Teaching with Informational Texts: Close Reading Lessons for One Tiny Turtle

One Tiny Turtle was written by one of my favorite authors, Nicola Davies. 

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

This book chronicles the life cycle of the loggerhead sea turtle.

As with most informational texts, we start by discussing our schema on the subject. We want students to think about what they already know and attach their new understandings to their prior knowledge.    Here are a few of the responses we got.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles hatch and go to the sea and live there forever!

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles live in the sea.    Sea turtles start out as tiny as bottle caps.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles live in the sea.  They use their shells to hide from big things.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtle start in shells.  When they get older they live in water.  Mom turtles hide there eggs under the sand.

 After reading the text, we create an anchor chart to help support our new learning.
One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

Students worked on their own All About Turtles books.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles have to hurry to the ocean so they won't get eaten.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans
Sea turtles have hard shells later [when] they are older.
In addition to reading One Tiny Turtle, there are also fantastic videos.  Johnathan Bird's Blue World are always fantastic.

The lesson plans ending with a fun sea turtle life cycle activity.

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

One Tiny Turtle Lesson Plans

I also wanted to mention that we have added...

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Are You Ready to GET YOUR TEACH ON?

Need a teacher pick-me-up? Looking for some of the most current research based strategies that will light your classroom on fire? Join us in 2016 for Get Your Teach On – a one-of-a-kind experience for K-3 teachers.  You will spend a day with Deanna Jump, Hope King and their special guests, as they share their passion and enthusiasm for education and give you their tips, tricks, best practices, and teacher secrets to building a successful and engagingclassroom. You will leave feeling empowered, motivated, and prepared to create dynamic lessons that will challenge your students and leave them hungry for more. Get Your Teach On is sure to be unlike any other educators’ conference that you will attend. Pack your favorite teacher bag, get ready for some educational magic, and join us in 2016-2017 as you prepare to Get Your Teach On!
MSNBC Coverage: 

Who will be joining us this year? 

Session Topics? Click on each link below to find out all of the details of this 2-day workshop! 



Click below on any location to register! We can't wait to see y'all! XOXO! 


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Erin Condren Teacher Planner LOVE!!!

I love all things, Erin Condren!  I use their Life Planner every year, so when they offered to send me their Teacher Planner to review I jumped at the chance.  Look at all the goodies they sent!!

First, let's talk about their planner.  They have thought of everything!  Here are a few of the things you will find inside.

An All About Me page for you to record all of your important information.

A place to keep track of special events, volunteers and hints for your substitute.

Student checklists to keep track of things such as picture money, field trip forms, etc;

A place for long range planning.  

A list of Holidays and Dates to Remember

Lesson planning pages.  Love the color coding for each day!

Two-page monthly calendar with plenty of room to write!

I love that they have so many covers to choose from.
Here are a few of my favorites!

I love the planner so much that I had to give my daughter one for graduation.
She will be teaching first grade next year.
SO proud!!!

Ready to order???

Click HERE to order and you will save $10 off of your first purchase.
If you spend $100.00 you'll get the t-shirt for FREE!

I also love this pouch to...

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Opinion Writing for kindergarten and first grade

Opinion writing in kindergarten is one of those things, in my opinion (see what I did there) is best done spirally.

We certainly introduce writing for a reason as a unit of study. However, we want the students' understanding of opinion writing to grow as their transcription skills grow.

Recently Deedee worked in a kindergarten class and tested our new Opinion writing unit!

She started by asking the question...
Students wrote their opinion on a slip of paper and placed it on the pocket chart.

She purposely showed invented spelling on her own card, since she is really pushing this crew to be FEARLESS spellers and just put the sounds they hear on the card.

She also introduced them to several anchor charts.  Here is one that is included in the unit.
Here is what they came up with!
The best way to get around is to ride a bike because I don't get as tired.

What is the best way to get around?  I think scooters are the best because it is fast and also has a handle [bar] and you sway on the scooter.   
I think running is the best because you can get to places fast.  That is the best way to get around.

What is the best way to get around on your own?  I think that a bike is the best way to get...

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Guided Reading! Getting Organized

Getting organized for guided reading can be a challenge.  In order for it to be effective, you need to keep your resources handy and all together.
 So I like to keep my guided reading books and lessons together in individual binders.

 Each binder is organized by level.
 and having the spine labeled helps be find the resource I need in seconds!
 Inside the binder is where a disaster can happen if you are not mindful!
Right inside the cover is where I put the sound boxes.  I slide them into a sheet protector so students can write on them with a dry erase marker.  As students progress to higher levels, they will have experiences with 3-4 phoneme words.  For Levels A & B students will simply work with 2 phoneme words.
Inside, I have placed 6 pocket dividers.  I have labeled each of the pocket dividers with the name of the text.  Each set comes with 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction texts.
Each level also has a black and white option.
As I turn the page, the back part of the pocket (the right side) houses the sentence work and any word work materials that will go with that book.  On the left are the lesson plans for day 1, lesson plans for day 2, and the running record recording pages.
Here is an...

