August 27, 2012

Reader's, Writer's, and Spelling Binders

Hi everyone! I know I've mentioned the student binders I've been working on in the past. Well, I finally got one set put together yesterday!

And I'm linking up with my fabulous friend Tara for her famous...
So. I am trying something a bit different this year and I'm using two binders.

One will be for our Reader's and Writer's Workshops, plus Spelling...
(Math, Science, and Social Studies will be in a separate binder...I won't be introducing those to my class until the second week of school, so more on that soon!)

Back to these binders! So, last year, I had a Reader's and Writer's Workshop binder and I really loved it. It was the perfect place to store Reader's Responses, anchor charts we created together, graphic organizers, etc.

I wanted to add Spelling to the mix as well, since there is so much overlap among the three subjects.

I also divided three subjects among two binders so I could have more sections! One thing I learned from last year was the more sections I had set up, the easier it was for my students to really organize their resources. And here are the sections...

For Reader's Workshop we have the following tabs:
  • Reader's  For notes, anchor charts, anything from our mini-lessons.
  • Responses  For our Reader's Response questions.
  • Records  To keep track of books read in class.

For Writer's Workshop, we have two sections:
  • Writer's  For notes, anchor charts, anything from our mini-lessons.
  • Notebook For student writing pieces. I like the idea of having an actual notebook in Writer's Workshop, but I also use a TON of graphic organizers, so I ultimately prefer the binder setup.

And for Spelling:
  • Spelling  For notes and spelling work for the week.
  • List To store and keep track of our spelling list. I've grown weary of lost lists each week!!
  • Resources This section is the very last one for a reason. As I mentioned last evening, I'm looking to store word features and patterns discussed during spelling, so that student can utilize them with their writing. I'm hoping to add not only spelling resources, but also Reader's and Writer's Workshop resources for the students in this back section.
I have a lot more to share about these binders, but it's kind of hard without seeing them without the actual work inside them! So I will definitely be blogging more about them once school has begun.

Oooo...one more thing! I also have gotten a (tiny) bit carried away with the numbering system this year, thanks to Tara and Teri! I can't stop numbering things!! It has made getting my room ready SO much easier this summer.

I even numbered these binder covers, 'cause I like how it looks with the design. Plus I don't have to wait for a final class list. If you would like to download a set, please click on the image below:
Do you use binders with your class? Or notebooks or folders? Or a combination of them? I would love to read about your favorite set up!
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August 26, 2012

Word Pattern Playlists and some news

Hi guys! I'm stopping by to share a free file this evening and I really hope it's something you can use! 

So. I've been working on my students' binders (more to come on those, very soon). But I had to stop, middle of binder-setup, to work on this...
(The awesome clipart is designed by the fabulous Ginger, from Ginger Snaps!).

I know I've shared a bunch of different word-collection resources in the past...Word Detectives, Word Wizards, Word Rock...

(Ok, now I feel kind of boring looking at my file names!)

These have all worked well for my students over the years, but I wanted something a bit different than a book this year...since we'll be storing these words in our binders. I also wanted something that would be appealing to my 5th grade class.

Oh yes, that's the news I had to share with you.

So...you know how I work with ELL newcomers in a magnet class? And I teach a 4th/5th grade multi-age? Well, things are going to be a bit different this year!

I will be teaching a 5th grade class that is half newcomer ELL students, half mainstream 5th graders (I'm certified in both areas and have taught mainstream 5th in the past). As my good friend and colleague said, it's kind of an international class (are you reading this Louise???). 

I'm beyond excited about it and have been prepping things like a madwoman all week. Hence the lack of blogging.

Ok, back to the file.

It could be used with younger grades, like so...
...with students writing a basic spelling pattern and list of words with this pattern.

And with older students in this fashion...
....with students focusing on a sound and its variations in spelling, then categorizing the words.

We will store these sheets in the Reference section of our binders and I'm hoping they will be used as a resource during Writer's Workshop, in addition to our spelling lessons.

