Sunday, August 30, 2015

Plan with Me (Week of Aug 31-Sept 4) Visual Plans

Aren't lazy Sundays the best? I've done absolutely nothing today except reading and write this blog post. Sometimes a little break is exactly what you need!
This week we are diving into our second vocabulary cycle, starting our second comprehension skill of story elements and learning about the 4 types of sentences! It's gonna be a fun week!

I've left Thursday somewhat open because we might need it to review the LA skill. If the kids do well with it on Wednesday, then we will move onto a close reading mini lesson. If you want to know more about how I teach close reading, let me know and I'll do a post on it! :) 

Resources used:
4 Types of Sentences Strategic Teaching Lesson ( I absolutely LOVE these lessons!!!)
4 Types of Sentences QR Codes (This is the alternate plan for Thursday if I see that the kids need additional help with this skill. I'll also use these whole group task cards for my strugglers. I remembered these two resources after I made the visual plans so I forgot to include them!)

Hope y'all have a happy week! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Evidence Reference Sheet (Freebie!)

Hi y'all! Today is going to be a quick one! I wanted to pop in and share with y'all a little reference sheet I made. TBE (text based evidence) is BIG and students need to know how to show evidence in their written responses. I made these posters to display in our classroom and they help SO MUCH! But I noticed when I sent homework assignments home that require evidence prompts, some of my kids were struggling to remember them...especially at the beginning of the year. I noticed this becoming a problem again recently so I put on my thinking cap and created these little reference sheets. I made a copy for each of my kids and they keep them in their binders in a page protector! I thought I'd share with y'all! 

You can grab your free copy here :) :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Making up Work for Absent Students

Is this not a major problem or what? I always struggle with makeup work and I'm really excited to share with y'all my newest system for making sure absent students get their makeup work.

So, what have I done in the past? 
In the past we've had a "While You Were Out" bucket. If a student was absent, I would put the work in the basket and they would be responsible for checking the basket when they returned. The only problem was I was so busy with actually teaching the lesson and getting everything done in time, that I would forget to place the work in the basket half the time. To solve this problem, I had the person who was sitting next to whomever was out place the work in the basket. This made the problem worse! I was constantly reminding students to put their friend's work in the designated area and if they forgot, I'd have that immediate question from the next class saying "What do I do with this work on my desk?" I knew I needed to change the way I did things.

I was browsing The Mailbox Gold toolkit recently and discovered these door hanger reminders. I immediately thought about using this for my new makeup work system. Whenever I give out work, I have a tray close to my desk that holds extra copies. I try to put these back into files at the end of the week to keep everything organized. I decided instead of having a tray for the students to check, which they forget half the time, I simply write the name of the missing student and hang it on the door. That way, they are much more likely to remember to get their missing work! (Or someone will remind them! Trust me!) The toolkit has a door hanger template and then I just typed the text on it. I laminated them and that way I can use a dry erase marker to write the name. 

Now what about those who missed an assignment that they can't make up? I always run into this problem! Lots of my lessons involve group activities like sorting or collaborating to create examples of whatever we are discussing and those contain a huge part of the learning portion of my lesson, so the absent kid misses out.  I always hate when students miss those types of lessons because they've missed a major skill. I like to have worksheets that cover the same topic, just in a different way. This way I know the students are still getting the lesson/skill even though they missed the collaborative part of the lesson. The Gold Toolkit has tons of sheets that are CCSS aligned so it's easy to find sheets that cover the lesson that student missed!

Not a Gold Member? Go sign up now! You won't regret it! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Plan with Me! Visual Plans

Sunday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week because that means it's planning time! I've realized I LOVE using this Day Designer planner from Target to plan out my teaching week because I get to decorate it using washi tape and sticky notes AND it helps me be more organized in my teaching. Here's this week's planner spread. Visual plans can be found at the bottom of this post :)

I'm already behind where I'd hope to be after last week, but it happens! We were on short schedule Tuesday due to a school event and we took the STAR Reading Benchmark assessment that day, so I basically had a 4 day teaching week. Since that's all we did Tuesday, we didn't get started on our vocabulary journals. I had planned on doing 2 chapters a day in Frindle, but I quickly realized that some of us needed to go at a slower rate, so we are only at chapter 5. It's all good though! I'm still really pleased with what we covered last week and how next week is looking. 

My BIG goal is to start small groups, but that's always my struggle with time. I'm hoping to, but it might not happen until we can get into more of a routine. 

You can grab a free copy of The Potato Chip Champ QR Code Questions here and you can find the story online for free here.

