Saturday, June 14, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study {Chapters 3&4}

Hey guys! It's my first weekend of summer and it has already been jammed packed with fun! The only downfall is this nasty weather we have been having. I want the sun back! 

 I went to the scholastic book fair this morning for the first time. I had heard mixed reviews about the book fair, but I am pleased to announce it was wonderful! I found so many books for my classroom library. Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding the books that were on my list but I did get plenty of good fit books! I also got a pretty sweet pointer with glitter! I love me some glitter. 

I also had the pleasure of attending my best friends pinning ceremony this afternoon. This beautiful, strong and genuine woman is going to make an incredible nurse! I am so proud of her! 

(I particularly like her mother photobombing this photo)

Tomorrow I have her graduation party and father's day! Oh, and did I mention I'm planning her party? I love party planning. Pictures to come :) 

While I am taking a break from all the fun of this weekend (and binge watching Will and Grace) I wanted to share my thoughts on chapters 3&4 of The Daily 5 (Second Edition). These chapters went by much faster for me! I'm not going to lie, it got me super excited for the next school year! Is that weird!?

I started by making these Daily 5 posters! You can get them {here} or by clicking any image below!



Chapter 3 talked about the 10 steps to teaching and learning independence. Independece is a huge component of what makes Daily 5 so successful! Reading these steps was a great refresher and gave me a lot of ideas on how to better instill a sense of urgency in my students!

The 10 steps:
1. Identify what is to be taught
2. Set a purpose & Create a sense of urgency
3. Record desired behavior on I-chart
4. Model most desired behaviors
5. Model least desired behaviors & then most desirable again
6. Place students around the room
7. Practice and build stamina
8. Stay out of the way
9. Use quiet signal to bring students back to gathering space
10. Conduct group check-in

My thoughts:
 * It important was to focus on the positive and not the negative when choosing desired behaviors for the I-charts. For example, stating what you want them to do (ex. read quietly) vs what you don't want them to do (ex. don't talk).

* I have gone back and forth with this concept of modeling the least desired behaviors. I worry that by doing so, you are giving those off tasks students ideas on how to do things incorrectly. Not only that, you are providing them a platform to get positive rewards (laughter) for their off task behavior. I don't know. That's just how I feel. Do you think it is a good idea? 

* It is important to ask: If ______ continues to do these things will he/she become a better reader? after each modeling. I definitely didn't do this with any consistency.

* I need to make a fancy stamina chart! Summer bucket list :)

* I need to remember to do whole group check-ins for students to self-reflect after each Daily 5 round. Do you have any tricks for keeping students from looking around at others responses? I mean, I tell them that it's personal, and everyone is in a different place, blah blah blah, but I swear I'm like the teacher in Charlie Brown when I say these things because they still look around at their friends replies. 

* I am still a little confused by the term 'barometer students'. Haaayyyulp.

One of the things that I love about the Daily 5 is that so little is required to start out! 

Here's what you need:
- Quiet signal --> I need a new one. I used to have this cute bird that chirped, but it died and I haven't been able to find another one. :(
- char rack or interactive whiteboard
- book boxes
- a gathering place (and focused lessons)
- I-charts
- classroom design

I would personally add that you also need word work activities for students to engage in! Here are some fun ideas that I have been considering incorporating next year!

This week I linked up over at Sharing Kindergarten because I still haven't figured out this particular link up. Be sure to head on over there and check out some other responses to these chapters! If you happen to know how this particular one works please let me know! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five For Friday {And Some Good News!}

A HUGE sigh of relief as this week comes to an end. I thought it was never going to happen.

Many of you know that this week wasn't the greatest for me. From my job placement still being up in the air, to getting into a car accident on Tuesday and then finding out my fertility treatment failed (again). But it looks like things are finally (!) turning around and just in time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching! So here it goes!

So on Tuesday, I got into a car accident. My first one. I had never even been pulled over in my life. Needless to say I was a little rattled! Some guy decided last minute to turn off of a busy street across 2 lanes of oncoming traffic without any warning. He slammed on his brakes, the car in front of me slammed on there's and swerved out of the way. I slammed on mine, but was not as fortunate. My car went right into the back of a big truck. Luckily, no one was hurt, but as you can tell my car is totaled. A cost we were not expecting. 

To add insult to injury, the guy who started this whole mess drove away. The other person in the accident called the police (even though it wasn't necessary since no one was hurt). Since the police had to come out, they are required by law to issue a ticket. Guess who was the lucky one!? 

On a much happier note: PRETTY LITTLE LIARS is back. Can you tell I'm just a little bit excited!? I am obsessed. Mostly because of Ezra *don't tell my husband* I am so glad it is back, I think I was actually having withdrawals! It is definitely my guilty pleasure! 

I am already patiently waiting for next week!

