Friday 28 August 2015

Daily Schedule - Guided Math {What is the Rest of the Class Doing?}

I did a {post} a few weeks ago about how I teach my small groups in math, but what are the other students doing while I am working with that group?? Today I am going to share with you what the rest of the class is doing while I am working with a math group. Here's a look at my daily schedule. Each group goes to two rotations a day (about 15 minutes each). At the end of the day I just move the station cards down to the next group. You can find my Guided Math cards {here} and the shape cards for free at the bottom of {this post}.

I have five stations for Guided Math: Work with Teacher, Math By Myself, Math with Someone, Math Work, and Math with Technology. I split up my students into five groups based on similar abilities. I write these groups on the group cards. I change these groups frequently because abilities can change based on the math concept we are learning. I count myself as one of the rotations this time. This is different than how I set up my Guided Reading because I see my math groups the same amount of time each week. I see each math group twice during the week (unless it's a short week).

Here are a few ideas of what the students are doing during each of these rotations. The following pictures are a mixture from my last three years in first grade. Once I get into my new Science Lab room set up, I'll show you how each of these areas will be set up this year.

These are collection of hands-on math centres that students can complete on their own. At the beginning of the year I use some of these math stations that I shared {here} four years ago--it is still one of my most popular posts to date! Lots of these ideas come from my Math Centre Packs or freebies I find on other blogs. I give students a handful of options to choose from. I have about 8-10 activities available at a time and students can choose whichever activity they would like to do for that rotation. They must complete the activity and clean it up before moving to a new activity. I like giving many options because I don't have to change them out as frequently and this avoids having to have "early finisher" activities. If they finish one activity, they can just choose another one until time is up.

Play-Do Math Mats are always a big hit at the beginning of the year!

These activities are usually games that can be played with a partner. I set it up the same way as Math By Myself--there are usually about 4 options for students to choose from. They work in pairs (or a group of three if there is an odd number) and complete one game before choosing another. I start the year off by teaching simple games such as BUMP and Ten Frame War. They are easy to learn and fun for the students!

Math Work is another independent station. Students will each have their own math work book to work on. I like to start the year with a number book, such as this Number Practice from Miss Kindergarten. It has great number skills to practice and the page style stays the same, so students can complete the pages independently and don't need. I can also differentiate this centre easily for some students by providing them with simpler or more challenging tasks.

Sometimes I might have students complete a math art or writing activity such as this shape picture we did last year:

I don't have any student computers in my classroom, so I've been collecting old iPods to use as my technology station. There will only be a max of four students in each group, so I have two old iPods, an old iPhone, and an iPad that I will load up with math apps for students to use during this time. I will just put four games that they can choose from at the bottom on the home menu. I made cute chalkboard/brights numbered backgrounds for the devices. That way I can keep of track of which student is on which device so they all get a chance to try each one.


I just got into my new room on Monday and spent two days moving everything from my old classroom to the Science Lab. I am still super busy getting everything put away and organized. I haven't even started covering bulletin boards or putting anything up on walls yet. Ugh. So much to do! Here's what it looked like before I moved in:

This is my old classroom. See you next year! 

Here's my new room--the Science Lab! There are rows of counters and glass displays along both sides of the room. The glass displays were filled with all sorts of dead animal displays--awesome for teaching Science; not so awesome for first graders. 

Here's my front counter, whiteboards, eyewash station, and SmartBoard. Every first grade classroom needs an eyewash station, dontcha think? If this counter wasn't in the way of the projector and whiteboard I could be almost be 95% happy with this new room. But we will make it work just fine, because that's what we do! ;)

These big tables were removed and my furniture was moved in. It's already starting to look like a first grade classroom. I can't wait to show you the finished product!

I'm going to post about my Morning Routine and Pack & Stack closer to back to school (students start on Sept. 9th) because I'm not sure exactly how these routines will look like in my new Science Lab classroom just yet. I will be back to touch on Problem Solving, Author Study, and Theme soon though. Stay tuned!

Saturday 15 August 2015

Daily Schedule - Guided Reading {What is the Rest of the Class Doing?}

I have done several posts so far about what I do with my guided reading groups and how I schedule that time. You can read those posts {here}, {here}, or {here}. Today I am going to share what the rest of the class is doing while I am working with a reading group. Here's a look at my daily schedule. Each group goes to to rotations a day (about 15 minutes each). I pull a different reading group during each rotation. At the end of the day I just move the station cards down to the next group. You can find my Guided Reading cards {here}.

I do my own version of Daily 5. I have four stations: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Word Work, and Listen to Reading. I don't do Read to Someone because we do this during Buddy Reading. I do allow students to read with each other during Read to Self time though. Some students enjoy this; others would prefer to read by themselves. I let them choose. I split up my students into four groups of mixed abilities. I write these groups on the group cards. I only change these groups a few times a year (unless there are personality conflicts with some students).

Because I see each of my reading groups a different number of times per week, I don't put myself as a rotation. I put my card at the bottom and use my animal group labels (get those at the bottom of this post) to show which groups I will be pulling that day. If I don't want to pull a group and just want to do some individual running records, I won't put anything that day! This makes it very easy to be flexible with my time. So the students that I pull for reading groups will miss their activity that rotation, but they'll get to do that one again in two days so it's not usually a big deal.

Here are a few ideas of what the students are doing during each of these rotations. The following pictures are a mixture from my last three years in first grade--three different classrooms, three different schools, but similar set ups. Once I get my new Science Lab room set up, I'll show you how each of these areas will be set up this year.

Each of my students gets a book bin. In their book bin they keep about 3-4 guided reading books from our guided reading time. These books are on level and have been previously read with me. I switch these books out as we read more in our groups. They also keep up to 5 books from the classroom library. These are purely interest books. Even though I do have the level on each book in my classroom library, students are not required to pick books at their own level. I also let my students switch their books out anytime they are on Read to Self. I don't seem to have any problems with students wasting their whole time picking books--they are usually pretty quick to pick their books and get reading!

