Monday, February 27, 2012

Pigphony and please pin *Freebie

Yes.
Please pin stuff from my blog.
To me, that's free advertising. It's not like it's not linked back.
Maybe there are reasons people don't want others to pin stuff.
I'm sure there are.
But I don't have any. So pinnity pin pin.


Also, the promised pigphony.
I warn you: this is pretty ridicuous. It's a very weird post. But I promised my hunny I would write it, and he had a bad day, so we have to make him happy.

My hunnybun and I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day a little late this year. By celebrate, I mean actually leave the house and do something other than go to Target. We postponed because, on Saturday, the symphony was performing his favorite symphony of all time: Antonin Dvorak's 9th Symphony, New World Symphony. 
For reference, it sounds like this.



It's very serious (symphonies usually are).
My experience with symphonies is limited. I don't listen to them much - not opposed to them, just don't think about it much. I attended one on a field trip when I was a kid, but all I remember about it is the pretty dress I wore with a big red flower on it.
So honestly, when I hear symphonies....
I think of...
Bugs Bunny.

Well, the other day, we were listening to this symphony in the car, in preparation for our 'fancy date' (one of THREE since I met this man three years ago - not three FANCY dates; three dates at all. ever.)

He was singing some of the parts and it sounded funny to me.
Like what? you ask.
Like a pig.
Like a little pig, singing.
Like a little pig, singing, "I'm just a little pig. Please don't eat me."

Now, I know that sounds absolutely stupid. I'm not denying this. But the other day, I mentioned the pigphony, and I figured I better follow through.

So once I had established a protagonist (a precious little piggins) I had to have an antagonist. A farmer. With an axe. And a pitchfork.
I made up lyrics that had him say things like, "I must eat ALL the pigs!" and "Where have you gone, O Pig?"

The pig hides behind a cow. 
The farmer sings about bacon.
The pig begs for his life.
The farmer sings about ham.
The pig keeps hiding.
I acted this out in my den.

Then, the pig has a nightmare - keep in mind, this is all inspired by the symphony; the plot makes perfect sense with the music in my head

The farmer almost catches the pig.

And then....I didn't hear the end of the symphony, so I wasn't sure what happened at the end. I was sincerely worried.

So on Saturday night, we went to the symphony. 
In the middle of the fourth movement (the best part for the pig), my hunny looked at me and started to giggle. 
Then he stopped.
Then we got to the part where the pig is hiding behind a cow.
He giggled.
Then he stopped.

Then we got to the end, during which I realized what happens.
The pig trots away, so fast, on his little pig feet, and the farmer stands, holding his pitchfork, looking forlorn.
All you can see is the little piggin's little pig bottom disappearing over a hill, his curly tail bouncing behind.
I was very relieved.

After the pigphony was over, I informed my hunny about what the ending was. He was relieved too. 
But I think I still ruined the symphony for him, because now, instead of the glorious "Going Home," he is going to hear a little pig begging for his life and trotting into the distance.

I'm sorry that was so weird. I had to keep my promise.
To say I'm sorry, here's a freebie thing, black and white for easy printing: 
Click it to grab it from TPT.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guided reading: vitamins in your reading diet *Freebie


I did promise.
So even though I really want to talk about these things...
*Fringe (what the what?!)
*Pigphony (like symphony, but pigs. More later)
*Room, which I just finished reading. O.M.G.

I am going to talk about something even more exciting!
Yes, you guessed it! Guided reading!

Guided reading is like vegetables for reading. You need a little bit every day.
For healthy readers, they might need less concentrated doses.
But for struggling unhealthy readers, you gotta hit em hard with consistent amounts.

At our school, guided reading is one of the few consistent initiatives we have - everybody does it, everybody's been trained in it, everybody has to provide evidence of it.

WARNING!
My stuff is not always cute. For example, my groups are labeled with post-its and my handwriting on this is ALWAYS messy if they're just for me. Because this stuff IS just for me, and maybe our literacy lead.
Kid stuff can be cute.
My stuff doesn't have time to be cute.

Space for Guided Reading
This is my table. It has five chairs around it;
sometimes we add another for larger groups.

Behind the table are my materials shelves
and our comprehension strategies posters. 

I have a vertical file folder for each group. Each group also has a folder in their color to keep their book for rereading in, and any extensions I give them to work on. We also practice answering questions about each book using The Test-like questions.

These are our comprehension strategies. Some of them, that I charted anyway. On the left is a description of what their brain is doing, and on the right, the mouth and the pencil show that this is the way to speak or write about your thinking.

