Saturday, October 29, 2016

Driving into Word Study

Word Study is one of my favorite times of the day.  It is that beautiful point in the day when I get to watch my students learn new words right in front of my eyes.  My kiddos are excellent at using their Good Reading Habits to work through new words, but explicit teaching of new vocabulary, on my part, is still extremely important.
I have love taking my kiddos' leveled readers and pulling specific vocabulary to not only support that current book, but to support their develop of background knowledge.  Hameray Publishing came to the rescue yet again, with their amazing books.  Big Wheels at Work has been the perfect addition to my readers' book bags.

During our sneak peek of the book, we explored the tricky words.  Throughout our small group, kiddos matched the "stretched out sounds" (word attack strategy) of each word to the correct spelling of the word.  They placed the cards in the different parking spots as they matched the up.  This activity allowed my students to use the visual representation of the sounds to practice each word.

Students then drove their monster trucks into the parking spots of each tricky word found throughout the book.  They loved being able to "drive" into each word thus practicing each word again.  

As you can see, I love working on words with my kiddos.  Do you love working on words with your students?  What is your favorite time of day teaching your students?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

One Step Toward Solving The Chatties

I don't know what the deal is, but this year's class is CHATTY!  I am not joking, they love to talk.  It is hard to hold that against them; they are 6 and learning their social register.   But, I needed to curb their chattiness during group lessons, on the carpet.  I love the idea of SitSpots, but I can't justify another big purchase in my classroom.
I tested out a few ideas, and the bulk velcro from JoAnn Fabric and this amazing pen (Amazon link provided) have helped organize the talking a ton.

I used a small piece of the rough side and wrote each student's name on the back of it.  The rough velcro sticks perfectly to my classroom carpet. 
I assigned each kiddo a carpet spot and set the expectation that their back pockets are to remain on the their name spot at all times.  I made sure that each student was sitting next to their reading buddy, thus eliminating Pair Share troubles.  The velcro has made it so convenient to move kiddos around as need be.  

What do you do to help eliminate and organize your chatty kiddos?  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Game Time with Blends

Word Study is one of my favorite times of the day.  I love listening to my kiddos practicing and learning new words.  It is one of the times throughout the day that I feel like light bulbs are lighting up all over the place.  One of our favorite games during Word Study is Roll Read (Color/Write).   See it in action below...  

My kiddos get so excited when we study new words because they know they will get to play Roll Read.  I have short and long vowels, as well as blends in my TPT store.  You can grab all three in a bundle for a fabulously discounted price.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Using GoNoodle to Support the Workshop Model

There is no doubt about it, the workshop model is a form of best practice that many of us educators practice.  What is the workshop model you ask?  The workshop model is a teaching structure that allows students to take charge or their own learning.  This structure is composed of three parts: Mini lesson, Work time, and Reflection/Debrief.  Through this structure students learn to have a growth mindset and to be responsible for their own learning.  As the teacher, we are able to work with students individually and in small groups in order to provide learning at each student's zone of proximal development.
So how do you keep students on task and using their growth mindset during reading, math, and writers' workshop?  Well, engaging lessons for one thing.  Choices during work time for another, but the one thing that supports not only the students' attentiveness, but also the teacher's is GoNoodle.
Over the years, as I have developed a stronger workshop model in my classroom, I have learned that GoNoodle is the piece that holds it all together.  Let's walk through the three components so that I can explain which videos I use and why...shall we?!?

Mini lesson

My goal with my mini lessons is to hook my students, but keep them working toward the lesson outcome...enter Maximo and Think About It.  These two channels are packed with videos to keep my kiddos engaged in my mini lesson.  I love that both channels also allow us to set an intention.  I often use the language used in the Think About It videos throughout the day to remind my students of their learning potential.

Work Time

As we transition from the mini lesson to work time, I make sure to do two brain breaks, one to get the wiggles out and the second to calm the students back to a focused learning state.  My go to for wiggle release is Koo Koo Kanga Roo, and lately, the Trolls Can't Stop this Feeling.
Right before starting my conferences and small group instruction, we typically use the YouTube channel.  I have been able to add content specific songs and dances that connect directly to our learning targets.  There are tons of fabulous math videos that reinforce counting, numbers pairs, place value, and so much more.
Did you know that you can add your own videos to GoNoodle?  Just head to the YouTube channel, click on the top left box, and add the YouTube URL from the video of your choosing.
As students work, and I meet with students, I am able to monitor their noise and frustration level and determine if we need another GoNoodle break.  I love using Dance Party as a quick way to refocus the whole group, and I love getting up and dancing, too.  Plus, who doesn't love seeing their champ pop into the dance party?!?!  I even added my son's champ to my class's Dance Party for this reason.


The reflection can often be forgotten in lessons, but I have learned that it holds just as much value as the other two pieces of the workshop model.  The reflection allows students to have a sense of closure from the lesson, and it allows the teacher to formally and informally observe where the next lesson is going to go.  As a class, we rewatch our Think About It from our mini lesson and reflect on the intention that we initially set.   This has taught my class that there is a purpose to our brain breaks.  We don't just do them to do them.

I am so grateful for the sanity that GoNoodle brings to my classroom on a daily basis!  Do you teach using the Workshop Model?  What are your go to GoNoodle channels and videos?  You can also head over to the GoNoodle Community page, on Facebook and share your ideas there.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Music to Your Ears {Giveaway Time}

I still remember songs that I learned in grade school.  There is one about energy conservation that plays in my head every time I forget to turn off the water while I brush my teeth.  Obviously if I remember a song a gazillion years later it not only made an impact on my learning, but it really got locked in my memory bank.  That is what music does for most learners.  My thoughts are...I need to take full advantage of this learning.  Enter...Flocabulary.  
I was introduced to this amazing resource last year.  You can check out my post here.

This year, we can't get enough of the math videos.  They have been the perfect addition to our math workshop.  Right now, we are working on counting, recognizing numbers, and finding addends.  There is a whole video series that supports these math concepts.  The songs are catchy and are packed with relevant content. 

The only thing better than listening to the songs with my students is catching them singing them together while they work!  Now that is awesome, right?!?!

If you haven't signed up for Flocabulary yet, follow this link to sign up for a free 45 day trial.  Even better than that, 3 of you will win a year's subscription!  You have until October 16, 2016 to enter!!!  Winners will be announced on October 18th, and all trials will be sent out the same week.

I would love to know your favorite Flocabulary songs.  Leave me a comment below.  I am always looking for new ones to listen to with my kiddos.