Another station is work on writing. In the past I have done this mostly as free choice writing in their journals. This year my plan is to focus on printing practice the first month or two of school. Students will have a printing book they will work on; then there will be some fun letter formation activities to do when they are done a page or two (such as car tracing letters, dry erase pages/books, Wikki Stiks, etc.). Then once students are more familiar with the routines, I will start to introduce journals and some other writing options (such as letters to classmates, lists, stories, etc.). 

I plan to keep word work the same as in the past. I have about 8 or 9 activities available at a time and students can choose whichever activity they would like to do for that rotation. They must complete the activity and clean it up before moving to a new activity. I will use my shelving unit below to house the different options. I fill these tubs with a variety of games and centres that focus on letter names/sounds, sight words, or other phonics skills. You can find a variety of word work activities in my store {here}. I change the centres out whenever I feel an activity is not getting picked or I want students to work on a different skill.

This is Dot the Letters from my Back 2 School Word Work Centres.

Letter formation with play-dough is always a popular activity.

Zingo! is a fun word recognition game.

You can read in more detail about how I set up my listening station {here} or {here}. But the main idea is that I have 6 mp3 players and about 80 different books. I put all the books on all the mp3 players, so students choose a book to listen to, grab an mp3 player, find the numbered track, and listen to the story. If they finish the story? Get a new story and listen to that one. I don't do response sheets or anything. The listening part is the valuable lesson and it would probably take most of them the whole 15 minutes to complete a response! I keep each mp3 player and headphones in a separate basket and all the books in one basket.

I let all of my students choose where they want to work during this time--tables, floors, classroom library. Where ever they are comfortable. Someone reading to self can sit beside someone doing word work, as long as they are both doing their job! This system has been working for me for a couple of years now and I can't wait to get it up and running again next time!

I'll be back with Guided Math time next! :) See you soon.

Friday 14 August 2015

Five for Friday - August 14th

It has been so long since I linked up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday linky party! I had a bunch of random stuff to share with you today, so I thought this would be the perfect way to do it. I will be back this week for some more of my Daily Schedule posts--Guided Reading and Guided Math. What are the other students doing while I am with my small group? Check back for those posts!

I'm going to start with the most exciting news. Our house finally moved onto our property!! We are building a new house. Our builder built the house on his site and then once the basement was ready, it could move onto. We've been waiting for the house to come for three weeks now and it finally arrived on Wednesday! They still have to build the double attached garage, the entry way, and finish the inside (it's just drywalled right now), but it's so exciting to finally have it on site! :) If you have never watched a 1400 sq. ft. house being moved, it is pretty incredible!

My second set of news was not as fun. My principal called me this week to tell me that my room and the K room across the hall would be under construction starting September. This could last two months or it could last the whole year. The only spot available for me to move into is the Science Lab. I will have two weeks to move everything from old class into the Science Lab and get it all organized and set up. Luckily I have some amazing coworkers volunteer to help  already, so I'm sure it will all get done!

It just means that all my hard work planning out my organization and classroom layout is going out the window! I have never even stepped foot in the Science Lab, so I have no idea what the room looks like! The Science Lab is down the 6-8 wing, so I hope I don't lose any firsties in the hallway with all the big kids! lol. At least when my old room is done it will have nice new floors, a new ceiling, and hopefully new bookshelves!

Next up are my new crate seats! I only have one crate now--the rest are at my mom's. I don't have anywhere to store them right now. My awesome daddy cut out the boards for me. He's so great. I put some foam on top and stapled my awesome chevron fabric on top. I used regular milk crates because they are a lot sturdier than the ones you buy at Staples. Not sure what I will store inside--maybe extra tissue boxes?

Here are all six of the fabrics together. I love how they turned out. They match my pillows! I think I will use these as seats at my guided reading table. Or in my library. I guess it depends on how my new room will be set up.

Here are a few other things that I created for myself. First I have been putting together different pages to put in my day planner. I made these parent communication trackers. The first one is a goal I set for myself--it's a positive communication chart. My goal is to make at least three positive phone calls and and send home at least three positive notes home each month. I will keep track of which student's I called/wrote about and the positive thing they did. I will try to get around to all of my students at least a few times throughout the school year. The second page is just a communication log to document any other communication between myself and parents. You can download these pages {here}.

I also created a small back to school gift for my new students. I found these Scentos smelly bubbles at Dollarama for 4 for $1.25. I printed out some cute labels onto 1-1/2" round labels (Avery 8293) and stuck them on some coloured cardstock that I punched out using my fancy scalloped circle punch. Then I just tied the note onto the bubbles and curled the ribbon. Easy, cheap, and cute! You can download the stickers {here} or you can download larger tags {here} to print out on cardstock.

And lastly here are a couple things from other TpT sellers that I made. You might have seen these on Instagram. First up is my Back to School Flipbook. This is from Learning in Wonderland. She has such cute stuff! The template for this flipbook is totally editable so you can change the wording and add your own pictures. I put a section all about me, our class schedule, communication information, our rules and procedures, and our curriculum for the year. On the back is all the contact info for myself and the school. Love how they turned out and how easy they are to put together. Photocopy onto colourful paper, fold, and staple at the top. No cutting required!

Next up is this Classroom Songs booklet from Miss Kindergarten. There are songs for classroom management, calendar, learning songs, and attention getters. I printed each section onto different coloured cardstock. I love how it turned out!

That's it for now! Going to go spend some time with the family now on this beautiful evening. We will probably go sit in our empty, half-finished new house for awhile. lol. Have a great weekend!