If you would like to download this file, please click here: Word Pattern Playlists.
 
I know that so many of my bloggy friends are back at school and I hope it is going well!! Our students start back on Wednesday, eek! I look forward  to catching up with you soon :)
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August 14, 2012

Editable lined paper for CRAFT Board

Hi everyone! Well, my sister and I are away on vacation and it's been lovely. Of course we brought our laptops like good little bloggers (but both promising not to work too much!). 

I'm sure you've heard of Couch to 5K...well today it was our "Blogging to Mountain top" day! As in hiking and man, are we tired! I guess we've been on our computers a bit too much lately...

Anyhow, back to the teacherly things. I wanted to drop by and share the editable lined paper to coordinate with the CRAFT Board

This is available in a Powerpoint file. All you will need to do is click on the Text Box feature...
Then just type your strategies right over the lines... 
This will allow you to customize the strategies and match them up with the board.

If you would like to download the file, please click on the green link below...
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August 13, 2012

Tutorial: Creating a link to your blog on TpT


Hi everyone! I had a request from a very sweet reader to make a tutorial about a direct link to your blog, from your TpT profile. It's a pretty quick process and it can be added into the "Personal Quote" section on TpT. Here are the steps...

1. Edit your profile and head to the Personal Quote section...



2. Type in the quote/message you would like, then type the following code:
3. Once you save this code in your profile, it will appear as a live link on your store front page in TpT...

And that's it! I know a lot of seasoned TpT sellers know how to do this, but I hope it can be of some help to anyone new starting out (like me!). Thanks so much for stopping by! :)
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August 12, 2012

Tutorial: Organizing fonts on a Mac

Hi again everyone! I'm back for a second time to share a quick little tutorial. Before I do that, I want to say a huge thanks to all of the lovely bloggers who stopped by to visit my sister's new blog--you are the best!!!

So, this is something I've been asked about a few times and I'm hoping it will be of some help to some of the other font-crazed teachers out there!

It's actually very easy to create a new folder to organize your fonts on a Mac...here are the steps:

1. Install a new font (or just head to your Font Book):
2. To the left, you will see a menu of previously made folders for fonts. At the very bottom, in the gray bar, you will see a plus sign:
3. Click on the plus sign and create a name for your new folder (called a Collection here):
4. Once you name this new collection, click and drag any fonts from the right to your new folder. I called mine "Design Fonts" and head to this folder always when making a printable...it saves me tons of time (instead of scrolling through endless fonts I don't really use!):
I'm sorry I don't have this information for PC users--does anyone have advice to share in that regard? I'd love to hear it if so! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your evening!
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My baby sis has a blog!

Well, I have to tell you, it took a loooong time of me pleading and trying to convince my sister to start a blog. You know, my contact-papering, co-classroom-decorating, bff sister? 

Well, now she finally has one and I am so proud of her!

She's adores fashion (in case you couldn't guess by the blog name!) and teaching. If you have a chance, I know she would LOVE to meet you--she knows so many of you already from my endless blog talk! 

If you'd like to say hello, the link to her blog is below...

Thanks for stopping by...I may be cheating and posting again later this evening--you'll let it slide this one time right?? I have a little tutorial to share :)
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August 10, 2012

An updated free file and a new store!

Happy Friday!! I'm sharing an updated free file this evening. I've had some very nice requests to add some additional numbers to the files I shared in my Reading Drawers post. After reading how large some of the class sizes are, how I could I say no?? So, I hope these can be of use to some of you.

This file is now updated in my Teachers Notebook Shop and...

also in my new TpT store! I followed the advice of a very esteemed blog friend and opened one earlier this week. It's slowly gaining printables and this file was my first freebie shared in the store! 

These buttons will take you directly to the file, for easy downloading...

Thank you for stopping by! :)
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August 9, 2012

Must-Haves for Reader's & Writer's Workshop!

