Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do your students need help with tracking words while reading?

Friends~Do your students need help with tracking their words while reading?  I have several students that stumble and miss whole lines of words.  They still need to track with their fingers.   Especially as the texts become more difficult and there are more words on the pages.  

Tracking is visual, meaning the reader must follow the words and have their eyes move from word to word.  Children with tracking problems bounce back and forth between words. Check out this example below from Children's Vision and Information Network.  They have tons of great examples of how your students may be struggling with reading and the connection to vision.  
Well, I found the coolest idea while wondering around in Hobby Lobby this past weekend.  Cake Toppers!  They are these fun plastic shapes on little plastic sticks that are adorable on cupcakes but even more fun as a tracking tool.  
The Schroeder Page, reading and tracking words
My kiddos have gone wild over them.  I placed them in our reading cart and they are up for grabs during independent, buddy, and guided reading groups.  We use them in guided reading to also point out text details and important information during our discussions. 
The Schroeder Page, reading and tracking wordsI love the variety!  I bought the kisses around Valentine's Day and the aliens were there last week.  I am headed back for some for St. Patrick's Day.  There were also some cool dump trucks. 
I sure hope you all found this post helpful.  Let me know your ideas on tracking and reading below in a comment!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gave it a Whirl Wednesday: Classroom Management

Friends~I love a good classroom management tip!  I am always looking for ways to keep order in my classroom while adding to the learning.  It is the little things that we do as teachers that seem to make the biggest difference. 
With the new Read to Achieve drive in North Carolina,  we are being asked to assess more than ever.  I am finding myself testing reading every 2 weeks for my struggling readers and sometimes more.  I also am asked to read with each child for fluency (3 times) with verbal retellings and also a running record 3 times a year.  I am super pleased with how my students are doing but it is taking tons of instructional time:(  

Honestly, I am just trying hard to squeeze the teaching in and get the testing done as soon as possible.  With this being said, my students are working in centers a ton right now.  I use my NO BUG Zone like crazy.  I am probably going to have to buy new bulbs.  It works something like this.  
Teacher sees cute bug lamp at IKEA.  Teacher buys lamp and makes a poster that says NO BUG Zone for her classroom.  When the light is on students know that they can only interrupt if there is an emergency. 
Just click below to head to my blog post to learn more and to download a FREE poster for your room!
(Plus you just might find another fun freebie too!)
I did run across something that I just might have to order!
A light up hedgehog
I found this little guy at Target!
(If you didn't know, I have 2 pet hedgehogs! My whole family is a bit hog crazy!)
I actually wrote a hedgehog children's book for Kindle!
You can check it out by clicking below!

I am linking up for: 
Gave it a Whirl Wednesday!  
I love trying new Ideas and you are going to love the one I found!
While I was blog hopping last weekend through the Bright Ideas Blog Hop, I found an awesome post from Dragonflies in First.  Traci takes her kiddos on a vacation when she tests or works with small groups.  Her kiddos get to wear leis while they work with her.  I love that she has found away to take some of the anxiety of testing away by making the student feel special.  It is also a great signal to the other students that they need to do some problem solving before they interrupt. 
You have to check out her post! 
 Click the image below. 
I am so excited to try this out in my classroom.  I have a few leis left over from a beach party so I am starting with those but I found some super cute ones at Oriental Trading.
Check them out below.
I figure that I can just tell my kiddos that we are in the Tropical NO BUG Zone!
While you are at it,  you can bring back the Bright Ideas Blog Hop by clicking the image below. 
Just scroll to the bottom to see all the bloggers and their ideas.  I am telling is a gold mind!
OOPS!  One more idea.  I have head of teachers wearing $ Store crowns while they work with students.  I love this idea too but I am always afraid I will head home or shopping and forget that it is on! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Graphing Lessons

Friends~Do you teach graphing in class?  Like a whole unit? We sure do and my kiddos are rocking the concept!  We have been graphing from day one with our weather graph but our math unit is taking it to a new level with pictographs and line plots.  
One of the best ways I have found to drive this skill home is with large floor graphs.  They are really simple to make.  I just add a sentence strip for the title and index cards for the topics.  The students can use post its or index cards to add their data. If you are interested in my graphing unit you can click below to check it out!
Graphing Lessons, The Schroeder Page
I have found that giving them the opportunity to survey the class and collect the data with a fun topic like favorite foods or sweets helps them get into the lesson.  
We started with eye color and it was so fun to watch how polite the students were when they asked each other during our survey.  
Graphing Lessons, The Schroeder PageGraphing Lessons, The Schroeder Page

Graphing Lessons, The Schroeder PageGraphing Lessons, The Schroeder Page
Here are two great videos I will be using with my students next week. 

I really liked how this teacher used cleaning sponges to visually represent data collected. (Couldn't find a source so if it is you please let me know so that I can give you credit!) 

Check out these awesome posters from Amy Alvis!  I grabbed them on Teachers Pay Teachers.  They are going to be perfect in my math center!
Or grab these FREE posters from Primary Punch

Grab this freebie I made to go with the graphs above:)
I plan on posting the graphs all over the classroom and having my students hunt for the specific graph.  Then fill in the missing information on this 2 page freebie. 
Grab it over on my Facebook Page under the Facebook Freebie tab!