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Guiding Reading Planning & Instruction

In my classroom, I used a combination of whole group instruction (close reading, shared reading) and guided reading to teach reading.  With whole group instruction you focus your teaching towards the ability of your more proficient students' ability.  Then you scaffold and support those students who need it.

However, guided reading allows you to tailor your instruction to fit the needs of each individual student.  You bring your reading lessons to THEIR instructional level.  This is just another piece of the "learning to read" puzzle.  Guided reading is done in a small group with 4-6 students.   
You can find these pages in my Guided Reading 101 unit.

Even the simplest of texts require thoughtful planning.
 Then I use these lessons to plan my next steps with that group.

Running records are also important to document the reading.  Running records provide a reading diagnostic tool and helps you recall the strategies you observed and the teaching that took place during that lesson. This is an important step in reaching the needs of your learners.  You wouldn't want to see a medical doctor who does not take clinical notes!
  I keep my guiding reading lessons in a binder.  I place...

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Calendar Time: Building Math and Literacy Skills!

Building math and literacy skills takes time and LOTS of practice.  So I like to build in practice during our calendar time.

We know when we start the year, our students come in with a variety of skills and prior experience.   Some students start kindergarten with a year of "school" already under their belt ready to hit the ground running.  While others start the year a bit overwhelmed.  I love seeing all of my students progress, but it is especially exciting to see my little newbies take off.

So, for this reason, I like to reinforce skills over and over.  Perhaps when you introduced a skill in October, a few of your friends were not quite ready for it, but by mid-November it is right in their lane.

Keeping calendar journals that spirally review ELA and Math skills are a great way to introduce AND reinforce skills.
 We show the image on our interactive whiteboard so students are supported.

I have been asked how we do our calendar and what skills we cover.  It is a VERY quick part of our day.  It takes a total of 5-6 minutes each morning.  This is a recording from Deedee's class from last year.   She was a few seconds late in starting the video.   Students come to the carpet and fill...

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American Symbols & Presidents {Includes FREE Download}

 American Symbols is one of my favorite units to teach!  I took all of the facts about the U.S. symbols and broke them down into fun, engaging lessons.  Here are a few pics of some of the activities.

After reading the nonfiction text from my Chit Chat unit we used our newly learned information and context clues to fill in the missing information on our Chit Chat chart. 

We did a step by step directed drawing of the Statue of Liberty and wrote about her.  

Trying to get kids to understand just how BIG the Statue of Liberty really is can be difficult.  Measuring out her foot gets the point across.  We then line up shoulder to shoulder to see how many of us it takes to reach the tip of her toes to her heel.  The kids are always AMAZED!

Bald Eagles are fascinating!  We read the nonfiction book from my Chit Chat unit and then made bald eagles, created several charts and wrote about them.  There are lots of live web cams up that allow you to view bald eagles.  The kids are fascinated by them.  Here is my favorite!  The eaglets just hatched so it is fascinating to watch.  You can click on the image to view.

I love this beautiful collage of my America unit art projects that Debbie Clement...

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Guiding Math: A Workshop Model for Teaching

I love student-centered, problem-based learning so when Deedee and I sat down to design our Guiding Kinders and Guiding Firstie Math units, I knew the activities would have to be hands-on!

Our lessons follow the workshop format. 
Each lesson has five components.

This part of the lesson is a warm up that will help our students build their fluency for various math skills.  It will usually involve flash cards and the focus is on speed and accuracy.  

We introduce and model new concepts and skills through 
a mini lesson. 

The teacher and students will work together as a group to actively explore the concept that was introduced

This quote...Love!
“Math is not about numbers or the right answer.
Math is about discovery.
and exploring different ways of thinking.
It’s about teaching your students that they can solve anything.
And giving them the tools to make it possible.”

 Our units employ cooperative learning opportunities.  First the teacher introduces a concept, then the students work with a partner to explore and practice the concepts being learned.

 “Enabling students to learn with understanding depends heavily on the opportunities that a teacher provides to his or her students.”

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Arctic Animals: Polar Bears and Walruses

We have always loved learning about polar bears and animals that live in the Arctic.  

 This graphic organizer is an oldie but a goodie!

And their learning transfers into their informational writing beautifully!

