Thursday, October 17, 2013

Madness, I tell you!

Today was a teacher work day. I had several parent conferences but was fortunate enough to have a 3 hour break in between. So what does any good teacher do on a work day with a 3 hour break? That's right, we start a project! Here are some pics of the madness...

I realized that I needed to organize my reading center a little better if I want my kids to be able to navigate. I had a great start last year but it just didn't work well. I had the bins labeled but they weren't in a logical sequence or order. So I have researched and searched for ideas and decided to bite the bullet today and get started on it. Previously my reading center looked like this:
Colored bins organized by topic and just laid out in a color pattern. I got to thinking about how difficult it was for me to navigate the bins, which means that it would be even harder for my students to navigate them. So, I took everything down and am in the process of reorganizing and color coding the bins. So far I have GREEN bins for books by characters, BLUE bins for books by author, ORANGE bins for books by skill and PURPLE bins for books by topic. I hope to finish up tomorrow and have the reading center ready for "business" during balanced literacy workshops next week! I'll post the finished project tomorrow.

Update!!! This is my newly organized system:

Really happy with how it looks now! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Update on Balanced Literacy

So today we did rotation 2 that I talked about the other day and it went well. I spend a lot of time going over each activity and reviewing the rules and purpose for the activities as well. Instead of having my own group to work with I just monitored and guided the students as they worked. My RTI group was out of the room so we had fewer students which made it much easier. Here are a few pics of how I set up my rotations:
Here is the work job board. At the top you see Groups 1-4 with cards underneath. That is for rotation 1 when we are doing workshops of pre-planned activities for specific skills. We have 4 groups and they rotate to one per day. One group is always a teacher led group and the others are independent practice. The groups who are not working with me have 2 cards: the have to and the what next. This shows them where to go when they are finished and they don't have to ask me and interrupt my group. The bottom is our rotation 2 centers. There are 11 centers right now and I will change them out during the year. Students are paired into groups of 2-3 to do a specific task. You'll notice that some of the cards have a colored dot on them.
The colored dots represent activities that have a recording sheet or work mat to go with them. I have bins that are these colors and I put the materials for these activities in the bins. I teach the students to look for their dot and find the bin that matches to get their materials. It worked really well today and I'm excited to give more choices and activities later on!