Canada Day is a time to celebrate being a Canadian. It is also a time to reflect on our country and the freedom we have as Canadians. Several Canadian teacher bloggers have joined together for a TpT sale that features Canadian products.
When I signed up to be a part of this blog hop, I didn't realize just how many Canadian products were out there. I noticed that many of the teachers had similar topics and subject themes. This obviously came out of a necessity to have products that were better tailored for our Canadian content.
I am proud to be associated with of this group of teachers. If you want to see some great quality Canadian products, click on the image below or check out the bottom of this post to get to the linky page. But, before you leave, continue reading to get a freebie and sign up for my giveaway.
I created the following products especially for this blog hop.
I also created calendar cards last year when I found some Canadian clipart. I have bundled these together with my new products. All of these products are also available individually.
For the next week, I am giving away my I Have, Who Has Canadian Symbols task cards as a freebie. Click here to get your copy. Also, all of the products in this grouping are on sale for 50% off for this sale. The rest of my Canadian products will be on sale for 20% off for the sale.
Also, I am giving away my bundle of Canadian Symbols Activities. Enter in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy. I am also including a product of winner's choice for up to $5.00.
Today I am back for another segment for the Diggin' Into Next Year blog hop hosted by Laura Graham. This is a summer blog hop series that will continue through August with a big giveaway at the end.
Organize Literacy Blocks
I combine my reading and writing components so that the literacy block can go from the beginning of the day, following morning start up activities, until the recess break. This gives me about 75 minutes without interruption each morning. Some days I will be able to extend the time a bit after the recess break, but often other things such as gym, music, or library are scheduled in during the recess to lunch block.
For this post, I will be focusing on guided reading and how I make it work.
In our school, we try to do guided reading groups across the primary grades. During the last couple of years, several of the primary teachers have gotten together and grouped their students by levels and then each teacher has taken on a group for a daily guided reading block that has been dedicated on the timetable. Other adults have also been included so that the groups can be small enough to work well, especially with the struggling readers. These could be administrators, the librarian, educational assistants, and some parents or retired teachers.
Since we are usually short of adults, myself and one other teacher have opted out of this and done our own reading groups. This has helped to keep the numbers manageable, but it has also required some creative planning in order to make it work well in our classrooms.
My colleague has had a couple of volunteers come in to help. She trained them a few years ago and she can count on them to follow her guidelines. (Unfortunately, she is retiring, so this will change next year.)
I have found that it works better for me to do my own groups and tailor the lessons specifically for them. It takes some management, but it has worked effectively for me.
First of all, it is important to figure out what the appropriate reading level is for all of my students. I choose a few books that are in my leveled boxes and I have my students read to me one by one while others are working at their desks on an independent writing activity.
Once I have a starting place for each child, I put together groups of children that are reading at similar levels and I create book bins for them to use during reading times. I also have 3 book shelves full of books for recreational or free reading times. These are the books they read when it is not time for guided reading groups.
After the groups are determined, the organization of the literacy block can be prepared. The number of groups is determined by the levels created for the guided reading component. Sometimes I can have as many as 7 different reading groups going on in order to best meet the needs of the class. This can be tricky to organize and make work.
I try to get to all of my groups during the literacy block, but I only get to do actual guided reading lessons with about 3-4 groups each day. I make sure that I work with my struggling readers every day. The other groups need to alternate days.
I select book series for my guided reading so that I can capture the interest of the kids and then send them on to related books. This helps keep them reading while I work with other kids. Once they are reading beginning chapter books, this is easier to do because there are so many series available that are geared towards this age level. Some of my favorite go to series are: The Magic Tree House, Bailey City School Kids, Horrible Harry, Pony Pals, The Littles, Amelia Bedelia, Ready Freddy, Cam Jansen, Jigsaw Jones. You can read about my Amelia Bedelia post here.
I also have written activities and games or task cards available for the groups that are not working with me. Sometimes they will work on them independently, and sometimes in small groups. I train my kids to work quietly during guided reading time so that I can hear those that I am working with. They learn quickly, that they need to be able to work quietly if they want to be working with others.
Reading with a partner is also a great way to support struggling readers. I often pair up either a struggling reader with someone who is stronger and able to guide them through the book, or I will pair up people in the same group to work on a book together. In this picture, the 2 boys are in the same level, and they are supporting each other as they read through a choice book.
Another tool I use is the computer. I collected iMacs as the different computer labs undated their machines, and I have enough computers for everyone to use. I have them loaded with math and language games, so during our literacy block, sometimes I assign different language games for them to work on. This is usually just for one group at a time, as it gets noisy otherwise.
I have also used Reading A-Z (Raz Kids) for individuals and also pairs when necessary. This allows me to tailor specific books and levels for certain students.
I may need to have some of my students join the others if we do a mixed grouping with all the classes next year. If I have too many students who are struggling readers, and also not very independent, it is difficult to manage the groups and effectively teach at the same time. There are many students that will require extra support coming into my grade level next year, so I will have to wait to determine how I will make it work.
I used to have a rotation schedule for groups and activities, but I have found that I don't usually need this as I have done it for so long that I know the rotation. However, I may start creating a written schedule again so that it will be easier for another teacher to follow if I am away. It will save writing it out each time with my sub plans.
I will continue to get a starting point level for each of my students when the year begins. I will also begin some guided reading groups as soon as possible during the year. Even if I have some students join the other groups, I need to do this because whole school guided reading doesn't begin until later in the fall. I can't wait that long to get them going.
