This week I began instruction in reading comprehension with my 6th graders. After seeing Holly's post last year about Schema, (you should head over to her blog Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade and read it, there's a freebie!!!) I had to have this book...........
Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading

and I absolutely love it!! (Click on the picture to go to Amazon and get the book for yourself, it is so worth the $20). When working with students who have disabilities and I have found the abstracts of reading the most difficult to teach. I can show you how to sound out a word, stretch it, build it, write it, and memorize a meaning. But how do you teach someone to think??? This book provides great ideas and activities for giving kids real tactile ways to think about their thinking! Yeah we even learned the big ol word for that. This week I introduced them to the concept of meta-cognition, it went so well!!

I was so impressed with them and loved the activities we did. Here you can see our anchor chart with thinking stems,
I drew this one (don't look to closely I am no artist as some of them pointed out by asking what the big thing sticking out of the bottom of the face was..haha), and then copied the one from the book that each student filled in and placed in their reading notebooks.

We used speech bubbles I laminated so we could write on them with dry erase markers and wipe them off....
to record our thinking about our guided reading books! The kids did an awesome job of recording what they were thinking throughout the lesson. We talked a lot about deepening our thinking, not just noticing surface facts but really thinking about what the story is about and what is going on. 

and now for the freebies....... first here's the speech bubbles you can print and laminate then use over and over again!

And these are the labels for our graphic organizer we are using to keep track of all our comprehension strategies! I'm sure you've heard of Dinah Zikes big book of books and foldables! Well we just made an 8 tab flip book and put these labels on them. Meta-cognition goes on top and overshadows all of them, it's the umbrella of thinking that involves using all the other strategies!

***UPDATE*** Here is a look at the finished flip book!
 I used 5 sheets of white paper, folded over each other, glued the headings on in the order that I will be teaching them, under each flap we will write about the strategy as you can see below! (Hope this helps)
I hope you get what this should look like, I will post pictures once I have it all together! I have so much more I want to share this weekend so stay tuned! Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

It's Monday again already!! I don't like being so tired, seems my body is still not ready to be on a regular schedule!! I had a great weekend and got the chance to create a couple of activities I'd like to share!

I have been working with my 6th graders on mean, median, mode, and range. We've used playing cards as a review activity, I give them each 5 cards they find the mean, median, mode and range of the numbers they have in their hand. I decided to create a little game for them to play this week if they finish all their other it is if anyone else can use it feel free!!

I also worked on a back to school letter recognition for the younger ones!

Head on over to Tara's blog to see what everyone else is up to!!
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Monday!
It's late but It's not Saturday yet so I've got some freebies for you :)

I mentioned last week that I was working on my data wall and student data folders. We are using data folders to allow students to see their own progress and set goals for themselves. The data wall is a collaboration between all of us, I collect the class data we look at it together and decide what our goals as a class should be. Here's what the data wall looks like.........
 Our data graphs are at the bottom, I used page protectors so that we could slide the graphs in and easily change them, we haven't set our goals yet but they will go just above the graphs. At the to top are some questions that we are going to discuss, I printed them out and laminated them so we can write on them and erase when they change.

The questions say "Why do we need data?"  "What types of data can we collect?" "What did we do well?" "What can we do better?" I can't wait to see what the students come up with next week!!

The student data folders hold their personal data. I used their IEP goals as the targets for each subject, reading, writing and math! First I made this cute cover for them.......
 I love them!! You can have them too....this freebie is at the bottom of this post.
 Each target has a cover sheet, starting with reading comprehension......
 Then a graph to track progress visually.......
 and finally the testing probes for that target
 this is a MAZE reading comprehension passage. The students completed three stories and averaged the score.
 next is reading fluency.....
 We completed one minute timed reads at their independent reading level
For Math we used CBM computation worksheets and they did a 2 minute test
Finally, Writing.....
I added a set of writing prompts for them to write about and gave them two minutes to write
Then counted each word spelled correctly, it had to be capitalized if it needed to be, and each punctuation mark for correct word sequences per minute (this type of scoring came from Aimsweb).

I used my comb binder to bind them and they are placed near our data board so students have access to them. After completing our first round of assessments each student met with me to set a goal for each subject, their goals will go in this book as well! I think they are going to be great for the students to actually see how much they grow!! Can't wait to see the progress they make!

and now for the freebies.......

First, the data folder covers
and I also want my learning targets/standards posted each day so I created these posters to match my room, I am working on creating standard cards that can Velcro onto the sign but for now I just write on them with a dry erase marker and erase them when I need to change them.

Don't forget to check out Blog Hoppin for tons more freebies (click on the picture below to go on over)!!!
Happy Friday Night!! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!
Well this Thursday has not been very therapeutic!! We had open house/back to school night tonight! I'm just getting home and I'm so tired and my feet hurt! I'm defiantly ready for some comfort!! For me that means
Chocolate!! Lots of Chocolate!!
Some good ol Dr. Pepper!!!!

Comfort TV!!

I know, I know I should get some healthier habits!! As I was driving home the weather was just beautiful, not to hot, but still sunny and a tinge of fall in the air. I was thinking how it would be nice to start taking some evening walks with my family. 

