Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Keeping It Fresh

I love literacy center time. It's a time when my students are actively engaged in reading and writing, with a few play centers thrown in to break it up a bit. The favorite center is Write The Room with Pocket Chart being a close second. I noticed recently that they didn't really know what to do at Word Work and chose the same activities over and over again not fully recognizing the potential for learning. It was also located in my back corner and out of sight. My writing center was one that was never used. Never. Well, last week I decided to flip things up and switched the 2 centers, changed out some activities and freshened them up a bit. We had a mini lesson on the centers and I explained all the wonderful things they could do in each center. That morning, when it came time for centers, they actually argued over who would go to writing and Word Work. Really?? Isn't that funny? It's amazing how something as simple as switching 2 shelves and telling them about what I did made such an impact. One of the reasons I love teaching. Keeping things fresh and new is always an effective strategy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Addition and Subtraction Epiphany

So we just finished up our math unit on addition. In previous years we really only taught addition, meaning "this+this=this", not really getting too much into reversing the equal sign and surely not doing anything with missing addends. Enter Common Core...(everyone has their opinions, I know) Our new math series has an entire section on finding the missing addend in sums to 10. I admit I was hesitant to teach the concept because it is so abstract. However, I dove into it head first. I put a box of math manipulatives that came with our series on each table with enough for each student to have a set. For the past 2 weeks I've been putting out the worksheets that came with our series where students had to find the missing addend. It was tough at first, lots of modeling and breaking it down and frustration. However, the more we did it the easier it got. I began explaining to them that they "start with the total" and then "take away the number they show" and then "count how many you have left". What? Wait, you mean...I'm setting them up for subtraction? YES! This was my AHA moment this morning. In teaching them to find the missing addend I've been setting them up with CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS that will help them more easily understand subtraction. Wow, how silly of me to have not realized that before. It just goes to show how intertwined the concepts are in math. For those of you who already do this, HOORAY! You're awesome. For those of you who haven't taught the concept yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I can't wait to see how much easier subtraction is going to be for my kiddos!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Guided Reading Freebie

I don't know how you guys are planning for Guided Reading but it has taken lots of tweaking to get a LP that I can use and that doesn't make me crazy. I finally decided that I need to just focus on the important aspects of text and content in my planning and let the individualized things, like word work and strategies, happen in the moment based on what my kids need. If you need a simple and easy to follow GRLP template I am uploading mine FREE to my TPT store. Here is a peek at what it looks like. Grab it for free HERE.