Thursday, November 15, 2012

Figurative Language Through Songs

I'M BACK!!!!  Well it's finally happened.  Mr. S and I got married on November 2, so that officially makes me Mrs. S!!!  SO excited but it is bitter sweet.  Loved the wedding and the planning was exhausting fun but it is nice to be back to my regular schedule of craziness from the classroom.  And believe me... it's crazy!

While I was away from bloggingland things were still going on in the classroom that I wanted to share, so expect lots of posts as a way of catch up, lol.  We recently finished up our unit on Figurative Language and this is one of my favorites!  My absolute favorite lesson from this unit is Figurative Language through songs.  Now I usually do this activity at the very end of the unit as a review and I know I'm posting in the wrong order but I just can't help it!

Activity Breakdown:

My students pull out their Figurative Language notes and make sure they have them handy through this whole activity.  I tell the students that I will play a song, as the song is going they are walking around the room.  They can't follow a friend or stalk a seat, just roam.  When the music stops they need to sit in the seat immediately near them, no running across the room to get a spot.  (I know that this is a Kagan Structure but for the life of me I can't think of the name and my book is at school)  On each pair of desks is one white board, expo marker, and rag (partners share this set of materials).  Even when they are sitting they still do not know who they are working with until I call out "shoulder partner" or "face partner."  This is a very helpful hint so the students don't jump the gun and begin or leave someone out before I have given my directions or hints (like how many types of figurative language are in the song).

Once I tell them who their partner is I restart the song they were listening to as they were walking and put the lyrics to the song up on the projector.  As a team they have to figure out which figurative language is being used and justify their answer by giving me the lyrics.  They write their answer/s (most of the songs have more than one) on the white board and I give them a silent nod or shake.  If it's correct then they put their board face down and enjoy the rest of the song but most songs have more than one so they keep on looking.  If it is wrong, they erase and try again.  When the song is over or everyone has found all the answers we go over it and erase the boards and set up for the next song.  I begin the next song and they push in their chairs and begin the walk and the process repeats itself.

My kids absolutely LOVE this activity and rave about it!  It always ends up being one of their favorites at the end of the year.  Anything to get them up and moving!  Now finding songs was a little more difficult than I anticipated and a lot of them were not necessarily appropriate.  So, for your sanity here is my list of nine songs that I used:
  1. Eight Days a Week by The Beatles
  2. Love Me Like a Rock by Paul Simon
  3. My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
  4. It Ends Tonight by All American Rejects
  5. Splish Splash by Bobby Darin
  6. The Way Your Do the Things You Do by The Temptations
  7. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
  8. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams
  9. You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
I'm sure there are many more and if you find any please comment and add them below!  There is not just one answer for any song except Splish Splash (onomatopoeia) and if you check back after Saturday I will post all the answer possibilities if you would like them :o)

I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we do!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CAFE in the Classroom

As I stated in my Daily 3 post, in the intermediate grades this structure looks different than the sisters write about in their book (then again, it could just be me!).  Once (maybe twice) a week, usually on Tuesday, I introduce the CAFE strategy of the week.  We discuss it as a whole class, how we have used it before, how we can use it with our novels we are reading and across the curriculum, and why it is important.  Each student has the following four pages in their Reading folder and we fill it out all together.  We also create a card together to put up on our CAFE board!  I ask the students to come up with visuals that would help them remember and we draw them on our card and the student's draw them in their strategy box.  Once we fill in the strategy and why it is important, I have the students write what it means to them and when they are finished they turn to their shoulder partner or face partner and "teach" the strategy and explain what it means to them.  I do this for multiple reasons: it helps me to figure out who "gets" the strategy and who still needs help, reinforces what was just taught, and it is another way for students to view the strategy.  I love them having their own copy of the CAFE board close at hand.  It helps them decide which personal goal they want to work on and if they happen to forget, then it is right there for them to look back on and remember what worked for them.  If you click on the pictures below you can grab a free copy of the organizers!


We are currently working on a novel study, so every week the students will apply what strategy we are working on with our book and their own books they are reading.  Our county has implemented the Comprehension Tool Kit this year and the CAFE strategies go hand in hand with this series!  I love it!  I don't really have any specific way that I choose which strategies to work on and when.  I just look at our lesson plans and figure out which one will fit cohesively or one that I am noticing we need help with.  How do you run CAFE in your class?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily 3 and CAFE in full swing!