I use the Dolch sight words for many different activities in my classroom. My kids never get tired of them. I have created different themes to use at different times of the year. Here are some of the ones available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Task cards and written activities are also important mainstays during guided reading. A quick lesson can be given at the beginning of the session, and then the activities can be started and groups can be pulled away when it is time for them to do guided reading. (This is a student writing sample based on a quick story about all the ice storms back east last winter. The template can be found here.)
Well, there you have it. I hope there is something here that can be helpful for others. If you would like to see what others are doing to organize their literacy blocks, click on the link to get to them.
Attention Grade 2 and 3 teachers out there!
Educents has a fantastic bundle of products for science, math, and engineering available. Check it out. There is more than enough here for you to fill your year with great projects and units that will actively engage your students.
I have also teamed up with Educents with some instant downloads for you!
These are the 2 projects that I have included. They will provide your students with hands on activities to share their learning. Some children find writing a difficult means to show what they know. Using projects allows them to shine and share their knowledge.
I was very excited to see that there are two units that would work very well as a lead up to my projects. They are very comprehensive and provide both information for instruction as well as inquiry on the part of the students.
Check out these previews of all 21 products that are in this bundle.I am very excited to be a part of this collection. I can hardly wait to get my own copy of each of these products to use in my classroom.
As we enter into the summer, it is hard to think about next year, but several teachers have joined together to have a big sale to celebrate 6 months 'til Christmas. Click on the image above to get to the linky and find out about all the stores that are hosting sales.
Everything in my store will be 20% off for this sale
Tabitha over at The Learning Highway is organizing this and she has put together a giveaway that you can enter over at her blog.
There is also going to be a giveaway of winter and Christmas themed products. Check out the products that are prizes. I am giving away my Holiday Math Games and Activities.
Each of these products is available for sale individually in my TpT store as well.
Well, here it is again! Two products are on sale for 50% off today. Grab your copies now and then head over to The Teaching Tribune to check out some of the other offers available.
First up today is my I Have, Who Has? Measurement Task cards. These cards are for both Imperial and metric measurement.
My second offering is a set of Whole Brain Teaching rules posters. This includes 5 different themes so that you can change them out during the year. These will be added to in the future. If you own it, there will be no additional cost later on.
It week 3 for the Summer Bloggin' Linkup at The Teaching Tribune. I am linking up today with a letter to me as a new blogger.
This truly has been an exciting adventure that I never dreamed of before being introduced to Teachers Pay Teachers. Since then, I have become addicted to the world of blogging and creating products for teachers and kids.
Next year will be my last year in the classroom, and I was wondering what I would do next for myself. Now I know. I will continue to develop products, blog, and of course, spend lots of time with my grandchildren. Life has so much to offer still. I will miss being in the classroom, but I will still be able to make a difference with kids.
Click on the button at the top of the page if you want to see some other letters written by teacher bloggers to themselves.
I am linking up with other teachers to reflect on what is working and what is not working in our classrooms as we prepare for next year. If you would like to find out what other teachers are doing, click on the image to get to Laura Graham's blog, Where the Magic Happens, for the links.
Handle Classroom Management and Behavior
Classroom management is so important if you want to have a successful year with your students. There are many different methods used, and I have tried several over the years. What I have discovered, is that for most children, if they feel valued and respected, they are more likely to want to be respectful and responsible members of the class community.
Every year I begin my lessons with a focus on self esteem and this makes a huge difference to the tone of the class. Acts of kindness, bucket filling, and celebrating talents are integral parts of these lessons. I also include the seven habits for kids.
Establishing routines is very important if you want to have control in the classroom. I have discovered that children respond well to routine and structure. I have some routines that I use every year. I also try to make my timetable as consistent as possible so that the routines are similar each day. This has been a calming influence in my classroom.
This year I have been using some of the Whole Brain Teaching in my class as well. I am amazed at how well the rules work and how much more focused my students are. I will definitely be continuing to add more elements of this into my teaching next year.
I used to do tickets, stickers, and draws, but I found that the kids were less likely to behave appropriately when the rewards were not given out frequently. Also, the ones that always behaved were receiving most of the tickets and those that needed the positives were finding it to be a negative. I know that this is not the case for all teachers, but it was for me.
I found that changing my focus to catching kids behaving appropriately and encouraging that behavior through verbal praise worked much better. Others also noticed and praised the students.
I still do some rewards and group challenges, but for specific goals and they are short term.
When I started to read about Whole Brain Teaching, I discovered that the students could be more instrumental in helping to develop a positive environment and that they could become more responsible and accountable for their behavior choices. I really liked the way this worked this year in my class, so it will definitely remain and be developed further next year.
I will also continue with my self esteem lessons at the beginning of the year, as they set the tone for the rest of the year. We refer back to the concepts throughout the year and we build on them as well.
The establishment of routines and a consistent timetable will remain as well.
Here are some of the products that I use for my self esteem lessons and routines.
It is time for the Two for Tuesday linky over at The Teaching Tribune. This linky features 2 products on dale for one day for 50% off. Here are my 2 products this week.
This is a set of posters for geometry. It has 8 different posters of 3-D shapes. These are anchor charts of attributes for the shapes.
This is one of my best sellers. It is a set of all the 220 Dolch words and has color coded bingo cards to go with it. The words are broken into 7 different groups. Each group has 4 bingo cards.
There you go. If you would like to see some of the other products on sale for the day, click on the image above to go to the linky page.
The Teaching Tribune has been hosting a summer bloggin' linky. I am linking up for week 2. Monday is Meet Me. I am looking forward to visiting other blogs and meeting some of the teacher bloggers that participate. Click on the image below if you would like to check them out as well.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Two for Tuesday. Teachers will be putting 2 of their products on sale for 50% off.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 8, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.
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