Saturday, November 30, 2013

Read 180 Library Reveal

Happy Saturday!  My Saturday has been busy!  A semi-private Zumba class this morning, grocery store for fresh produce, cooking up ground turkey, the crockpot is full of apple chicken, and cooling on my counter are pear and walnut muffins.  The meat and muffins will be put in the freezer for lunches and dinners, because apparently I have to go back to work on Monday.  Three weeks until our next break, and hopefully I will have enough "good for me" nourishment stocked up in the freezer for the home stretch.

This post is long overdue.  I promised this post so long ago, and I couldn't quite figure out a way to legitamately fit it into one of the linky parties on the loop.  Today, regardless of the linky or lack of linky, I wanted to get back to the reason I started blogging.

The Read 180 Library

Read 180 is an intensive reading intervention program by Scholastic.  It involves a wheel of instruction that includes whole group lessons that then move into rotations of small group, independent reading, and computer time with a leveled software, and back to whole group for the wrap up.  If you are thinking that it is complicated, you are right, and I have an entire shelf of teacher manuals to explain it all to you.  It is a great program, but it is difficult to master all the components in the first year.  One of the toughest things was figuring out how to manage the independent reading rotation and the library that comes with it. 

After years of fighting with the blue plastic crates that came with the library, and desperately trying to keep it intact, I gave up.
I would nag and carry on about keeping the books in order, and in reality, you couldn't even read the titles on more than half the books once they were put in the crate.  The books kept slipping back behind the divider and it was impossible to keep them in any type of order.  So I cannibalized the crates and used magazine holders from Ikea.

This is one of my earlier pictures.  The audio books required two of the magazine holders (forever attached together with a generous application of packing tape along the bottom and back).  The plastic shoeboxes are holding the System 44 books (phonics) and some Level 1 books.  Recognize the blue plastic being used as dividers?  Yep, those are parts of the original crates.
Now, they all have labels.  Each book has an adorable label from Alison Rose's Surfboards and Numbers.    The shoe boxes slide off the shelf for easy perusing, and the dividers and labels make checking to see if they are in order a breeze.
 
Some of the boxes have dividers too.  The books at the first two levels are thin, and the boxes can hold more than one set. 

It makes it so much easier for the kids to find their books and to keep them in order.  The last group doing Independent Reading is responsible for straightening up the shelves, and it takes them just a few minutes.  This picture was taken last Friday, right after they went to lunch - this is what my shelves really look like.  These shelves hold the audio books, System 44 books, and some Level 1 books for Read 180.
On the other side of the table are two more bookcases.  The top of both bookcases holds Read 180 Levels 3 and 4 books, while the shoeboxes hold Level 2 books.  The bottom two shelves on this bookcase, and all the shelves on the bookcase perpendicular to it hold the fiction books.  They are alphabetically by author - in shoeboxes.  Up in front, flanking the Smartboard are two more bookcases that hold non-fiction.
Last spring, I got rid of the file folders full of QuickWrites and Graphic Organizers and placed them all by Lexile in binders.
I cut the posters apart and placed them in fours inside sheet protectors.  The QuickWrites and Graphic Organizers for each book are behind the synopsis pages, in the same order. 
It was pretty scary to step away from the crates and posters, but this has worked so much better!  No more loitering around the book poster, and endlessly looking for QuickWrites!  Keeping track of the QuickWrites and Graphic Organizers is now my student assistant's job.  She uses this list and once a week, she goes through the binders and checks to see what we are running low on.
The complete list is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store for free!  Feel free to edit and revise to make it fit your Read 180 library! 

Have a great weekend!  Don't forget to make your wishlist (and check it twice) for the BIG SALE on Monday and Tuesday!






Friday, November 29, 2013

Vertical Number Lines

It is Friday!  Usually that is a time for rejoicing, but at the end of a holiday week...sobbing is required.  

I just wanted to let you know that I just posted my Vertical Number Lines for Students!
They are perfect size for student use, and if you print them two to a page they will fold-fit into Interactive Math Notebooks.  Positive and negative integers, 20 through -20, and vertical - exactly what I needed.

