Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: April 23rd - Author's Chair!

This is our Author's Chair. 
How do your students let you know they are ready to share a writing piece with the class?
Leave your ideas and comments below for us! :)

*Just a gentle reminder: Please do not post pictures of product covers or include links to products in your posts. Thank you for helping me create a "back to basics" blogging experience. :) :) :) *

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Heavy Heart

Today I am blogging and writing with a heavy heart.  Yesterday, we said goodbye to a very special blogger, a passionate TpT seller, a wonderful teacher...but more importantly, a dear friend and an amazingly kind and beautiful person.  We lost our sweet Teresa, from 2nd Grade Pig Pento some health issues she has been battling. 

Teresa blogged with us over at The Teaching Tribune.  That group is more than a collaborative blog to us. It's a group of close friends. To those of you who blog, you understand the strong friendships that form over this journey. It is this group of ladies with whom I talk with everyday. We share not only our passion for our profession but our personal lives - our families, our joys, our success and failure, and our struggles. We talk online, through emails, through texts, and through phone calls. While they are scattered all over the world and we have not all met in person yet, it has not changed the fact that they have become important friends in my life. Today, I realized I have taken for granted the fact that I can pick up my phone and talk to them within moments.  Today, our little group is filled with sadness. 

We blog to share ideas and resources with you. But if you are not a blogger, you should know that we also blog because of an incredible connection and community that forms behind the walls of posts, products, and Facebook pages.  That friendship is the ultimate reason for why we blog. It is why we put off personal needs after school, why we carve out time from our families to open the laptop and publish a post, and why we juggle the many "hats" we hold as teacher-bloggers.

I guess my point to this post is not to underestimate the friendship and the impact you have on someone - even if you've never met them. Teresa was always making me laugh with her comments. When one of us would post a new product and share it with the group, she would always tell us that she was doing her "Cha-Ching" dance and hoping it was well received in the TpT community. She loved to dance. :) She also loved to blog. When we had blog hops for The Teaching Tribune, she never hesitated to conquer her technology fears and learn right along beside us. She was proud of her products, and she poured her heart into them. 

She was, as we all call each other, our "bloggy friend."  If you could, please send up a prayer for Teresa's family. I have been praying her family finds peace, and knows that she is watching over us and dancing in Heaven. :) 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Peek At My Week Lesson Plans & Easter Pictures

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday with their families! Our weekend was filled with family!  

On Friday night, we had a girls night and went through the old family photo trunk at my grandpas.  How FUN and funny!! We laughed all night at the awful pictures of us from when we were all young.  I found this drawing that my grandma had saved. On the back, it says "Christina DeCarbo, Age 4"

People....that is talent right there.  

I spent a lot of my weekend on the patio couch, working on my Text Evidence Passages {Summer Edition}.  Come back later this week to grab a freebie passage. :) They are almost done!  Weston has been helping me. ;)

I baked my grandma's famous Peaches and Cream pies for Easter dinner. Y-U-M!

I also spent time with my beautiful mom this afternoon! 

Below are my lesson plans for the week, with links to the materials I am using.  Everything is clickable when you download the file in Google Docs.  

You can click HERE or click on the pictures below to download. 

Whew! It's going to be a busy week of opinion writing, compare and contrast essays, measurement, vocabulary studies, and of course - reading, reading, reading!

I hope you all have a fantastic week!

As always.......

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five for Friday - Our Week in Pictures!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a weekly Five for Friday! Here are some of the learning activities we did this week. :)

We finished typing out our Genius Essays this week!  They turned out GREAT!  Each student got to choose whatever topic he or she wanted to write about.  The essay had to start with a triple whammy sentence and include three paragraphs that linked back to the topic sentence.  Here are some examples of my first graders' work. We still need to work on writing "more interesting" conclusion sentences. ;)

Check out this essay all about Kalahari Water Park! (Third paragraph is a bit messed up haha, but he did a fabulous job!! Pay close attention to this kiddo's use of commas in a series - nailed it!!)  (For those of you not from Ohio...It's probably one of the coolest "Ohio" places around!) :)

 We used Amanda Nickerson's Engineering Unit to create inventions that solved everyday problems in our classroom! The problems my kiddos came up with were hilarioius! "My pencil keeps rolling off my desk." "I always lose my folder." "Our class is too loud at lunch, so we are always last for recess." "I can never find my red crayon." be in first grade again right?! Your biggest problem is not being able to find your red crayon.. :)
You can find my sweet friend Amanda's unit on TpT by clicking HERE

 We are finishing up our measuring unit on Tuesday next week.  We had some fun on Thursday with marshmallow measuring using this cute freebie I found on Pinterest.  The link to the pin can be found HERE.

 We dug into another wordless picture book this week, The Red Book by Barbara Lehman. Wow did it generate a lot of critical thinking and comprehension in my firsties! They loved it and I just LOVED the discussion and conversation that took place in my room. First, I slowly flipped through each page - without saying a word. They were not allowed to comment at first or ask questions. I just asked them to "read" the story to themselves.  Then, we went page by page and had tons of talking time together! It made this teacher very happy. :) It's a beautiful book!

You can find The Red Book on Amazon by clicking below:

I had a student last year who had an AMAZINGLY talented and crafty babysitter. She is simply awesome and super sweet.  Look at what she dropped off at school for me for Easter!! This super-sweet-babysitter sometimes reads my blog, so,
 THANK YOU!!! It completely brightened my day!! :) 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter holiday with their families.  This weekend is all about family for us. We are having a girls night tonight with my mom, aunt, and cousins. Tomorrow we are visiting my hubby's grandparents with his family for Easter dinner, and on Sunday we will be spending time with both sides of our family!  I hope you have a beautiful weekend to match this beautiful weather we will be having in Ohio! :) 

I'll be back Sunday to share this coming week's lesson plans with you. :) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Classroom Closet Organization!