Hi! I am linking up with Lindsay from My Life as a Third Grade Teacher for her first linky party (and it's a good one!)...
This is something I love to think about--and talk about! And make things for! 

Here are some of the most important materials I need for my students in both workshops... 

A classroom library featuring a wide selection of reading.

Since I teach newcomer ELL students in grades 4 and 5, I really need a variety of texts to reach all learners in my classroom...from those just learning to read for the first time to the students reading closer to grade level.
I like to have several different options for my students. So we have a leveled section, a genre section, and a section of books sorted by subject (nonfiction topics, such as "marine life" and "sports").

Storage for Reading Materials

I know I just talked about our Reading Drawers the other day, so I won't go on about them again. I'm really looking forward to using them this year!
 
 Reading Strategies on Display

Long before I was working with an actual Reader's Workshop model, I was reading and practicing away at the wonderful strategies in The CAFE Book. Since then, I've been tweaking and adapting it a bit to fit the needs of my students and to work within our Reader's Workshop. Having those reading strategies visible makes such a difference!
 
Space for Anchor Charts
 
Ok, it would probably make more sense to say the anchor charts themselves, but I don't have any yet since school hasn't started. I save a huge bulletin board space in my classroom for our anchor charts (this goes for Writer's Workshop as well).
 
Comfortable Reading Nooks

I was really fortunate to have received a huge carpet featuring the flags of the world from Donors Choose. It is the center of the classroom and a favorite place to read.

I also like to have a couple of small carpets and pillows in different areas, so the students can have space throughout the room when reading independently.

(Those pillows have pretty much had it but I am in love with my new brightly-colored chevron carpets!!! Thanks Alisha and Ginger!!)

Reader's and Writer's Binders

We use these binders are for our Reader's Responses, writing pieces, reading logs, graphic organizers, and more. For me, these are some of the most important tools for both workshops.

I'm in the process of setting these up as we speak (well, we're not really talking but you know what I mean!). Last year, I used separate binders for the two workshops, but I am merging them into one binder for this year's class.
I'm working on some additional sections for them this year--more to come on that later! 

And that's about it! What are some of your must-haves for Reader's and Writer's Workshop? Thanks Lindsay, for a wonderful linky party!!
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August 6, 2012

Goodbye book bags...hello reading drawers!

Hey everyone! I am linking up with Tara for her awesome and inspiring...
My Monday Made It was something I've been thinking about for awhile now--since the end of last school year in fact!

You see, though I loved our book bags for Reader's Workshop in the past, they were getting old and worn.

And they were just hard to store!

I tried some of those sticky hooks on the wall, but they would eventually fall off in the humidity. I tried lining them up on some shelves, but they just looked too messy. In the end, we draped them over the chairs in our classroom. This was ok, but they were dragging on the floor. And starting to look pretty dirty.

So I started thinking about my ideal storage in the classroom...the storage that works best for me as a teacher. And how this could maybe work for the students too. And it came down to those lovely, clean Sterilite drawers.

I use them for my files. Hold on, I may have a recent picture...
(ok, so that's the back of them, but you get the idea!). I've had them for years now and they work so well for books, games, any teaching materials I need to keep sorted.

So I thought, why not use something similar for my students' reading materials? They could store their books and reading journals, pull them out for Reader's Workshop, then put them away all tidy at the end of workshop. We even tried out a few of my old drawers at the end of the school year. The kids loved them and told me I must use them next year! So cute.
The only thing I was worried about were those larger pictures books that may not fit in the drawers...since the ones I have for my files are for 8.5 by 11 inch paper.

Well, it took me awhile, but I finally stumbled upon a solution...
Those extra-wide drawers designed to hold scrapbook paper!! I thought these would be the best to hold many different-sized books. 

One thing to note...the drawers have a little catch on the side, to prevent them from falling out. Most come out easily anyhow, but if some catch as you slide it, you just have to lightly push on the plastic side of the drawer (they're flexible) and it slides right out.