Here are a few throwback pics

Comparing and Contrasting Polar Bears & Walruses using a venn diagram.  
EXCUSE the fact that it says, live in Antarctica!  Mercy!  I didn't even realize I had made the mistake until a sweet person told me.  Ya know how your brain just kicks into auto?  As a class we read these together and we read, lives in the Arctic.  (didn't even notice the mistake).   In fact, when we read it the kids immediately broke out in song,  "The polar bear lives in the Arctic.  He never gets cold in a storm...."

A close up of the Polar Bear glyphs!  So stinkin' cute if I do say so myself!  :)

The resources above came from this unit.  You can find it by clicking on the image or clicking HERE.
Note: The above unit will be updated this summer.  :)
If you own it make sure you check back for all the new goodies!

 Have a great day!

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Writer's Workshop: Writing Through the Year FREEBIE

 Sometimes it can be a challenge to organize your curriculum in a way that is easy to use.
Deedee Wills and I have been working on reorganizing and updating our writing workshop units.

 I prefer to keep my units in these 2" binders.  You can find the spine labels HERE.

 I will walk you through a unit to show you how it's organized.

Each unit starts with a unit overview.

 You can also easily see the standards that are addressed in the unit.

 A writing continuum is provided so you can see where your students fall in their writing development.  This is especially helpful during writing conferences and when you are working on setting writing goals.

 Each unit contains an updated rubric specific to that unit of study.  
There is one for emergent writers (kindergarten).

And another one for early writers (1st Grade).

You can also create a classroom chart so student-lead goals can be selected.  These goals are aligned to the rubric.

 Each day contains a scripted lesson plan that is very easy to implement.

 Kid-friendly anchor charts are easy to use... just print and teach!

Conferring helpful hints are also included.

At the close of each unit, I would collect the writing samples from the students...

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Fact Fluency for Addition & Subtraction

What is Fact Fluency?
Fact fluency is knowing a math fact with accuracy and automaticity.  Rather than needing to use math strategies to figure it out first-grade students should be able to see an addition or subtraction problem within 10 and give the answer within 3 seconds.  It is recommended that kindergarten students have math fluency within 5.

Why is Fact Fluency Important?

When students are able to fluently solve basic addition and subtraction problems, it frees up their muscle memory to work on tasks that require higher level thinking.  

How can we assess for fluency?
It’s best to let students work at their own pace and progress through the facts as they are ready.  It is important that students have a conceptual understanding of how numbers relate to one another BEFORE you begin work on fact fluency.  We don't want students to merely memorize facts.  We want them to be able to use what they know about number relationships to help them quickly solve the problems.  Once we begin our fact fluency practice, each student starts at +0 and progresses through his or her own pace.  When a child is able to solve all 20 math problems with accuracy and automaticity in one minute, we...

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Be Inspired

Look around your classroom. Are there things you wish you could change? Are you tired of the same old activities? Be inspired and come check out some new activities that will make you the best teacher you can be in 2016. Dream, reach for the stars, set your goals, and teach at the top of your game:

Grab your bags and head on over by clicking on this picture. Happy 2016! Cheers to you.

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Learning About Kindness and Being Fair

It has been a  crazy few weeks since winter break (desperate for another vacation) and we have been working on a variety of projects related to the seasons and weather. On Friday I took a break and focused on Martin Luther King Jr. This is an important leader and I like to stop and spend time on this. I remember Dr. King as a child growing up in Baltimore and his words had a huge impact on me and the world I lived in.
I think I own every childrens' book written about this great man  but this is my favorite, by far. It is written authentically but in terms a young child can understand. When I was a Common Core coach I did a close read with first grade students using this text. It lends itself well to a cause and effect map and children are able to find evidence to support their thinking with ease. I recommend purchasing it for next year or adding it to your library now. Check it out here on Amazon. 

I really like this video and have used it for several years. If you want to check it out just click on the picture to watch it. We all love Reading Rainbow... right? It might have been the only time my class was quiet all day!

Then we talked about what their dreams are for the future...

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ESGI Mega Giveaway!

Each day you could win a FREE YEAR of ESGI and $50 worth of products from the blogger of the day.  Can you imagine all you can purchase with $50 from their stores?!?!  Listed below are the prizes for the 12 days of giveaways:


1.  The FIRST THING YOU NEED TO DO IS be sure to have an ESGI account.  If you don't have one now, don't worry, you can get a 2 month free trail by clicking HERE.

Friends, ESGI will change your LIFE!  It will help you quickly assess your students and (most importantly) put the data into a variety of usable reports.  There is no better way to target instruction (in my opinion) than using the tools that ESGI provides.  Game. Changer!

