B2S in a Flash: Teacher Faves

Hello y’all!

It’s that time of year again!  I’m super excited to be joining in a fun linky with some of my favorite Blogging Buddies!  I hope you will enjoy checking out all of the posts each week!  And if you’re a blogger.you’ve got all week to link up!

There will be a lot of fun to look forward to, so make sure you are following me on Bloglovin’ so you won’t miss out when we go live!!

This week is all about..

So..here I go!!
These are my latest and GREATEST find!  I heard about these pens through a FB group for EC Planners.  Lo & Behold...they are just perfect for my grading!  
  • I love the bright colors
  • I love that I don't have to write "oops!" when I grade something wrong by accident!
  • I love that I don't have mistakes in my grade book!  Even more, we have to do our Report Cards by hand, now that we've switched to Standards-Based Reporting, I don't have to white-out mistakes there either!!  (Prayers for technology to catch up, please!)
If you think you NEED these, too....you can get them HERE at Staples!  I've seen smaller sets at Target, too.  

I take a cup of coffee "To-Go" every day.  


In fact, we had to buy a 14-cup coffee maker because with the 12....somebody was getting half a cup..to-go.  The hubs & I love our morning coffee!  I love my Starbucks mug because it stays warm all morning.  
By the way, my To-Go cup has CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha creamer.  

My lunchbox goes out the door every day, too.  I gave up on school food after my first year back to teaching in public schools.  Being 40 & all those calories...doesn't mix!  I inherited my lunch tote when my daughter went off to college, and I love it!  It fits my short Tervis and my lunch!
Finally, lesson planning so just SO simple with Planbook.com.  It is super cheap...can't beat $12!  You can extend lessons, copy lessons, add your state/common core standards...all in a snap.  You just set up your schedule for the year and you are set!  Even if you have to tweak your times during the year, it is really easy to adjust.

That's it for me!  These are my favorites that make me smile when it comes to my second home...SCHOOL!!  Be sure to check out my buddies' favorites, too!!


Mentor Texts for Compare & Contrast

As students mature, learning to compare and contrast different stories is an amazing way to demonstrate deep understanding of a story.  With second grade CCSS, students compared similar stories--like fractured fairy tales.  Third graders are expected to apply this skill with two different stories altogether!  Head over to I Teach Third to see how I used biographies by David Adler to teach compare & contrast!  I've also give a few other suggested books to make your planning super easy!
Read-aloud Mentor Texts are a great way to teach Compare & Contrast.  I love this selection of books found in any school library!
Hope you love these amazing stories!  I know you will love the rich vocabulary, and your kids will love learning about these amazing people!


Reading Workshop: Unit 6 Nonfiction Reading Clubs

Hello friends!  Today I’m joining in with a great book study of ...

A group of us have gotten together to take turns sharing our thoughts and reflectionseach taking on a different chapter.  You will definitely want to head back to read the first post from Amber at Sunny Side of Second Grade.  At the end, there’s a link to the next chapter, then a link to the next, and so on. 

Unit 4 took on the task of teaching students about reading nonfiction books, while this chapter takes it to the next level: Nonfiction Reading Clubs

Reading Clubs versus Shared Reading Clubs
While you might assume that Reading Clubs & Shared Reading are the samenot so!  Within the context of this book, Nonfiction Reading Clubs are groups of students gathering together while reading similar books.  For those of you that have read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, I know your heart it singing!  It's all about the discussions! I love how the author refers to Kathy Collins book, Reading for Real.  Book clubs are compared to musicians who gather together for jam sessions.  Each person shares something they are working on, friends give feedbackperhaps helping perfect or improve.  It is a supportive network of people with like interests.  Reading clubs afford the opportunity for children with like intereststo read together, share their thoughts and questions, and help each other become experts on the topic.

It is important to keep in mind that your students should continue with their regular independent reading--whatever genre.  They may be REALLY into a series of fiction, and they should not abandon those interests!!  Unlike shared reading clubs where readers may take on tasks and pace together, this reading club encourages reading within the topic and sharing.

