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Interactive Read Aloud Lessons in Grades K-2!

Interactive read aloud, do you do it?!

In my first grade classroom I used to have the class sit down after lunch/recess and I would read them some of my favorite books – Junie B., Flat Stanley, etc. It was a time to calm down, enjoy a good book, and get ready for an afternoon of learning. I wanted to save and protect this precious time when the talk of “rigor” and “time on task” would come up often in professional discussions. A little planning can put this read aloud time to good use and prove to be academic as well as enjoyable!

Interactive read aloud is essentially a planned and purposeful read aloud that encourages thoughtful and respectful discussion!

An interactive read aloud has your students actively thinking about one certain skill during a read aloud. It is a skill that the teacher will model and that students will discuss throughout the read aloud. It takes your basic read aloud and turns it up a notch (or two!). I would always ask comprehension questions throughout my regular read alouds, but I found that when I really research and plan my questions and stopping points before hand, I could provide a deeper discussion for my students!

I figured since I was planning out all these lessons around my favorite books, I would start writing down my stopping points and questions in case other teachers wanted to use them as well!

I created a scope and sequence of skills that I teach throughout the year and found some of the best classroom favorites to help teach those skills. Each book has a convenient, 1-page printable lesson plan for you to reference as you read. 

Some of the focus skills addressed are:

- Illustrations & Text relationship
- Concepts of print
- Character traits
- Setting and story elements
- Making connections
- Problem & Solutions
- Cause and Effect
- Main idea/Theme
- Non fiction text features
- Character changes
- Reading a variety of texts
- Inferring
- Point of view
- and more!

I have a free one here for you to try that goes with the book Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann I use this book at the beginning of the year to help teach the concept that illustrations can give readers more information than the text!
{Just click the image above and download the preview to print this lesson easily!}

In my first grade classroom, I actually have a specific interactive read aloud block, but if you don't you can see that the read alouds can easily be used in your guided reading block, small group, or even to print out and add to your sub plans!

If you think these read aloud lessons can be used in your room, check out my unit below to get a better idea of what is included:

iPads With Kindergarten... Sanity Saving Tips

Hello Blog Hoppers!  It's Ashley Hughes from The School Supply Addict.  Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorite sanity savers for integrating iPads with your kindergarteners... or any class for that matter.

Obviously I am assuming that you have already established rules and procedures for your iPads.  That is definitely the most important thing to do before giving your sweeties full iPad reign.  The tips below are the ones that have seriously saved my butt.  It's just made management easier and productivity higher.

To give you a small glimpse into my K life, here's how we roll in my room:

  • We have 11 iPads in our classroom (23 kids).  I'd LOVE to have a 1:1 room, but it's not in the cards right now.  I'm just happy to have those 11.  
  • Students are paired up when we do whole group lessons.  They know who their iPad partner is, which is the same person who sits next to them at their table.  Each pair is assigned an iPad.  
  • I integrate iPads as much as possible during whole group instruction.  I may use it for phonics one day, reading the next, then math the next.  It just varies on our needs.  We also use them everyday for centers (fluency & phonics centers).
  • We have an iPad manager job.  One of my kids is in charge of plugging them in at the end of the day.  
Now for some fun tips...

Tip 1.  Consolidate All Those "Non-Essential" Apps
The iPad is so amazing.  It's a staple in our room.  However, there are several apps that I just won't ever use with my kids (maps, contacts, email, etc.).  Instead of removing them completely, you can consolidate them into one group... and give it the title "No."  My kids know that they shouldn't be messing with any of those apps.  This is a really easy tip and it just cleans your screens up a bit.  If you're an iPad newbie, just google how to "move apps around."

Tip 2.  Customize Your Bottom Bar
Those apps you use all the time?  Move them to the bottom bar!   This allows your students to have quick and easy access.  I currently have four that we use pretty frequently:  Seesaw, Nearpod, QR Code, and Safari.  (Seesaw isn't pictured in this one)

Tip 3.  Print Icons of Your Apps
Seriously.  It's THE best.  Just Google an image of your app, copy, paste, then print and laminate.  I would totally post mine on here, but that's a no-no.  So sorry.  Printing icons will make management a lot easier.  When it's time to have everyone find a certain app, just flash the large picture of it.  I even use them on my center chart (see below).