2.   Get ready to hop around to some of my favorite kindergarten blogs.  

$50 of Kinder Gals products + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of Sharing Kindergarten products + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of Heidi Songs products + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of Kindergarten Kiosk products + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of  Smart Kids products + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of Mrs. Jump's Class products + 1 license of ESGI.....WOOT!

$50 of Pre-K Pages products  + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of KFUNdamentals products + 1 license of ESGI

$50 of Differentiated...

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The Snowy Day: Pictures from You! and a FREEBIE

I don't know about you, but I love looking at pictures.  Pictures capture moments in time and help us remember life events.  I love these pictures of my sweet friends and family.

I also love seeing pictures of student work.  There is nothing more gratifying than seeing our units being used in classrooms all over the world.  
Thank you to all of you who have shared your photos with me by tagging me on Instagram.
I've shared a few of the most recent ones here.  

Retelling the Snowy Day photo courtesy of apinchofkinder

Using the retelling pieces in the book center and checking the text to see if they are accurate.
photo courtesy of runteachlove

 Visualizing Peter making a snowman and snow angels.  
photo courtesy of thekindergarden

Making connections to the story.
photo courtesy of bmfar

Opinion Writing 
photo courtesy of tuesdayswithjacob

Inferring: What do you think happened to Peter's snowball?
student writing:  Oh, no! I think it melted because it was in his pocket.
photo courtesy of averycuriousclass

We've started adding craft lessons to all of the units, and this one is one of my favorites!
Snowy Day craft selfies! These look great displayed with their snowy day connections.
photo courtesy...

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Reflecting On All Things Gingerbread before 2016...

 Wow, I am so late to the party but I have really been trying to take a break and enjoy my winter break. It has been fantastic and I have loved every second of it. Before I can wish you a Happy New Year I need to show you some of my December pictures and all the fun we had during the last few days.

I love doing a Gingerbread unit each year and comparing the characters in each version, talking about the "bad guy" and how the events can differ from story to story. It is so much fun to change my voice and stop right before the fox gobbles up that yummy cookie! Each year I buy more books and add to my crazy collection. These are just a few favorites that I have purchased.
I always love to send a gingerbread man home for families to decorate to their hearts content. The kids love to bring them back and show them off to the class.  The parents adore this project and it fills your classroom with such cuteness. Try it!~

If you are on this blog you know how much I love making a sight word game for each theme that I teach and I won't disappoint you... here is another one. I think the chant was "Gingerbread, gingerbread... you are so sweet, run from the fox, or you will be his treat!"
 I made...

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Cyber Smile Sale on TpT... Grab Some Goodies

TpT is having a great sale today and tomorrow. Now you can stock up on all those materials for the winter months and save some money. It's a win- win for teachers! Don't forget the promo code today: SMILE so you can get the full 28% off. Have fun and fill your cart with happiness. If you want some of my products you can find them here: http://bit.ly/1gD5LR7.

How cute is this picture of me? It makes me smile because both of my girls looked like this and so do the cousins. I love old family pictures.

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Turkey Leftovers From My Classroom!

November has been such a busy month for us. At this time of the year I am assessing students to get ready for report cards but it is also the wonderful season of fall and I love teaching about the Wampanoag culture and reading fun stories about turkeys and Thanksgiving. This year I did a billion and one activities but I will only hit the ones I loved or better yet- have pictures of. We grew seeds in the backyard of my classroom and this time a mom had the kids help her put soil in about 5. How smart was she? One of them is bound to grow and several did! This is an early picture and I cannot wait to see what the pumpkins look like this week. We talked about decomposing and the kids never get tired of watching these. If you have never done this promise yourself you will try it next year.
Whatever concepts I needed to teach during these weeks had a picture of a Wampanoag or pilgrim. This was a simple math game where they just counting the dots on each card and recorded it and I ran it on old scrap booking paper and distressed the edges with brown ink to make it look old. The kids really liked this activity and it was a great formative assessment. Does anyone know how to make a 5...

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Frog Frenzy! Learning all about Frogs

This is one of my favorite units.  The littles love learning all about frogs and it is a great time to do some opinion writing.  :)

We start our unit by charting our schema about frogs.

We read lots of nonfiction books about frogs and create our own book based on what we learned.

 This unit is packed with fun games for math and literacy centers.

This one is a fun subtraction game called, Munching Flies.
The kids roll the game dice to create subtraction sentences.
We used black beans for the flies.

This game is called,  Frog Warts!
The kids lay out their fly cards in numerical order.
Then, they pick a frog card from the basket, count the warts (subitizing) and match it to a fly card to make a sum of 10.  
NOTE:  ALL of the games have First Grade versions included as well.
For first grade the object of the game is to make sums of 20.

