Thursday, June 28, 2012

 Hi, I'm having my first "Give Away" celebrating 25 followers on my new blog!!  Woo!  Hoo! There will be 3 lucky winners!  Each winner will be able to choose any 3 products from my store for "free"!  All you have to do is follow my blog, follow my TpT store and follow me on Pinterest!  The winners will be announced on July 3rd!  Good luck!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 25, 2012

Daily 5 - Chapter 3
Establishing a Gathering Place - Right now I'm thinking my "Gathering Place" will be in front of the "Smart Board" on a large area rug.  We would have a whiteboard available for our focus lessons, anchor charts, poem and song charts, a chart rack and any other teaching materials needed handy in this area.  This is a place where we gather to share.  While working on the Daily 5 moving to the "Gathering Place" would provide the children with a break in their brain work and also allow for some movement time.

Good-Fit Books - Wow!  Here's where I'm going to have to adjust my thinking from Title I a little bit.  I always believed that if a child could read the text with 95% or higher accuracy it was a good-fit for them.  However, Richard Allington (and he is a big guru in reading, and awesome to listen to) believes for an independent-level or good-fit book a child needs to be able to read with 99% accuracy.  So, needless to say I will be rethinking my thinking!!  I also plan on posting an "I Pick" chart for picking good-fit books (an example of chart is found on page 30 of text).  I loved the "shoe" examples the authors shared.  What a great visual for me, let alone the children!!  I will be copy catting this one!

Setting Up Book Boxes - Whew!  This is where I'm struggling a bit.  I've thought about doing book baggies, but I'm not sure that's the way to go.  I've also looked at the little magazine boxes offered through "Really Good Stuff."  I love those, but then there's the problem of where to put them where they are also handy and available to the children.  Any suggestions out there??  I do know I need to label my book collections like the example on page 35.  I already have them organized this way, just not labeled.  Another "to-do" item for this summer.

Anchor Charts or "I-Charts" - These charts are created together with the children and are used to help make learning or thinking permanent. They are displayed in the classroom where they can be referred to continually.

Short Intervals of Repeated Practice - Haven't we always heard "practice makes perfect?" We have children reread text to help improve their fluency, so it makes perfect sense to have them practice many times how to do the Daily 5 components.  The authors share how important it is for children to hear (auditory), model (visual) and practice (kinesthetic) each of the components to help build their muscle memory.

Signals -  It is so important to begin teaching children from the first day of school how to do things.  The authors shared how they begin right away teaching the signal for them to gather at the "Gathering Place" making sure to explain the purpose for the signal.  Again, an anchor chart might be helpful and also a constant reminder. They spend times practicing over and over and adding any new thinking to the anchor chart.  What an excellent idea!!  Why didn't I think of that?!

"Check-In" - I loved the quote from Debbie Miller (Reading with Meaning) by the way.  "Eventually, I realized, of course, that nothing was wrong with 'these kids.'  They didn't get it because I hadn't shown them how.  I'd told them to be respectful, thoughtful, and kind, but I hadn't shown them what that looks and sounds like".   We need to discuss with children what each skill looks like, model both the correct and incorrect way and then practice, practice, practice!!

Whew!  So much information and so much to remember!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Love, love, love my new background  and banner for the 4th of July!!  My background is from "Scrappin Blogs."  My new banner is from "Just So Scrappy 2"  with Zorro adding a special touch.  He is compliments of Nikki. I love how it all looks together! Let me know what you think!    And thanks again to "Scrappin Blogs," "Just So Scrappy 2" and Nikki. Just click on their names to visit their fantastic sites.  You guys are so talented!
 Daily 5 Chapter 2 – Summary
(Sorry this is super-long!  But, good information!)

While reading Chapter 2 there were several things I thought about and pondered in regards to this fall and beginning with my new kindergarteners.  Some of them will be forcing me out of my comfort zone a little bit, but I’m willing to take the plunge. I hope I can swim!!

Trust:  I am a firm believer in building positive relationships with my students.  By showing them I respect them and value them, as a person I’m able to teach them that this is how others want to be treated as well.  All students (even the little stinkers) are worthy of my respect if I am to trust they will make the right decisions during the Daily 5.  I believe a key component is we must built stamina and have guided practice, so they will know how to manage on their own.

Choice:  Boy does this one hit home!  How many of us like choice??  I do, I do!!  Letting the children have the choice of what order they do each of the different activities in the Daily 5 I feel will be the key to whether it works well or not.  I know in my teaching when I first started I liked to teach the things I liked best first.  I wanted to make sure I got them in during the day.  It wasn’t a biggie if we didn’t get to the subject areas I disliked.  Yeah, right!!  I had to learn to train myself to start with the subject I liked least.  And over time, this usually became my favorite.  I believe by giving my students choices they will be more motivated and feel in charge of their learning!  I also liked  “Purpose + Choice = Motivation.”  I strongly believe you need to tell children what the “purpose” of an activity is.  This helps them understand why were asking them to do what it is we want them to do.  I know I want to know why I’m being asked to do something, so out of respect I should do the same.

Community:  Were one “big happy family”!  Well, most of the time we are.  :0)
Creating a community within the classroom enhances a positive atmosphere for learning.  We will be spending the majority of our days together as one big family.  It is so important each child value the other.  Debbie Miller has a poem to help build community in her book “Reading with Meaning”.  I’ve used it in the past and each child signs the poem and each has his/her picture around the poem to signify they are part of the classroom community.  It’s really a classroom “promise”.   I left it up all year and each day we shared together our “Classroom Promise.”

