Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Daily Five Book Study: The 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence

So I wasn't able to get an entry up in time for Chapter 2 but I'm back for Chapter 3!

This chapter focused on the ten steps to follow to teach students how to be independent workers during Daily Five. These ten steps are quite critical because the whole purpose of Daily Five is for students to be independent learners while the teacher works with smaller group of people. If they can't be trained to be fully independent during Daily Five, then Daily Five simply won't work!

Of course, these ten steps don't just train the students in one day! It's a process in itself that takes time to develop and master. What takes the students the longest is building stamina. So in general, the first few weeks of "Daily Five" time isn't really Daily Five but simply doing 2-3 rounds of stamina building. If you go on TpT you can find tons of free stamina charts that you can use in your classroom to record your stamina progress. I've only worked with lower grades so I don't know how long it will take for the upper kids to build their stamina. However, it usually takes my class (1st and/or 2nd) around 2-3 weeks to completely build and maintain stamina for Read to Self. We would always go over the desired behaviors before practicing building stamina. Even once stamina is built, I usually still spend our first month of full-on Daily Five quickly going over our desired behaviors before we begin, just to make sure it's engrained in the students' minds. After a month in, we can usually head straight to Daily Five without needing to remind ourselves of the desired behaviors.

Step 10 mentions a group check-in. I thought this was such a great way for students to reflect on themselves and their class as a whole and that I continued doing the check-in at the end of Daily Five every day, even after we had finished building stamina. Once Daily Five is over, the students come to the carpet and show me with their thumbs how they think Daily Five went that day. (Remember, my Daily Five time is only an hour with two rotations.) The students would then give their reasoning for whatever thumb they are showing. One of my whole class rewards system is a "coin jar".

Just print and laminate so you can use it over and over again!
After we've talked about how Daily Five went, the class as a whole decides how many coins we get. Five coins is the most we can get for Daily Five, so use that as our goal as we decide. In the beginning, of course, the teacher usually makes the final decision, since students are still learning about how to correlate behavior and performance with the right number of coins. But by the time we get halfway through the year, the students are able to more accurately and honestly gauge how many coins the class should get based on their Daily Five behavior. (Just fyi, the coin jar isn't just used for Daily Five, it's used for other whole class things too.)

In conclusion, the ten steps listed in this chapter are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. As long as you are consistently following the steps every day while you practice building stamina, you will get there! TpT has plenty of free Daily Five resources to help you get started on these ten steps so definitely take advantage of that. No need to reinvent the wheel! I know it's scary to think that you might be wasting precious instructional time repeating something that may not seem like instruction, but it will totally benefit your class in the end. If spending a month of training students to be independent learners means you get nine full months to focus on your small group instruction, then I would think that one month is totally worth it!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Camp GoNoodle! (Linky & Giveway)

Have you ever used GoNoodle in your classroom? Well, if you haven't, you are most definitely missing out! Not only is it a great way to keep your kids physically active (and get those PE minutes in!), it is also FREE! If you're lucky enough (like me!) and have a sponsor who will upgrade you OR if you're willing to invest some money to upgrade to GoNoodle Plus, they also have some academic videos too!

My classes have always enjoyed GoNoodle time. Their favorites have always been videos from Koo Koo Kangaro (Just Kidding!, Pop See Ko, Secret Handshakes, just to name a few...) and Zumba (Happy dance all the way!). They've also enjoyed the Olympic sports ones too. My favorite is obviously the indoor recess option. Need the kids to get out of their seats for a good 15 minutes? That's what GoNoodle Indoor Recess is for!

Well, even though school is currently off for the summer doesn't mean the GoNoodle fun has be put on break too! This year, GoNoodle has decided to start a free summer camp for the kids which can be done at home! When I told my students about it, they were super excited to hear about it and practically everyone had their hand raised when I asked who wanted a GoNoodle Summer Camp flyer to take home. I don't have any kids of my own, but if I did, I would totally sign up for it. Heck, maybe I'll sign up for it for myself. The camp starts on June 29th, which is tomorrow, so sign up if you haven't yet!
All you need to do is go to Camp Noodle, create an account, and you're all set to go!

I believe the camp is four weeks long, which each week focusing on some sort of theme. The first week is called Friendship Week. Every day, you will be encouraged to do some sort of activity that may be physically active or mentally challenging. It will be a month filled with lots of fun! All you need is a free GoNoodle account and a device with internet access to join in on the fun!

Attention bloggers!! GoNoodle is hosting a giveaway to bloggers who help advertise Camp GoNoodle on their blog! Here is what you need to do to get a chance to win some of the cool swag below.

1. Grab the GoNoodle Linky image (both of them) for your post.
2. Fill out the linky image with your answers to the questions. Post the completed linky image to your entry.
3. Write a blog post about Camp GoNoodle and use the images in your post.
4. Link up with me and encourage other bloggers to do the same! Use the below html code show that everyone who links up can show up on your page too!

 <!-- start InLinkz script -->
    <div class='InLinkzContainer' id='538888' >
    <a  rel='nofollow' href="http://new.inlinkz.com/view.php?id=538888" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up</a></div>
    <script type='text/javascript' src='//static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js?v=116'></script>
<!-- end InLinkz script -->

I hope you'll join me in this link up! GoNoodle will use a random number generator to choose the winner of all the teacher bloggers who link up. The winner will be chosen on July 4th, so make sure to link up before then! Happy GoNoodling! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Daily Five Book Study: How the Daily 5 Evolved

Okay friends, I will admit that my summer blogging is not off to a great start. A week of summer has gone by and I haven't blogged one bit! I actually have plenty of things to talk about, but I just can't get myself to start blogging!

But I have (hopefully) found a solution to this! I've decided to join the book study on Daily 5 (affiliate link) hosted by Primary Inspired! It just started today!

Today's focus is on Chapter 1: That Was Then, This is Now: How the Daily 5 and CAFE Have Evolved.
Daily 5 Groups
Let me start off by saying that I'm a big fan of Daily Five. I have used it for two years, at two different schools, and in different ways both times. I have read both the first and second editions of Daily Five. However, I still don't follow Daily Five the way it's structured in the books. Believe me, when I first read the first edition and saw the schedule (5 rotations in one day and mini lessons between each?!?!), I knew it would be IMPOSSIBLE to implement in my classroom. It was such a relief, when I read the second edition, to see that it was okay to stray away from 5 rotations in one day.
Read to Self
Truth? I have only done two rotations in one day. My entire Daily 5 block has ranged from 30 minutes to an hour (15 minutes to 25 minute rotations), depending on how long I have my aide for. I have found Daily 5 to be really useful for targeted small group instruction time. It is still a bit hard for me to think of it as a full structure for my entire Language Arts block. I also haven't read the CAFE book (which I really should get), so the concept of the focus lessons between rotations is still foreign to me.
Word Work
But this summer might be the perfect time to try to figure that portion out! I'm going to be teaching at a bilingual Mandarin immersion school next year. My school follows a 50-50 model which means the students receive half of their instruction in English and the other half in Mandarin. I am teaching the English only portion while my partner teaches the Mandarin portion. We switch classes halfway through the day so that the students receive instruction in both languages every day. Since I will only have each class for half the day, and some part of that half day will be for teaching math, I feel like my Language Arts block is going to be very limited compared to my past experiences. With such a limited block of time, fully following the Daily 5 structure with focus lessons in between rotations might actually work to my benefit. Now I just have to figure out how to get that part in! Hopefully reading through this book one more time will help me figure it out!
Listen to Reading materials

Join in on the book study if you're reading the book over the summer too! Can't wait to see what others have to say! :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

End of Year Gifts

I'm I'm bad. I fell off the blogging wagon again. And this time I'm not going to promise that I will try to keep up because I now definitely know that it's a promise I can't keep. ><

However, I am back today to share what I'm doing for end of the year gifts this year! There are some lucky teachers out there that are already on their summer vacation. Lucky them! I'm on my last week (last day with kids is Thursday). So close yet so far! Anyways, this is my first and last year with this school (more about that in a different entry). I am going to miss my colleagues very much, especially the "lunch bunch" (as we call ourselves). Last year, I left my school with such short notice (two weeks before school started!) that I never gave my awesome colleagues there a good-bye gift. Well, this year I'm leaving with much more notice so I decided these well-deserved colleagues need a gift. After much research on Pinterest (love that site!) I came up with....

These cute beverage containers filled with some summer yums and relaxing time!

I found these awesome beverage containers in the "dollar" section of Target. (In quotes because these were $3 each not $1 each.) I literally then wandered around Target trying to find things to stuff into the containers. I had one of the containers open as my test one. After a good amount of wandering, I finally found everything I needed.

Below are the items in each container:
Missing: Mini hand sanitizer and an Eos lip balm.

The sunscreen, bug spray, and face masks went into the little blue bag before it went into the container. End result came out good! These containers are going to go to my grade-level team and the Kinder team (we all eat lunch together). 
My para (who is also the school librarian) also gets a similar gift except her goodies are inside this cute little tote bag (also found in the "dollar "section) AND she gets a mason jar with a straw (look for the pink!).

Now on to the students!

I typically buy my student books through Scholastic as their end of the year gift. I've always seen the idea of summer buckets floating around on Pinterest but never felt that it was totally necessary for my students. However, this year I'm teaching at a Title One school and I also had a good amount of money left to spend from the Parent Association so I decided that this would be the year to give it a try!

Got my buckets at the Dollar Tree.

And labeled them with a silver Sharpie. 

I'm actually not done with this particular project because I plan to assemble the buckets after school the day before school ends. It just seemed silly to assemble them at home and then have to carry 20 filled buckets to school. 

However, I did test assemble one at home just to see what it would look like...

Inside: spiral notebook, book from Scholastic, bubbles, crayons, glue stick, sunglasses
Not Pictured: pencils, eraser, stickers
You know how when you see one awesome idea and want to do it even though you already have an awesome idea? Well, I saw this super cute poem to the students on Ideas by Jivey so of course, I HAD to do it too! 

I printed the poem on half of cardstock, added a picture of me and that student, and laminated it. This will go in their report card envelope.

The kiddos are also going to get beach balls for signing on the last day of school.

And that's all folks! Hopefully you get some ideas of gifts for your colleagues and students from this post. I'd also love to hear what end of the year gifts you are giving this year! :D