This game is called, Leap Frog
it is a comparing numbers game.  Leap Frog!
The kids each turn over a card.  They compare the cards and the student with the largest number gets to move their frog to the next lily pad.  The first one to get their froggy to the last lily pad wins.  It has several sets of cards to choose from.
The students can use addition cards and...

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Math Units with FREEBIES and Toolkit binder covers {REPOST}

Hi friends, as many of you are starting the countdown to summer you are already starting to think about next year!  I don't think ANYONE works harder than a teacher.  We never turn our teaching brain off!   Deedee and I have received a lot of requests for more information about our Math units.  So I thought I'd do a quick blog post to share how we structure the lessons and give you some free sample lessons so that you could check it out if you're interested.  

We are both big believers in the workshop model, so we developed these units with the workshop format in mind.  

The first part of our lesson is the Fluency portion.  This is a quick 5 minute math warm up, and it usually involves flash cards of some sort.  We have a set of fluency cards in each unit, and we work on them until we reach our goal, which is, FLUENCY with Accuracy and Automaticity. 

This is a picture of some of our fluency cards. 

This is the portion where we teach a mini-lesson to introduce the new concepts that are being taught.  

The mini-lesson usually lasts about 5-10 minutes, and it begins like this....

After we've modeled and taught them the new concept, we give the students an opportunity to try it out right...

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Shark Schema Chart: Teaching with Intention!

Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller is one of my all-time favorite professional development books.  When I read this book in 2008, it really helped me define my teaching philosophy and think about WHAT I do as a teacher and WHY I do it.  When you do activities with your students, it's important to be able to define their purpose and to be able to explain why you think it's important.       I LOVE this book, and I've blogged about it MANY times over the last five years.  
One of my favorite things that I took away after reading it was the idea for creating Schema charts.
In the book Debbie used file folders for schema. However, for Kindergarten and First Grade students I thought that it was important for the charts to be large enough for the students to see them and refer to them on a regular basis.  
The picture above shows what a schema chart looks like after we've worked on a topic for several days.  In the pictures that follow I want to take you step by step through the process, I use when I do these with my students.  The following are my words, not Debbie Miller's, but I hope that I can do her work justice.  :)

DAY ONE:  Before I read any books or tell them any facts...

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Guiding Readers, Curriculum Maps and FREE five-day lesson plan

We have a whole series of Guiding Readers units out.  The units cover phonemic awareness, phonics, and Comprehension skills.  Here are a few pictures that Stephanie Stewart shared with me from the April unit.

Sequencing the picture cards for the story, Piggie Pie.
Checking her notebook with the class chart to see if her pictures are in the correct order.

Writing about their favorite part of the story.

The writing activities are available in regular paper format and Flip Flap format for those who choose to put the pages in a journal.  

This little sweetie sequenced the story in his reading journal.

These lessons focus on one read aloud book for five days, so that you can really dig deep and work on a variety of comprehension skills.  This is what our five-day plan for Piggie Pie looks like.

Our systematic word work makes it easy for even the littlest learners to tackle and learn some of the higher level phonics chunks that they will encounter in the texts they read.  We've included large pocket chart pieces for many of the word work components so that there is flexibility in how it is introduced and taught.

You can break up the components and do them at various times of the day.

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Thank YOU Sale

  Thank you Doodle Bug Teaching for the graphic!
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! 
Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Teacher Appreciation sitewide sale on 
Tuesday and Wednesday 
and everything in my store is on sale 20 % off, and you can save an additional 10% off by entering the code,  ThankYou
when you check out.   
Here are a few suggestions to help you get through the end of the year.

and my NEW Ocean Animals unit

My sweet friend, Deedee Wills tested this unit out for me last week.

Reading my Shark informational text on the big screen.

Using the Sharks True or False? sheet to write their own informational text.  

                                                       Bulletin board of the shark craft and writing.

My Chit Chat charts can be used on for Interactive Writing on the Smartboard, OR you can write the messages on a large chart like Deedee did. 

Student version

This Ocean Animals unit is packed full of learning and fun!

We have a whole series of Guiding Readers units out.  The units cover phonemic awareness, phonics, and Comprehension skills.  Here are a few pictures that Stephanie Stewart shared with me from the April unit.

sequencing the picture cards for the...

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Math Workshop Model with FREEBIES

Hi friends, as many of you are starting the countdown to summer you are already starting to think about next year!  I don't think ANYONE works harder than a teacher.  We never turn our teaching brain off!   Deedee and I have received a lot of requests for more information about our Math units.  So I thought I'd do a quick blog post to share how we structure the lessons and give you some free sample lessons so that you could check it out if you're interested.  

We are both big believers in the workshop model, so we developed these units with the workshop format in mind.  