Tip 4.  Label Your iPads
Like any type-A teacher, labeling makes me happy.  I just use my little Dymo label maker for this job.  Another teacher I know uses little colored dots.  Labeling just allows me to keep track of all of them, allows students to consistently use the same iPad (and have access to photos they've taken), and makes it a little easier to manage updates.

Tip 5.  iPad Manager Job
The last thing that saves my sanity is having one of my students be in charge of the iPads.  They are our iPad Manager.  They make sure they're stored correctly, plugged in at the end of the day, and locked.  That's just one more job that I don't have to worry about at the end of the day!  Below is how I store mine.  It's a plate rack that you'd use in your kitchen.  The cords are a hot mess, but it works.  It was literally like a $3 investment.  Doesn't my iPad Manager do a great job!?

I hope you found some of these helpful!  iPads are such powerful tools, but it's definitely important to make it work for you.  You shouldn't be pulling your hair out over management issues!  Keep it simple, model, and give some of the jobs to your kiddos.  You'll be surprised at the experts they are with the technology.  Thanks for reading!  :)

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Objectives Made Easy

Hey Blog Hoppers!! I hope you all had a relaxing Labor Day weekend! As it winds down over here I wanted to show you one way I prep for the start of a new week. Printing out my weekly objectives!

Editable Objective signs. Type and display in the classroom!

 I created an editable objectives template for each subject. Then on Sunday night (or Monday on a long weekend) I will type up this week's objectives and print them out to take to school.

At school I display them on my white board using page protectors and sticky clips.

This makes it super simple to swap them out each week!

 Me: "Hocus Pocus..."

My Whole Class: "What's Our Focus!!!"

That's what you will hear in our room when it's time to read one of our weekly objectives!

It's amazing what those two little magic words can do to get kids excited about something like objectives! I even have a magic wand that the kids and I will use to point out our objectives on the board. You can also just print them blank and write on them with dry erase marker.

Writing these in kid friendly language and making it interactive doesn't make me feel like I am wasting precious wall/board space, one of my pet peeves. We also refer back to them during out lessons. I can take them with my to the carpet or wherever we are in the room and then return it to it's spot on the board. You can check them out HERE or by clicking the image above to see more. 

That's it! One more things off my ever growing to-do list!! Now I'm going to curl up on the couch and do a little Netflix-ing to end this glorious 3-day weekend. Hope y'all are doing the same. :)

Planning Woes

Hi y'all! It's Rachel from the blog formerly known as the tattooed teacher! Ok, it's still called that. I just can't claim it is even a blog at this point! Note to time I have my blog overhauled, let the designer use a test blog so I can use mine!
As I sat down this afternoon to write up some plans for the week, I was at a loss.
Does anyone else ever feel this way? I mean, this is my 13th year teaching. I should know what I'm doing...but I'm kinda doggie paddling right now!
I believe the longer I teach, the more I overthink things.
or so it seems.
So what do I do when I get muddled in the brain...?
I go back through my IG, Pins, and blog to remind myself of all the things that I (and lots of amazing teachers) did already!

This year is my first year teaching math sans textbook. I know many, if not all of you, would be jumping for joy right now. But, I HAVE ALWAYS had the book to fall back on and I'm feeling kinda lost. Funny, when I had it, I didn't use it. Now that I don't, I miss it!

My first stop for planning math was Pinterest. I specifically like searching what I've already pinned for math.

Then, after getting lost for a little bit in a pinning-a-thon, I went to my IG. Back 50ish of so weeks to be exact and see what I posted!

Imagine that! I'm reviewing making 10s right now! =) (click for this FB freebie!)

and this is from my Teacher's Toolbox Growing Bundle...

and then I visit the ol' blog. I search my tags for "math" and "addition" and I found two activities I forgot about! I love when that happens!

(FYI-while my poor blog is still in maintenance mode and my old one has a redirect to the new one! Soooo, you will need to click the X in your browser to stop the page from loading, then you can read the post!)

One was equation chains which is just a fancy name for practicing the commutative property with paper chains and a number line game commonly called monster squeeze. My teammate used Everyday Mathematics in Chicago and I believe that's where this game comes from, but here's a great post from Darlin' Little Learners about it too! 

And don't forget to search your purchases on TpT! It's super easy! Just go to "My Purchases" under your "My TPT" dropdown. Type in a keyword and search your purchases and freebies you've downloaded!

so there ya go. My not so quick guide to remembering how I've taught different concepts! I'm sure you do something amazing like same plan books or something, but I always give those to one of my students...don't ask why! Who knows! They love it though! 

