Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meeting the Needs…

 

Making sure you’re successfully meeting your students’ needs while still meeting each and every Common Core Standard can be a difficult and daunting task. A few years ago when I was first beginning to implement the Common Core Standards in my classroom, I created some thinking sheets and helpful posters to align with each of the Literature and Informational Text Standards for first and second grade. In my class, we used the organizers and posters each day during small group instruction, partner activities, and independent time. Since then, I’ve added many more graphic organizers to the collection and given the posters a complete re-vamp. Check out the updates below…

These are the colorful and fun posters I made that align with the Literature and Informational Text standards for the Common Core. I used kid-friendly language for these. I also purposely added clip art to the Literature Standard posters to help students solidify their understanding that fiction means not real.

{There are more posters included in this packet.}

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I also updated the posters for the Informational Text standards. The layout of these posters are similar to the fiction ones, except I used real photographs for these. I wanted to make these non-fiction posters as realistic as possible to help students understand that non-fiction texts are about topics that are real. I also made sure to include posters for each of the text features that we teach.

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If you really want these posters to stand out in your classroom, you can print these as LARGE POSTERS by changing your options when printing to “Poster” and 200% tile scale. Easy peasy!

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Like I mentioned above, the posters weren’t the only things that got a face-lift. I also added LOTS more to this packet. Two years ago, I blogged about the Common Core Resource Binder {HERE} I made to help keep myself organized. The binder held anything and everything that was connected to the Common Core Literature or Informational Text Standards for first grade (graphic organizers, a list of books I used for each standard, etc.) Now you can create your own binder, too!

Inside the updated packet, you’ll find this fun and fresh binder cover. I suggest using divider tabs (like I did) to create a section for each CCSS. It takes a little prep work in the beginning, but you’ll be thanking yourself later on.

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These “Let Break It Down” sheets were SO HELPFUL for me last year. I broke down each standard into simpler terms to help me understand what each standard is asking my students (and me) to do. I added these to my binder after spending a lot of time researching what each standard means. Yes, you still teach your students to make inferences with the Common Core. Yes, visualizing is still a key part of reading! These sheets help you see and understand where those skills and strategies fit into the Common Core.

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I keep a hardcopy of each graphic organizer in the binder to make copying easier. Just carry your binder with you to the copy machine, flip open to the standard, find the organizer, and copy as many as you need for your class.

I’ve nicely labeled the corner of each organizer with the correlating standard. This will help keep you organized and will help you better understand what you have and haven’t taught.

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If your students use a composition notebook for all of their thinking sheets, you can still use the organizers in this packet. Just set the tile scale to 85% when you go to print and they will fit in a composition notebook perfectly. You can also use your school copy machine to shrink the sheets.

Here are some of the organizers in a composition notebook:

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One of the coolest tricks I learned last year that I wish I had learned earlier is that you can print your graphic organizers at poster-size too. Just simply follow the same steps that I mentioned for the posters above. Creating a large copy of the same organizer that your students will be using will save you SO MUCH prep time and will truly make the words, “FOLLOW MY MODEL!” really click in your students’ brains. It will also help eliminate a LOT of questions when it’s time for students to work independently! Below I printed a graphic organizer as a poster to show you what I mean.

Just print, trim the edges, and tape the sheets together. You can even laminate these modeling sheets and hang them in your classroom for students to refer back to all year long.

Here’s a large poster-size version of the graphic organizer to use when modeling. Every child on the carpet or at the small group table will be able to CLEARLY see this model organizer. 

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And, here’s the SAME graphic organizer (only smaller) for your students to practice with. LIFESAVER, I promise you!

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Here are some of the other graphic organizers in the packet. There are MANY others included than what you see below!

Slide29                  Slide28

Slide39                 Slide40

Slide41                    Slide42

Slide43                     Slide44

Slide49                     Slide47

Slide50                       Slide51

I also updated the 2nd grade version too! Grab the 1st and 2nd grade updated packets below. If you already own them, go re-download to grab the updates. Click on the covers below.

