Friday, December 6, 2013

December Currently

Happy December! I'm freezing!

One year when I was little, we made "reindeer food" at school - oatmeal oats and glitter in a ziploc bag. That year on Christmas Eve, my older brother took me out onto the lawn to sprinkle reindeer food on the snow. We did that for many years, even when the idea of Santa was long gone. :) I've incorporated reindeer food into my school Christmas parties as a station, but it takes like 2 seconds to make so it isn't an ideal activity! :)

I've been on a blogging hiatus for a while now, which makes me sad. I have a sort of challenging class this year... the biggest in the school at 18 students (NOT complaining, don't get me wrong!), some increeeedibly rowdy boys, a couple of students who have needs that I'm having a hard time meeting all by myself.... I don't know, it's just been a pretty exhausting year so far!

Hopefully I can take some pictures and get back on the train. I haven't even read a blog in months... I can't adjust to a lack of Google Reader in my life... sigh!! Haha!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Publishing Student Writing

In my first/second grade classroom, I have been using the Portland Public Schools writing curriculum for the past two years. I have found it to be really effective! The lessons are thorough and cover writing strategies and grammar concepts in a developmentally appropriate way.

At the end of each unit of writing, we have a celebration where I type up their stories and we share them with partners, Author Groups, or whole-group. This has become a really exciting and important day in my students' writing lives. But it has been a struggle for me!

I have always wanted to type their stories into books, but I never knew an easy way to do it. I would type them on Word, trying to make mini-books and just guessing where the middle of the sheet of paper was. Today, though, I found an easy way - and I want to share it with you in case you do this, too!

{Disclaimer: I have a Mac, but I use Office. I'm guessing that Office has the same features regardless of computer, but I don't know for sure... so if it doesn't work on a Windows computer, I am sorry!!}

First, go to File and Page Setup. You should get to a screen that looks like this.
Choose 5.5x8.5 for your paper size and landscape for your orientation. This will give you a perfect half sheet to type your stories on!

Then type, type, type away. Save your stories as a PDF and open the PDF in Preview. Go to print them.

Where it says "Preview", change it to "Layout" and then choose 2 pages per sheet.

Print the stories and cut them on your school paper cutter at the 5.5" mark. Staple them and make an adorable little book!

We're all looking forward to celebrating our author status tomorrow! Let me know if this is any help to you or if anything is unclear! :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fluency Assessments

Hi friends!

Quick question for you, but first a bit of background.

At my school, I'm not required to do any assessments of any kind at the first/second grade level. We have standardized ITBS tests that start in third grade, but that's it. I don't have any expectations to assess my students, and I don't have any resources with which to assess them. I've mentioned before that I use a 100% unleveled reading program... every first grader reads the same story at the same time regardless of ability or interest level. So I have a rough idea of reading levels in my classroom but nothing documented.

However... I want to assess. I want to assess my students on their rates of fluency to start with. I do have one question for you though:

Do you assess rates of fluency at the students' actual instructional reading level? Or at their grade level?

I've heard it both ways. So I'm just wondering!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Back to School Tomorrow!

Well, tomorrow is our first day back from break! As much as I loved the time off, and it does feel like it flew by, I am pretty excited to see my kiddos tomorrow! Here's why:
  • We are going to be starting a new unit in writing - how-to books! I am so excited to get them started with nonfiction writing. I think they are going to be amazing.
  • We're also relaunching Daily Five. I never got to Word Work or Listen to Reading at the beginning of the year, and I think we need a refresher on everything. :)

While I was on break, I mostly chilled and spent time with family and friends. But just tonight I returned from a super fun weekend in New York visiting a friend!
That was the view from my friend's apartment's sun terrace. So awesome! I love the city.

I know you probably are not super excited about school starting tomorrow... but what is pumping you up for a new semester?
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