Sunday, October 23, 2016

Teaching Through Themes: Fire Safety Week

This past week we learned all about fire safety. In preparation for this week, I had a discussion with my class about fire safety and learned we had a lot of misconceptions. Our fall break (yay!) fell during the middle of that week so I decided to postpone it so that we could spend a full week learning how to be safe.

Click on the picture to go to NFPA's website

We started off the week by talking about our schema and what questions we had about firefighters and fire safety. Then we spent some time looking at non-fiction text to help us label an color a firefighter and fire truck. Looking closely at non-fiction text has helped us realize that we can get our questions answered through books. It has also helped us label and have our colors make sense in our pictures when writing.

We had some fun making a replica of a hook and ladder truck! We used Boo Berry cereal as the firefighter driving the truck and a small marshmallow as a siren.

 Then, we made firefighter hats and put out some fires. I found this idea here and had to do it! We took a field trip to one of the fire extinguishers in our school to check it out. Then we made a fire out of tissue paper in our cups. We added baking soda and sprayed in vinegar to watch the "fire extinguisher" put out the fire.  

Can we say fun?! We also read a firefighter emergent reader so we could practice sight words and vocabulary.  

And our shared reading was all about being safe if there is a fire. Here is one of the pages:

Throughout the week we also played this great firefighter game from

What do you do for Fire Safety Week?

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Text Dependent Questions: Chapter 1

I am so excited to be back at blogging.  Trying to find time to blog with a 3 year old and 3 month old has been a new adventure, but I am slowly learning how to make it work.  One of my favorite things to do is read professional development books (#totalnerd) so I thought this was the perfect way to get back into blogging!

I am so excited to be linking up with Mrs. Wills Kindergarten for her book study!  Her blog has been super helpful to me over the years!

One of the fabulous things about my job is that I have the freedom to choose my own books. When I read this chapter I kept hearing myself say yes! this is exactly what I need to do. From now on, I will be using the four phases of close reading when picking books. Not all books are appropriate for close reading...which has been my hang up in the past. It is going to take some practice to pick books out in this way, but I am excited to try.

I like the idea of giving my kids a space to struggle. Questions that fall into our students' zone of proximal development is a sweet spot where we see the most growth. The authors tell us that the amount of support we give in our students' struggle is on a continuum.  We have to remember that as a class e are learning how to read books just as much as we are learning about the author and book itself. For us as teachers, we also have to remind ourselves that it is about practice not perfection. We need to allow ourselves space to struggle with this new teaching practice as well.

I love trying out new practices in my classroom. This is especially true when they are taking my class into a direction that follows best practice! It really can be a messy practice. Muddling through something new does not always go right the first time (so hard for me!), but getting messy is the best way to learn how to integrate new practices into your own teaching style.  

I look forward to getting more practice with the four phases of close reading. I feel like I am building an anchor chart in my head to refer to when picking books and for lesson planning. My first a-ha moment is the organization and understanding I am beginning to feel around close reading. My second a-ha is collaboration between teachers and students as well as the class learning from each other. We, as a class, are learning how to learn from books together.

Looking forward to chapter 2!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Having fun with Flocabulary

Have you heard of Flocabulary?  It is a fun and engaging program that will help your students learn through educational hip-hop music. They have content that spans all grade levels, all subject areas, lesson plans, resources, and assessments that are Common Core aligned to help you with your planning.  They have over 700 videos (and counting) to support your instruction in math, science, social studies, ELA, vocabulary, current events, and life skills.  And the website is easy to manage! Check out the picture below:

In my class, we love the vocabulary videos.  The kids love to watch them, dance, and act them out.  I love the vocabulary instruction and the speed of the rhymes.  My students are able to act out the vocabulary words introduced in the videos because the pace is just right for them! (I apologize for not having a picture of my classroom using Flocabulary.  My projector is having some issues so the color is very off right now.)

Would you like to explore Flocabulary and see if it is right for your classroom?  Click on the image below to start your free trial.

I hope you love Flocabulary as much as we do!

Happy Teaching,