To the left of the table (from student perspective) are our charts of decoding skills that we've practiced. Blends, Vowel Sounds, Vowel Teams, Digraphs, Syllable Patterns on a foldable, and our pocket chart of decoding strategies.
Structure of a Lesson
There's a formal lesson plan sheet we have to use to plan every lesson, but I don't know if I'm allowed to share it. Don't want to get in trouble!

The important part is it's done at the student's instructional reading level - not grade level, necessarily. We work through grade level text all day. This is an 18-minute (approximately) block of time where the kid gets to practice strategies on a text he or she can almost manage.

When appropriate, we start with practicing some high frequency words.
The more able readers don't really need that.

Then we do a little word work - could be blends, digraphs, syllable patterns, vowel teams, rhyming words, prefixes, suffixes, decoding strategies, even synonyms/antonyms, context clues.

Next, we introduce our focus strategy. I've always used "Good readers" statements.
"Good readers stop and think about what's important from their reading."
"Good readers read to the end of the word."
Although, I recently heard "Thoughtful readers."

We preview the text, plant some language they'll need, predict words and ideas they expect to encounter, access background knowledge - all that stuff.

Then they read. Independently. Teacher works with individual students, prompting them through the text and recording anecdotal notes.

Afterwards, we praise & reteach.

Structure of Groups
I meet with two groups a day. My most struggling group meets with me daily (M-F).
My next most struggling group I see three days a week (M,T,W). Then I see a group on Thursday, a group on Friday, and my highest group meets with me Wednesday during breakfast. They're actually slightly ahead of the game, so they don't need as much direct instruction.

Documentation


This is my binder. EW! IT'S SO UGLY! That's my group schedule on the front.
The inside is ugly, too. In the pocket are question stems (the structure of  different kinds of questions on THE TEST. Then I have blank forms and assessment data on the right.


They gave us these cool plasticky pocket dividers. Each group has a divider.

Behind the plastic divider, I put the lesson plans for the group.

Behind those, there are dividers for each student in the group.
 That's where I put my running records.
Inside the kids' folders, they have this to keep track of their reading levels. I mostly use it with my more struggling (below grade level) groups, to motivate them to work hard during guided reading. They notice when they move up, and they feel proud!
You can grab it here at TPT.

Noticing: I need to make my own stuff cuter, too.

QUESTION!
How do you work with struggling readers?
Is your guided reading program similar?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How'd you meet your hunny?! Linky Party!!

Ahh, the season of love.

Or looooooove, as I hear it in my head.

This season is love for double reasons.
#1 is obviously Valentine's Day.
#2 is it's my hunnybun's birthday on the day before Valentine's Day.

Awwww loooooove.

I think I've already mentioned that, when we first met, he thought this meant that we didn't have to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Don't worry. We fixed that up right quick.

Anyway, I'm kind of nosy when it comes to this love stuff.
Looooooooove.

I want to know everybody's business.
So I'm gonna be brave.
I figure, I should get the ball rolling by sharing a story first, and then,
maybe
if you're very very nice
and don't want me to develop a blog complex
about being the only one at my linky party
you'll link up, too
and tell us
ok, mostly me...


Now, I want to be fair.
I didn't have a hunny for a loooong time.
I spent my fair share of evenings drinking wine
eating frosting (I know. Counterproductive to catching a man)
and watching Bridget Jones.
So I get it.
If you don't currently have a hunny,
you can write about how you would LIKE to meet your hunny,
which means you can write whatever fantasy you'd like.

Cause if I was writing that post,
it definitely wouldn't go like this:

I've worked for my school district for 9 years.
A few years ago, my campus had a disaster.
By that I mean there was mold.
In the campus.
On everything.
In the air.
In the library.
It ruined ALL the books in the WHOLE library
and damaged LOTS of stuff in the WHOLE school.
My school had to be bused every day across town to a vacant old school building
that was gross
and didn't have anything in it
and that was our home for a year.

To make an incredibly long story short
ish,
I wasn't too happy.
Nobody was.
And then-
dun-dun-DUNNNNN
worse news
we were going to have to move classrooms again.

Nope.
I had it.
So I went and spoke at a board meeting.
I wasn't very nice
but I wasn't that mean either
but it got the job done
because other people heard and helped us
and we didn't have to move again.
I wasn't a favorite in the public relations office,
but then,
I could live with that.

Well, two months later, my friend nagged me into setting up a Yahoo! personal profile.
I know.
Ew, some say.
But it was kind of fun.
'Something to do' as my mother would say.
So I did it
and started checking out some dudes online.
I 'winked' at this cute guy
who looked like Fred Flintstone
and said he worked for my district, in multimedia.

Multimedia, I thought.
Instructional Technology Department, probably.

