just kidding. No school again, too cold. Friday, YAY! SCHOOL AGAIN! If you are keeping track, that means we only had 2 days with our kids this week. One of those days, I had my final observation with my principal and tried to prepare for a sub on Monday because... you guessed it, I HAVE ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT!! I'm about to rip my hair out. Ok, to be fair, I signed up for this one. It's on SIOP to help support my ELs. We have 3 all - day meetings over January and February. I also have a half day sub on Tuesday for a school meeting. Oh, and to top it off, the first TWO Mondays of February are also devoted to professional development- again for SIOP and the other for becoming our Olweus Lead (bully prevention program).

Woof. I know that these trainings will be beneficial for me in the long run, but with all the days out already due to PD and cold days, I just want to be with my students. :(

I leave this message to my subs who will be filling in for me for the next 3 Mondays...

2) One thing I did really focus on the two days we had was revamping our LEAP time. It's our intervention block. Kids go to different interventions, such as an LLI group, computer lab, Reading Corp, Making Connects, etc. Then, because there aren't enough teachers to teach interventions or enrichments, there are some students who are left in the classroom to be "independent workers." My bunch this year is split- some are really hard workers, and will do their best work even though I am not standing over them... others don't put as much effort into it and it reflected in their MAP winter results. I wanted to hold them more accountable so here are the changes I made:

New Board. Before, they had some choice- Math Mondays, they would pick 1 of my math activities up on the board, Tech Tuesday, they'd pick 1 of the websites I had on the board, etc. Nope- I took the choice piece away. They still will get variety by switching to different stations each day, but I wanted more control on what they were doing. I also added a rubric for them to rate their work and effort each day. The code I'll explain more later on down.

News ELA was a website I found from Catherine over at The Brown Bag Teacher. I love it! Check out her post on what it's all about by clicking her link. Mrs. Olson's Choice is something I can fill with seasonal things or needs I notice they need work on.

3) To hold them accountable, they each have a folder now so that I can collect it, look, and give feedback. I'll collect it at the end of a cycle or week. I just did their first one this morning, and even though it was only 2 days- it didn't take long and I can imagine if we ever get back to a 5 day week, it won't add a whole lot of time. 

One side is their log, the other is where they store their work. I will show their families this folder at conferences, kind of like a portfolio.
The log has them add the date, the activity (that is where they put the code), if they finished, the time they finished (so I can see how they are using their time) and then they use the rubric to rate their work for the day. So far, most kids have been honest. If they mark themselves as a 1 or 2, I've asked them to write me a post-it further explaining. 

4) I've decided to try some center activities as a rotation. These rotations will focus on parts of speech, grammar, vocab, figurative language, etc. The first one they did was one I created myself:
I was surprised how challenging this was for some of my students. However, that is what they need. Some finished this activity, and logged it, others did not finish the sort and the recording sheet. I've taken notes on who to follow up on. 

I've made some other resources that will go in this time or during my Mrs. Olson's Choice rotation. I want to try them in my room before I put them up on TpT, but I'm really excited about them!

I'm particularly excited about these resources: My Pick 6 Cards

I've written and leveled 6 short, fiction passages. I then created 6 questions to go with each passage that range in different reading skills. I have a few different options on how my kiddos will use these. I hope to introduce them next week.
I also created one for non-fiction. I'll roll this one out after we've had some practice with the fiction ones.

5) Last, but certainly not least... our ITALIAN HONEYMOON IS BOOKED!! I'm so excited! I've always wanted to go to Europe and Italy was definitely my first must see. We'll be doing a 12-day tour and leave in early July! Back in December, I was hesitant on wanting to go, because I also really wanted to use the money we've saved to eventually put it towards a down payment for our first home, but really, I don't think we'd ever go to Europe after we get a house and begin to have kids... it would just be too hard. So it's now, or never and we chose now. Not sure if we'd ever get to go back, so we'd rather see as much as we can!

Thanks for stopping by!! Hope you all are staying warm!



Five for Friday... on a Friday FINALLY!!

