Saturday, March 29, 2014

Photos from Camp Read a Lot

My students went to Camp Read a Lot again this year!  
I'm packing this post with photos.
If you want to read more about Camp Read a Lot, you can visit my previous posts (which can be found in my sidebar under Camp Read a Lot).  I host Camp Read a Lot in March, but it also makes a fun end of the year activity.

Welcome to Camp Read a Lot!

Parent volunteers work at the registration desk on the first day of camp.

one of our teepees and one of our campfires (outside the room)

Keepin' it simple with 3 rules.
I only have 3 for my classroom as well (be kind, work hard, have fun).

The campfire in our meeting area.

Camping Graph (pieces included in my Camp Read a Lot pack)

Campfire Stories

one of our camp crafts

Each day of camp we had lots of letters (from parents and staff).

Campfire cupcakes
Seriously, how cute are these? 
My parents ROCK!

Read Under the Stars (one of the daily themes for camp)

The resources I use for Camp Read a Lot and more ideas about the crafts, daily themes, literacy activities and a list of books that I use are included in my Camp Read a Lot pack.

Camp Read a Lot was a huge success again this year!
And...this camp director is glad she pulled off another week at camp.
It was so worth it!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lucky Day and Road Signs

Seriously, I never win anything just by "luck".  I only win things like races against my 8 year old or bets with my husband.  But, last week I WON!  I WON!  I WON!

Remember when Jennifer, from First Grade Blue Skies, had the Jo Tote giveaway?


I WON!!!  For real, I won!
Can you tell that I'm still jumping up and down?
I received an email one morning last week that said I won.
It was real. I picked out my Jo Tote camera bag online.
And then very special delivery.
That's what the box said - love it!
I picked the pewter color because I like my camera bag to match everything.
Seriously, it's so fancy!  It has dividers inside for my lenses
and the cords (even the ones that I have no idea what to do with).
I love it!

Lucky, lucky, lucky!
Thank you, Jennifer!
Thank you, Jo Totes!
I LOVE my stylish new camera bag!
I might just stick my ipad in it (plenty of space for that)
and take it to school tomorrow!

Now, on to the road signs.  If you've visited recently, you know that my school is celebrating March is Reading Month with an informational text theme.  The name of our theme is Information Highway and we have weekly themes as well (food, music, exercise and animals).

My principal had these amazing signs made to hang all over the building to help us get the kids pumped about our road trip!  I just took pictures of a few on my way down the hall the other day.

And here are the reading graphs to track our minutes by grade level. 
I work in a K - 2 building (plus we have Young 5's). 
Each grade level has it's own road.
The vehicle on each road moves up the wall 
as the students bring in their reading logs. 

Here are some of the resources we are using for our Information Highway theme.

I'm off to bed so I can be ready to take on Monday!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to Writing: A Peek into Kindergarten

We finished week two of our journey on the Information Highway at my school!  Our whole school is doing an Information Highway Theme (to focus on informational text) for March is Reading Month.   You can read about my food themed week post here.

Lots of the teachers are using resources from my Information Highway product.

My post about week 2 will be ready soon, but today I'm sharing a peek at the how to writing that the kindergarten classroom across the hall did during our food themed week (which was our first week).

My friend, Nicole, is an amazing kindergarten teacher! She is truly a kind person and constantly impresses me with her dedication. Nicole works across the hall from me and was nice enough to share how her class used some of the resources I made to help them do a how to writing project.  The description and the photos below are from Nicole's kindergarten classroom. I only labeled them "Funky First Grade Fun" to protect the photos.

Day 1 -
-We read and discussed numerous books about pizza, discussed how to make pizza and looked at recipe books. 
-We talked about our favorite ingredients to put on pizza and made a class anchor chart of our ideas. We called it our Class Grocery List.  We listed our ideas and spent time talking about making a grocery list, instead of writing in complete sentences.
- After we made our Class Grocery List, I explained to the kids that I wanted them to think about their own personal favorite ingredients.  Then the students made an individual grocery list of the ingredients that they would need to make their own personal pizza.

*Sundance/Newbridge has a great level C book called Making Pizza.

Day 2 - We discussed the grocery list and talked about the fact that once you have all the ingredients to make something you need a recipe to know how to make it.  I reminded the students to focus on explaining how to make a pizza to their reader . We reviewed the steps whole group and then talked about that the next step would be to add their own toppings, so their writing would be their own. The students filled out the graphic organizer sheet from the Information Highway pack to help the students focus on first, then, next and last.

Day 3- We used the information from each section of the graphic organizer to write complete sentences about each step. The students also drew a picture of each step.

Later in the day we played a math game.  First they had to total the amount of ingredients that the had on their grocery list. They then played a penny, nickel exchange game to earn the ingredients to make their own real personal pizza. The students had to roll a die labeled with the numbers 1,2 and 3. Once they got 5 pennies, they exchanged the 5 pennies for a nickel. The students had to earn 1 nickel for each ingredient. Once they earned their ingredients they were able to make their own personal pizza by following the How to Make a Pizza directions they wrote themselves.

*Since Nicole is awesome, she purchased all the ingredients from their Class Grocery List anchor chart so the children would have all their favorite ingredients to make their own pizzas.

