Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Punctuation Takes a Vacation

I have been doing this awesome lesson to introduce and go along with Conventions (6 traits) since I student taught years ago.  I am not sure where the original idea came from, but I love this lesson! 

All of my kids loved this lesson and were excited to complete the activities.  Here is what you can do for the lesson:

Ù Read the book Puncutation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver.  (Skip over the postcards in the book--you will be using them later and make sure you read the letter in the story the way the punctuation is actually written so it has a bigger effect on the kids)

Ù Discuss how punctuation has a voice and how it tells us how to read things correctly.

Ù After reading the book and talking about it, put the kids into groups.  Pass out the typed postcards (the same as ones in the book).  Each group must determine which type of punctuation sent the postcard and record on a postcard sheet with their name.  (I added a stamp and laminated my postcards)

Typed Postcards

Student postcard to write down who wrote the postcard

Ù Extensions: Give each student the letter from the book (at the end).  Then each student individually must write out the letter correctly.  You can also go over the punctuation rules sheet and teach different types of punctuation after this lesson. 

Here is the document I used for the postcards, Punctuation Rules and letter (2 copies--one wrong and one blank to fix).  I can't find the postcard where the students write the correct punctuation (last picture), sorry!  Hopefully the link works since this is the first time linking a document.  If it doesn't, someone please let me know what I didn't do correctly!  Hope you all can use this lesson!!!

I hope I am doing this right, but I used Hello Sassay font by Jen Jones! I love her fonts and you can find them at!! Thanks Jen!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crazy busy

How do all of you keep up with blogging? I can barely find the time to check all of the blogs I follow, let alone blog or take pictures of things my classes are working on.  We have been busily doing running records, DIBELS, etc so that we can place all of our kids in fourth grade into strategy groups.  I have my Data meeting tomorrow to go through all of the information we have collected.

I haven't been able to start my "Daily 5"/Centers yet with getting used to the kids and switching classes.  My kids have been wonderful in adjusting to their new schedule though.  We have introduced a few of the "rounds" or choices, just have the rest to intro next week.  Remember, I am not really following the book to a tee, since I only have the kids for 80 minutes, but I am trying to make it my own. 

We have started CRAFT (CAFE modification) and are plugging away at strategies while reading one of my favs, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  We are working on choosing Good Fit Books and trying to read more.  I started a class competition to see which section of my ELA can read the most books by the end of each marking period. Each time they read a book and can retell it, they can put up an ice cream scoop on the wall.  The kids are really trying to read different genres with the 30 Book Challenge too.  They are excited about reading which I hope will continue all year. 

I promise to take pictures soon to share other things we have been working on.  However, school, coaching volleyball, and spending time with my family are overtaking blogging.  I will be back soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012


This week has been incredibly exhausting and busy.  With my new schedule there is really no down time to do anything before my next set of kids come in.  My daughter started pre-k this week and I've had to drop her off every morning and pick her up during planning, so I feel like I am spinning all day.  During my classes we haven't gotten much done.  I know I planned a little too much, but in two days I still didn't get through everything I wanted to in the FIRST day!!! Hopefully next week will go smoother!!! The kiddos are great so that is a blessing.  So happy Friday everyone! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phew... through the first day!

Wow, what a crazy day we had today.  With all of the kiddos changing classes and having all of their supplies today to figure out where they went, it was soooo crazy! Hopefully by the end of the week it will calm down.  I am so glad that the classes were pretty well behaved, but I know I am going to have to pull all of the tricks out of the bag for my last ELA class since it is at the end of the day.  Those kiddos were beat by then!
I know I am beat right now from school and then practice and now have to replan for the week.  So today is a short post!  Hope everyone who went back this week had a great first day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tada....Classroom Reveal

Finally! My classroom is ready to go (except for a few miscellaneous things I have to do tomorrow sometime during our conference day and before volleyball practice).  I feel pretty good about my classroom being done, but not so great about getting ahead with curriculum.  I think that has to do with my new position and the common core.  I am trying to not be so OCD right now about having things perfect and planned ahead. Just one day at a time!!!

Okay, so on to the fun part... Sorry in advance about the picture overload!

I just LOVE my classroom and hope the kids will too. I have had sooo many complements and I am so excited to meet my kiddos on Wednesday and see their reaction!!
My CRAFT board (CAFE tweaked...) from Ladybug Teacher Files:

Classroom library (Still missing my nonfiction book cart...)  I finally sorted through all of my books and organized them by genres.  The green bins are fiction and the pink will be nonfiction once I get the cart.  On the top of the newly recovered old bookshelf is my "Book Hospital" for damaged books. 
This is the side of my room with my desk and u-table for reading groups.  You can see my "curtains" I made covering my shelves along the windows.
Towards the front of my classroom (Don't mind the ladder, our tech people weren't done hooking up my Smart Board)
Back of my room towards door
Birthday bulletin board:
A Pinterest inspired bulletin board to plot places we have found in our books:
Another Pinterest inspired board for roots, prefixes, and suffixes:
Our Rules:
Class/individual incentive for tickets I give out during class for those who follow directions quickly, etc...
70+ book boxes for all my kiddos to store their independent books and Reading Binder. (I am waiting for a last minute shipment of green for a couple of boys..didn't think they would really love pink ones since I ran out)
Learning targets for ELA Common Core I Can Statements:
Center choices: I spray painted Dollar Tree pizza pans and plan to use magnets for the kids to choose their Center choice (Read to self, Teacher, Work with Words, Work on Writing, and Grammar) once we get there in a few weeks.
Cubbies and Class sets of books:
Work on words in each "shoebox" tub and drawers for completed work below--one for each class of ELA.
Writing center with paper to write on, dictionaries, thesaurus and baskets to put work on top.  (Through the open door is my special ed co-teacher's room)
VOICES board for writing:

Work on writing choices (We will be going over these throughout the next few weeks and posting student examples.)

Welcome to our room (My homeroom kid's names are on the nacho chips):

Ice Cream Book Reading Incentive (When a child reads a book they will put a scoop on their class cone.  The class each marking period with the most books read will win an ice cream party):
Welcome to 4th Grade ELA!!  (My teacher name sign and WELCOME sign I made this summer)

That is it! My summer has been very productive and I really LOVE my room, especially the colors!!!