Slide1      Presentation2

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway



I’m so excited to be teaming up with my favorite freebie-friends for a BIG giveaway to help get you going this school year! Over at the Freebielicious blog, we’re giving away a BIG, GRAND PRIZE (scroll down to the bottom of this post to read all about it!) and right here on my little blog, I’m giving away $25.00 to my favorite store to go school shopping: Amazon.
Amazon is my favorite place to shop because you can buy just about anything that was ever created and you don’t even have to leave your house OR get dressed. Ha! For a homebody like myself, it is for sure my #1 go-to shopping place. Just see for yourself! Here are some of the random items I’ve bought on Amazon in the past year (I know you’re THRILLED to see my Order History, aren’t you? We’re almost to the giveaway, I promise!):

Random Purchase #1: 6 REAL Insects, which I used as a gross (but engaging) way to introduce close reading in my classroom. My kids devoured (uh – not really!) these creepy crawlers. Even the kids who “hate bugs” had to take a close look at these bad boys.
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Random Purchase #2: Forty Bright Finger Flashlights (aka finger beams) that were used as motivators to help my students track their reading during small group instruction. My kiddos were OBSESSED with using these. Whatever it takes, right? You can’t beat that price either!
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Random Purchase #3: A Wooden Judge’s Gavel because what teacher DOESN’T need a gavel to maintain control in her classroom? Ha! Just kidding! I bought this at the end of last year to use for when I dressed up as a judge. I had my students write letters persuading the judge to allow them to move onto 2nd grade. I’ll never forget the look on their faces when Judge Kuster entered the room! They were 100% certain that Judge Kuster was NOT ME because “Miss Kuster is NEVER that serious!” HA! They know me well!
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So, if you’re needing some creepy crawlers, finger beams, or a gavel this school year (or something else entirely!), I’ve got you covered with a chance to win a $25 gift card to Amazon. Woo hoo!

Please enter with integrity, using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll choose a winner a week from today.

But, wait! That’s not ALL!
The Freebielicious ladies know how much of your own hard-earned money goes into buying supplies, tissues, books, and classroom d├ęcor to get your classroom “kid-ready,” and we want to be able to put some of that money right back in your pocket. Over at the Freebielicious blog, we are giving away a $300 Visa gift card! YES…YOU READ THAT RIGHT! $300!!!
To enter the BIG GIVEAWAY, click HERE or on the button below!


Also, while you are there, be sure to check out what the other Freebie-ladies are giving away. Be prepared for some AMAZING prizes. Take a peek at some of them below!


               

Thursday, August 21, 2014

a space that inspires

I wanted to share a fun picture with you all!

My darling mom starts her new job this year as a high school librarian – her DREAM JOB! Prior to being the school’s librarian, she was an administrator at the same school. Talk about a change, huh? Anyway, the school’s library has always been quite stale. Think bare white walls and ugly furniture. It was screaming, “SAVE ME, SAVE ME!” One of my mom’s big goals this year was to bring some pops of color to the space and make it an enjoyable spot for students to gather in. Just because they are big kids doesn’t mean they should have to work in a stale environment. Am I right?

So, to help solve this problem, we got busy brainstorming different ideas and decided that an inspirational wall of words along the circulation desk would make a perfect focal point for the space. Together, we came up with a list of “How Can Reading Impact You?” words. Then, I chose the colors of paper, picked my favorite font combos, and got crackin’ on my Cameo Machine. I shipped off the words to her earlier this week and today she sent me this picture:

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Gorgeous, right? The teachers and students are so lucky to have her as their school librarian. I know she will make a BIG impact in her new position! Her next step is to create little reading nooks around the library. LOVE IT!

These are the five fonts that I used for the project above, incase you want to create your own inspirational wall in your classroom:

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I hope everyone is surviving back to school time! Remember, it will get easier. You’ve got this!

 
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