Today was our last day of school! Well, last day for teachers, yesterday was the last day with students. It was bitter sweet! I'm sure going to miss those kiddos! 

Also, I must say it was so much easier to pack up/clean up this year! All we had to do was stack chairs and remove things from the windows/window seal. 

Last year was intense. EVERYTHING had to be removed from walls and bulletins, EVERYTHING had to be packed into boxes and EVERYTHING had to be moved (by ourselves) onto the linoleum. 

Thankfully I didn't have to do that! Although I still could use a massage :)

I finally found out my placement for next year! I got the call as I was loading my car! I am so excited. It is such a huge relief!

I will be 1st grade still too which is even better! 

To celebrate my new job I bought my very first Erin Condren planner! I have been drooling over these bad boys for years now and have never purchased one because my job stuff has been so crazy the last 3 years! Now that things are settled an EC planner is long overdue. 

It should be here by the end of June. I am already counting down the days!

Well, I'm off to a fabulous date night with my husband! We are going to celebrate the good news. After this week, we really need it! If you follow me on Instagram, be prepared to see lots of date night food posts ;)

Tomorrow I will be linking up with everyone over at Freebilicious for the Daily 5 (Second Edition) book study: Chapters 3&4. It will also include a freebie!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Workin' It Wednesday: Taking Back Control of my Life!

Even though I am not quite on summer break yet (1 more day with the kids, 1 half day for teachers), I just found this Workin' It Wednesday linky party hosted by the lovely Corinna over at Surfing Through Second and I just couldn't resist! I am such a fitness junkie so this was right up my alley!

This year has been a rough one for me. I haven't shared this information publicly yet, but I feel that if I am going to take back control of my life I need to be open and honest with everyone, including myself. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about a year and a half now and found out back in February that I am infertile. We still aren't entirely sure where the problem lies so the last few months have been a whirlwind of treatments, exams and procedures. All of this on top of the stress of not knowing my school placement for next year and getting into a car accident just yesterday. Like I said, rough year. 

I haven't gained (or lost) any weight but I am losing all of my strength/definition which I worked really hard for! The hormones have really taken a toll on me, physically and emotionally. And the hardest part has been the mental struggle. My Drs. think that my exercise may be a factor in my infertility so now it is a constant mental struggle between wanting to work out and wanting to get pregnant. I feel like I have to choose. Needless to say, since all of this started I haven't worked out much. I haven't really known how to workout with all this new information. 

I used to workout all the time. My friends would describe me as "intense"when it comes to working out and I am okay with that. When I am feeling like "myself," I work out 6 days a week; running and cross training. I have completed p90x 3 times and Insanity twice. Exercise is such a big part of who I am, correction, was. I feel like my infertility has taken away a huge part of me. And that ends now!

One of the things that is helping to motivate me right now is this fitness challenge group on FB that I am a part of: Summer Sweat! It is a group of women who are all dedicated to health and fitness and are so inspirational. It is great to have that support and sense of community. We post recipes, exercises, struggles, successes, motivational quotes, and especially sweaty selfies! If you want in, let me know! It's never too late to join :)

I am also registered for the Color Run in September! I can't wait! I have ALWAYS wanted to do the Color Run but haven't strengthened my knee enough. I'll be honest, it's because I haven't made it a priority. But I am already signed up so there's no going back now!

For my weight training, I am going to start this program again! It is from Don't let the name fool you! It is much more intimidating than the program really is! It is a 12 week program that utilizes equipment at the gym. Each day you have 6 exercises to complete. Easy peasy! And you will see results FAST! At least I did last time! If you want in on that click {here}! You register and then your workouts are emailed to you daily! 

I may also try to mix it up with Insanity. I find that I get bored of my weight training quickly. Insanity is horrible, but I love it. Sean T is my workout boyfriend, but don't tell Tony Horton, we used to a be a thing. haha

Another big goal of mine for the summer (and always a constant battle) is my water consumption, or lack there of. I usually only make it to a measly 17oz. a day. Yes, you read that right, 17oz. a day, don't judge me. My goal for the summer is to drink at least 64oz a day. That should be easier now that I will be done with school and can go to the bathroom wherever I want. 

Is it sad that I look forward to that so much!?

 I have gotten a lot of hype about this amazing water bottle of mine called the Hydracoah. It lets you set a water goal and then tracks your intake each day and lets you know how close you are to reaching your goal! You can get this bad boy on Amazon, and trust me, it is $30 well spent! Just click the image above! 

I would love to hear from all of you! What are your health and fitness goals!? Let's help by supporting each other! If you want in on that FB challenge group thingy, let me know! It definitely helps with accountability!

And lastly, 

{Click here} for a fitness index I found on Pinterest. Just in case you are like me and get bored of your workouts quickly! This link has a TON of workouts to help you switch it up!