Only 17 more days and I will have a large portion of my time back and devoted to teaching!  As excited as I am to be getting married, this planning and putting together is taking up A LOT of my time and this poor blog has fallen by the wayside.  I feel like all my posts have been starting with the same apology lately but its true!  I promise, once I'm a Mrs. I will be posting more frequently :o)

Now on to the real topic, Daily 3 and CAFE!  I started implementing the Daily 3 in my classroom at the beginning of this year and the kids are very independent with it now and I LOVE IT!  They know what is expected of them, their options, and how guided reading works during the sessions and how they need to be independent learners and thinkers.  I have noticed lately (and it's an all the time thing, not just during the Daily 3) that my students are becoming more chatty...  I know, you're thinking, "That can't be!?"  Well it is, so we are going to have to have another meeting where we review our I-chart and have some people give me examples of the correct behavior and incorrect behavior.  I know this seems silly for the intermediate grades, but believe me, it's effective!

Here is how it runs in my class:
  • Read to Self
    • Every student is working on their personal stamina goal
  • Word Work
    • Spelling
    • Vocabulary
    • Grammar
    • Phonics
    • Boggle
    • Classroom Journals
  • Writing Connection
    • Literature Response Journals (one due every two weeks - they have a rubric taped inside their journals)
    • Response Prompts
    • Blogs (haven't moved into this yet but we will)
I designate anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour for Daily 3/Guided Reading Groups.  I'll be the first to admit, it's not perfect and I can't always get the scheduling to be what I want with everything we have to do but when we do it, they've got it :o).  I usually work with my guided reading groups for 20 minutes each and give the Daily 3 about 25-30 minutes during each session so they can have meaningful and in depth learning.  I can't expect them to use the strategies I teach them if I don't give them the chance!  When I am not doing a GRG I am walking around and conferring with students independently.

I am currently doing a 3 day workshop for Daily 5 through our county and even though it is geared more towards primary she spoke about implementing the Daily 5 in intermediate classrooms and how it would look differently and be introduced differently.  For example, I wouldn't teach the 3 ways to read a book, I would teach them text features, strategies, etc.  One thing she did say (and helped me feel like I was on the right track) was that intermediate grades would not get to all 5 in a day and our sessions should be about 30 minutes each.  It is going to look a lot different than primary, especially when incorporating read alouds and literature circles.  It's always nice when someone who has been trained and knows what they are talking about tells you, "You are doing exactly what you should be doing!"  Makes a girl feel all tingly inside ;o)

Tomorrow I will post all about CAFE in my classroom and attach the documents my students use to help them remember it all :o)  If you have any links to Daily 5 in the intermediate grades please post below!  I could still use all the help I can get, lol.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Notice When You Lose Your Way

Does anyone else feel as if this is week 27 as opposed to week 7 of school?  It might just be our school but I have honestly never felt this stressed and slammed before, add in trying to plan a wedding... HA!  Needless to say, blogging has sadly been put on the back burner (even though my mind has still been going a million miles a minute with ideas).

We continue our journey through the Comprehension Tool Kit with the mini-lesson: Notice When You Lose Your Way.  The kids were so funny with this one!  You should have seen their eyes when they realized that myself and other students felt the same way they did sometimes and we all lose our way while reading.  We made this anchor chart of reasons why we lose our way and how we can fix it when it happens.  Not necessarily how to fix that specific problem but the problem in general.

We followed this up by reading a scientific article (because that is when I lose my way, lol!) and read a chunk at a time and used three different strategies that we came up with from the chart above.  Also a great way to show the students that reading is cross curricular.  I continually refer back to this chart and it has a place of honor on our wall so students can always refer to it when necessary.  I am finding, as with most things, that the more I refer to the anchor chart the more they talk about it while they read.  During our guided reading groups they are the first to admit when they've lost their way and which strategy would be the best to fix it, without my support!  Loving it!!! 


Monday, September 17, 2012

My 50's Housewife Bridal Shower

I know, I know... it's not educational but darn it it was FUN!  (And it falls under the title category of "life's other joys")  This theme was chosen because I am an old soul and my whole life I was told I was born in the wrong decade.  My fiance also was apparently born in the wrong decade as well because when we first met he had this whole "50's housewife" mentality.  Don't worry, a few bad meals and wrinkled shirts later he learned real quick that while I loved that era, there was no way that was me (poor guy).  So this is a nice nod to all that.  Luckily, today we are celebrating our three year anniversary together and gettin' hitched in less than two months!

