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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Freebie and Sale

Finally, school is out and summer has begun.  Canada Day is almost here and I'm celebrating with a freebie and a sale.  Click on the picture below to grab this alphabet order game.  You could also print off two copies and make a matching game.

Click on the links below to find more Canadian resources.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study - Chapters 5 and 6 - Freebie

Welcome to the next installment of the Daily 5.  Sorry this post is late.  I can’t believe that this is my last week of school.  The countdown has begun and I think I have a million things to do between now and then.

Remember:  If you don't have the book yet, you can grab it here and catch up.

This week is Chapter 5 and Chapter 6.

Now I haven’t really done Daily 5 before so this is a huge chapter for me.  I’m already thinking in my head what the first day will be like (and I haven’t even finished this year yet.)
I really like the idea of foundation lessons and one of the first ones is “3 ways to read” a book.

I think it’s so important that children know that they don’t have to be able to read every word at the beginning.

They can

I’m going to make this into a large chart to hang in the room.  We are going to need a lot of practice in order to build up our stamina for this.
Another important lesson is

One of my favourite things to do is to go to the bookstore and look for that “just right” book. I could spend an hour or more looking at books.  I want my students to have the opportunity to pick those “just right” books without feeling rushed. The sisters use the acronym “I PICK” to help children remember how to pick that perfect book. 

I would like to find some time within the class schedule for the children to do that.  Maybe at the beginning of the day?  I have a ton of books in my class and want to spend the summer organizing them so the children can access them better.  I want them to be able to spend time looking and not feeling rushed.

Chapter 6 includes the foundation lessons for each of the Daily 5 sections.

One of the foundation lessons for Read-to-someone is EEKK!

I can definitely see my students loving this part of the program but I can also see needing a lot of modelling so that the noise level does not get out of control (that’s another lesson).  I’m hoping that this particular round will help with fluency. 

If you want any of the posters found in this post, you can find them by clicking on the pictures below.

Don’t forget to click on the links below to find more posts on Chapters 5 and 6.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Freebie

I know it's probably a bit late for this Father's Day but maybe you can put aside this little freebie for next year.  Now that report cards and IEP's are handed in (we still have 2 weeks of school left) I might actually have some time to blog.

I got these cute little jars from The Dollar Store.  They are the perfect size for the kids to fill.

I used my sticker machine to put the labels on the jar.  It's so easy to use.  If you don't have a sticker machine, just click on the picture below to grab one.  You can also use Podge, glue or tape to put the labels on the jars.

The children tried a few methods to put the peanuts in the jars.  Pouring them in, they found, was not the best method, as the peanuts ended up all over the table.  It was fun to try though.

Click on the picture below to grab this freebie.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Daily 5 Chapters 3 and 4 and Freebie

Have you been joining in our book study of the Daily 5 with my friends from Freebielicious ? If you haven't gotten your copy, you can still grab it below.  This the second edition of the book and they have made some changes and refined the program since the first book came out.

The more I read, the more excited I'm getting about trying this next year.  As you know, I was going to try this after the our book study a couple of years ago but for various reasons, I couldn't get it up and running.

Next year, my group is looking perfect for trying this new way of thinking.

This week is all about chapters 3 and 4.

Chapter 3 was all about the 10 steps to Teaching and Learning Independence.  These include:

Step 1: Identify what is to be taught.
Step 2: Set a purpose and create a sense of urgency
Step 3: Record desired behaviours on an I-Chart
Step 4: Model most-desirable behaviours
Step 5: Model least-desirable behaviours, then most-desirable
Step 6: Place students around the room
Step 7: Practice and build stamina
Step 8: Stay out of the way
Step 9: Use a quiet signal to bring students back to the gathering space
Step 10: Conduct a group check-in, "How did it go?"

Since I'm just starting out, I was most taken with the I-Charts.  Of course, the I-Charts really encompass some of the other 10 steps such as teaching the children how to find a spot in the room and building stamina.

Since I teach special education so I thought it would be important to add a picture to my charts for each of the steps.  

You can grab my charts for free by clicking on the picture below. These match the posters from last weeks post.

Chapter 4 talks about what you need to get started.  

1. The first thing is a quiet signal.  I don't really have one right now.  I was thinking about something like this:

2. A chart rack or interactive whiteboard.  I have this chart stand and I do have a Smart board.  I want to make these I-charts permanent so I will probably transfers them to chart paper to post in the room.

3. Tool, not toys.  This I will have to work on.  I need to a few thing together for those students struggling with stamina to keep them from turning to the toys.

4. Book boxes.  I just grabbed these boxes at the dollar store.  They were 2 for $1.50.  I'm not sure how long they will hold up but we will see.  They didn't have any boyish colours so I hope the boys don't mind the purple flowers.  I'm planning to put their names on the boxes and maybe their pictures.

