Sunday, March 20, 2016

Building Strategy Groups - Keeping it Simple

For many years I have bought into the idea of strategy groups, yet have struggled with the planning. I've tried sticky notes, notes in composition notebooks, class grids and who knows what else, in my efforts to capture all the thoughts I have about students as I'm looking over their work.

But then I had my instructional thoughts all over the place and it was more challenging to plan and follow through. Having it on one document has really helped!

About two or three years ago, as I was going through student writing and my head was filling with potential teaching points (and celebrations) for each writing piece I read, I started building what would ultimately become this:
Growing Firsties


Here's one for math that I've kept going for three units so I could track progress. I used different colored pens for each unit. When someone is crossed off, they've showed mastery of the skill. When someone is circled, they're circled in the more recent color to show that they still need practice.
Growing Firsties


So...how do I do it?

I start with students - sometimes their paperwork, other times I'm adding student names/numbers and teaching points as I confer, observe or work in small groups.

I keep the form (yes, of course, you'll be able to download it as a freebie) on a clipboard with a different clipboard for each content area - Math, Reading, Writing.

These clipboards are super cute! They are made of paperboard, not plastic, so make sure you don't set them down in something wet. Not a bad price for a 6 pack of cuteness! Other patterns, like damask, are available, too.
(Affiliate Link)

If you prefer plastic clipboards, these neon ones might do the trick for you!
(Affiliate Link)
I store my clipboards tubs from the dollar store...one tub per content area. Here's a picture of my Math & Writing tubs on one of my counters. Ironically, neither clipboard is in their rightful tub...they were in my bag to take home for planning. Typically, they're stored right in the front of each tub for easy access.
Where do my teaching points come from?

I get these from my district curriculum (we are a Teachers College Reading & Writing Workshop district for Literacy and we use Everyday Math). I also get them from what I know about working with first graders. Teacher discretion counts, right?

What do I do with students that fit in most (or all) strategy groups?
Sift and winnow...since these students need their independent work time, too, I pick the one or two teaching points that are most important and where mastery would make the most impact onto other areas.

In my math sample above, the most important teaching points priority-wise are the two on the left..Find Rules/Extend Patterns with +/- 2s, 5s, 10s & Before/After between 1-100. Lower priorities are counting mixed coins and telling time to the hour and half hour.

How often do I meet with strategy groups?
As often as possible! Each day, I plan to meet with two groups in reading, writing and math each day, with individual conferring in reading and writing in between each group. In math, I aim for three, but usually get to two.

If you'd like to download the freebie file, click {right here} or on the picture below.


I would LOVE to know what you think! Is this helpful? 

What do you use to build your strategy groups?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tip for Teaching Fluency while Reading

There are so many ways to teach fluency!

You might enjoy this post about building a fluency continuum with your students!

Today, I wanted to drop in for a quick tip for teaching reading fluency...



Just Press Record!

I use my phone or one of the ipads we have in our classroom.

For this 25 second video, I recorded my daughter reading from Uncle Elephant.


Have your reader listen to themselves while following along with their eyes in their copy of the book. Ask him/her what s/he did well and what s/he thinks needs a little more practice. Then, compliment their success and help them practice what they think needs more work! Pretty powerful stuff!

There are several teaching points that this brief video could lend itself to modeling and practice...here are just a few:

1) I can re-read after I've done some word-solving work.

2) I can pause at ending punctuation.

3) I can reread a pattern smoothly without going line by line.

4) I can change my voice to show when someone is talking.

{You don't have to record video - you can do just audio. I find the video helpful, though, because I can see the words as she's reading them without having to find the book that I need.}

What do you like to do to build fluency?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Turkey Trot - 1st Grade Freebies & Fun

Slide3

Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!



We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!



I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice.

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

Slide1 - Copy

If you love to integrate literacy and math practice, you might enjoy this freebie that uses
Look Alike Sight Words.

Click here to check out the full product bundle. Click the pic below to snag up the freebie!
growing firsties

Slide1
Having students be able to set and articulate their goals is so important to me. One of the ways I've helped them set goals is by using our learning targets. Here's an example...
Growing Firsties
You can see that the page I had students highlight mimics our Learning Target board, which is based on our Reading Workshop mini-lessons.

This student is selecting the goal, "I can warm up before reading....bcas I nevr do ti." Which, for him, was true! He'd go straight into reading new texts without that warm up, then get tripped up on tricky words. It was a GREAT goal for him!

You can read more about this kind of goal setting by clicking {right here}.


Slide2 - Copy


Seriously the BEST and EASIEST gravy recipe!!! 

Why scramble at the end when you can make this ahead of time - which is delicious....but then make it even more amazing by adding the turkey drippings to your already re-heated gravy??? 

It is seriously my FAVORITE part of the Thanksgiving meal! Just click the photo above to upload the recipe.



slide 6

Have you seen my latest products? They're getting fab reviews!
Click the pictures to check them out...

Growing Firsties

Growing Firsties

This next one is a best seller and SO helpful this time of year while building
important reading habits!
Growing Firsties

In case you're looking ahead to December....here are some fun and fab math printables!
Growing Firsties



Now, trot on over to this AMAZING Chalkie's post to gobble up some more fun!





Friday, July 24, 2015

Growth Mindset - Post #2

I'm blogging over at The Primary Chalkboard today about Growth Mindset.

Hoping you'll hop on over to check it out & download this interactive mini-book freebie...


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SDE I Teach First - Shared Reading Session Handout


I'm thrilled to be here in Vegas, presenting at SDE for I Teach 1st! My session is called: Digging Deeper into Shared Reading and I'm nervous as all get out, but excited, too!

Growing Firsties

Here's a link to my YouTube channel, where you can view the videos I shared during the presentation, along with a few more. If you find them helpful, please consider subscribing to my channel so you can easily access videos that I add.

Here are the handouts! You can click below to access them from google drive.

If you'd like the Reading At Home & Word Solving Strategies pages super crisp and clean, you can download just those pages by clicking the picture below:
Growing Firsties Beanie Baby Strategies Word-Solving in Reading


Also, if you were at my session, please leave a comment below telling me where you're from! Thank you for coming!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Growth Mindset - Post #1

Several years back, my then-school's then-reading specialist (who was amazing beyond comprehension) taught our staff about Mindset, rooted in the amazing work of Carol Dweck. I bought into it (heck, I bought into anything this amazing woman taught us!) and purchased the book. It influenced a lot of my teaching.

Fast forward to this school year...two talented colleagues are co-leading a professional book study on the same book. I am new to the school and it's been wonderful to connect with staff on this topic.

Update: I have another Growth Mindset post that you can get to by clicking {right here}!

I've also purchased this one and am looking forward to digging into it this summer.



And, in getting ready for this post, I found this one, too!


I've set up a Mindset board on Pinterest. Click the screen snip below to head over and check it out!
gGrowing Firsties

I'll be blogging more about this topic this summer and will be sharing some freebies & even a giveaway, as well! Make sure to stop back!