To the right is a picture of me (in the middle) and my wonderful maids of honor who have been my rocks for the past five-six years.  They went above and beyond with this shower and I loved every minute of it!  I'm telling you what, there is no way I could have survived back then.  The amount of time it took just to look like that was forever!  No wonder the women had to stay home!

Everyone showed up in aprons and pearls and we played some fun trivia (both 50's and bridal) games: Price is Right 50's Style, Sabra and Spencer go together like... and you had to match up famous pairs/couples, a bridal poem where you passed it around and never knew who it would land on, and the ultimate Do You Know the Bride?  My mom won that one!

Here are some more amazing pictures from the day!

The super cute invites and recipe card!

Welcome table! The favors are mason jars full of 50's candy and there were envelopes out for people to put their addresses on them so I could send them Thank You cards. Included in the invitation was a recipe card to fill out and bring to the new bride, so people dropped them in the box when they arrived.
So many wonderful gifts!!! I got amazing personalized items to use for the wedding day, a beautiful clutch with one of our engagement photos printed on the fabric inside, a "Good housewife kit" and "How to keep your Hubby happy kit."  Even Mr. S got a few surprises sprinkled in there!  People were so stinking cute and creative I wish I could give them all shout outs!
One of my bridesmaids made these AMAZING cupcakes that look like mini-pies!
 The whole spread! There was bottled Coke with red and white stripped paper straws, pigs in a blanket, a big cheese ball and crackers, cheese puffs, Rice Krispie treats, finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, fruit and dip, chocolate chip cookies, punch, cupcakes, chips and salsa and so much more!

Words of wisdom from "The Good Wife's Guide" article in Housekeeping Monthly: May 13, 1955.  If you have not seen this before it is hysterical!  A must to look up and read!

Me and my new maid Maud! A wonderful gift from my future mother-in-law.  She is made up entirely of house hold items that will come in handy!
I had an amazing time and could not have asked for anything better!  It flew by so quickly and I just love looking at all the photos over and over and remembering everything.  If this is what happens for just my shower, y'all might lose me for a little while when my wedding photos come back!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First desk note of the year!

One of my favorite things to do to students is write them notes on their desk!  Usually it is a, "We missed you!" or "Welcome back," but occasionally when they leave a mess I like to leave the rant note, lol.  So this is the first one of the year!

Now this little darling has left all of this in his desk...  You might be saying, "Well it's his desk and he's a little messy.  So?"  NOPE!  In fifth grade they do not have desks since they switch classes.  Their backpacks are their desk and he shares this desk with 3 people.  So occasionally the desk fairy comes around and if it looks like a natural disaster in there I'll pull it all out for them to sort through and leave a little note.

If you have never left a note on their desk you should!  It is hysterical to watch their reactions when they come in in the morning and see that you wrote on the desk.  All you have to do is use an Expo marker for the writing utensil and TA DA!  It easily wipes off with a tissue but if you still have some smudges a baby wipe or Clorox wipe gets it all off.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Comprehension Toolkit and a Feature!

First things first... the fun stuff!  Today Dana from Fun in 1st Grade is featuring my blog on her New Blogger Tuesday section!  I am very honored that she has given me this opportunity, especially since I have found so many new blogs through this post.  Head on over there and check her out!

Now onto the educational (but still fun) stuff.  This year our county has implemented Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis' Comprehension Toolkit.  I have used it a few times in the past and really liked it but this year we will be doing a new lesson each week.  I still use CAFE but I do that mini-lesson during our novel study.

Last week's lesson was Monitoring Comprehension: Follow Your Inner Conversation.  They do provide you with picture books for some of the lessons which is really nice except that they are the same picture books for third through fifth grade so that by the time they get to me, most of them have heard it.  Since a good amount of my kids had already read that book, I chose another one: Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.  I love this book for multiple reasons and it works great with this lesson!