Happy Monday!

Teacher Week - Favorite Subject

It's Friday and we are sharing our favorite subject to teach!

I definitely have a favorite, or maybe two favorites! Last year was my first year in the general education classroom. I previously taught special education for 7 years. I've taught every grade level K-12 at some point and I have always loved teaching reading. From the youngest little ones starting with letter/sound identification to the oldest students doing novel studies and really getting into books it's by far my favorite time of the day. I've had a lot of different experiences since most of the kids I've worked with struggled with reading. Seeing them find a joy in words has always been a highlight of my year and made me keep going even when I wasn't feeling very successful as a teacher.

Now that I'm in a self contained classroom all day I still love reading. Watching my 2nd graders with their reading bags in a quiet spot reading a book they are excited about makes me so happy! Seeing them understand reading makes me even more thrilled! I love my classroom library, I spend way to much money on books but I can't help it I love them as much as the kids do!

One of my all time favorite resources has been this book
We've already learned about meta-cognition and schema this year. Giving kids a concrete example to base their comprehension on has always been so helpful especially to those who struggle.
When my students start to have those light bulb moments where they realize reading is thinking, and they come up with something so amazing that I didn't even expect we celebrate it! It's amazing for me to watch them figure it all out. Reading is my favorite subject to teach!

I Love this!

I did say I had two favorites you can come over to my blog to read more about my other favorite subject that I've only discovered since being a 2nd grade teacher! It's so fun, and I think it might be my students favorite.

Don't forget to link up and share your favorite subject to teach too!

Teacher Week-Sanity Savers

Hi Y'all!
I'm so excited to write my very first post as a member of Blog Hoppin'.
It was an honor to be invited to work with a wonderful group of very talented women!

It's Teacher Week!
And today, I'm here to share with you a few tips on how to keep sane during the school year!

1.  Make as many copies as you can in the beginning of the year.
I spend a good three hours making copies as soon as I can get back into the building.  I make copies of the entire year's traceable calendar,  every month's reading log, and the first month of morning work.  It's a lot. A WHOLE LOT.  But I save time very month not making those calendars.  And I save tons of worry not having to make copies each month.  By spending those few hours at the beginning of the year, I get back so much more time throughout the year! #sanitysaver

The box on the left is my September morning work. Done!
The box on the right holds calendars for each month and my reading log for each month. Done!

2.  Find something you LOVE to do...away from work!
I know that sounds like the weirdest way sanity saver for work.  You can love your job, and the time you spend with students...AND love your time away from work...the time you have just for you.  You'll find that when you take time out for yourself, you end up enjoying your time at work even more.  I LOVE creating products to use in my own classroom, so I spend a lot of time doing that.  But I also love crafting and making tutus.  I love dancing and singing too.  When you take time to do the things you'll find you integrate those passions or hobbies into the classroom.  Your kiddos love learning more about who you are as a person...not just their teacher. #sanitysaver

These are the maracas I hand painted for our wedding.
I love crafts but OMG there were so many maracas!

3.  Go do good!

Karma is real y'all!
When you do good things for others...that good comes back to you.  And even if it doesn' feels so good to do good!!  Buy a bag of candy for your custodial staff as a "Thank you" for the hard work the did over the summer.  Write a note to the new teacher at your school who just needs to know someone noticed all the work they did on their bulletin board.  Read your favorite read aloud to your kiddos just because it's your favorite and you want to share the experience of loving a great book with them.  Doing good helps you connect with others who then are more willing to 
help you when you're in need. 
Doing good helps you stay sane.  #sanitysaver

These were a few Back to School gifts my teammate and I put together for the other teachers on our Kindergarten team.
They LOVED them!

What are your tips for staying sane?
Link up your post below, write on our Facebook wall, Periscope yourself, or take a picture or
two on Instagram (#teacherweek15)

Happy teacher week! 

Teacher Week - Classroom Tour!

Hey Blog Hoppers! I'm Erin Eberhart Lynch from Eberhart's Explorers and I'm so excited to give you a glimpse into my classroom. 
I'm a newlywed who just relocated to North Carolina and this year, I have chosen to leave the classroom. {GASP!!!} I have gladly accepted a position as an Elementary Instructional Coach and am loving it so far! It was a tough decision, but I'm anxious to share ideas with teachers and help them bring evidence based practices into their teaching. Any tips?? I'm certainly missing the classroom and my own class of kiddos though. :(  Allow me to reminisce...
Here was my classroom from the far back corner. The classroom door was located under the American flag, on your right. Let's walk through each space together...