They go along perfectly with the classroom size Vertical Number Line that I posted earlier in the week.

Take a few minutes to check them out in my TPT store or just click on the Store tab at the top of the page for direct links.  Don't forget me while you are making your Wishlist for the Big Sale on Monday and Tuesday!

Whew, done!  I am taking the weekend off from TPT, creating products, creating new pages, and revising products! I did mention that the OCD thing is a little joke with my family and friends, right? Self-intervention is called for!

Don't forget to shop on Monday and Tuesday!  No crowds!  No trouble parking!  It will just be a little difficult to make your choices from all of the goodies to be found at TPT!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Interactive Long Division!

This is going to be short and sweet.

Just finished my Interactive Long Division packet!

It has all the stuff I love about Post It Note Long Division, but in a neater and reusable package.
It has a bunch of stuff in it...too tired to go through it all, but it has some of these....

And some of these....
 
And I just decided to put it up as a FLASH FREEBIE!  Here is the trick, it will only be up as long as it takes me to row 10,000 meters, shower, and get something to eat before falling into bed.  How long will that be, well it all depends on how tired I really am:).  While you are there, take a look at some of my updates and revisions.  I have been working on getting my store ready for the BIG SALE THIS MONDAY AND TUESDAY!  I could use a little love:)

Little update:  Finished my 10,000 meters, in my pj's and eating a turkey sandwich!  Thanks for checking it out.  BIG TPT SALE this Monday and Tuesday, be sure to visit and stock up for the Winter:).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful Flash Freebie!

Hope your Thanksgiving plans are going well, and I hope that you are not too stressed out because of your Thanksgiving plans!  I just wanted to let you know that I just placed a new item in my TPT store and it will be FREE until 3p.m. (PST)!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Vertical-Number-Line-998202
Earlier this year, I played around with a vertical number line and shared it, but I was not very happy with how it looked.  Since then, I have been playing, and playing, and playing around with it in an effort to improve it.  Well, I am really pleased with how it turned out and proud to make it available to you.

Not only are vertical number lines recommended for use with Common Core, but they are a much more realistic tool to use with integers.  Think about it, elevation, altitude, temperature...they are all vertical, not horizontal.   So, swing over and pick it up while it is still free.  Or you could wait for the BIG TPT SALE coming up on Monday and Tuesday!  In any case, please leave a little love on your way out:)

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Peek at My Lazy Week

Oh dear, it is Sunday afternoon and I am NOT lesson planning!  So sad for those of you who have to go to work tomorrow, but I do not have to go to work.  We have the entire glorious week off!  Since Jennifer is my dear bloggy friend, I am linking up anyway...okay, maybe it is to gloat just a little too:).  In any case, here is "A Peek at my Week."

Staying up Late and Sleeping In
Shockingly, sleep is my top priority.  I am going to do my best to go a little wild and stay up past my 8:00 p.m. bedtime, maybe as late as 9:30 p.m.  Then I am going to do my best to sleep in past my double canine alarm clock, maybe until 6:00 a.m.  "Slow down!  Take it easy, girl," is probably what you are saying right now, but what happens during Thanksgiving break, stays in Thanksgiving break.

Workout
I have been amazingly good with my workouts and staying on my WW Points, and it has gone past my fat clothes finally fitting!  This very afternoon I tried on three things I ordered online in my "size," and they are going back!  Because they ain't my size no more, no more!  I am finally starting to feel like me again.  Last year was rough, but now it time to shed that mourning weight and get back to me.  So, I am going to try to fit in a couple extra workouts this week.  There are the sweetest group of "older ladies" (seriously, picture the Golden Girls Zumba'ing to Bollywood and Techno songs) who Zumba with me on Saturday mornings, and they keep inviting me to the classes they take on weekday mornings.  I am not sure if they just enjoy my company or think that I belong in their group (heaven forbid!), but they are a blast and I am going to take them up on their invitation.
 And I will be starting the Concept 2 Holiday Challenge on Thanksgiving Day.  I want to do at least 250,000 meters by Christmas Eve.  That should keep the holiday treats off my mind.

