Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Heart of a Reading Conference

Before we get started with the nitty-gritty of a reading conference...go check out how Andrea over at Stepping Into First Grade adapted my "If I Was a Snowman" art activity!  {My daughter is the} 

Don't forget to come back here...I have some more "Kate" wisdom to share with you.  If you haven't been with me very long, you will want to type in "Kate" in the search option to your right to read more about our amazing district reading coach!

Once a month or so, Kate comes to our staff meeting to present on a reading workshop topic.  This past week, it was on conferring...the HARDEST part of reading workshop in my opinion!  Our morning staff meetings are only 25 minutes, so it was a quick overview/reminder of what we should be doing during a reading conference.

When you meet with a reader, you first have to decide what you are going to teach during your 5 minute (approx.) conference.  Once you decide what you are going to teach, you can go about the teaching 3 different ways.  We'll start with the easiest and move to the hardest...

1.  Coaching/Guided Practice:  the teacher can remind the child of a previously taught strategy, the reader tries the strategy, the teacher prompts and gives tips as the reader tries the strategy.

2.  Example and Explanation:  the teacher chooses a strategy that has previously been taught and reminds the reader of the example from the previous lesson about that strategy, the teacher can then show the child another way to use the strategy or how to come at it from a different angle, the reader then tries it on his/her own.

3.  Demonstration (this is the hardest for teachers to execute properly):  the teacher says to the child "I am going to teach you {insert strategy here} and watch me as I {blank}."  The teacher could use a mentor text to think aloud through the process.  The teacher is the reader, IN the moment.  The teacher then restates what the child should have noticed.  The reader then can try this strategy out on his/her own.

I like to use the demonstration teaching option when I am working on fluency with a child.  For example, I would say: "listen to me read these 2 pages (I would read), then "let's read it together" (child and I will read the same 2 pages together), then "let me hear you do it on your own now" (child reads the same 2 pages alone).

To help me remember the 3 different options of teaching during a conference, I made this:

You can click on the image to download it using Google Docs if you are interested.  I am going to put them in the inside cover of my conference notebook to help me remember.  I  made the most important one the biggest for an extra reminder!

I know this post isn't all glittery and crafty, but sometimes I feel like I have to get my #1 passion out there...teaching reading to little ones...I hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'm On a Roll With Snowmen

Our hallways were looking pretty bare after all of the holiday decorations came I had to think of something, and think of something quick!  : )

With a quick search on Google, I came across Deep Space Sparkle where I found these adorable snowmen.  The directions say to use tempera paint, but if you know me...paint and my name are hardly found in the same sentence at school! 

I couldn't bear to get the paint out, so I opted for our oil pastels.  I modeled how to draw a snowman up close (just like Deep Space Sparkle did).  They colored in all of the white first so it didn't bleed with the other colors.  Everything was outlined in black oil pastels when they finished.  To make it a little more academic, I added a writing piece which you can download for free by clicking on the image below.

If I was a snowman, I would be still as a statue.  I would sneak around at night.

Don't you just love this one?!?!?!?

No matter what we are working on, this little one always manages to fit in the pink lips, some bling and flowers.  {SMILE}

I think this art project is a keeper!!!  Let me know if you try it!!!  : )

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Freebie and a Whole Lot of Randomness

First, I have to THANK all of my blogging friends who took advantage of my "insane" TPT sale!!!  And, the best part of the whole thing...the sweet comments from friends who told me how much they appreciated it...that made it so worth while!  Oh, and the feedback left on the items that were purchased...priceless!  So, here is a little freebie as a thank-you...

Snowman Soup the picture to download.  After you download, come back here if you want to read some more randomness...

And if you care to read about is some complete randomness...

I'm getting ready to head back to work tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.  Alarm is set for 5:10, the kids clothes are set out for grandma and grandpa's house (my daycare) and I still need to go shopping for my lunches.  These breaks always fly by, but I am secretly ready to go back.  WHAT?!?!?! you scream?  Yep, it's time.  My husband has been off of work for 1 1/2 years on disability and I'm going a little cuckoo.  It's hard being on break with extra body in the 'em to death, but work is starting to sound more like vacation.

Is it horrible that I have NOTHING ready for tomorrow?  I mean, I know what I am doing, but walking into a classroom after 2 weeks is a little scary.  I am sure I have a few Christmas decorations still hanging around, I know the December calendar is still up and the custodians like to play tricks on us and move furniture around.  And...I need to get there early enough to print Cara's New Year unit, cut it out and get it in the math tubs {& laminate later}!  YIKES, especially when you have ONE color printer in the building that is so darn picky.  You have to literally stand there and feed it one piece of card stock at a time.  Not even kidding...

And since we only have that ONE gem of a color printer, I have to get my math tub stuff printed and made WAY ahead of time.  That's why I made this pack of 6 math centers for Valentine's Day.  Yep, Valentine's Day.  Let's see...26 pages, feeding that printer one page at a time...that should take me about 2  And I never have a spare minute in a school day to stand around feeding a printer one piece of card stock at a time...see what I mean...Valentine's Day doesn't seem that far way now, does it?

Click on the pic to check out the center pack. it ok to bribe you with a little something?  If you purchased my Chinese New Year Activity pack, it is feeling a little left out.  There is no feedback on that item yet.  : (  Maybe you need to try it out with your kiddos first, or maybe you just don't have time for feedback...  So here is your bribe.  If you purchased the pack (or if you go buy it now) and you go and leave feedback, come back here and be one of the first 5 to leave me a comment with your TPT user name, I will send you an item of your choice from my store.  You will need to leave your choice of item and your email address as well in the comment.  : )  Why do I care so much about feedback on this item?  Well, the competitive side in me is out in full force.  When I originally posted about this unit a few days ago, I was the ONLY one who had a lower-el Chinese New Year Pack out there!!!  And a few hours after that post...yep, you guessed it...a few more units popped up!  Holy Cow, does word travel fast!?!?!  I love my TPT friends, but I man, I thought I was kinda nice being unique for just that one moment...   : )  Silly, huh?

And another piece of randomness...totally not school related...I got a few iTunes cards for Christmas and I ventured into the app store for my iPod.  I think I was the last one invited to the Angry Birds party.  Can you say ADDICTED?  Blogs are addicting, but omiword, this darn game has me hooked.  My 5 year old and I fight argue over who gets to play next.  I secretly practice so I can beat his score...that kid has got an aim!!!  The funny thing is that he says to me (mid-game) "mom, now I know what those big bird pillows are at Meijer!"  Every time we would go to the store, he would ask me what those Angry Bird pillows were.  He's not in the dark any more...and neither am I.

One more, and I'm done babbling, I promise.  Yep, there is another party that I haven't been invited to and it is totally by choice (I guess).  I don't have a facebook account and I probably never will.  But, that leaves me wanting Pinterest even more.  Somebody needs to tell MR. Pinterest that it is dumb you have to have a facebook account to join (it's gotta be a guy that would do something like that...sorry guys).  So guess what I did?  I hijacked my mom's facebook password (with total permission) so I could invite HER to the Pinterest party and now I'm in the loop...kinda...with her profile and my boards.  Make sense?  Her facebook friends probably wonder why a retired teacher has so many school crafts and ideas all over her boards.  Funny, right?

Ok...I'm done...time to get ready for the craziness of tomorrow.