This was my word wall and birthday board. My sweet Dad helped me measure off the grid and attach the ribbon, so every space was juuuuuustttt right. I'm OCD like that! ha The alphabet picture cards can be found {here}. I added high frequency words, word families, and vocabulary to the wall as they were taught throughout the year. I also invited parents to save environmental print and send it in, as well!
I used suggestions from Debbie Diller when putting together my word wall. Debbie says...
1) Make a border or a grid for the letters and words to go in. This is based on brain research she is reading about and how the brain sees in borders.
2) Make the vowels one color and the consonants another color (I added star di-cuts next to my vowels instead - not pictured).
3) Add a picture for the beginning sound of the letter. This applies to lower grades.
4) Make the words on the word wall in black and white. The words are easier to see this way and it is a  common color for words in print. I decided to put a border around the individual words based on the brain seeing in borders idea.

Next to my word wall was my classroom library. My most favorite spot!! I wanted this space to attract students and was pleased with the over all feel. 
I added some lamps, bean bags, and a rug to make this space warm and inviting! On top of the book shelf was a basket of stuffed animals. These were my students' book buddies and they were allowed to read to an animal during their "Read to Self" time. 
Here's an up close view at my book tubs. All of my bins were labeled with Reagan Tunstall's bin labels and stickers (unfortunately, this unit is no longer available). This was super time consuming, but probably the best thing I ever did in terms of organizing. My students were SO good about matching the sticker to the label on the tub. I very rarely had a book out of place! I must warn you though, take stock in Avery labels....this project used a TON. For something similar, check out Katie Mense's Library Labels {here}. They're awesome!

On the other side was my computer center. No explanation needed. ha
Now to the back of the room. I  had 2 large closets with LOTS of storage!! I was one of the only 3 people in the school who had closets, so I considered myself lucky. On the right hand side was my teacher desk and small group table. BUT - I have zero pictures to share with you. Blogger fail. :( If you squint hard can see the corner of my desk - nothing fancy.
In the left hand corner, was my writing center. I wanted to have a defined writing space for my students and a place where they could go to a record their thoughts or stories (other than their seats). Here's an up close view. 
The fabulous writing posters came from Cara Carroll and the pencil poster is from the Teacher Wife. Each month, I would change out the words in my blue pocket chart with word cards from Miss Kindergarten. This helped my students SO much with their writing and they were great to incorporate the words in their work.
Next to my writing table was a shelf that housed some center materials. Students chose from this shelf after they finished their "have to" Literacy Station. They'd also visit this shelf during indoor recess. Two summers ago, I made it my goal to organize EVERYTHING. While this was mega time consuming and a semi nightmare (ha ha) it was worth it! No more buying things I already have.
On around my closets and teacher desk (that I don't have a picture of) was the last space. My student mailboxes and home living center. I was so fortunate that my school system still allowed us to have this center, because I know so many had to phase it out. Remember.....Albert Einstein said, "Play is the highest form of research."
This was one of my students' favorite places to visit! As the year went along, I would add writing materials so students could make a grocery list, recipe card, or cookbook. I tried to incorporate writing everywhere I could. Also, each nine weeks, I would change this station so students wouldn't get bored. It was also a Vet Center, Restaurant, and Post Office. My "Eberhart's Explorer" bulletin board was the focal point of my room. I couldn't find an image that I liked so I drew and colored the explorer myself. :) I'm glad the picture is semi far away so you can't see how bad he really looks. ha 
On my student tables, were table caddies. These things were a life saver! Seriously, don't deal with crayon boxes and student supplies - we shared everything! Even in kindergarten and it was GREAT! In this picture, my caddy wasn't quite full yet...but you get the picture. In 1 cup, I had scissors and in the other, pencils. And on the side with markers, I added crayons. These are dorm room shower caddies and you can order them {here}.

Well - - there ya have it! Hope you enjoyed my tour and thank you for letting me take a walk down memory lane. :( Make sure you link up your blog post that displays your awesome classroom style. Don't forget to link your actual blog post, and not just your blog. We will see you back, tomorrow, for SANITY SAVERS. Happy Wednesday!!