Another thing I notice as I'm getting older is that I need good food to make it through the day! I use to go all day without eating when I got busy but these days I am ex-haus-ted if I don't have lunch it's even worse!! So I'm working on healthier choices and can't wait to see all your ideas!! 

If you want to see how others relax after a long day with the kiddos head on over to Blog Hoppin for the link up!!!
Tomorrow's Friday friends!! Stay tuned for Freebies!!
So you've probably already this,
but just in case you missed it, click on the picture above to go to the previous post about my classroom! I have to say I love my room this year, it is so nice to hear the kids say they love it, and today one sixth grade girl told me she "loved how organized I was." So come check it out, and don't forget to join the fun at Blog many cute rooms out there!
I don't have a lot of technology in my classroom, I really haven't ever had much - I have 2 student computers that's more than I've ever had. I didn't even have a teacher computer in my room last year I used my own laptop from home. I have always wanted to use more technology - I've tracked down overhead projectors and begged for a real projector but there's just not money in the budget for it. So my greatest technology tip is about how I've gotten my technology!!!
 Last year I was able to get an android tablet to use with my elementary students donated through Donor's choose!
It was so exciting and we used that little tablet so much. There are so many fun free apps to download. A few of my favorites...........

after getting the tablet I decided to try and get a document camera, I wanted this mostly with my high schoolers because there was a projector in the room. Some fabulous donors provided me with this.......
I know many of you got these from Learning Resources to review, I would have loved to but they didn't offer :( This has been a wonderful tool for me as well. I am already trying to get a projector in my room so I can use it this year and I just added a new project to my Donors Choose account! 

I know I know, shameless, but since we are talking technology, I would love it if you stopped by and saw my project, any donations would be much appreciated! I am trying to get a now! interactive whiteboard system!! Many of the classrooms in our building have the Promethean boards and they are great, this was a much better price and would be portable! Right now Donor's choose is offering to match donations just use the code INSPIRE at checkout!! You can see my project here Learning is Fun! 

All of these technology posts are really inspiring me to get more creative! I love bringing the latest and greatest to my students! If you haven't seen the posts click on the picture below to head on over to Blog Hoppin and see what it's all about!
Happy Tuesday!
It's Teacher Week at Blog Hoppin'!!!
Join in all week long to share all your favorite tips with us!!! 

Today is Monday and we are sharing the "Must Have" items for the classroom...

1.) My binder.....
I know I talked about this before but my binder defiantly keeps me on track. I love having everything I need for planning lessons, IEPs, contacting parents, and going to meetings all in one place. I just grab my binder and go, I know I won't be missing anything! If you haven't seen them yet check out my freebies page for a binder organization set and calendars that match!!!

2.) Chart paper and good markers......
It's all about anchor charts, and useful displays!!! My students need to remember what we've learned and connect to it so they can commit it to memory! I create lots of anchor charts with them and they use them all year long, I don't think we could live without them!

3.) Books......lot's of books!!!
This is my library, it's a lot smaller than it has been in the past, I admit I've gone kind of crazy buying books! Most of these belonged to my own children who are both great readers! I think part of the reason why is because I've taught them to love books since they were babies! I know my students will find something they want to read about here, and if they don't I'll go searching for something they will. I don't know how someone hates reading but I'm determined to change that view, having the right books is the key!

4.) Comfortable shoes......
I don't think I sit for more than the 25 minutes I'm on lunch a day, I'm always busy and I can totally tell if a pair of shoes isn't going to work for me by the time my first group of the day is over. I've been searching for a new pair of shoes and haven't found ones that I love for a great price just yet. My favorite pair are almost five years old and getting worn out!!

5.) Water.......lot's of water, and a little chocolate!!!

I try to stay hydrated and find I am a lot healthier if I have plenty of water, I'll even add some crystal light immunity to it during the winter months when all the sickness is going around, It really works! And my favorite chocolates are always tucked away, sometimes you just need one to get you back on track!!

Now it's your turn head on over to Blog Hoppin and tell us what you Must Have in your classroom to start the year off right!
Blog Hoppin

It's been such a busy week for me, I didn't even get around to posting anything here! I began Monday morning at 7:30 with meetings all day, and the kiddos came on Tuesday! I was greeted that morning by these beautiful flowers and a lovely note from my co-workers telling me how glad they were to have me in their building!!
It was such a nice way to begin the year!! I love all of my co-workers and students! I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be here! If you've been reading awhile you will understand what I'm talking about!!

I have 7 students on my caseload at this point!  They are in 5th and 6th grades, yep I am teaching 2 grade levels! I have a para who will assist me!! I have my own classroom. I will teach math and reading at each grade level, then offer support in the classroom at other times. I am having a great time planning lessons for this week and hope to share some of what we are doing tomorrow. I also want to share with you my data collection system and data board but I forgot to take pictures so look for that later this week as well.

Thanks for all your kind words about my classroom! I hope your all enjoying your Saturday, I'm off to finish requests for binders and calendars (sorry if your still waiting - like I said busy week! We also had a kids krusade at our church every night from 6-8 that I helped with) and read the 1000+ posts in my google reader right now!

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