School Year Success

I'm linking up with Ladybug's School Year Success Linky Party!

I was so fortunate to get to go to a training earlier this school year to The Teacher's College Reading & Writing Project (Lucy Calkins). Wow! What a great training! I had previously "dabbled" in Writing Workshop, but never really got it up & running. And Reader's Workshop? Really didn't know how to implement that....

I came back from that training with a much more clear idea of what I wanted my class to be doing for reading & writing. I got both Readers AND Writers Workshop up & running & LOVE it!! (That's not to say that I have it running perfect....still tweaking as I go).

My success isn't that I  implemented the Workshop approach. My success is that my kids (all of them!) LOVE TO READ! I certainly still have struggling readers.....but they LOVE TO READ! I am just thrilled!

And let me tell you a little story about my WRITERS......
We had a time crunch one day, & I gave my kids a choice between doing our literacy workstations (which are mainly games) or Writing....& they vehemently chose writing. In fact, when it's time for Writing Workshop to end, there is always a collective groan! 

My success this year is having been a part of helping children develop into people who love to read & write!

McTeacher's Night Fundraiser

I just got back from a fun evening of fundraising! McDonald's McTeacher Night!

If you haven't heard about this, it really is a pretty easy way to raise some funds. From 4:00-7:00 tonight, our school got 20% of all sales.

Teachers manned the dining room....which consisted mainly of greeting families, stickering and color paging up the little ones, & making sure everyone got a princess crown or pirate hat! What fun!

If you're looking for a quick & simple fundraiser, you might give your local McDonald's a call.

Don't forget to check out my Vocabulary Extravaganza Giveaway below!

Newsletter Linky Party

A Brand New Pencil is having a Newsletter Linky Party, & I am joining in!

I try to send home a newsletter weekly, but sometimes  it's more like bi-weekly. One of my goals for next year when I'm back in first is to make sure it happens weekly. Here is a copy of one of my recent newletters.

I purchased my template from Busy Teacher's Cafe several years ago. I just checked it out, & no longer see my template, but there are others you may be interested in.

I always include all the skills we are learning for the week in all subjects, as well as the week's spelling words. I have to blocks of space in which I can include notes of interest for parents, updates, needs, & wishlists, etc. There's also a space where I type in school events.

SO-- what does your newsletter look like, & what do you include?
Link up & let us know!

Freebie Friday Fact Family Flowers

There's our little exercise in alliteration on this bright (yet wet) Friday morning! I'm sharing with you a little activity my kiddos did last week to practice their fact family knowledge.

We made Fact Family Flowers! The three fact family numbers went in the centers (either pentagons or hexagons), & then they wrote the fact family equations on the triangle shaped petals.

They really had a blast making them! We then put them out in the hall with the title "It's a Mathematical World". I'm planning to add to the walls: labels pointing to the geometrical shapes,symmetry butterflies,etc. I've posted the Fact Family Flower Activity for FREE at my TpT store.
Click the button below & grab it! If you like it, please leave me feedback!

Teacher Sign Giveaway

Okay-- wouldn't this sign look GREAT if it said "Mrs. Frady"?! That's what I'm thinking, too!!

Mrs. Parker & Hadar are teaming up for this giveaway. All you have to do is visit Learning with Mrs. Parker to get in on it........
but of course, I'm hoping you WON'T, because that'll give me a greater chance of winning!

Words Their Way Shout Out!

Hey! I am just giving a shout out to all of you who do Words Their Way.

My grade level team had a fabulous planning meeting today, & have lots of exciting plans & changes for next year. One of them is we are going to start doing Words Their Way in place of what we are doing now for spelling.
I am looking for your advice & suggestions! I have lots of questions:
  • What does WtW look in your room? How do you facilitate multiple groups within the day/week?
  • What resources do you use? Do you have the teacher kit? Are there components we MUST have?
  • What does your homework look like?
  • Do you have any helpful hints or suggestions?
Thanks to all for participating. I appreciate any suggestions you have--no matter how small or big!

Teaching Vocabulary with Picture Books

I just have to share this fabulous idea for teaching vocabulary. Thanks to Melissa at F is for First Grade for creating this little gem!

As we all know, we have less & less opportunities to read to the kids just for fun. So Melissa pulled out those standard favorite read alouds & decided to use them to teach vocabulary.

She chose three words from each book,  created super cute cards for each book, used them all in a bulletin board, & developed a really cool way to teach vocabulary!

Here are some pics of the bulletin boards & the cards.


This wonderful resource is available at Melissa's TpT store. Check it out!

How many days do YOU have left?

