Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Peek at the Week Linky Party

Well everyone it is finally the first day of FALL! If you have read some of posts you will find that I love fall! Pumpkin Spice sure is in the air at my house. How about yours?

Here's to another Peek at the Week with Mrs. Laffin!

1) I have a celebration from last week that I would like to share before I start with this week's activities. If you read last week's post you know that I tried the first signpost from the book "Notice and Note". Well I have to say that it was a total success in my class. Students were find the contrasts and contradictions in the excerpts I gave them like pros. Then when they asked themselves the anchor question "Why is the character acting this way?" they made wonderful inferences about the character! Go Mrs. Shepherd's Class! :)

2) We will be begin to learn about character traits and how to analyze the character this week. I have chosen to use the book "Black Cowboy, Wild Horses" by Julius Lester. This book is about a man named Bob Lemmons and he is  "famous for his ability to track wild horses. He rides his horse, Warrior, picks up the trail of mustangs, then runs with them day and night until they accept his presence"(Scholastic). It has a great story line, examples of splendid figurative language, excellent sentence structure, and beautiful pictures. We are going to use the text to analyze the character. Students will create a T-Chart in their reader's notebook. On one side they will put the text and on the other they will write the character trait they inferred from the text. In addition to using this for reading, I am also going to use this book during writer's workshop. I plan on taking one of the sentences from the book and using it as a mentor sentence. I am going to model my lesson after the ladies over at Dandelions and Dragonflies. When I read about mentor sentences I knew it was something that I wanted to try.

3)The last plan for the week is to recover from this awful cold I've had all last week and to get all my graduate school readings done!!!!

Thanks for stopping by! I do love comments and new followers! :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Peek at the Week Linky Party

# 1: I'm finally going to try the first signpost from the book "Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading". The first signpost is called "Contrasts and Contradictions". Students will read and as they read if they notice the character is doing something that is different from how they normally act or different from how they expect them to act, then they will stop and ask themselves the signpost question(every signpost has a question to help the students think) which is "Why is the character doing that?".

I am going to use the sample lesson from the book which uses the book "Thank You Ma'am". As a follow up we will read an excerpt from "The Watson's are Going to Birmingham." I'll blog on how it goes. I think it will be something totally different than what my students are used to but I think it's going to get them critically thinking! Wish me good luck.

I made these anchor charts to go along with the signposts! They are super cute! I can't wait to use them. Click the photo to take you to the product!

# 2: I received a grant last year for Social Studies Weekly. I got them in over the summer and have been dying to use them. Since the 4th grade social studies standards focus on North Carolina we really only have the text book to teach with but I'm not a fan of the text book. So we started the first newspaper last Thursday and the kids really seemed to like them. I think this will make learning about North Carolina more exciting. They have one main story in the middle and lots of little side articles. We are gonna try to get through the rest of week 1 and week 2 this week!

# 3: I plan on continuing my first "Word Nerd" vocabulary cycle this week. We are going to practice our words using a vocabulary rap, a counting dude/bragging dude activity, and we are going to look deep into our crystal ball to predict the meaning of our crystal ball words. Also we will be using our vocabulary lanyards all day, every day to practice our words!!! :) I love being a Word Nerd!! I will add pictures to show you all these activities! 

Hope everyone else has a fantastic week! 

I love comments and new bloggy friends! :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Five for Friday Linky Party

I know it's saturday but that's ok! I still want to share about my week with you. 

# 1

Graduate School is taking over my life and I haven't had time to blog in the last two weeks which is why I'm blogging twice today! But I will say that I have been learning so much and I get so excited every week when I am reading and learning. I also getting super pumped to try new ideas with my students. 

# 2

I officially started my 1st vocabulary cycle with my students this week. I read the book "Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary" this past summer and got my inspiration from it. I absolutely love this book and approach to vocabulary. So far my students seem very engaged in the vocabulary activities. It has taken much longer than I anticipated to introduce the words but I think once the students get used to it things will go quicker. If you want more information on this book, this blogger had a book study on it this summer. 

# 3
I started my own TPT store two weeks ago and just made another product. Come check out my new product and store! I am pumped to use these task cards with my math group. I have been trying out Daily Math this year and plan on using them during my "Math with Someone" time. I love Daily Math as much as I love Daily 5. So if you have been nervous to jump into Daily Math just take a leap of faith and try it. You will get great results. I don't know how I managed to get by before without it!

# 4
We started to work on making observations in writer's workshop on Friday and my students were really getting into it. They were walking around the room smelling, touching, and listening to objects and people all around the room. I loved seeing them working with their partner to describe things around the room. I got this idea from the book "Notebook Know-How" by Aimee Buckner. It's great for setting up writer's notebooks and getting students interested in writing. Another book I'm beginning to pull lessons from is called "Study Driven". I have to read it for grad school and it is changing the way I look at writing. It says you should teach writing from an inquiry stance. And so far I am trying to do that with my students and implement what I'm reading into my classroom. For example: for students to be able to revise a paper they first need a vision. But they can't have a vision without good intentions and passion! Wow that's deep! If only I knew this when I was in school! Maybe I would have liked writing more!

