Monday, September 2, 2013

September's Currently plus Daily 5 Talk

I can't believe it's September already...

I've been cleaning non-stop today ever since I couldn't find the bottom of my boys' closet (the older two share a room). I need to get out. My boys have been asking me to go to the pool one last time. We were one of two families there yesterday! I'm just waiting for the younger two to wake up.     Ah....nap time! 

This weather couldn't be better, but I'd much rather enjoy it on a day off like today (not while I am stuck in school).

I've had my sights set on a reading specialist job recently. It didn't pan out. Yes, I'm a little disappointed, but I'm also thinking that things happen (or don't happen) for a reason. I am not going to give up, and I am perfectly content with where I am this year. My class is great, and I'm excited to do all my favorite first grade things.

I want a maid. With three little kids, this doesn't need any explanation!

I really need to sign up for this 5K race. I'm doing it...after this post!

I started Insanity (these workouts are truly insane). The dred factor is high! My brother looks fantastic from doing these, and that motivates me. I'm going through it, this time "for real". I am on Day 3 today. 

This year, I am a mentor, and it's keeping me on my toes. Last week, I had my plans done on Wed. night so I could sit with my "mentee" and discuss my plans. Yes, it's a bit of a pain to get them done this early, but it's so worth it! 

I need to keep in simple and enjoy the little things in life...enough said about that. 

O.k., so I tried to make "visual" lesson plans for Mrs. Wills Kindergarten's weekly Peek at my Week linky. I am so computer illiterate. I don't know if she uses a table, or excel? I use a Mac, so my options are making a table in Pages or using Numbers (have no clue about Numbers). Oh, well...eventually.

Last week was the first week of school for me, and I started introducing The Daily 5. I've used this for years, but it wasn't after my Daily 5/CAFE online grade class that I started using it the "right" way. Last year, during my class, I restarted everything, and it made such a difference! 

So far, I've introduced 3 Ways to Read a Book (using books used for shared reading), T-Chart for "Read to Self, the lesson on "Good Fit" books (using shoes). We started building stamina on Wed., and we got up to 7 minutes by Friday. You can find a free stamina meter/stopwatch on Smart Exchange (it's awesome). 

This week, I plan to introduce Work on Writing next (according to "The Sisters" this is the new sequence). The students can choose to work at the Writing Station table or at their seats. They will each have a journal, they can use the writing prompt menus (see my store at TPT here)
and monthly word cards and word charts. If they work at their seats, they will already have a copy of the Writing Prompt menu and September word chart in their writing folders. If they sit at the table, they can find copies of them there. Eventually, I will add a class book (and change this often) and letter writing paper. But, for now, it will kept simple. 

"The Sisters" suggest offering student choice after they've had practice with these first two dailies. Their reasoning it that it's much easier to practice choosing between two dailies than 5. It also builds motivation early on. I'm so glad I just read that, as I was ready to lug out my plan board (to be used until they were used to where to go). Last year, I finally relinquished control over their choices, and when I did, it was amazing. The kids were SO motivated to choose. Yes, I "recommended" dailies at time, but overall, they made fitting choices. 

Later in the week, I will introduce Read to Someone. The order the dailies are introduced, after Work on Writing, doesn't matter. 

I am assessing students' independent reading levels as they practice Read to Self, and guided reading levels will be assessed after that. 

I am really excited to see how my students do with getting to choose this early in the year!!!

During Writing Workshop, we've launched the workshop by learning routines, listening to books about writers (just like them), learning to choose topics and to sketch/label/write-stretching all sounds heard. This week, we will continue working on this, and move our writing topics to be about us. The Personal Narrative unit is coming up next, but these routines/procedures must be in place first. 

Spelling instruction is in its beginning stages. I gave and scored the Primary Spelling Inventory (for Words Their Way), and we are learning our 6 Word Work routines (whole group). We've learned how we get a sort introduced and how to cut and sort. This week, we will learn the rest (Sort and Write, Meet with Teacher, Buddy Sort, Sort and Glue). Anybody else use Words Their Way? I'd love other ideas on games/activities! 

Math is straight EDM, but this year I'm incorporating Math Workshop in the 2nd half of the math hour. We just started with Monster Squeeze, Penny Dice Toss and using counting books. This week, Bunny Hop and Top It will be added. This is my 2nd year using EDM, so I don't consider myself an expert. If you have any math workshop ideas, please send them my way. 

And, I can't end without saying how much the students and I are enjoying Whole Brain Teaching! I thought I'd give it a try this year, and I am so happy with it. I love the "Class, Yes", the rules are fantastic (they really don't argue when I say they aren't making me happy), the Scoreboard is motivating and we love the "Mirrors". This week, I'm introducing the Super Improvers Wall. 

O.k., that's enough out of me for now. Have a super week!!!


  1. Good luck with Insanity. I have the new T25 by Shaun T, but I haven't started it yet. My friend is doing P90X and a few other things and she's looking good so I know it's possible!

  2. Found your blog by linking up to this month's currently. I'm your newest follower! Things always happen for a reason! Something better for you is coming. I'm trying to get my team to plan on Wednesday so we can run copies and what not Thursday and actually have the weekend for our families. We'll see if this pans out.
    Elementary Expedition URL

  3. I just finished my reading testing this week. I was assessing students during Read to Self too! :)

    The Teaching Twosome

  4. Hi,
    Found you through the Currently, love your blog design. I looked a the insanity introduction!! Good luck to you!! I'm going to stick with my 2 mile run for now! Have a great year.
    Ms. Jones’ Junction

  5. Hurry and sign up for that 5k! You can do it! I am no role model for running. I run, but I haven't fallen in love with it like many of my friends. I have a love-hate relationship with running. :/

    I haven't tackled the visual lesson plans either!

    Glad you are enjoying your students and WBT. Hope you have a great school year. :)

    Read With Me ABC

  6. I've seen the infomercial for Insanity and always wondered if it actually worked! It looks like a great program. Good luck!!