"What is your best organization tip for a classroom closet?"

Share your ideas with me by commenting below! :) 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

BRIGHT Ideas for Peer Teaching!

Hi friends! I'm excited to be part of this month's Bright Ideas Link Up! 

Today, I'm sharing some easy tips and tricks to facilitate peer teaching and partner discussion in your classroom. As many of you know, oral language is on my heart this year! Getting my students to communicate effectively with one another through discussions, speaking in complete sentences, and peer to peer teaching has helped my students' writing skills, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and reading comprehension! 

There are specific ways I have designed and set up my classroom in order to promote lots of peer discussion within my room:

When students can reflect, explain, help, and TEACH a friend a piece of content, you know the child has truly mastered this skill and understands the process and thinking behind it! In my room, students teach each other important concepts and model their thinking with one another.  This is a POWERFUL teaching tool for struggling learners!

My classroom is set up in groups of two.  Students know to immediately turn and teach their partner a concept when instructed. They also know who to turn to when we discuss, explain our thinking, and coach each other throughout the day.

Having a Plan =  Maximized Instructional Time!

For each partner group, one student has a RED star on his/her name tag and the other student has a BLUE star on his/her name tag. This detail and management decision eliminates wasted time for peer discussion and allows EVERY child the opportunity to have an equal turn to talk. When I say "Red Friends! Teach your partner the attributes of a square. Teach!"
The red students immediately start to use complete sentences to teach their partners the math concept.  Then, I instruct the Blue Friends to take their turn to talk and teach.  

Specific areas of my classroom are designed for student-to-student coaching. In this area, students can often be found reading to one another, reflecting on writing pieces, coaching each other through math facts, and summarizing a story together during "Choose Your Chit Chat" time! The focus is a designated time of academic discussion among students - without the teacher leading the learning!

There is virtually no downtime in my classroom.  My students have assigned carpet spots and assigned carpet partners. (These switch periodically to ensure students have the opportunity to share ideas with a variety of peers during read alouds.) 

Students must "show" me their partner by linking hands before I begin a mini-lesson. In this way, the stage is set that peer discussion will be taking place and they need to be ready to collaborate, think, and share together! When I tell my students, "Discuss!" they immediately know who to turn to to share their ideas with.  This game plan again eliminates wasted time, makes for immensely smooth transitions, and leads to a seamless and engaging carpet time!

I hope this post gave you some ideas and ways to incorporate oral language, partner teaching, and discussion into your classroom in a smooth, efficient, and effective way! 

Thank you SO much for visiting my blog today! I would love for you to follow me for additional teaching ideas, tips, and tricks! :) 

Follow Me On:
Instagram @missdecarbo

For more bright ideas from 150 bloggers, browse the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you! Have a BRIGHT day!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Testing That Is FUN And Child-Friendly?!

Hi friends! I would love, love, love for you to click the button below and head over to the Teaching Tribune today.  

I am blogging today on the Teaching Tribune about a very important reminder for teachers - especially at this point in the school year.  I hope you'll join me!

HINT:  It is a follow-up to my Wordless Wednesday picture from yesterday. :) 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Math Manipulatives

Do you allow your students use math manipulatives during assessments???
(P.S. Check back tomorrow for a follow-up post about this picture.)

Comment below and then link up your picture with us! :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Who Said That?! Dialogue and Quotation Mark Unit for Readers & Writers!

It's Sunday evening, which means people all over the world are sad because tomorrow is Monday.  Don't get me wrong. I <3 my job, my classroom, and my kids. But I also love having time to enjoy being home and being able to spend extra time with my family.  So let's have a product giveaway to make this Sunday night a little sweeter. :) 

As many of you know, my first graders have turned into crazy writers. As in, they write all.the.time. I had to make a rule last week that they could only choose ONE piece of writing to share with the class each week; otherwise, we would be having Author's Chair for three hours a day. 

I noticed that many of my kiddos have started to include dialogue within their narratives recently. Except, they were not using it correctly - at all. They had quotation marks around every word, and one little girls' entire paragraph was a whole line of dialogue. Time for some mini lessons? I think so! :)

I created this dialogue unit for primary students, specifically, grades 1 and 2.  However, yesterday, I had a third grade teacher tell me it would work perfectly for introducing dialogue to her class, too! My kids had a lot of fun with this unit. 

Here are some pics of a few activities that we did last week:

We learned this cute little poem that I saw on Pinterest. We also brainstormed some signal words that would be more interesting than using "said" all.the.time in our writing. 

We learned all about speech bubbles and created dialogue for some fun imaginary characters! Then, we learned how to correctly write the dialogue with quotation marks and commas in the appropriate places. 

As a culminating activity, we had a Punctuation Pasta Party!! We used macaroni noodles to add quotation marks and commas to sentences in order to show dialogue.

My kids are getting really good at using dialogue correctly within their narratives now.  
Here are some preview pics of what else is included in the unit, so you can see some of the other things we did to practice this reading and writing skill:

 We also learned more about dialogue within the text and books we read. We used these passages to practice identify who was speaking within the story at various times. The passages require students to look back into the text and find the character who was speaking.  The pack also includes pages you can use with your interactive notebooks. 

This pack is available in my TpT store.  You can find it by clicking HERE

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of two free copies of this unit! The giveaway will end Tuesday at 12:00am EST.

---Addition--- Here are the winners of my little Dialogue giveaway!! Congratulations. :) 
All of your comments were GREAT and very clever!!!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway