Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful For....

My rock star students!

They make me smile every single day. I am thankful for the time we have together. I am thankful for how sweet they are to me and each other (most of the time). I am thankful for the opportunity to teach them and learn from them at the same time. I am thankful for Thanksgiving Break! (I know they are too!)

Happy Thanksgiving
from my class to yours!

Mrs. O’Brien

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sprucing Up For the Holidays!

My students were so excited to see our new Winter Literacy & Math Center!!! I was too. This center was just we needed to get excited about centers again even the holidays are calling our names. Today I tried letting each group picking what they wanted to work on. It worked out great! Students had fun and made great choices for themselves.
I included a bin of winter books to choose from, in case students wanted to read and fill out a winter book journal. I included dice for the students that chose to roll a story. The little red box is holding the bingo cards for the place value bingo game included in this center.
 I put the place value cards inside of a glittery red box.
 Students enjoyed having the choice to choose what they could work on during center time.
The roll a story activity was a popular activity today!
 I love seeing my rock stars hard at work! 
Place value bingo was a wonderful way to reinforce this concept to my kids. They really began to realize the significance of each place value spot!

What will you do to capture your students' attention with the holidays just around the corner?
Mrs. O’Brien
Winter Literacy & Math Center

Friday, November 22, 2013

Extending Sentences to Make Awesome Turkey Stories!

This week, in class, I put this picture up on our Smart Board and asked my students to make a story about the picture. I got responses like: 

"The turkey is running."
"The turkey is scared."
"The turkey is wearing a hat."
"The turkey can run really fast."

I yawned and told my class that while those sentences were good, they were kinda boring and lacked detail.
I introduced extending sentences and adding details through the use of asking yourself, "Who? What? Where? Why? How? When?"

We made a wonderful story about this turkey by asking and answering those questions.

Who: Roosevelt the Turkey.
What: He is running.
Why: Someone is trying to eat him.
How: With a knife and fork.
When: On a Saturday night.
Where: In a jungle.

We combined all of those details to make a great story. We created a few more stories. I called on different students for different details. Then it was their turn! I gave them their own sheets of paper and they had to make up their own details. After that, they had to flip the paper over to create a story of their own!
 I love how Jalen crossed off the details he'd already used to help himself stay organized.
Kiara was really excited when she finished. She was sure her story was going to make me laugh, and it did!
Liya worked hard to get her story finished.
Nehemiah brainstormed until he came up with the perfect story!
 Everyone worked really hard and their stories turned out fantastic! When students finished writing, they illustrated their stories.

All of the stories were amazing, and funny! Jalen was the only one that took a different approach. All my other students wrote about a turkey that was getting chased because someone wanted to eat them.
Take a look at Jalen's paper:
"On New Years morning there was a turkey named Bart. He was trying to win some food. He had to race a wolf, a bear, and a turkey. He was trying to win the race. The race was at school. He said I am going to win some food. He won the race."
By: Jalen 
Mrs. O’Brien

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

We enjoyed this cute story by Dav Pilkey this week. Upon hearing that this was the exact same person who was the author of the Captain Underpants series, my students were immediately excited to listen to this Thanksgiving tale.
The book has great figurative language and it rhymes! Who doesn't love a good rhyme? 
It's all about a group of kids who go on a trip to Farmer Mack Nugget's farm. They learn what he plans to do with all of the turkeys they met, and they come up with a plan of their own!
Mrs. O’Brien

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Small Groups Around the Room!

We have four small groups that rotate around the room daily. Each group meets for 20-25 minutes. 
One group was on the computers playing a game that targets a specific reading skill. Today they played a fact and opinion game for extra practice, to reinforce our reading focus.

At the Smart Board, my students played a noun recognition game. They had to read a sentence, and then decide together if each word was a person, place, thing or idea.
My reading center group met as a book club. They read together, discussed the book and then wrote down safety tips from the informational text on Post-It notes.
The groups at my table read a few more pages in the stories we started, answered some questions, and responded with writing.
I have a portable doorbell that I purchased from Wal-Mart a few years ago. At the end of each rotation, I simply ring the bell. The students know that this means to stop what you are doing, clean up your area, and get ready to transition to the next center. It took a few weeks to get this process going, but now they are like a well oiled machine!
The teamwork and collaboration I see each day is awesome. They are learning how to get along, teach each other, learn from each other, and how to be independent. They truly are reading rock stars!
Mrs. O’Brien