Getting Started:

You will likely already have some baskets in your classroom library clustered by some kind of topic.  In prepping for this unit, you will want to look carefully at the books you have.  You may want to add more topics--perhaps even subtopics of existing topics.  Most importantly, I appreciated that the authors suggest varying the levels.  If the topic is new to the reader, they may want to begin at a lower level to build back ground and read at a level that isn't frustrating.  They can build up throughout the unit.  Meanwhile, you club members who have background in the area will want to read more challenging texts.  Having a variety will meet the needs of all of your readers throughout the unit as the progress and become more skillful.  

Implementing this unit will comprise of three parts.

The focus this month will ask the students to switch their mindset to nonfiction & monitor for meaning and learn from the author.  Teachers will likely pull out/create anchor charts reviewing comprehension skills: such as, finding main idea, using text features, locating facts efficiently,, and determine meaning of key terms.  

The best part of this transition is the support students will receive from their clubs.  In the club environment, students will talk about new learning.  Since monitoring for meaning is a component of this focus, the club is the perfect environment to talk about concepts or ideas they are having trouble with.  Students might refer to a page they can reread together to clarify meaning in a supportive way.

Later in the month, it will be important for students to turn the main ideas and vocabulary they have collected into creating new thoughts and questions about the topic.  The teacher might model from a nonfiction book how the process of inferring comes about.  Students will be encouraged to react to what they have read.  Once they have mulled over and reacted, ideas can form to create new ideas based on what they have read.  
It is also important for students to become flexible in their thinking.  Students often begin a topic with a clear understanding of what they know,  but they need encouragement to be open to new ideas and revise their thinking.  In book talks, students would be encouraged to share using statements such as, "I used to think____, but now I know that___".  

As the month begins to wane, students have likely read several books on their topics.  They are equipped at this point to make comparisons of what they have read and move on to contrasting the information.  Once more, the teacher can read a nonfiction book and model the Think Aloud.  Clubs will likely create t-charts to track the two facts the correlate or differentiate.  Tracking this information creates an environment of accountable talking in the group.  
The opportunity arises at this point for students to pursue answering a question based on their reading.  Students will likely reread sections in order to answer the question.  Working together, they might create a table or chart to present to another group.  This collaborative effort is an ideal way to further demonstrate the speaking and listening standards & becoming the expert they hoped to become!

I love how this book is moving along!  It subtly supports the Common Core State Standards in a spiral way--not in isolation.  Students learn to apply the tools in a meaningful way.  Nonfiction can be tough for kids!  I can't wait to implement book clubs in nonfiction in this manner!  No "class sets" needed.  Just kids reading and time to share! 

Next Monday on July 13th, you'll want to head over to Mrs. Burke's Special Kids to read Unit 7!!  I know Sebrina will have some GREAT insights!


Back to School Print & Go Booklets!

Hi friends!

It may barely be July but I have #B2S15 on the brain!  I leave for the TPT Conference on Wednesday (AAAH!  did I REALLY just say that?!), return on  Sunday....then I have to get MOVED from one room to another.  I figure...that's going to eat up what's left of my summer!  So I just REALLY need to get some things ready for that first week back.

I'm kind of obsessed with the idea of celebrating the "3rd Day of Third" idea...rather than just the first day!  So, I've put together this precious booklet that I know my kids are gonna enjoy.  I need it to be easy to assemble and enough to keep them busy writing and getting to use those crayons & markers!

Now you know...I've got you ALL covered by creating cover sheets for ALL grade levels!

All you need to do is select the single sheets you want.

You might select a range of pages, too.

Once you've gathered all of your master pages in the order you want--set them to print in stacks on your school printer.  For each stack, you'll want to staple at the top like you see below.

Then you can assemble your booklets in a SNAP!
You've got one booklet for a boy and one for a girl in about a minute!

Now, all you have to do is pass them out!  These would be a perfect momento for the day or to save for Open House night!  I love having a few items on the desk for parents to see when they come.  Then, they just take them home! 

You can click HERE to take you right to my store!

I am so very excited about this!  I hope you love it, too!