Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cute Signs for Reading Corner

Question of the Day: Are teachers ever really on vacation?

Today on an outing with my son, I went to Michael's to scope out some teacher deals.  Teachers get a 15% discount (I did not know this until yesterday!), so be sure to bring your work ID.  I didn't have mine and the lady actually let me use my United Healthcare card!  First time this year, I've found that thing truly useful.

Anyway, I did find some cool stuff.  Stretched artist canvas squares are 1/2 price right now. So I made some signs to go in my reading nook (with my couch, pillows, and chairs).

PS Yes, the "A" is missing.  I have to go back and get it on Friday.  It's been ordered. However, I thought the signs turned out cute.  I just covered the canvas squares with scrapbook paper.  The red bows at the top are attached to a spool of matching ribbon. Score!  So I will hang them with the ribbon, and a cute little bow is already made for decoration! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fluency: Let's Get It Poppin'!

Today I'm thinking about fluency.

On standardized tests, the passages are typically very long.  This is a challenge for kids--not only because of reading ability, but because of maturity levels and attention spans. Fluency and stamina are important for success.

One thing that third graders (and all kids, really) hate is to have to do something more than once.  In writing, it's the revising they hate the most. At first, repeated readings of the same passage get the same blank stares. "But we already read that!"

So, I like to go ahead and explain what fluency is and why/how we practice it.  One super fun way is to begin with a high-interest passage and add a treat.  I call this fluency lesson, "Let's Get it Poppin'"!  But there are  lots of other slogans that would work, like "Fluency Rocks." The basis for the lesson is a reading passage based on the candy Pop Rocks.  At Dollar Tree, I purchase bags with 22 individual packets of "popping candy" for only $1.  What a deal!  I pass the candy out when we start to read.

The kids LOVE it and want to do it again and again.  I sometimes give out Pop Rocks later in the year when the enthusiasm has waned somewhat.

The PPT I use, including the passage are absolutely free on my Teacher's Notebook store and you can click here to download:  Fluency: Let's Get it Poppin!

Have fun with this.  Hope you and your students have a rockin' time with repeated readings and become amazingly fluent by the end of the year.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Painting Rugs

If you have seen cool looking rugs on Lakeshore or some other teaching site that you wanted but couldn't afford, you should consider painting your own!

I have this one from Lakeshore:
A Place for Everyone Classroom Carpets
It's $469.00!  If I replace it, I will never pay that amount again.  With a little painter's tape and a trip to the hardware store, you can create this rug yourself.  That's right!  Paint directly on the rug.

This all started when I had a big carpet remnant left over from a remodeling project in my house.  I decided to paint it to use in my son's playroom, which had a concrete floor.

 You can see that before it was  a plain oatmeal color, and then I just taped out a pattern and started painting on it with regular latex paint.

Since then, I've painted a few others.  Here is one that I painted to go in front of my classroom sink for next year.  My classroom is going to have a pirate theme, and I think this is going to look great!


If you try it out, send me a picture of your rug painting idea!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hurray, my very first post! I love summer time.  I can work on a project/presentation and have the time to add all the details I love.  During the school year, I am so pressed for time. I just finished my Power Reading Strategies and Skills posters that I will post in my classroom next year.  I can't wait to print and laminate!  If you like them, you can get them here:

Power Reading Strategies and Skills

You can also always click on the link to visit my store.  I have tons of presentations and lessons that I am polishing up, and I should be adding many more in the coming weeks.

Thanks for stopping by and happy teaching!