The first part of our lesson is the Fluency portion.  This is a quick 5 minute math warm up, and it usually involves flash cards of some sort.  We have a set of fluency cards in each unit, and we work on them until we reach our goal, which is, FLUENCY with Accuracy and Automaticity. 

This is a picture of some of our fluency cards. 

This is the portion where we teach a mini-lesson to introduce the new concepts that are being taught.  

The mini-lesson usually lasts about 5-10 minutes, and it begins like this....

After we've modeled and taught them the new concept, we give the students an opportunity to try it out right...

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Christmas in July Sale!

I'm teaming with my friends at Blog Hoppin' for our Annual Christmas in July sale.
I was driving the bus down struggle street today and I totally forgot about this!  So sorry!
Here's the line up for the week.

Tuesday, the Guiding Readers units will be on sale.  The bundle AND the individual units will be on sale.  Note: I'm also including my Guiding Reading units and Interactive Journals.

Wednesday, my Chit Chat units will be on sale.  I will put the fiction AND nonfiction ones up for sale.

Thursday,  In a Snap: No Prep Monthly Printables.  These include the bundles and the single monthly units.

Friday, a few of my faves!!  The Three Little Pigs   Three Billy Goats Gruff       Names unit

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Guiding Readers Bundle! Deal of the Day!

I know Deedee already said it, but it bears repeating. (or you could just read THIS POST).  

Through these units, my students were able to connect to texts like they never had before.

Click on the picture to get your deal.  $46 OFF on this bundle! 

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It's almost time!!! Teacher-Blogger Meetup in Vegas!

It's almost that time again! The time that thousands of teachers and bloggers head to Vegas for the annual SDE and Teachers Pay Teachers Conferences. To say we were excited would be an understatement! 

This year will be our 4th annual Vegas Teacher-Blogger Meet Up. What started as a fun little way to get to meet other teachers and bloggers from across the country, has turned into the BIGGEST teacher-blogger meet up ever!

Here are the details you'll want to know:

  • The meet up will be on Wednesday, July 8th, and will start at 6:30pm at the Venetian in the Galileo room. 
  • RSVP on our Facebook event page {HERE}
  • You will need to download, edit, and bring your own name tag.  Download the file {HERE!} Below is an example of how your name tag should look. 

  • You do not need to be a blogger to attend. All teachers are invited and welcome to come! 
  • Please be ready to have fun, meet people, and make new friends! Make sure to post pictures to social media using the hashtag #2015vegasmeetup.
  • Our main sponsors for this event are SDE and TPT, although we have dozens more who will be donating prizes, swag, and other fun stuff! You do not want to miss out on these awesome prizes!
    • Here is a peek at this...

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Guiding Readers Questions and Answers

Last November Deedee and I had a conversation about her desire to do more with the books she was using for Read Alouds.  Her kids loved many of the books she was reading to them, and they wanted to hear them again and again.  She felt that she had a great foundation with writer's workshop (more on that later) but she wanted deeper connections and interactions with the texts that she was reading to her class.  So we created Guiding Readers.

What are Guiding Readers?
Guiding Readers started out as a "responding to literature" unit in our heads, but then we realized we needed to integrate phonics, interactive writing, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness and vocabulary in as well.

Each week we pull a few words from our text to explore them deeper.

Heaping pile of snow

vocabulary work
I used these  Guiding Readers lessons in a whole group setting.   In my kindergarten classroom, I do the reading work (decoding the words) and my students do the thinking work.  
Everyone participates.   Working with a partner engages all of the students. 
Here we are putting the story cards in order, to help us retell the story.
Interactive Writing
Students are able to focus on the...

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Back to School Bash 2015

That's right, my friends! It's that time of year. Back to School Bash 2015 begins tomorrow where we will introduce you to all of the amazing prizes and sponsors. Then you can enter to win big beginning on July 31st. This year we have over $5,000 in back to school swag! No, no...you read that right! $5,000!!! People love them some teachers y'all! 

So join me and some of my blogging besties below for some amazing giveaways this week. It all begins tomorrow when we will introduce our 18 BASH BASKETS! Be sure you get yourself a head start and follow all of these amazing blogs and their instagram accounts. Believe me...this year you don't want to miss a thing! 


See you all tomorrow! 

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FREE Spine Labels for Binders: Getting Organized!

This is a throwback post that I did awhile back about getting our Guiding Readers units organized.  Since this post I've had quite a few requests to make matching spine labels for the Writing and Math units.  So HERE YOU GO!  Sorry it took me so long!  You can click HERE to download the labels.

We also have a Free Year Long Curriculum Map for Kindergarten and First Grade.
You can download them from TPT by clicking on the images.