It's about a little girl who is having trouble in school, how her peers treat her and how she overcomes it.  It has a nice twist to the ending and a good life lesson, especially for the beginning of the year.  This is one of my favorite lessons because I love to watch the kids who are incredibly verbal try to hold it all in and write it down as opposed to shouting it out.  They scribble furiously across their sticky notes and never seem to have enough, lol.  At the end of the lesson when we discuss what we all wrote and share it with our shoulder partners they are always the first to say, "THAT'S WHAT I WROTE TOO!!!!"

The kids love getting to use the sticky notes during our novel study and use them to reference back when they are writing in their literature response journals.  If your school does not have the Comprehension Toolkit I highly suggest that you invest or write a grant for it, definitely worth it so far!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Social Studies Interactive Notebook: Set Up/Sensory Figure

All summer long I have been researching interactive notebooks and a lot of people use them for math and science, which I love!  Except I don't teach math or science...  So my next best idea was social studies :o)  Now I have all good intentions of keeping this going and squeezing social studies into our reading block as much as possible but let's call it what it is, it's not always easy.  Our textbooks are a little outdated so a lot of the info we are compiling here is from a whole host of resources.

For those of you who are unsure of what an interactive notebook is, it is a notebook (composition, spiral, or even a binder - whatever you choose) that allows students to be independent and creative writers and thinkers.  Each notebook is specific to each teacher and there are many different ways to set it up. Take a look at some of these great websites for more ideas!


I set mine up where the left side is for learning and the right side is for the student's response or reflection.  I know this is pretty backward from what most others do, but I'm too OCD and like things left to right how we learn them, lol, and the matching letters (L-L and R-R) seem to help my students remember.  On the left side is where my students write notes, vocabulary, video notes, fill in printed off guides, glue in foldables that we create in class, basic questions, etc.  The right side I use as their reflections.  I'm starting off by telling them which activity to do on the right side but with their own input and ideas.  As the year continues and they become more familiar with the different types of activities for the reflections, I will let them pick their own.  Here are some websites with great right side ideas!


I use this activity table and have even added a few more!  I cannot remember where I found this, during one of my many Google searches, but if anyone knows the creator please let me know so I can thank them profusely and give them credit!  If you click the picture below it will take you to six pages of wonderful activities. :o)

The first day I introduced the notebook the students and I created the Table of Contents and numbered pages 1-5.  I didn't want kids to get too comfortable with the numbering and go ahead without me, so I'm taking it a chunk at a time.

Our first page in our SSIN was a Personal Sensory Figure.  A Sensory Figure is one of the right side activities where students draw a character from a story or a historical figure and then write down what they sense: feel (can do actual touch and emotion), smell, see, hear, taste, and even something they have done/accomplished.  The example I used with my kids was Harriet Tubman: she can smell the damp earth when  hiding in the basements of homes on the underground railroad, she feels hope for the future, she hears peoples cries and concerns and wants to help them, etc.  This is a great way for students to show you that they truly understand their historical figure or character.  For the beginning of the year I thought they could each draw a personal sensory figure because who do they know better than themselves?!   Here is my personal sensory figure (don't judge the drawing, lol)!

There is the beginning of my SSIN!  I will be posting all the pages and creations as I go so if you have any ideas to help along the way I would LOVE to hear them.  As you can tell from the Table of Contents we have already begun our Geography Unit.  Those pages will be coming soon but next up is European Explorers!


Friday, August 24, 2012

My Vistaprint creations came in today!!!

I am obsessed with Vistaprint!  I think this is my third order since the end of July, lol.  They keep emailing and I keep buying :o)  I love stalking scouting out other blogs to find new ideas also!


I made this super cute "while you were out" slip for students to take around with them to their other classes and write down the work an absent student is missing and when it is due.  It was just a note pad and I tweaked all the wording!  The note pad is a pretty good size and should last me the whole year.

Our weekly Name that State homework stays in a paper bag suitcase that we create in class, so I put these labels in their planner every week so parents know what the student's scores were.

Whenever we have parent conferences they always seem to ask, "What is their lexile?"  or "Are they reading where they should be?"  Since we take the SRI test three times this year I got a couple sheets of these labels for their planners.