My Store
In between working out and sleeping, I really want to get going on some ideas I have my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It is really important to me to only put products in there that I use in my classroom, and I have a box full of things to update and to make pretty.  Not to mention all the ideas that are whirling around in my brain.  Yesterday, I was in the zone and created my newest product.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Multiples-Dont-Have-to-Be-a-Mystery-992436
 I have been doing this activity with my students for several years now, and realized that I needed to make it easier on myself.  Just put it up on TPT last night,  click on the picture to go check it out!

Turkey, Not!
Some of you might be thinking, "What about holiday plans?"  Well, this year I have escaped the dead-bird-on-my-kitchen-counter tradition.  This year, we have decided to have a big family gathering for Christmas and to skip Thanksgiving as a mandatory family gathering.  Everybody's schedules were colliding and instead of stressing about it, we decided to pass.  I am very fortunate, in that I get to see my family a lot (they all have keys to my house!), and since it is always at my house, and I am in charge of the stuffing, turkey, cookies, vegetables, organizing and coordinating...I am not going to miss that dead bird at all!

I am going to try to post a few times this week, but if you are not planning on visiting bloggyland because of holiday plans....

Thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of my blogosphere,  I appreciate you all so much!
Have a wonderful holiday week with your family and friends!
 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Night Owl Flash Freebie!

Well, I got just a little sidetracked today.  Friday night, I had planned on another post, but my mind would let go of this idea!
This summer I did a post on how I teach the concept of multiples to my struggling students.  It turned out to be one of my most popular.  So this week, while I was going through this lesson with my after school Intervention group, I started thinking about how I could make it a little easier for me and my students.  This is what I came up with!

 I am really excited about it.  So excited, that until midnight (Pacific Standard Time), it will be free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  If you do pick it up, please leave a little love!

Friday, November 22, 2013

It is FRIDAY! Five for Friday Quickie!

Do you hear that tapping and gleeful giggling?  So sorry, but that is me dancing around the house.  It is Friday, and I have the entire next week off.   Before I dash off to be the Best Aunt in the world, I wanted to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!
1. It is Friday, and I have an entire week off!  Oh my, did I already mention that?  I can't help myself.  I am giddy and relieved.  A week of sleeping in, working out, watching TV, and working on items for my TPT store.  Sheer bliss!

2.  Ideas for units and games have been buzzing around a my head for two weeks now, and no time for creating.  Not just for my TPT store, but for my classroom.  I can hardly wait to sink into the creation zone and block the world out. 

3.  Our weather was a little crazy this week, nothing like the tragic storms that swept across the Midwest, but cold for this Southern California girl.
Yesterday, on the way home, I pulled over and took this picture of the clouds with the sun peeking through.  My phone does not do it justice.  Yesterday it poured!  Today the wind blew.  Of course, I had duty in the quad.  Did I mention how happy I am that it is Friday?

4. We had one of those days at school that you dream about as a teacher.  You know, where you are surrounded by kids working on projects and you are only helping them with finishing touches.  The kind of day where the room is quiet and busy.  Forget for a minute that they are still working on Iceman projects - not entirely their fault.  Because our R-books were so late in getting here, we had to spend extra time in Read 180 to get ready for the district window for the R-skills test.

5.  Finally, I have to sign off and get on the freeway.  My amazing niece is competing at State, in Long Beach.  The 605...on a Friday evening...in the rain...which is why I will win the Most Amazing and Favorite Aunt Award!

Be sure to check back tomorrow, I will be linking up with Joanne for her Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky with my mid-quarter change-up strategy to get those kiddo's back on track!





Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful Thursday and Five for Friday Combo!

Late last night, I realized that I was just a tad late to Miss Lifesaver's Thankful Thursday linky, 


 Instead of worrying about it, I decided to combine the two into "Thankful Five End of the Week." 

1.  First up, is my beautiful girl Maddie.  She has been with me for almost 13 years.  She is the sweetest dog and best friend you could ever hope for.  As she is slowing down, just how thankful I am for her companionship and love is becoming an everyday little prayer.

