Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School Shopping 2: Word Play and Practice

I was unpacking lots of goodies today that I purchased from Resources for Reading and Really Good Stuff.

First the blue cylindar shaped supply bin (of which I bought five for the tables around the room) will hold the pencils, scissors, glue sticks and colored pencils for each table. The white trays, tactile letters, large letter stencils and blue polymer molding stuff are all for word play. I always need sturdy industrial strength magnets (yellow) and I bought 3 bags of colored magnetic counters because the kids always love to sort, pour, pretend with little trinkets. Lastly, I am trying the Ticonderoga triangular shaped first write pencils for students who may still need help with their pencil grip (seem to always have a few).

Last year I purchased letters and strings for my word play and practice. I often find myself looking for fun things that kids can use when playing with letters and exploring words. I also have tried to set up some areas designated for play and exploration with words.

I used this stand with magetic white board last year. This year, I found a small tray with dry erase capability. I like it because it has a little depth to the tray top so it can contain plastic letters, polymer sand, playdough, etc. It also folds up nicely to fit under my white table.

I am thinking about placing a basket of books at the end of the table that engage kids in word play. I like How to Build An A and Animal Soup. I think a few alphabet books would be great and Ook the Book for later on when we think about rhyme and notice patterns in words. I will also have our name chart (student's pics and names) close by or possibly handy so kids can make and talk about each other's names.

For now, let the thinking continue for room set up and new ideas.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea

Last week I sat down with my science curriculum to map out some science units. My goal was to come up with 3 big ideas that will encompass the more specific targets that are laid out in earth, space, life, physical and technology strands of science. I came up with 3 themes for these that I think will help kids understand that curriciulum targets aren't just a one day learned in isolation kind of thing. ( I think I've struggled with this for years thinking I had to do magnets for 2 days and then matter for 3 days, etc.)

The first idea we will be exploring will be change. I want to introduce kids to wondering about changes inside and outside ourclassroom. As I begin to map out some paths we might take, I am beginning to collect picture books that will help us think about change. One that I love for primary kids is called Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea.

Why? It is filled with pattern and ryhme . It teaches kids about living things that change and grow and then asks if non-living items (like cars, watches and cupcakes) can grow. It has lift the flaps and great pictures. It is a great science read aloud and will fit in nicely with our pattern book study we dive into at the beginning of first grade.

Other great reviews about this book can be found at :

If you have books to share that work for science read alouds, feel free to share!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

School Shopping: Blank Books

Fourth of July has come and gone which means that the summer is about half gone. My writing life feels the same. So I decided to jump start myself with some quick posts about books, ideas and changes I want to make in my own classroom for next year.
After attending the All Write Consortium this summer in Indiana, I have some ideas for organizing reading and writing assessments that I have always felt messy about. I found these blank books at Star Beacon here in Columbus yesterday and I think they may help me and my kids keep track of student goals and my conferring notes. Listening to Ann Marie Corgill and Debbie Miller at All Write, I was reminded of how important it is to document student process. I think these little blank books will be perfect for jotting conferring notes and setting goals for kids. In the past, I kept my notes with me in a single notebook, but I really like the idea of each student having their own journey of learning and goal setting in their own hands( how nice to be able to have the kids reread the notes or a few words we set in a goal together because they have their little blank book with them). I know they are small enough to fit in a folder and a book bin (and they were very reasonable 17.95 for 20 blank books). These are also the kind of books you could just make yourself if you had the time.

On to more thinking about the classroom, books and our new home. Hoping to close next week and pictures to follow. Happy Saturday!