Not that I am counting down, but I have 31 days left. Wow! That does just not seem possible. Only 31 days to get in what I still want to do with my kiddos! Yikes!
I'm loving this countdown sign that Hadar from Outfitted & Inspired makes! I would LOVE to have that in my classroom! Just too, too cute!
I almost hate to share this, because I would really like to win it, BUT -- if you head over to Teaching Blog Addict, you can get in on the giveaway, too!

Voki in the classroom

I've been playing around with Voki this evening. Check it out! I've just added one to my sidebar.

I'm planning to begin using Vokis in my classroom. I made one this morning that gives instructions for one of my literacy workstations. While I was working on that, it came to me that this might be a GREAT way to communicate with some of my parents.

About 30% of my students parents do not speak English. Now, I don't speak Spanish, but there are several people at my school who do, & it would just take a few minutes for them to record a message using Audacity, then I could upload the Spanish to the Voki. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?
There are a couple ways Vokis can be delivered-- you can email a retrieval link, or embed the code on a blog (or on my classroom Moodle). I think I have hit on an idea here!

A couple more thoughts for uses in the classroom:
  • Delivering instructions to a small group via the computer while I work with another small group.
  • Students could create their own Vokis & then type in text for the Voki to read. Maybe a story or report?
I know there must be TONS more I could do with this in the classroom. Please comment & leave me your ideas!

Add your signature to your blog

Thanks to Shelly at Asprec's Apple for posting the SUPER easy directions! All I had to do was go to My Live Signature & follow the steps. Super easy! You can even scan in your own signature for use....but I'll save that for another day!

Homework Linky Party

Mrs. Scoma at First Grade FUNdamentals is having a homework Linky Party, & I am joining in.

First off, I should probably tell you that my view on homework is that is should be PRACTICE. I never send something home as homework that we have done that same day. It's almost always something from the week before (except for Spelling, of course). I do expect homework daily, but I do a weekly packet. I expect my students to read at home for 15 minutes, do a little bit of math & spelling. (If truth be told, I would back off of the spelling. Studies show that Spelling tests/homework are not effective & really a waste of time. But - parents want it.

I like doing the weekly packet. I send it home on Monday & collect it on Friday. Parents tell me they really appreciate the weekly packets-- it allows for family schedules, emergencies, etc. I hardly EVER have issues with children not turning in their homework.

I add a cover page to the packet that lists homework per day. There is a text box on each day where parents are supposed to fill in the title of the book, number of pages read, & sign. Here is a copy of this week's cover sheet. We recently started really focusing on math fact fluency & I am adding some practice in for their homework. Each night, they need someone to time them for five minutes. See how many they can get done, & record that number on the front. My kiddos really enjoy doing this.

For spelling homework, I vary the activities I put in each week. This week, they are:
  • Writing the words forwards & backwards
  • Writing the words & circling the vowels
  • Writing the words in bubble letters (a favorite!)
  • Making a tracer for each word
Some of the other activities I have them do are:
  • Cloze activities
  • Make a word search
  • Write the word & illustrate (thanks to a teacher friend!)
  • Alphabetize
That's what I do for homework. Now it's your turn! Head over to First Grade FUNdamentals & join the fun!

Hot Topic in the Teacher's Lounge!

Woohoo! I am thrilled to have received my first award! Primary Inspired is a HOT TOPIC in the Teacher's Lounge! Many thanks to Cindy!
My Famous American Project is featured on her super cute blog. Hop on over & check this one out!

Famous American Research Projects

Meet Rosa Parks
We recently did our Famous American research projects in our classroom. My kiddos were super excited about it, too! (Gotta love that!). After looking over all of the biography books I had available, each sweetie wrote their top 3 choices on a ballot, & I assigned from there.

In the past, I've had my 2nd graders write a report & do a poster about their person. This time, I had them do Pocket People to go along with the reports. I got the idea from a wonderful poster over at PT. They turned out SO cute!

I created some research card templates for my class to complete to help them move on to the actual report. These were then the cards that they put into the pockets of their person.
One of the wonderful teachers on my grade level created a rubric for the kids to use, & I turned this into a Planning Packet.

Then, the kiddos
  1. Completed the Card Templates. (These can be printed on to cardstock & cut into card size).
  2. Worked on a Pocket Person Planning Page (so they had their ideas down before they started the real thing!)
  3. Began working on the BIG Pocket Person. (My class used construction paper, others used paint)
  4. Helen Keller
  5. Wrote their research report.
  6. Gave oral presentations to the class.
The kids had a blast creating their pocket people & learned a LOT about historical figures. I have some very creative smarties!

Ruby Bridges & Pocahontas

Say hello to FDR! *I LOVE the wheelchair!

Sacajawea *See her baby peeking over her shoulder?