I know what you might be thinking... "Are my eyes deceiving me? Am I really seeing Kelli post her 5 on Friday, on a FRIDAY?!" It is true. I am here with my 5 for Friday, actually on Friday. Much thanks to Doodle Bugs for hosting!

1) Partner Sticks
We had to begin a project for our bully prevention program. I had partner cards, where students have to match their card to a similar one, but I needed larger groups. I also thought about all the times lately when I needed partnerships or groups and just resorted to the same grouping tactics (find someone who's wearing blue) or even just let them pick. I don't really like doing that, as I know it can create anxiety. So as I drove to work this morning, I brainstormed these puppies and quickly whipped them up before the kiddos came in this morning.

I made a class set of sticks, but I added 4 different partner choices:

I had 4 different colored dots if I wanted 4 groups and added 6 different animals for if I wanted 6 groups. I then also added numbers, for partners, and shapes for triads. The kids never know what I'm going to pick, but I systematically decide what type of grouping I want, tell them which "thing"to go by, and then they find their matches.

I added this little cheat sheet to the can to remind me.

2) The Color of Us
We read this great book for our Windows and Mirrors project at school, called The Color of Us. We then created our own self portraits and came up with describing words to reflect on each of our unique skin colors. Some students chose words that the book used (butterscotch, chocolate, peach), but some also got creative and came up with some interesting, yet totally appropriate words (sand, brown sugar, chocolate milk)

They absolutely LOVED it once I put them up and couldn't stop looking at it- trying to find themselves, their word, their friend, anything! I even added my example to the mix... can you find me?!

3) We continued with our opinion writing. I'm going to be real for a moment and say- it's not going as good as I'd hope. We got new units of study this year for our Writer's Workshop, and I just don't think this unit is really well suited for my students. I enjoyed last year's opinion writing piece MUCH more, but I am trying to get through it and get this thing published so we can move on.

We still use our thesis statement poster to promote opinion words.

I've looked at their writing and formed some strategy groups to try to revise some of their work. We had 5 strategy groups- one focused on cleaning up their reasons, one on writing examples that enhance our reason, one that focused on varying reasons, one on clarity, and lastly one on word choice and craft. I'm grateful for our EL teacher who co-teaches with me during this time, but I think we are in a little over our heads. Again, I'm ready for the next unit.

4) Multiplication Practice

We have finished introducing all of our fact families for 0-10. We have been building this chart of strategies to use throughout the week, but I'm also heavily pushing them to practice their facts with their flashcards. I wanted them to understand the concept of multiplication, but I also want to stress the importance of automaticity.

5) Gophers Win!!!

My Golden Gophers handed (11) Ohio State it's third loss in a row!! College basketball is my absolutely favorite sport. I even went to the Big Ten Tourney the year the Gophers made it unexpectedly to the championship. It is honestly one of my favorite memories of college. I unfortunately was SO tired, I feel asleep shortly after tip-off. Oops!

What have you been up to this week?? Link up and share!

Thanks for visiting!



Digging out from Post-It notes

We are in full force in our country research unit and I thought it would be perfect to join a new link up over at Ideas by Jivey! We did this unit last year as well (I blogged about it here)

So far, students picked their country, got their book, developed essential questions and began jotting down what I call, "WOW jots" (I forgot to take a pic of our lil' chart... I'll do it later). We spent one day on how to use headings to help us navigate our non-fiction text to find answers to one particular essential question. We created these file folders divided into sections, with each header being on of our essential questions.

Today we tackled the task of taking all the other WOW jots we had in our book and categorizing them into groups based on our essential questions. Students met with their partner (who is also researching the same country) and went through all their notes, talking about which essential question their notes could support.

This was a great chance for collaboration and discussion!

We have one blank box, so any "oddballs" went there. We will use those oddball notes to see if we can create another essential question (as we have yet to have a question on history or religion).

 Some groups realized they didn't have many notes...

 Others realized they might have gone a bit overboard...

Lastly, some had a good balance.

We'll spend a few more lessons on preparing our notes, determining importance, consolidating, and then preparing a persuasive speech! Thanks for stopping by-

Check out The Workshop Wednesday Link Up at Ideas by Jivey!


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