Saturday, January 31, 2015

Spark Student Motivation Saturday! DRA Reading Certificates!

For the past few years Robyn and I always sent a note home with parents to let them know their child's DRA score. We test for reading scores in the fall, winter, and spring, so the levels are constantly moving. When sending a note or email home to parents, we did learn that they needed more information than just a number. We created these adorable certificates and not only did we love them, but the students and parents did too! I finally had the time to bundle them together and make them TPT worthy, so check them out here!

Since I am showing off these beauties, I wanted to link up with my BBB, Joanne, for her Spark Student Motivation linky! We've been giving these out in class and making a huge deal for the students when they receive the awards. Joanne is the queen of motivation and taught me the power of flickering the lights on and off in a previous post. So I tried it and BAM...eyes lit up, ohhs and ahhs were heard all around, and loud claps and cheers filled the room. Could that be any more motivating for a student? What is even better, are the emails from parents telling me how excited their child was to show them the certificate. The parents are always thankful for the update and for knowing their child's capabilities as a reader. 

This B&W (printer friendly) bundle covers all DRA levels from 2-70. I also made the certificates specific for boys and girls. The clip art is adorable, and copied on colored paper they look awesome! I know they motivate my students and believe it or not the helpful information included at the bottom motivates parents to spend more time reading with their children to see and test out the strategies.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More on Guided Reading! (A flurry of pictures!)

I know I promised to blog about what goes on during guided reading...well I finally got around to take pictures today. My class has successfully mastered all of the stations going on in my classroom and because of this, I am starting to see an improvement in fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar! So exciting. 

Sorry this is blurry, but it is updated daily. My four groups rotate randomly and every morning, the students run into the room to see where they will be.  So here are the four stations that were completed today. I only take 1 or 2 groups per day, so students will usually hit each station at least once a week.

My students absolutely LOVE the fluency center. It is certainly the most popular for a few reasons. 
1) They get to use the fun little whisper phones. 
2) They get to evaluate a partner on their fluency. 
3) They get to use a little timer to time themselves reading. 
Doesn't that sound fun? Have you seen the freebie for the fluency station recording sheet? If not, click here and grab it for whatever you can use it on! :)

I purchased the fluency cards from TPT in Teaching with a Mountain View's store. They are GREAT! I also put them into 4X6 photo albums from the Dollar Tree. It was easier than laminating and works out perfect for this center! 

The next station everyone wants to be at is the guided reading table. Of course they want to read with me. They love showing off their skills of the new strategies we've been learning in the classroom. I have been using Reading A to Z to download, print, and assemble guided reading books on student group levels. It's actually amazing! The website gives a whole CCSS aligned lesson for each book. You can search by book title, strategy to be taught, and there are even pared (fiction and nonfiction) texts available!

Our spelling center is great for phonemic awareness, word sorts, analogies, and grammar. It is meaningful work that has really made a difference in their spelling. 

 Our independent reading station focuses on WOW words. Each student has an alphabox sheet. They get to sit in comfy chairs around the room, independently read, and record wonderful vocabulary words they come across in the graphic organizer. I know this is working because I've seen these words show up again in their daily writing and speech!

When I rotate to different stations, I will be sure to take more pictures and blog again.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year Resolution: Meal Planning! Getting organized at home and school!

I am not ashamed to say it, I am on Weight Watchers and have been for a few months. Having two kids in two years, really threw my body out of sync. I lost my first 20 pounds right away, but unfortunately due to life in the past month (see last two blog posts), I've gained some back. I cannot will not let that happen again. I am starting this new year off with a plan. I started working on my plan tonight and my two favorite WW friendly websites gave me some great inspiration.

I am printing out my menu and hanging it on the fridge. If you'd like to take a closer look, click on the picture above, or here to download the menu. Let me know if you like this idea. I will upload them monthly! :) I only planned one meal per weekend because let's face can get in the way, there could be left overs, or chances are we will be eating at the my in-law's or parent's house over the weekend, which means... no cooking for me, SCORE!

I am trying to fit in fresh fish at least once a week. I do have two toddlers and they will be eating all of the above with us. Will they like it? Who knows. I'm not going to stress over it. I know this is a healthy choice for my family. But, just in case, I will have plenty of fruit, yogurt, and Nutella (peanut allergy for my daughter) sandwiches ready to go. 

Check out these websites for healthy inspiration!

I have three goals for 2015. 

1) Plan out meals in advance. (I will be doing this monthly and don't mind posting!)
By doing this, I will not have to ask myself the stressful question on the drive home, "What are we going to eat tonight?" I will be able to shop for the week on Sunday (except for the fresh fish night) knowing what meals will be coming up. 

2) Take at least 10,000 steps per day. I love my Fitbit, but I am returning my Force and waiting for the ChargeHR. Sadly, I won't be able to measure this goal until the new Fitbit comes in, but I will make myself walk daily. 

3) Drink more water. I know being a teacher we have to schedule our bathroom breaks, but I really cannot let that be an excuse anymore. I have to drink at least three 32oz water bottles a day and if heavy exercising (zumba) drink more!

Anyone else on Weight Watchers or doing some sort of healthy eating resolution?