So, we'll be using these drawers to store our independent reading books, reading journals, sticky notes (not those fancy ones you see in the picture, those are MINE!), and a couple of pens/pencils. 
That way everything will be together and ready to go for Reader's Workshop! The drawer can be taken out of the unit and to my students' favorite reading spots in the room.

And put away all nicely after...no more dragging off the chair, dirty book bags.

Oh, and I almost forgot (thank you to a friendly reader!) I will be using these in addition to the chair pockets I already made. The chair pockets are smaller and meant to hold a book or two that my students will need at a moment's notice, any time during the day, while at their tables. These drawers are meant for Reader's Workshop specifically and can hold all of the needed materials.
The Made part in this Monday excitement lies in the labels. I am completely on a numbering craze this summer--thanks to everything I have learned from my blog friends! So easy...no waiting for a class list, just numbered and ready to go! And that's what I did for my reading drawers today :)

And I would love to share the file with you, my wonderful readers! If you'd like to use it, the numbers fit nicely on these wide storage drawers

They could also be used other ways (labeling reading materials, book boxes). I would love to hear what you would use them for, if you'd like to download them. You can download them by clicking on the image below...
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August 5, 2012

Updated CRAFT Board with Strategies

I have to say first and foremost, I am sorry it has taken so long to post the CRAFT Strategies! I wanted to take the summertime to go through my school's Reader's Workshop model, as well as some other professional resources before I shared the list I would use for my class this year. 

And, while I do have a list of strategies to start the year, I know I'll be adding to it as time goes and I get to know my new class (since my ELL newcomer classes are so different each year!). Of course you know I will come right here to share any updated strategies I might use! :)
So...I have the following files to share...
  • Some new CRAFT Headers to go with my classroom color scheme (as shown in the photo above).
  • A definition of CRAFT. I wanted a visual to go along with the CRAFT Headers...and this is what my students and I talked about last spring, in regards to the acronym.  (This sign is also available in white with black font, in case you'd like to save some ink).
  • The strategies for CRAFT for this school year...one example is below.
  • Lined paper to match each header and handwrite the strategies (if you'd like an editable version to type on, please let me know and I will share that next!)
And here's a breakdown of what I have for strategies:
  • The strategies I use for Comprehension, Accuracy, and Fluency are the ones I learned from The CAFE Book, so they are not included in this file...I am sharing the strategies I am using with my class for the other parts of CRAFT--The R and T!
  • The strategies under Text Elements focus on various features of text, with a heavy emphasis on nonfiction literature--since that is a major unit within the Reader's and Writer's Workshop model my district uses.
  •  The strategies under Response to Text are two-fold:
1. Some strategies are meant for response questions I give to my students.

My class uses Reading Binders and a variety of Reader's Response questions. We do a ton of whole-class work on these various response questions throughout the year...
Eventually, students choose from a list of questions for a response topic--to fit a particular book they are reading. This not only allows my students to select a question based on their knowledge of the story they are reading, but also allows them to choose a question they can handle based on their level of English proficiency.
2. Other strategies under Response to Text are meant for my students' reading journals.

This is going to be a little new for me. A couple of times each week (when students are not responding to a Reader's Response question) the class will respond in a composition book, with a letter to the teacher style of response. I did this a loooong time ago when I was a new teacher, but would like to get back to it now that I am accustomed to our Reader's Workshop model (don't you love heading into the second year of something that was new?!).

The strategies for both of these parts of the CRAFT Board are at the end of the packet...there are four pages of various strategies...

And that's it for now! I have a lot to start the year with, so I am pretty excited to use CRAFT from the very beginning! As I said before, I will be sure to update this packet with any additional strategies I use with my students. To download the packet (it is free) please click on the preview below (it will take you to my shop--I've heard some concerning things about Google Docs changing lately?!?!). I hope this can be of use! :)
This file is intended for personal use only. Please do not distribute. Thank you!
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