I would have preferred solid colours like this.  Maybe next year.

5. A gathering place and focus lessons.  I'm really looking forward to doing the focus lessons.  I haven't decided on a gathering place yet.  Probably in the front of the Smart board.  

6.  I-Charts.  I talked about these up above.

7.  Classroom design.  This is something I'm still working on.  I been slowly decluttering my room and I hope to do more organizing over the summer.  I just created a little area for my books and added some stuffed animals to sit on. The children are going to read book so much more now.  I still need to organize my books though.  That will have to wait.

Thanks for reading.  Below are some more ideas for Chapters 3 and 4.  Happy reading.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ice Cream Fun

My kids just love playing with ice cream in our house center.
We even made some homemade ice cream with our Play and Freeze Ice Cream maker.  

Homemade is so delicious and it's so easy to do.  Just add the ingredients, put the lids on and roll it around. 

In honour of our ice cream day I updated my Ice Cream sight word games and bundled them.  They are half price until the weekend.

They are of course, available separately too.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Daily 5 - second edition book study and freebie

I'm so excited to be joining on the Daily 5 book study with my friends from Freebielicious.  If you haven't gotten your copy, you can grab it below.  This the second edition of the book and they have made some changes and refined the program since the first book came out.

When the first book came I was so excited.  I read it from front to back and had every intention of implementing it the following year.  Unfortunately, since I teach special ed, the class I had that year was not conducive to the program.  The children were not at a point where they could independently manage the centers and with only 7 children (and several could be gone at any given time for therapy), my enthusiasm for something great waned.

Low and behold, after I received my class list for next year, I realized that next year may be the perfect time for me to try and implement the program again.  Next year I will have 10 children and the teacher next to me will have 8.  She also wants to give it a go, so we are going combine our two classes for our literacy block to try our hand at Daily 5.  We still have special children but these children will be ready for some more intensive literacy instruction.

Chapter 1 is all about how the Daily 5 has changed and evolved over the years.  I think all teachers, well myself anyway, reflect on what they do, decide what worked and didn't work and then adjust their program accordingly.

Although I didn't do The Daily 5,  I did try my hand at some centers this year.  In looking at what I did, it was, in some ways, similar to the Daily 5 model.

This year I had sight word centers and the kids loved them.  I combined with another class so between the two of us we had 15 children.  We split the children into five groups according to their ability.  Since two classes were combined, we had two teachers available and our educational assistants (4).  

For our hour literacy block we split it into two half hour time slots.  For the first 1/2 hour, one group came to me, one group went to the other teacher and two groups went to centers.  The fifth group was our life skills group and they did sensory activities.  In the second 1/2 hour, we switched groups and the 2 that were at centers came to one of the teachers and the 2 with teachers went to centers.  The life skills group did a gross motor activity.

For the teacher groups, I did a guided reading or phonics lesson and the other teacher did writing.     

So as I got thinking, here are the things I'm doing that are the same or similar:

The children have choice:
When the children picked a center they had a choice of 10.
Some of the options were the same:
The children worked on writing with one of the teachers.
Word Work was a component of the centers.

Here are some of the differences:

Some of the options are missing:
Read to self, listen to reading and read to someone weren't touched on.
We didn't really work on this.  We just went straight to the 1/2 hour blocks.
Brain breaks and mini lessons
This something we didn't do either.

Chapter 2 focuses on core beliefs.  

These foundations are:

1. trust and respect
2. community
3. choice
4. accountability
5. brain research

This chapter really hits home because I think it's this foundation that will lead to success. Here's my thoughts:

1. Trust and respect:  I've never treated my kindergarten students as though they are 2 years old.  I've always treated them as little people.  I hate, hate, hate it when people treat my students as younger than their age.  Just because they are in a wheelchair or because mentally they may be working at a younger age level (often times they are not, people assume wrong), does not mean that they need to be treated that way.  They are not babies.  I have always felt that if you treat kids with respect and at the level you expect them to be then they will step up to the plate and trust you.

2. Community:  Is so important.  Children who trust and respect each other can work together and accomplish so much more. 

3. Choice:  My students did so much more when they were given a choice about the centers they went to.  It shows them that I trust them.

4. Accountability:  Self-reliance is the key word in our curriculum and I think that is such a important step to becoming independent.

5. Brain Research:  I think this type of research has to be the basis of what we do.  Working within proven parameters with only make teaching easier for us.

In the end, my students are usually only with me for one year before they are integrated back into their home schools.  That means I have one year to prepare them for the "big" world.  One year to teach them the skills and independence to cope in a larger class with less support.

I think the Daily 5 will be the perfect start.

Since I'm just starting out I made this posters for the different choices.  You can pick them up for free by clicking on the picture below.

Don't forget to follow along with the book study each week.

You can also find more great posts on chapters 1 and 2 by clicking on the links below.