# 5
Lastly, I did this AMAZING activity on the first day of school. But I have just now added the pictures to my computer. We had a "Book Tasting"!!!!!!! It was so much fun! We asked our media coordinator to help us out and she went over and beyond what we expected. She got table cloths, genre signs, cookies, and hot chocolate. The kids spent about 3-4 minutes at each table to "taste" a book. It really exposed them to all the different genres and gave them an idea of what books they want to read this year. I would strongly suggest doing this to introduce the different genres. My students loved it!

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend!

Thanks for tuning in this week! I love comments and new followers!!

Classroom Reveal 2013-2014 (Safari Theme)

So I am just now posting these pictures and we have been in school for three weeks now. But running behind seems to be my life story lately. I have just started graduate school and it is definitely taking a toll on me.

I still have my safari theme this year but I have made quite a few things using powerpoint over the summer. I felt like my class needed a face lift. Also I decided to take the big leap and get rid of my teacher desk AND my students' desks. It has been the greatest decision I have made. I love not having my desk. I have so much more room for my students to read around the room. It has also made me stay organized.

Now, for the kids. I LOVE not having paper falling out of desks. I LOVE the desks not getting separated and turning a different way than I originally put them. Plus I feel like my students are very organized because of this big move. They have a cubby and their book baskets to store their work. I tell them exactly where to put everything and they don't have a desk to shove papers into so they don't do it. Ahhhhh! It's just so wonderful!!!!
Here's my room when you walk in the door! I love the lanterns and parasols. 

This is my standards, math rotations, and homework board.
Here is the link to the daily math signs freebie!!!!

These are my students' cubbies and student supplies.

This is my "Have you Filled a Bucket Today?" display! My kids love it!

Here's my transportation clip chart. I also keep my class rams tickets here. It's part of PBIS.

Here is my NEW bulletin board. I love my CAFE and Vocabulary board! 

This is where I have my safari helper display, my behavior clip chart, and where students keep their rams tickets.

This is part of my library. 
This is my "Show What You Know" board. I use this frequently to assess students.

This is one place I keep my anchor charts. 

Thanks for stopping by! I love comments and new followers!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

Here's my September Currently from Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade. Click on the picture below to go to her blog! 

I have been obsessed with watching Grey's Anatomy over the last week! I've started from Season one. How many of you like Grey's?

I have throughly enjoyed my long weekend especially since we went back to school on a Monday last week. Man it was a long week!

This new class seems like a pretty neat group! I went from having 19 students in my class last year to 25 students this year. So that is change that I'm adjusting to. I kept looking at my line last week thinking.......Man this line is so LONG! Also, I have lots of diversity in this group so I hope to learn a great deal from them this year. 

Fall is my favorite season by far! I love the changing of the leaves, pumpkins, corn mazes, pumpkin scented items, the cool autumn air, and Halloween!

I need to get to work on my lesson plans but I think I'm still in summer mode because I'm waiting until the last minute to get them done! Imagine that! Plus I need to do some work around the house today. Who knows if that will get done.

Now for my monthly goals.........I need to start exercising more so I can get my endorphins flowing. I also need to be consistent with my blogging. Lastly, my husband has a second job and I am in graduate school so we really need to spent all extra time with each other!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Now that I'm back in the blog world...... I figured I should join Bloglovin so that I could follow all my favorite bloggers out there. Here's the link to follow my blog as well!

On to Five for Friday...... I know I am a couple days late but I figured better late than never! 

1. I have been having a very crafty sunday and am super ready for fall! It's my FAVORITE season! So I decided I would try to make a wreath for our front door. I feel pretty good about it. What do you think? 

2. I bought the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" this summer and wanted to try it out with my students. It went very well this past week. The students were all giving each other compliments and filling each others buckets. This is my bulletin board where students can actually "fill" their bucket.

3. Let me start off by saying that this year I am teaching the "low" math group in 4th grade. Boy, it is quite a difficult class. There are 14 students in this class but 9 of them are E.C. I do get the E.C. teacher for an hour and our fourth grade assistant but it is still a challenging adventure. So far they seem like very sweet kids and I'm excited to work with them.With that said, I found this resource on TPT and laminated it. I am going to use these next week to practice writing numbers in different forms. This group needs lots of repetition and this is just the activity for them! 

4. I have started my own TPT store this weekend! I'm super pumped! I have already put up four products this weekend. I hope to continue to make some throughout the year. Come on over and check them out. 
Here are some samples of the resources I have made!

If you have any tips for me, I would greatly appreciate it! :)

5. On Friday, I introduced my class to "Fluency Friday". What is Fluency Friday? you ask. Well every Friday I break my students up into groups and we work on reader's theaters. We practice every Friday for the whole month. Then on the last Friday of the month we perform the play. I have four rotations so that I can work with each group. 
~Read to Self
~Work on Writing
~Making Words
~Teacher Time

This week during Work on Writing I had my students write a story about the picture below. 
I can't wait to read what they came up with. Normally I would let them share but we were running short on time.

Well that's all I have for now! Catch ya on the flip side :)