2.  I have taken on a little tutoring/RTI group after school.  They are not in my regular class, but they probably should be with me.  Originally, I was going to work on multiple digit multiplication and long division with them.  Then I realized that they did not know how to count by 2's, much less by 5's.  So, we danced around chanting our 2's, 5's, and 10's.  Why am I thankful for this, you might ask?  What if one more week had gone by and still nobody had realized that they did not know how to count by 2's?  Where would those sweet quiet ones be?  Hopefully, we can figure out what else they missed.

3.  This last Sunday, I got to go see one of my nieces compete in gymnastics for Sectionals.  She needed to do well to move on to State, but on the beam she had a little problem.  She has a little issue with her memory, and she forgot for a second about what was next.  Did I mention that she is amazing?  Well, she is and she handled her mental mistake with such maturity and humor, that the crowd and judges were smiling.  Instead of crying, she stopped and with her hands on her head, mentally retraced her steps, turned to the judges, shrugged her shoulders and smiled...and then finished the routine without missing another beat.  Her mistake cost her, and it was debatable as to whether or not she would make State.  However, she didn't let the pressure get to her...I did mention that she was amazing, right?  The vault was her final event; she pulled an 8.975 out of nowhere and qualified for State.
The picture in the lower left-hand corner is right after the beam.  She is laughing with her mom and coach about her mistake.  Did I mention how thankful I am that I have an amazing niece?

4.  As I was driving in to the gymnastic meet, I was listening to talk radio show about Veteran's Day.  When I got to the gym, I was surprised and quietly overwhelmed to see my brother.  Over the last ten years, he had missed out on too many special moments with his family because he had been repeatedly deployed.  He retired from the Air Force in June, and I had forgotten that it was entirely possible for him to be at the meet.   It was such a joy to see him enjoying the evening with his family.  He was filming his daughter  on his iPad, joking about missing some football game, all the while exposing his hobbit toes to the public because instead of boots he was wearing Birkenstocks.  I am so thankful that he came home to us from every deployment, and so very proud of him.

5.  Finally, I most thankful for this delicious concoction.
It is sweet heaven, and only 4 points on Weight Watchers. 

Take a minute and think about the things that you are thankful for this week!

The collage of my beautiful niece is in an adorable frame by Lovin Lit

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Interactive Notebooks in the Read 180 Classroom!

Starting Interactive Notebooks was daunting, to say the least!  Starting Interactive Notebooks with a Read 180 class...well, let's just say that there was definitely a big daunting learning curve.  However, midway through the 2nd quarter, I have to say that I am unbelievably proud of our notebooks!

Which is why I am linking up with Erin of I'm Lovin' Lit for her Interactive Throw Down Linky to POSITIVELY BRAG about MY STUDENTS!

Just in case you are not familiar with Read 180, it is a Scholastic reading intervention program.  It comes with a language workbook (or L-book), a reading textbook (or R-book), a Lexile leveled class library, and an intensive computer software reading program.  It is intended for students who are reading far below or below grade level.  Overall, it is a really good program. 

Now, I have been doing "Math Notebooks" or as they were called in the olden days, "Math ToolKits,"  for years before I realized that they were called "Interactive Math Notebooks," but it had been nine years since I had broken out of the Read 180 routine and tried something new with reading.  So earlier this year, when our R-books were trapped in Purchasing Purgatory, I took the opportunity to RUN!  Did I do it the right way?  Who knows?  I just ran through Target like a madwoman, throwing post-it notes and composition notebooks in my cart with a smile on my face.

We started with reading Maroo of the Winter Caves, and instead of summaries of chapters read in class, I pulled passages and worked on "textual evidence."  I modeled, they wrote, I modeled again, they rewrote...it took a lot of work, but then this started happening.

