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Sunday, October 27, 2013

From Seed to Pumpkin ( A Common Core Retell)

I love this time of the year but for me I am busy working on writing units of study with my team at the district office. We just finished a Thanksgiving packet and I am so glad to move on after looking at curriculum maps, content and language objectives, informational text, and still slamming in some games to make all this look like fun to the kids! The rigor is going to kill me (just sayin").

So what have I learned in all of this? Materials for teachers need to be simple and easy to put together. So here are my "famous" retelling cards that form a flow map in a pocket chart. Teachers in my district are probably sick of seeing these for all kinds of topics. This time I did it for the growth of a pumpkin. How are these different? Let me share my thinking.

I did not include the transition words because I want students to practice this orally. They need to use words such as first, next, after, last, finally... you get the idea. Some of your students might be reading by now and that's why sentences have been provided to challenge them.  Common Core is all about offering differentiation. The language is still simple and repetitive.Be sure to model the language you want them to use and do this over several days. Now you can hand out the cards so students can have an opportunity to retell the growth story while the others watch. I often do this during my morning opening. Listen for those crucial transition words. Can they do this? This can be a great assessment for oral language, but teach it first! 
Retelling is an important skill and is part of the CCSS. However, what makes this truely a Common Core activity? Yup, doing it in collaborative groups of four, practicing academic language. Run the cards off  so that each group is provided with a set and store in a baggie. Students sit in a small circle and each one finds the next part of the sequence and continues to tell the story, using those important transition words. The teacher walks around and listens carefully as students work together. Your administrator will be impressed with your collaborative academic conversations and the kids will love working together to build their understandings. Are you willing to try this? This is what Common Core is really about!

Do you want these cards? I have them right here but be sweet enough to leave a comment and tell me what pumpkin activities you love to do! I forgot to mention that I sometimes prefer to make these cards magnetic and if you have a bookcase or file cabinet at the level kids can use this makes a great independent science/literacy center. I bought the magnets for just a couple of dollars at Walmart and they are self adhesive!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don't Be A Turkey... Some Fresh Ideas

By the end of October I am screaming with happiness if my students know all their letters and sounds. This makes a huge difference when it comes to reading and writing. Not there yet? Are you sick of working on this constantly and do you feel like you are spinning your wheels? Welcome to my reality! This is a Fall Beginning Sounds Packet (seasonal images) that might be what you are looking for. It is filled with interactive and differentiated materials to meet the wide range of needs in your classroom. Click on the picture to find it in my store on Tpt. I promise you won't be sorry. My students love it and need more practice, and more, and more... so i need to make it fun!

Stick with me and I will solve all your problems this week...
Don't start screaming but did you know about this? Stop screaming. 
So Pete is in a school play and it is all about the story of Thanksgiving kindergarten style. It is really cute and a bit interactive with flaps. I might have to create one as a Big Book for my kindergarten classrooms. Easy to teach the story if it has my buddy Pete in it. Look for freebies soon. Check back and leave me some some suggestions!

Finally we get to my Turkey Packets if you are trying to stay ahead of the curve:
These are filled with math and literacy activities for your students with the famous Fran Kramer emergent readers. They are two of my best sellers. Take a look at T is for Turkey and Turkey Leftovers if you want some meaningful work at this time of the year. I don't think you will be disappointed. Trust me. Check back for some fall freebies.