This week for homework my kiddos are doing a survey by asking: What is your favorite sweet? 
They will also represent their data in a bar graph.  
I was cracking up because during our morning meeting the students were telling me all about how they found 10 people to ask.  Some called their family or used Face Time.  Another took their survey to a basketball game.  
On my way out yesterday, several student bombarded me from our after school care and asked me to participate in their survey. 
Check it out below!
Mine is the chocolate covered strawberry!  
What is your favorite sweet treat?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Morning Meetings in 2nd Grade

Friends~I miss morning meetings!  I have been teaching 2nd grade for 8 years now and I truly miss the morning meeting time that I had with my students when I taught kindergarten and first grade.  

With the busy schedule that is my life in 2nd grade, I feel like our mornings are rushed.  I am going to try to take back our mornings and spend some time focusing on setting goals, sharing, and asking questions.  I just got this book in the mail and I am loving what I am reading.  I never thought that morning meetings could help with higher level thinking. I just looked at them as a way to create a classroom community.   I am hoping that the sharing, listening, predicting and question asking in our morning meetings will really spark some great thinking and conversation. 
Click the book to check it out!
Morning Meeting in 2nd Grade, The Schroeder Page
I know that this is going to take some work.  I am forever trying to get my students to just listen to each other and have real life conversations. We even practice this skill with Discussion Towers.  They really help students practice the back and forth in a conversation. 

I came across this great blog post about Turning and Talking! Another area my kiddos struggle in.  Check out this awesome poster/anchor chart that Mrs. Rios uses with her kiddos. 
Morning Meeting in 2nd Grade, The Schroeder Page
I love how her poster gives clear guidelines for the students to follow when they TURN and TALK.  I like her questions stems too. 
Morning Meeting in 2nd Grade, The Schroeder Page
Here is another great post I found from Edutopica. You will love the 5 simple steps to getting your morning meetings up and running. 
Morning Meeting in 2nd Grade, The Schroeder Page
This site then lead me to this awesome video by Mrs. Noonan!  It is so incredible to see this happening in a 5th grade class.  I am pretty sure I am going to need a bean bag tomorrow morning!

So darn excited to surprise my kiddos with a morning meeting tomorrow. 
 I will keep you posted!  

Check out my Morning Meeting Manuel below!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

100th Day Teaching Activities

Friends~Tomorrow my kiddos will celebrate the 100th Day of 2nd grade.  I have been pregame-ing for this for weeks!  The sad part is, I won't be there:(  I have a district training and due to our snow days last week our 100th Day of school had to be moved.  Check out some of the activities I have planned!

Here are some of my favorite
 100 Day books! 
100th Day Teaching Activities The Schroeder Page

My kiddos will be reading 100 Days of School by Turdy Harris.  I love the rhyming in this book! 

Plus the illustrations are so cute!  

We will be also making 100 Day t shirts.  This comes from me being a mom and making those 100 Day collections at home. They made me crazy and always seem kind of wasteful.  I decided to take the same idea and make the collections on t shirts

They are really simple to make. I just have my students bring in a new or old white t shirt.  I then stamp them with a flat from our base ten blocks.

100th Day Teaching Activities The Schroeder Page

I then place fabric markers and stamps out for my students to use.  I love adding base ten and $ stamps!

They then get to pull them on and wear their collections!

Watch this video to see the shirt stamping in action!
This year we are going to take the 100 Day Challenge!  
We will be working to find out if we can lick to the center of a Tootsie Pop in 100 licks!
My kiddos are going to flip over this activity!
100th Day Teaching Activities The Schroeder Page
Here are some more of my favorite activities for the 100th Day of school!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My First Currently and a Sale!

Friends~I am linking up for the very first time with Oh' Boy 4th Grade-Currently!  It is my very first time!

So here goes nothin'!

Listening: My kiddos crack me up with the Wii. The Schroeder Family is a competitive bunch so everything turns into a battle to the end.  Today?  It is baseball and Ian is grumpy because he says Lily is cheating and throwing curve balls.  Really???? I didn't even know that was possible!

Loving: My new Fitbit!  I am so into it and yes, my competitive side comes out.  It is the coolest thing for keeping active.  I input everything on my phone.  
It charts my steps and my sleep.  I also can keep track of calories and my water intake.  The best part is I get to race my friends!  If you are working on a New Year's fitness goal you have to check these out! 

Thinking: I need to type some lessons plans.  I totally know what I am doing next week. We are our historical fiction unit on Balto and the iditarod.   It is all organized in drawers but I am just so bad about actually writing them down.  My mind is like a steal trap!  
Wanting: I want bright pink band for my Fitbit.  I told you!  I am obsessed.  I want to match the band to my outfits and moods.  I think I also my want an orange one too for my daughter's new softball team-The Lady Cans! 
BTW-I am at 66,510 steps so far!! 
 I have to get moving because my friends are passing me!
Needing: Sunday nights are hard for me because I know that in a few short hours we will be back into our crazy schedules. I do love Sunday nights too because it is movie night at our house.  We just finished watching all the Rocky movies so not sure what we will watch tonight but you can be sure we will be all snuggled up!

2 Truths and a Fib: I so am 39!!!  It is my last year in my 30's and I am freaking a bit.  My birthday was in January so I still have some time right?
I am also a natural blonde but totally need highlights to keep it looking like it.  
I have to admit that I do drink diet Pepsi.  I limit myself to one a day but I sure wish I could find a healthier replacement for my favorite drink.  I used to drink cans and cans of the stuff so I do feel like I am making progress.  

So that's it!  Hope you enjoyed checking in with me and now I am off to get my steps with my Fitbit!

Now for the Sale!  My TPT Store will be on sale today and Monday for the SUPER SUNDAY Sale!  Just click the image to check out all the deals!