 And their passages started looking like this...
Then we started posting responses, because sharing them in the morning was taking too long:).
Then I got brave and tried Erin's Plot Elements Foldable.  Did they need some help?  Of course, they did!  We went through the lesson as a class, for an entire morning (since they are a self-contained Intervention class, I have them for four straight periods), and they were totally involved in the lesson.
After this we did some readings on the Iceman - which probably should have gone into a Social Studies Interactive Notebook, but I am not exactly following the normal template.
Then reality hit.  Our R-books arrived.  No more small group time with our Interactive Notebooks because we had R-books to get through.  
And that is when I rebelled.  We are totally using our Notebooks still.  We use them in small group for our responses and QuickWrites, with our Action magazine, and for homework.  I am taking a break from a class novel and giving them time to get into the Read 180 library books and novels.
With every book in the Read 180/System 44 library, there is a Quickwrite and Graphic Organizer.  In the past, these tended to just fill up the Read 180 basket, and once in a while I would pretend to look at them.  They were awful and sloppy, because I didn't pay attention to them.  

This year they are going in their Interactive Notebooks - which magically makes them special.   I watch my kids take their time, carefully writing and editing, cutting and pasting, and checking them over before showing them to me...and I am amazed.  They have to be perfect because they are going in "the Notebook."

They started writing their test scores on the top of their Quickwrite pages, all by themselves.  About every two weeks, instead of small group with the R-book, we go over them together in private conferences.  This is the first year, I have been able to really keep track of the numerous tests and books.  And best of all, they are writing responses like this...
Her Lexile is in the mid 500's.  Pure teacher joy:)!

Without a doubt, this has been the most challenging year I have had in a long time.  There were days in August where I questioned my sanity and was tempted to revert back to the standard reading logs.  My strict Read 180 routine has taken a hit, but their SRI growth has skyrocketed.  Will I do it differently next year?  Absolutely, there will be changes even as the year goes on.  It has taken more time, and they definitely look different than other "Interactive Notebooks" that I have seen, but Read 180 and Interactive Notebooks definitely work.  Upper grade teachers are coming in and checking them out, which has the kids bursting with pride.  I couldn't be prouder or happier.

The one thing that I was most worried about was that they would lose their Notebooks.
To date, not one has gone missing.  Occasionally, one gets left in a desk or at home, but they have not "lost" one yet.  Middle schoolers, intervention class, one third of them are ADHD, two-thirds are boys, and they haven't lost one yet.   At his Student Led Conference, one of my boys was showing his mom his Notebook and said, "It makes me feel smart."  They haven't lost one yet.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Peek At My Week and Perfect Paragraphs

The bliss of that extra hour is wearing off, and the reality of tomorrow is settling into my brain!  My Interactive Notebooks are still in their basket (untouched), but I have healthy Pear and Walnut muffins made for the week and all of my errands complete. 

So now that the last of the muffins are cooling on the counter, it must be time to link up with Jennifer of Mrs. Laffin's Laughings and share a Peek At My Week with her her linky!

  • This week we will be diving into Prime Factorization, GCF's, and LCM's.  We covered multiples, primes, and composites last week, so hopefully it will go smoothly. 
  • On Friday, we started working on a mini-writing assignment from our latest Scholastic Action magazine.  If you are not getting this magazine, find a way to get it!  You can seriously teach Language Arts from it all week!
  • Each issue has a "Debate and Decide" article for the students to discuss.  I love it because it sets them up to write a Perfect Paragraph or an argumentative essay (if there is time).
  • On Friday, we only had time to read the article and pick sides.  Tomorrow, we will start using our Perfect Paragraph organizer to help them get started on their paragraphs.  As I was looking at my old organizer, I decided to spruce it up a little and revamp it.

  •  A version of this checklist and organizer has been used by more classes than I can remember.  When I started teaching Read 180, I revised it to go along with their examples.  My students go and pull one out of the file anytime they are writing a paragraph or essay.   Not only does it give them a frame to write within, but it reminds them to keep their writing organized.  On Friday, we used it to help us deconstruct a model paragraph from the R-Book.  They were having a difficult time identifying the details.  Pulling it apart and writing it in the organizer, helped them to see and identify the parts of the paragraph.  So on Monday, we will continue the writing lesson with our checklist and organizer.
Somehow I don't think those notebooks are going to grade themselves, so I had better get on it!  

Make sure to link up with Jennifer for her Peek at My Week Linky!  

The Perfect Paragraph Organizer and Checklist packet is in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!