This might be my all time favorite!  I found this idea on the blog Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge and fell in love.  It is a magnet for students to use at home on the fridge and put up their good work.  I came up with this poem and found a background design on Vistaprint that matched.  I know it's a little pink but the boys will live! LOL  As our first test grades and projects are getting passed back I will attached them with a paper clip to their great scores.  It doesn't necessarily need to be a 100, just what is good for them specifically.  I got 25 for free, then after I confirmed my order they offered a, "You can add extra items to your order in the next 10 minutes, no extra shipping!"  It's usually just more of the stuff you just bought but for a discount, so I got another 25 magnets for $5 and they just added it on to my order, no extra for shipping.

My very first piece of Sanjurjo stuff!  In case you're wondering, "WHAT is Sanjurjo stuff?" It's my new last name!  These are thank you cards and will def come in handy for the upcoming holidays.
These are just a few things I made up for our wedding :o)  The first is a door hanger for the hotel rooms that will go in the Welcome Bags.  Just imagine a hole punched out in the top ;o)

We have kind of a rustic theme, hence getting married at a ranch, and are getting married under a tree, so I made these return address labels to use on our thank you cards.  They look much prettier without the gray smudge though!
There you have it!  My newest creations, lol.  I have many more here on the blog under the Vistaprint link and I'm sure will be adding many more as the year continues :o)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hallway Bulletin Boards

So I just realized that I forgot to add in my outside bulletin boards to my classroom tour!  Lol, oops!

I work in an area where not all of my students will be able to afford to go to college.  Instead of them asking themselves, "Will I go to college?"  I want them to ask themselves, "Which college will I go to?"  These are the four major public schools in our state and we plan on putting photos of famous alumni from those colleges (including their wonderful teachers!) in the blank space beneath each pennants.

In Florida we have a program called Sunshine State Readers and this is our "brag" board for the entire 5th grade.  Whenever a student, or teacher, reads all 15 Sunshine State books, they will take a picture with their favorite book and we'll put it in the middle of a sun with their names on them and place it on the "brag" board!

Here are my reading bulletin boards!  I'm in love with the Reading Olympics one :o)  I am obsessed whenever the Olympics come on so I knew I had to incorporate them into my classroom somehow, so I used it for our Think 30  board.  Whenever a student reads 10 books I will put their name on a star and place it in the bronze medal area.  Same goes for 20 books in the silver category and 30 books for the gold!  The other side is a tracker for my two reading groups to see how many/which Sunshine State books they have read thus far.

Bulletin boards are a favorite of mine and I love stalking everyone else's to find new ideas.  If you have any great ones let me know!  I hope you enjoy our hallway!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Open House Room Tour 2012-2013

Tonight was our open house and we had a great turn out!  I already love my kiddos and their quirkiness (they'll fit right in, lol) and my parents seem like they will be very involved and helpful.  I'll keep the writing down to a minimum since this will be very picture heavy but I will try and explain what you're seeing in each picture.  I'll start from right to left, going around the room.  Let the tour begin!

When you walk in and turn to the right you see our cubbies (which I need to clean and organize) and the crafty clipboards I've been making to display the student's work.

This is our back wall with a Social Studies bulletin board and working table.

Our classroom management system is called Paws-itive Behavior and this is our rewards chart with the rules and what not underneath.  The kids place a sticker every week that they earn a "Green" week.  Two green weeks earn you a reward and the more rewards you earn the better they get!

I kept up my prefix/suffix board from last year and just moved one of my bookshelves underneath.

Our Types of Questions chart and Vocabulary and Spelling posters next to our Word Work station.

Our Word Work station for our Daily 3.  It has the Boggle Board, Classroom Journals, and a file crate of other Word Work activities.

The side wall and reading area.

Our reading area with the Focus Strip, strategy posters, and our CAFE board.  I taped on sheet protectors to the Focus Strip panels so I can slip in paper that says the skill we are working on.

Corner and front of room.

My guided reading table and "Desk-shelf."  That large white bookshelf is essentially my desk.  It has my binders of info, Teacher Toolbox (Gator version for my man, since he bought me the box and all, lol) my weekly organizing trays and guided reading baskets.

Our front wall and side wall of cabinets.

My Classroom Rules poster with the yard stick frame... LOVE IT!

If you thought, "Wow.  It looks like a bag of Skittles threw up in there," then my mission is accomplished! HAHA!  I can't wait to tour the other teacher's room and see all my other bloggy friend's classrooms.  I love getting new ideas and seeing other people's creativity.  I hope you all have a wonderful beginning of the school year and your Open House goes as well as mine did.