It was so much fun to hear the excitement in the little kindergarten voices as they told me about their writing project!  Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your week and your photos! As always, you rock!  So proud to call you my friend and so lucky to work with you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Close Reading, Text Based Evidence & Finally a Crafty Activity!

Last week, we did a close reading using the book below during reader's workshop. It's from the Scholastic What Grows In Our Garden garden pack.

Throughout the week, we also gathered text based evidence from lots of other books about why fruits and vegetables are good for us to eat. Here are a few other books from the same pack I mentioned above (with a little bit of "evidence" that students gathered stuck to the front).

Food was the weekly theme for our March is Reading Month theme, which focuses on informational text.  We're traveling on the Information Highway...with a different theme each week. You can find the resources that we're using for this month long unit in my Information Highway unit.

Here are some of the nonfiction books I gathered for us to use during our food week.

We collected text based evidence about why fruits and veggies are good for us during our close reading and in small groups with different books from our collection. We added the evidence to an anchor chart throughout the week.  I included the resource and the page number in a different color under each "fact".

In between all these snowy/icy/whenarewereallygonnahavea5dayweek days, we finally had time to do an art project!  Ta da!
(front view + writing on the back)

The parts and pieces (minus the bag) can be found in the product below if you're interested.  The writing page + the resources sheet to put on the back of the bag are also included.

My students were also super excited to practice their how to writing skills by writing about how to make a food of their choice.  I'm so proud of the progress they have made in writing!  We've been revisiting how to writing throughout the year.  I really wanted them to use first, then, next and last in their how to writing. In the past, I've had to guide them through the process, but this time they were able to go through the process independently...which makes my heart sing! (The pages for our graphic organizers and the writing are included in my Information Highway unit.)

Here is a student sample... 

This weeks theme is music.  Makes me feel like dancin' reading!

Monday, March 3, 2014


It's time for our roadtrip on the Information Highway!  
We're traveling on an informational text themed adventure for March.

Our whole building is focusing on specific themes
for informational text each week.  

Passport Registration

I have a crazy amount of leveled books in my classroom.  I do mean CrAzY, but they all get used on a daily basis.  I have bins full of fiction and nonfiction books at each level for students to use throughout the day.  I also have a Nonfiction Book Nook full of just leveled informational texts. I created this separate area full of nonfiction books just to make sure my students have extra exposure to informational text.  The books in the Nonfiction Book Nook are organized by category (but are also leveled to help students choose just right books).  As you can see, the bins for some categories are super full and other bins have so few books in them that you can barely see them in each bin.

Nonfiction Book Nook Shelf

You can find the labels that I made for the bins in my Nonfiction Book Nook here.
The labels are available to download free at the bottom of that old post.

I'll be posting more adventures from our trip on the Information Highway over the next few weeks.

Then...we'll finish off March with Camp Read a Lot!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2 Movies + Not So Instant + Last One

2 Movies - that's how many I watched in 2013.  The funniest part is that I can't remember the name of either.  Ha! And here I am watching the Oscars.  I've never heard of most of the movies, but everyone sure looks fancy.   I know I'm not the only person in America who only watches 2 or 3 movies a year, because I'm married to the other one.  There's probably only two of us I'm assuming. ??

Now for the not so instant...I FINALLY set myself up with an Instagram thingy.  It's only been a few days, but I kinda love it already!  I'd love it if you'd check out my pics/follow me/visit by clicking on the image below and/or on the tiny camera in my sidebar.

And the most exciting news is that 
I'm not so patiently waiting for a new blog design!  
It's coming soon and I'm sure that the long list that I'm on 
is due to the fact that the designer is so talented.
This is BIG for me...
since I tend to be one of those people 
who doesn't easily agree to rearrange the furniture 
or attempt a new hairdo.  
But, when I'm ready...
I've been known to cut off 6 inches of my hair
 or sell all the furniture and start over with a bang. 
No need to chop my hair or sell my couch this time though. 
That counts for being spontaneous if you're me...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Currently it's March (and that means birthday madness)!'s March. It's time for Currently and the beginning of birthday madness at our house! 
Thank you, Farley (Oh Boy 4th Grade for hosting this great party each month!  
I do love to catch up with everyone's business.

Detroit news - depressing all the way from the forecast to the murders

I love Saturday mornings with no early commitments.  And I'm grateful that our king size bed is big enough for 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 doodles.

I will go to the gym today.  I will go to the gym today.  I will go to they gym today.

In between my husband's basketball game and my son's soccer game, I need to plan/purchase party favors for the the family birthdays, get groceries, go to the bank and work on report cards...oh and the gym.  I CAN DO THIS!

Fresh highlights are on the list for next weekend in between my kid's birthdays (which are two days apart).  Have I mentioned how much I love my kids for suggesting on their own that they should have their parties TOGETHER this year (just like they did when they were little)? They are still little, but for the past few years they have wanted their own parties (fine).  The fact that they wanted a party together this year is AMAZING and easy. YAHOO!  One big happy celebration (one being the key word there).  Then on to my husband + twin's birthday later in March to round out March birthday madness!

Dt. Dew, breakfast and my brush...I'll leave you in suspense.

Please head over to visit Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade - she has a new design and she hosts this awesome party - double excitement!