If you want to read the throw back post carry on! If not, Happy Organizing.  :)

Hey There!  Happy Hump day! We've had a few questions about how we organize our new 
Guiding Readers units so I thought I'd do a quick blog post to show you!

These are the supplies I used to organize mine.
I used a 1" binder
sheet protectors
Binder pocket (one pocket holds all four books)
ziploc baggies
Clear packing tape
Printables for the spine and fronts of sheet protectors click HERE to get yours.

First, I put our cutie patootie cover (thanks to Graphics From the Pond for our custom graphics)
in the binder and added the label to the spine.

I put the anchor charts that will be used throughout the unit in the front pocket until I need them.
Inside the binder pouch are all 4 books for the...

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Vegas Teacher Blogger Meetup 2015!!

The meet up that we held in Vegas last week was AMAZING!! There really isn't many other words that could describe it. Picture 1100 teachers in a room together, having fun, meeting new people, and winning lots of prizes. We were all smiling so hard that our cheeks hurt. It was a great night and we appreciate all of the many teachers and bloggers who came and had a fabulous night with us. 

First and foremost, we have to give a HUGE shout out to Teachers Pay Teachers, SDE, and GoNoodle!  These sponsors not only donated generous amounts of giveaway swag, they also helped organize and make our meet-up extraordinary!

It's safe to say that in a mix of 1,100 educators, we all appreciate staff development that is fun, engaging, and inspiring.  SDE donated several different staff development gift certificates... from online seminars to National Conference passes!

Not only did TpT host their very own conference, but they were also so generous when it came to our blogger meet-up!  Who wouldn't get excited about FIFTY TpT gift certificates??!!  That's right, FIFTY lucky winners went home with a little money to spend atTpT!  Oh, and those drink passes?  Those were from TpT as well!

I mean, what...

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Introducing our 2015 Bash Baskets #B2S2015

Friends! Get. Excited! No REALLY excited! :) If you aren't excited yet, you will be once you see the amazing sponsors that we will be hosting for giveaways this year during the Back to School Bash 2015. Check them all out below. Then be sure to join the hop beginning tomorrow so you can enter to win some of this amazingness! 

Just a few things before we begin...

Remember to look for this little guy at the bottom of each post to hop to the next giveaway. There will be 18 prizes, and you won't want to miss a single thing! 

Along with the 18 Bash Baskets, there will also be a HUGE GRAND PRIZE! And I am talking HUGE! This will all go down on Instagram beginning August 2nd. 

Now...let's check out these Bash Baskets! 

Bash Basket #1: A Better Life Bag
Bash Basket #2: Kendra Scott Jewelry Collection

Bash Basket #3: $100 Gift Card to LaRue Chic Boutique
Bash Basket #4: Reading Teepee from Tip Top TeePee Shop

Bash Basket #5: 2 $50.00 Gift Cards to Sit Spots
 {One for you & one for a friend!}
and 1 certificate to the Get Your Teach On Conference
Bash Basket #6: Three Personalized Door Decor Hangers
{from Young Love aDOORable Decor}
and one Happy Birthday Chair Cover
{from JNLsewcute}

Bash Basket...

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Guiding Readers 2nd Edition Book List

We've been getting lots of requests to share the complete book list for the Guiding Readers 2nd Edition.

You can click on the image below to download the complete list.
The book titles are clickable so if you want more information you can click on the cover of the book and it will take you to Amazon.

Happy Reading!!

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Guiding Readers: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and a FREEBIE

I realize that I'm a little late posting the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom pictures, but Katie Mense from Little Warriors shared some of these pics with me
 and they are too cute not to share!

We are so excited to see so many teachers using our Guiding Readers units.  The feedback has been phenomenal, and it makes our teacher hearts happy to hear from you!
These reading units cover all of the Reading Standards for grades K & 1.

Sequencing Pictures to retell the story.

Individual sequencing activity made into a hat!
So cute!

We want students be able to think explicitly about what is in the story,
 and to also use their critical thinking skills to go beyond the story.

On Day 4 we posed this question for our little readers to think about.

The letters kept getting hurt.  How could they solve their problem?

Kindergarten students may only be using pictures to create their meaning early in the year.
Here are a few examples:

They could use a ladder and climb up one at a time. 

2.  Throw the coconuts out of the tree so it won't be so heavy.

Each day we focus on a different strategy: Predicting, Inferring, Comparing & Contrasting, 
Retelling, and writing about our favorite part.  

This story is so fun to read...