Hope you have a great week next week! :) :)

Want to share your visual plans? Link up with Mrs. Wills! :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tracking Your Students' Benchmark Assessments (STAR Reading)

Happy Saturday! I haven't posted all week and I hate that! We had our first full week of class this week and I was super busy and failed to keep up with the blog. I'll do better next week! :)
At my school, we use STAR Reading (part of Renaissance Learning) as our benchmark assessment. We take the assessment during the screening dates in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. I love this test because it allows me to see what areas the students are struggling in and which areas they've mastered. There's a ton I don't know about this program/assessment and it's my goal this year to better understand it. 
We took the fall assessment this past week so now I know where my students stand. Once all your students have taken the test, you can generate a report that shows which students have 'benchmarked', which are placed 'on watch', which scored under 'intervention' and which fall into 'urgent intervention'. We then use these scores to determine which students need to be placed into Tier II and Tier III for RTI. 
I need a visual and although the chart that the report generates is great, I hate to admit it, but I'll simply print it out and stick it in a folder. I need to actually do something with it to help me understand the needs of my students. I decided to create this chart to help me see what my students needs are a little bit better. Of course, I made fake names for the purpose of these pictures due to privacy, but this is how I use the chart. I color coded using Post It Flags and wrote each students' name on them. This way when we take the Winter Assessment, I can simply move the students into whatever category they scored and see if any progress has been made. 
Do you recognize the names? The first person to comment below correctly identifying all the shows from the names wins a resource from my store! :)

Those precision pens are my new favorite pen. I bought a pack of 5 on a whim last night at TJ Maxx for $3.99 and I LOVE them! And aren't those target dividers gorgeous?! Gotta love the Dollar Spot!
Let me know if you want this chart and I'll share! :) 

Don't forget to check out last week's visual plans. I'll be sharing next week's tomorrow! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Teaching Protagonist and Antagonist

Happy {rainy} Monday, y'all! Today was our first "real" day of reading and I thought I'd share a bit with y'all! We began our novel Frindle today. Last year I started reading this a little later and we took a little bit longer with previewing the text. You can see what we did last year here.  I wanted to begin the year with it this year and since we are taking STAR Reading tomorrow and we are on short schedule due to a school event, I was a little pressed for time. We skipped the pre reading questions that we did last year and I just briefly asked them. I kinda missed this part and now I'm wishing I hadn't skipped it. I'll know next time!
We read the first two chapters which described the main character (protagonist) and the 'villian' (antagonist) perfectly. That's why I wanted to jump in and begin the book. We are focusing on characterization this week and today's lesson was devoted to learning the terms 'protagonist' and 'antagonist' and identifying them in the story. 
I didn't make posters, but soon realized I needed them. I just wrote them on the board, but when I got home, I decided I needed to make some to display in the room. My goal is to get the kids to use the correct academic vocabulary, so they need to see it! You can grab a free copy of the posters here
I used Cinderella and the evil stepmother as an example when I was teaching and that seemed to help understand the meaning of the two terms. The Little Mermaid was another good example!

Grab your free copy here!

Here's the objective and essential question for today's lesson. 

At the end of each lesson, the students answer the essential question with a sticky note and this serves as their exit slip. 

After discussing the two terms, we read the first two chapters of Frindle and then identified the protagonist and antagonist. I also wanted to practice with another text, so I pulled out a page from the first book of Harry Potter, which I also used to teach identifying character traits. 
We read the two pages and determined the main character and the villain. Then we moved onto introducing how to cite evidence. This will be the main focus of Thursday's lesson, but I wanted to go ahead and introduce them to use evidence prompts and WHY it's important to cite evidence that backs up our thinking. 

We reread the passage and determined a character statement for Harry. Writing character statements really helps when learning character traits. They are basic simple sentences at first, but as the year progresses, so do our character statements. We used the character traits chart and I asked the kids to simply tell me how Harry acted. We determined that he was brave because he stood up to the bullies (Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle). I wished they could have dug deeper and went with loyal, but we'll get there!

The graphic organizer is an older file, but if you want me to share, just let me know and I'll upload! :)
We highlighted the evidence term in our statement. I require all written responses to have an evidence prompt and I tell my kids to be sure and highlight the one they use. This makes it a little easier for them to make sure they include one in every answer. "Because" is the most basic and my least favorite term. It usually take a while for them to start using the better ones like "according to the text" and "based on what I read".

We covered a ton today and I am tired! A bubble bath and good book are calling my name! :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Plan With Me...My first visual plans post!

Hi friends! I cannot tell you how excited I am to begin a "real week" next week! My kids came back on Wednesday, so last week was all about procedures and routines. Not that we've mastered that by any means, but it'll get there! I'm ready to dive in and get started with actual reading! 

Sundays on Life in Fifth Grade will be dedicated to sharing my weekly plans. Kinda like Deedee's visual plans link up, mixed with all the Plan With Me videos on Youtube. If you read this post, then you know I've become obsessed with decorating my Erin Condren Life Planner this summer and I LOVE watching all the videos of people decorating them on Youtube. I had no idea that hobby even existed! 

I don't own the EC Teacher Planner. I want it, but I haven't splurged yet...let me know if I should! I bought this Day Designer from Blue Sky at Target to use to plan out my weeks. 
These are not my lesson just helps me plan out what each day will look like. I'm also showing y'all my visual plans. :)

Since this is the first week and Tuesday will be a short schedule due to the football scrimmage game in the afternoon, I will not be starting small groups. We will take STAR Reading sometime this week and I won't begin groups until after I get those scores since that's how I group my kids. So this week is whole group every day. I am determined to get a routine established with small groups since I majorly struggled with this last year, but next week is just not going to work out. 
I'll share how I teach character traits using Harry Potter later this week. I posted during the Word Nerds book study that I was struggling to come up with a vocabulary journal routine. I'm trying something this week and I'll post how it goes. :)
You can find the BDA Lesson, Comp Files, Frindle Guide, and Reading Response Letters in my TpT store. :) 

If you share your visual plans, I want to know! Leave me a comment below! And also link up with Mrs. Wills!