Sense of Urgency:  I’m feeling a strong sense of urgency to get started on the next school year.  But, I want to stop and enjoy my summer first.  Awww!  All of these wonderful ideas floating around in my head, I know as school gets closer to starting I’m going to lose a lot of sleep. 

Back to the kids:  Again, we need to let children know the “purpose” for doing something.  They need to understand the “why”.  Helping each child understand, the “why” or the sense of urgency will establish a culture where they believe their learning counts and is important.  I loved the story on page 22-23 about the two vice principals visiting and Jenna asking them “to take it outside?  I am working on Read to Self.  I really need to practice to be a better reader. My brain is buys and your loud voice is stopping it.  How am I ever going to be a better reader if you are so noisy?”  Wow!  There is a sense of urgency!!

Stamina:  Taking each piece of the Daily 5 in small time allotments to start is an excellent way of beginning to build stamina, even if it is only for one minute the first day.  I will need to remember to work with individual children or small groups right from the get go and not walk around the room praising those staying on task.  This will be a hard task for me, but one I must make sure I follow.  Yikes!!  Wish me luck!

What do I need to do or change?  I need to change gears first of all.  I’m moving from teaching Title I Reading to K-4 graders to a full time kindergarten teacher.  I know I need to try to remember how young they are at the beginning of the school year and needy!!  I’m sure I will be “needy” too!  My poor co-teacher!  I will need to model, model, model and help my students build their stamina, while letting them know the purpose for what we’re doing.  I need to think about how to set up my classroom so children feel it’s our room and not my room.  I need to breathe!!  It will all be okay!  I know it will and I’m super excited about teaching kindergarten again!!

Other great ideas:  I’ve been searching Pinterest and TpT for ideas for the Daily 5 and Cafe.  I’ve also been working on some different poster sets to go along with the Organizational Binder sets I’ve created. These will be offered for “free” at my TpT store.  So far, I have a set for Monsters Super Heroes and Hippies.  Just click on the words to go directly to my TpT store to download the poster sets.   Here are a couple of samples!!
 Please remember these are an “unofficial adaptation” and are not endorsed by the 2 Sisters.  To access official resources check out

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

YEAH!! I just got started with my first blog book study hosted by Live, Love, Laugh Everyday in Kindergarten. This past spring I read "The Daily 5" and decided I'd like to try it with my kindergarteners in the fall.  I was thrilled to find out that Tammy was going to be doing a book study on it this summer.  I am also super excited because this book study is just for KINDERGARTEN!! If you're a kindergarten teacher wanting to learn more about "The Daily 5"' or have already used "The Daily 5" in your classroom come join us!! 

Also, If you're a first, second or third grade teacher wanting to study "The Daily 5" there is a book study just for you over at Mel D.'s  Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations.

Friday, June 8, 2012

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

As you all know I've been working away on back to school organizational binders.  Nikki over at  just finished up an adorable "Wizard of Oz" clip art set. I was so excited!!  So, as a big thank you to Nikki and all of my followers I'm offering a "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" binder set as a "freebie".  Here are a couple of pictures of what the set looks like and the link to my tpt store where you can get the free download.
Thanks everyone!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wanted to share a "Fun in the Sun" give away with everyone.  You can hop over to "" to view her give away.  Jacque is the blog owner and she is featuring a $15 gift certificate from "Melonheadz Illustrating" in celebration of 200 followers.  Check it out!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hi, I'd like to offer everyone another activity for teaching comprehension strategies.  This past year several of us introduced "questioning" to our students using the "Hedbanz" game by Spin Masters.  "Hedbanz" is a simple question game that everyone can enjoy. Students draw an identity card for an animal, food, or common object but there's one catch - everyone but the child is able to see the card. The card is displayed by the headband on the persons head. The goal is to deduce or infer who or what you have on your headband by asking the others questions and eliminating animals, foods, creatures, etc. from the clues you gain through your answers to the questions you ask.  This freebie is for a set of "Holiday Hedbanz" cards.  I've included:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Presidents Day, Easter and several other holidays.  Pop on over to my store at TpT to download.  I still haven't figured out how to do all of this on "Google Docs", but I'm working on it.

The link to my store is:

I also wanted to let you know I've added two more "Back to School Organizational Binders" at TpT.  I just finished up my "Space Binder" and I've also added a "Cowboy Binder."  Below are a few pictures showing what's included.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I wanted to share a new website with you all.  It is called "The Clever School Teacher" and kindergarten teacher Deedee Wills and her husband just launched it.  It is fabulous!!  They have spent many, many hours organizing books for you into grade level groups (K-2) and (3-5) and into different categories.  Here are the categories the books are organized into:  Comprehension Strategies, Genre Studies, Author Studies, 6+1 Traits, Units of Lucy Calkins, Craft Lessons, Non-fiction Craft Lessons, Award Winning Books and Common Core Standards.

To the left (under my Teachers Notebook button) you will find a button that will take you to their site, "The Clever School Teacher."  Please check it out!  It is truly a wonderful place to find just what you're looking for and they spent a lot of time putting this information together to be right at our fingertips!

Thanks Deedee and hubby!!