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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Daily Writing Prompts

Going back to good ole' TBT, we have chosen to continue working on writing. Our kiddos have the basics down, but now they need to be able to write on their own. We decided to go with a VERY
guided daily writing prompt. Included on each page to begin with was a DOL or a sentence starter. After the first go around we decided the kiddos needed more room to write, so we got rid of the DOLs and sentence starters. Now, their imaginations can really run wild! I have noticed SUCH an increase in the student's writing abilities, it's not even funny. I will admit, I am NOT a strong writing teacher, but working with my team, and creating these prompts has really made me reflect on my own writing, and using a more diverse set of vocabulary! 

The kiddos are now eager to write, and understand how to use their ideas, and turn them into sentences. They can also write a few sentences that go together! This is big news for first graders! I am so excited about my budding authors, and how much they have grown!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

First Grade Language and Grammar

You know those AWESOME no prep packs that some of the TPT greats make? I decided to give it a go! I am also working on a math pack right now, which is proving to be a bit more challenging. BUT! I did make a 10 page first grade grammar/phonics/language pack! First grade grammar skills are HARD for our kiddos. Identifying adjectives is tough for my kiddos, and I have some smart cookies in my class this year.
To help my kiddos perfect their knowledge of nouns, verbs, adjectives, long vowels, magic E, and other basic first grade skills that we have learned this year, I went ahead and made this fun spring inspired pack. Teachers can pick and choose what they would like to use in order to help their kiddo's practice these important skills!
Sentence structure is the most challenging skill for me to teach, so the more practice my kiddos have with parts of speech, the more exciting, and hopefully organized writing the kiddos will have! How do you teach grammar? How do you lace it with phonics and language skills?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lesson Plans

As someone who insists on everything being just so, it took me
forever a while to figure out how I wanted my lesson plans to look. I went from writing them for the day on an excel spreadsheet
(including the schedule, goals, supplies, etc), to breaking them down more. I found that while I was planning it was easier, and more fluid, to plan for each subject at once. That way I could easily build on each lesson from the previous day without having to flip flop back and forth between tabs. This is how I do my lesson plans now:  

I am able to easily see the plans for the whole week for one subject. I just list my CCSS on the right, and then the goal next to it. I am able to type my procedures/activity in the middle, and include an assessment. I have these plans for reading, writing, math, and word work. This seriously makes it SO easy to see what I am doing each day for the subject, and how the lessons build upon each other. 
How do you lesson plan?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

100 Days of School

Maybe I'm a little late, but maybe I'm REALLY early! Lets look at it that way. I went ahead and put some finishing touches on a pack that I made for my class earlier this year. It's all about the 100th day of school. This is not typically something that I would celebrate, but I got really into it, and my kids had a BLAST! I did too! I had three parents in the room helping out, and that was really awesome. I love having parents involved in our class!

So this pack consists of 5 stations. Two math, one reading, one word work, and one writing. My kiddos showed me some great progress with filling in a 100s chart, they were so surprised that it was so easy to add up to 100!

And finding 100 words around the classroom was no easy feat, until the kiddos all realized that each compound word is actually three words in one! Those 100 words sheets filled up pretty fast once they realized that!
There is so much more fun stuff in the pack! I'm already really excited to celebrate next year! How do you celebrate with your kiddos?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Daily DOLs

If you're a teacher in Ohio, then you know what TBT's are, if you're not a teacher in Ohio, maybe you think I'm talking about Throw Back Thursday. Sadly, I'm talking about teacher based teams. For this cycle of TBT my team and I decided to focus on writing, making standards L 1.1, 1.2, and 1.4. Our kiddos were struggling with almost every aspect of basic writing. We were asking ourselves, what's a capital? What's a punctuation mark? You mean question marks mean something? Well my friends, we have answered all of those questions! One of this rounds cycles was completing a daily DOL, and a daily dictation sentence, and through these two basic daily activities, we have seen SO much growth! I am so excited to assess my kiddos on Monday and turn in my data! Here is an example of a DOL:

 All the kids do is find the errors, fix 'em, and rewrite! Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! And we. love. it. Now the next part was also essential in our success. In addition to the DOL we also do a dictation sentence. If you don't do dictation sentences, you should start now. They are a fantastic way to practice writing conventions, as well as any phonics pattern you are working on! For example, if you were working on Bossy R Blends, or specifically AR, your sentence could be, "Will white marble will sparkle if you scrub it hard?" There are THREE AR words in that sentence! There is also a question mark! You can tailor dictation sentences to your needs! Here is what the dictation page looks like for us:
What is COPS you ask? I'm glad you did! C stands for Capitalization, O is for Organization, P is for Punctuation, and S is for Spelling. I choose a STAR writer who comes up and shares their first sentence, we check their COPS as a class, and then that person gets a clap from the class and moves their clip up to keep it a positive thing! Sometimes I even pass out red pens for all the kiddos to fix up their sentence. When they have found all the mistakes that they made, they rewrite on the bottom lines. Sometimes I will walk around with a smelly marker to put stars on students work that did a fantastic job! 
I currently have TWO DOL packs in my TpT Store! I will put them into a bundle if anyone is interested! :)
How do you help your kiddos become better writers?
Happy Day!