A week went by.
A week!
I was seeing other guys from the site, but they were pretty lame boring weird much not for me.
Finally, he responded!
First we just emailed,
but finally,
when he manned up and called,
when his brother made him do it
we got to talking on the phone. He said,
"You know, I see so many teachers. I'm surprised we've never met."

Taking a long shot, I said,
"Well, do you remember that teacher from ___fill in school name___ who came and spoke at the board meeting?"

"YEAH! The crazy who ripped everybody a new *%&hole?"he said, in an animated tone.

........

"Yes. That was me," I said, charitably.

.........

"Ah. Well......then I do remember you," he pathetically responded. "I work in public relations. We recorded it. My boss isn't too crazy about you."

Yeesh.

Later, I was able to ask this man,
who would eventually be my hunnybun,
"What did you think when you called me a crazy?"
He said, "Open mouth. Insert foot. I was mostly just relieved that you didn't get upset."

Of course I didn't get upset. I knew I looked like a crazy.
People who stick up for kids always do.
Creeps.

Anyway, we set a time to meet
three years ago
in a Village Inn
fancy
and fell in
looooooove.
Now I'm working on step 2.
You know,
the bling.

But anyway, that's How I Met My Hunny.


All right!
I spilled the embarrassing beans!
And keep in mind, this is my first linky party
EVER
and I'm having anxiety about it.
please
please
please
please
please

And if this thing doesn't work, please tell me! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Multiplication - Division Connection: Cousins.

Multiplication and Division are cousins.

Did you know that?
They're totally related. That's what we figured out today in math -
during a totally mind-blowing lesson
that I'm going to share with you.

We've been working with arrays and how they represent multiplication.
I've tried to cultivate this language: combining the same amount over and over.
It's starting to click.

So we worked on this foldable.
-If you've read my Math Notebooks: Pink? post, you know why it's obnoxiously pink.
It's cause I'm such a good sport.


First we did the left side (about five days ago).
We wrote problems that required multiplication on the outside flap.
On the inside, we drew a sketch of what was happening in the problem.
Then we drew the array.


That was just the left side. The first problem reads: "Mary has 8 bags of candy. She has 10 pieces in each bag. How many pieces of candy does Mary have in all?"

Not exactly rocket science, but pretty challenging for my little guys.
It was only two months ago that I amazed them all with my mathematical magic: regrouping.
Anyway, we drew the actions of the problem (equal groups being combined)
and sketched an array with 8 rows and 10 in each row, for a total of 80.

So today,
I blew their minds.
We've been working with division for a few days.
We have already identified that an array can represent multiplication AND division.
The kids said they were totally down with this idea.
They got it.
No problem.

I KNEW they were faking it.

So today, I handed out the foldables again.
On the right side, we wrote this problem:
"Mary has 80 pieces of candy. She is putting an equal amount of candy in each of 8 bags. How many pieces of candy will be in each bag?"

You get it, right?
Same problem?
Same objects?
Same amounts?
Different angle?
Instead of combining over and over, we're taking away over an over. What you may call...division!

But no one seemed to notice that it was the same idea.
They WERE faking it!
Buncha fakers.
So we sketched the actions of problem inside the the foldable.
(a total being shared equally into groups)
Then we drew the array.
80 total, 8 rows, 10 in each row.
Then I said,
"So,  open your flaps and look at the arrays......
Notice anything?"

And Randy went, "OH!"
but it was an "OH" that is impossible to capture in text.
It was like, "Oh, the universe makes sense to me now!" in only two letters: O.H.

And it should make sense now.
Because it was the same array for both problems.
Because multiplication and division are inverse operations, or, as we say in third grade,
opposites.

We wrote on the back of our foldable.
I don't know how to teach without having kids write about their thinking. This was kind of a fast one, just to record some basic reflections:


So the kids had kind of an epiphany
and now the world is a logical place.
Multiplication and division are related. They are inverse operations, representing groups, an amount in each group, and a total. The difference is...
which parts to you have?
and
which part are you trying to find?

So that's why they're cousins.

Question: How do you blow your kids' minds? What are they the most surprised to learn?

On a different level, I recently added a couple of very basic math games to my TPT and Teacher's Notebook stores.
They're made for Kinder, mostly: Number matching. Each pack includes cards with numbers 0 through 20 in word form, number form, tallies, and pictures for students to match.

There are three different styles:
Rainy Day Number Matching TPT and Teacher's Notebook
 and Have a Heart Number Matching for Valentine's Day TPT and Teacher's Notebook
 Lucky Number Matching for St. Patrick's Day TPT and Teacher's Notebook

Couldn't help myself.
KPM Doodles is SOOOO cute.