Even writing this got me excited to get my life back!

Let's make like Nike and JUST DO IT!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study {Chapters 1&2}

Happy Monday! 

We are still busy counting down the days in my classroom! Today as part of our countdown we had no shoes day. The kids had fun, and so did I! My feet sure appreciated it :)

I also met with the school that I am hoping to be at next year and I loved everything about it. The team was wonderful and I had so much fun! Is it weird that I had fun during an interview!? I think that is a good sign! *Fingers crossed*

I am so excited to be joining the amazing writers over at Freebielicious for a summer book study. We are reading Daily 5 (Second Edition) and I am already a little behind! But in my defense, I am not on summer break yet. It is my last week of school, so I'm sure you can all relate to the 50 shades of crazy that are happening right now. 

If you don't have this book already and want to join in on the fun, you can get it over at Amazon. Just click on the image below!

I have been using the Daily 5 structure in my classroom since I started teaching 3 years ago and I love, love, LOVE it. Although, typically I adapt it down to a Daily 3 (Read to Self, Work on Writing and Word Work) depending on the stamina level in my classroom. It has been such a life saver and I can't wait to make it even better next year!

Here's what some of the kids are doing during Daily 5 in our classroom!

The biggest impact that Daily 5 has had on my students, aside from increasing their reading scores (Woohoo!) is their motivation to learn. It is really exciting for me to hear my students engaged in making choices specific to their needs! 

The first chapter discusses how Gail Boushey & Joan Moser (aka "the sisters") realized that trying to get to all 5 choices squeezed into one reading block was unrealistic, especially in the primary grades. As with everything else, we need to teach students stamina. It isn't something that they either have or don't have, but instead needs to be learned and practiced. It is also important to teach our students how to be reflective of their learning and to self-monitor as they go. This is something I could definitely get better at. 

This chapter really got me thinking about my current literacy block and the changes I would like to make next year.

What I do that is the same:
* I-charts: We create these together at the beginning of the year and review as often as necessary (which is increasingly often near the end of the year). 
* Mini-lessons: I start each block with a short 15 minute reading lesson. The lesson varies based on what my students need at a given time. Sometimes it's strategies for tricky words, sometimes it's blends, sometimes it's making connections, it's always changing!
* Choice: Children get to choose what they work on each day.

What I do that is the different:
* Brain breaks: I don't use these at all. I really need to give this Go Noodle thing a try!
* Reflection: I am really horrible at checking in to see what students worked on/learned during their independent work time. I do it, just not with any sort of consistency.
* Options: I do not use Read to Someone (until the end of the year) or Listen to Reading (lack of resources). Also, students do not necessarily do Read to Self and Work on Writing every day. 

Chapter 2 was all about the foundations of a successful Daily 5 reading block! 

Trust and Respect: We have to explicitly teach the behaviors we want to see and then trust that students are capable achieving them. It is important to have high expectations for students otherwise they will never grow!
Community: I think that building community is the most important aspect of any successful classroom.  It is important for students to understand and respect that each student is at a different stage and that that is O.K. By creating this sense of community, we empower our students to hold not only themselves, but each other accountable. 
Choice: Choice is highly motivating for everyone, including children. Think how much more motivated you are to exercise if you get to choose your work out program, classes, routine. Think about how much more fun it is to read a book that you chose rather than one that was assigned to you. The same applies to students in the classroom. This choice provides students with a sense of ownership that helps them be successful!
Accountability: Accountability is a 2 way street! It is important to clearly define expectations of not only our students, but ourselves, during each of the Daily 5 choices to ensure students are making meaningful learning choices. 
Brain Research: Lessons should be short and sweet (not like this post…) and follow a 20:80 ratio. 20% of time for teaching and 80% of time for practice. I really liked the basketball reference, it really solidified the concept for me! Practice does make perfect, even in reading! 
Transitions as Brain and Body Breaks: Transitions can actually be positive and not just a necessity! It gives students an opportunity to move around the room and get those wiggles out! But just like stamina, transitions must be taught!

I'm really excited to be diving into this book! I can't wait to start creating resources to use next year and to better my reading instruction! I have to be honest, I am confused by Freebilicious, I don't understand how it works and couldn't find the book study directly on there! If you happen to know how that works, please let me know! :)

I did find a link up for this book study over at A Day in First Grade so make sure you check that out and go read what others thought of the first 2 chapters! Maybe I'll see you next week for chapter 3!

Happy Monday! Sorry for the lengthy post. I guess I had a lot to say ;)

Saturday, June 7, 2014


So apparently when I transferred my blog over to blogger, my Bloglovin got all kinds of wonks. I didn't even think about having to fix my Bloglovin account when I made the big switch. Urgh! So many of you are following the wrong one. Sorry! 

The correct one is {here}