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Get Your Teach On!: March 7, 2016 Conference

Oh my goodness, y'all! I am giddy with excitement! Have y'all heard the news? On March 7, 2016, Hope King and I will be in Orlando for a brand new conference called Get Your Teach On! 
This is sure to be unlike any early childhood/elementary conference you've attended. Hope and I will be spending the day sharing our ideas, techniques, and teacher secrets that have led to a successful classroom in grades K-3. We have tons of surprises in store along with some great breakout sessions. Here is everything you need to know: 
Classroom snapshots & a little about what you will learn: 

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Get Your Teach On!! Conference March 2016

Need a teacher pick-me- up? Looking for some of the most current research-based strategies that will light your classroom on fire? Join us in 2016 for Get Your Teach On – a one-of-a-kind experience for K-3 teachers.  You will spend a day with Deanna Jump and Hope King as they share their passion and enthusiasm for education and give you their tips, tricks, best practices, and teacher secrets to building a successful and engaging classroom. You will leave feeling empowered, motivated, and prepared to create dynamic lessons that will challenge your students and leave them hungry for more. Get Your Teach On is sure to be unlike any other educators’ conference that you will attend. Pack your favorite teacher bag, get ready for some educational magic, and join us in Orlando as you prepare to Get Your Teach On!


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Making Read Alouds Come to Life: Creepy Carrots

Teacher read alouds are just as important as giving students time to read independently.  Read alouds take the student's focus away from having to decode the words and gives students a chance to really hone in and focus on the meaning of the story.

I love it when I read a story to children, and they love it so much that they beg me to READ IT AGAIN!  
It's so important to reread books to children and give them time to:
hear you thinking aloud as you try to make sense of the story,
 fall in love with the characters and get to know them, 
 think deeply about the story and discuss it with their peers.
respond to reading through writing and drawing.

In our Guiding Readers units, we've developed a reading program that does all of the above!

Let me share some examples with you.  The following examples are from Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (October Set two)

We read part of the story and then stop to give them a chance to predict what they think will happen next.  

In kindergarten, most of the meaning will come through drawing this early in the year.
This little sweetie thinks that the carrots will get stuck in a pit.  
So she drew a picture and wrote the word, pit.

These are...

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We Are All Over Those Mean Teens

We have worked on those "mean teens" all week and the kids loved this Sparkle Reader so much. They actually stamped into a ten frame using the back of a new pencil and a red stamp pad. This was so exciting to them and they really did a great job. Stamping can put my teeth on edge if I am really being honest. I am not a big fan of red ink all over your hands, clothes, and mouth... yuck.

The big conversation was about filling the first frame completely and then moving on to the second one for the additional ones. The text in the book supported their learning and they got to trace each number, as well as "rainbow write" it. THEY LOVED THIS ACTIVITY! I think the repetition of this activity and the use of manipulatives to get them ready for this book made a huge difference. They get it. If you want this reader it comes in a set of 4. You can go to my TpT store and it is very well priced. Pick that little number up right here They are so proud of these books and I love making readers for math concepts.

I love these frames so much and they are only a dollar each at Ikea. For weeks I have tried to come up with an activity for using the bigillion extra ones I purchased but nothing came...

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What Will the Weather Be? Ask Our Meteorologist!

So we made a cloud in our classroom and the children loved putting this together. They learned how to fan fold paper which they loved doing. The results were so cute and now they are hanging in the window of our classroom.
My teaching partner Dawn made this adorable visor for the "meteorologist of the day" who gives us the daily weather report. They love it and it took her very little time to make. The visor came from Michaels and cost a dollar. It looks hilarious on our kids and they love it! Score. The weather journals are simple and another big favorite with our students. I do a guided drawing and a simple sentence under a document camera. We use twistables (crayons) which make them look so nice. The book on the right is an emergent reader that we are working on this week. It is simple but effective. I love easy stuff! 
I have been working hard on teaching my students how to work collaboratively and have been building activities for them to practice these skills. It has been challenging but the pay off has been huge and they are really doing a great job. We practice these skills frequently and they are making so much progress.
At this time of the year my students are working on...

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"Weather" You Want to Read This Or Not!

It was a busy week in my room as we opened up a unit on weather and started reviewing the seasons and weather. Try talking about the seasons when you live in southern California! We were laughing ourselves sick over this but we grounded in with lots of photographs from the internet and some great books. The biggest hit was making a child the meteorologist of the day! The kids loved this so much and we used this little number to record their thinking when they stuck their heads out the door: 

 I asked them how hot or cold it felt outside and what the sky looked like. They were so invested in answering me! We review this chart so the children have the academic vocabulary to do this. I posted these cards on a magnetic board within their reach so they can use bright round magnets to show their response!

Once our meteorologist has determined the weather we record it in our little book. I model how to draw the weather under the document camera and we write a simple sentence together. This provides an opportunity to talk about the conventions of writing. The students love this simple, little journal.
We had some much fun reading about snow and polar bears this week and the best part of...

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