May 31, 2013

My Week in Review :)

HAPPY FRIDAY Teacher Friends! It's my last Friday of the school year! Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and Teaching Maddeness for a quick review of my week!
1 ~ First up on my review...My 3.0 tennis team made it all the way to the finals in our state tournament!  Okay, so we didn't win.  I actually lost my singles match in a tie-break in the finals, but I have come to accept that making it to the finals was a big deal...and I'm trying to accept the loss.  :)  It has been said that I might be a bit competitive...  What's wrong with that? ;)
2 ~ Next up is classroom decorations!  Thanks to Elizabeth over at Fun in 4B, I have new word wall letters ready to go up for next year, complete with the owls from my header. :) Thanks Elizabeth for letting me use your Cri-cut!  Fabulous gadget!  
Also, My wonderful husband has added some additional shelves to my classroom library and I am very excited!  YAY!  Now I have room for more books!  MUST GO SHOPPING! :)

3 ~ Yesterday was READING IS FUN DAY at our school.  We had lots of fun reading activities for the kids, but my favorite was definitely a QR Scavenger Hunt.  The clues lead my kiddos around our school with hints about different books we have read together this year, and also led them to locations around our school that have meant a lot to them over the years...My big guys will be leaving elementary school next week for the last time as students. 

4 ~ I can't do a weekly review without mentioning, okay begging, for suggestions to add my my Social Studies book list for next year.  I have been gathering and organizing my historical texts by topic for my integrated units for next year.  I've never taught Social Studies and am very excited to be fully integrating our Social Studies standards into my informational text instruction in Language Arts.  Suggestions are welcomed, and very much appreciated!

Units (civil rights throughout all units) 1. Reconstruction
2. Westward Expansion
3. Immigration and Industrialization
4. Becoming a World Power
5. The Great Depression
6. World War II
7. The Cold War
8. Globalization

5 ~ Lastly...We call our field day, "Kaleidoscope DAY" because we do a kaleidoscope of activities all day long!  Here's a picture of my partner-teacher and me(I'm in the gray top and skirt.) and  a few precious kiddos having a ball.  The sweet boy in the purple and the other sweet boy in green are my own precious babies.  I slipped away for a few pics of them while my students were playing.  :)
I hope you guys all had fabulous weeks! Thanks for reading. I'll be hopping around and checking out what everyone else was up to this week. Click over and join me as I hop at Teaching Maddeness and Doodle Bugs Teaching! Have a great weekend!

May 30, 2013

The Simplest and Most Used App in Our Classroom

Happy Friday Eve Teacher Friends!  Today I'm linking up with The Eager Teacher for TEACHERS TALKING TECH on THURSDAYS and I'd like to share an app that I simply couldn't live without!
Have you ever used STICK PICK
I know what you are thinking.  What in the world would a fifth grade literacy teacher do with a simple app like this?  The answer is way more than you think! :)  At the end of our Book Talk (independent reading time) my students know that I will "pick a stick" and they will need to share details and thoughts about the novel they were reading during that time.  The pressure is on and they LOVE IT!  It's simple and easy but it holds them accountable which I LOVE!  We have an anchor chart of thinking stems in our classroom.  They share a few details and at least one thought using a thinking stem to get them going if necessary.  They have learned to speak intelligently about what they are reading and don't want to stop after they get started!  Their friends are instantly interested in their books and we often have to start waiting lists because of these conversations! :)

Then, just when you think the pressure is off, I use it again at the end of our LITERACY WORKSHOP.  They are required to share something they learned during our workshop time and their thoughts about this new knowledge.  By the end of the first week, you can see them preparing their answers JUST IN CASE their "STICK GETS PICKED!" :)  

Love it!  The simplest but most useful app in my classroom!  Accountability and thinking at it's best each and every day!  

Thanks for reading!  Click over and visit The Eager Teacher and see what other tidbits of technology are being shared today!

May 29, 2013

Workshop Wednesday ~ Persuasive Writing and a little Geography Research! :)

It's time for one of my favorite linky parties!  Today I'm linking up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.  The focus today is PERSUASIVE WRITING.

I have a quick lesson to share with you about one of my favorite books...I know, if you read my blog often, I refer to a lot of books as my favorites!  It's true...they all are!

The lesson I'd like to share with you is a lesson that goes with the book, BEN'S DREAM. This is a fun book that has a bit of a hidden story that might catch you by surprise at the end. :)  You can read a little more about it in my Chris Van Allsburg SPOILER post here. (There's also a contest going on for a free book on this particular post. :))  After we read the book, to spark their interest, we used Google Earth to visit each landmark that was mentioned in the book and did some brief research.  

I then explained that I was trying desperately to choose which landmark I might visit this summer and that I needed their help.  (No such luck for me, but it was fun to pretend! )  I explained that their task would be to write a letter to me and persuade me to visit the landmark of their choosing.  We discussed all the things they knew about their audience,(me) and my likes and dislikes, because these are important in persuasive pieces.  I went into great detail about how much I love great restaurants. :) I also pointed out the things that they might want to avoid in their letters such as snakes, spiders, anything dangerous, etc.  We had a good laugh! :)

After lots of talk about how excited I was about my trip, they were off to work!  I received some fabulous letters and each and every letter mentioned what types of foods I would get to eat while I was there.  ;)  The point I wanted to make was the importance of knowing your audience when writing a persuasive piece and I think they got that message.  They learned a lot about 10 different landmarks from around the world through their own research and also learned to be very aware of their audience when writing a persuasive piece. This lesson involved, lots of reading, writing, researching , thinking and problem solving...and, best of all, we had a lot of FUN doing it!

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope the rest of your week is fabulous and wonderful!  We are almost there teacher friends! :)

May 26, 2013

Social Studies Mentor Texts

Happy Sunday Teacher Friends. I'm stopping in for a quick post to link up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties to talk about Social Studies Mentor Texts. 
I have a suggestion with a book and lesson, and a request for all my Social Studies blogger friends to help me out. :)

The book and lesson I would like to share with you is A. Lincoln and Me.  
I can't take credit for this lesson. I found it some time ago at  If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a big fan of 6+1 Traits of Writing and this website has a ton of fabulous lessons to use with this writing structure.  

A. Lincoln and Me works wonderfully with research for any historical figure from any time span you might be studying.  This beautifully illustrated book shares the story of an awkward young boy that learns of his similarities with Abraham Lincoln.  The story teaches many facts about Lincoln, but also serves well as a MENTOR TEXT that models MAKING CONNECTIONS TO HISTORICAL FIGURES.  Students can create a graphic organizer such as Venn diagram comparing themselves to any historical figure that they've researched to fit your Social Studies Standards.  I would be willing to promise that your students will remember any facts about that person that they can connect to themselves.  I can also promise that this will spark their interest in learning more about that person.  :)  Hope you can use my suggestion. 

NOW for my request!  I need to go book shopping and would like your help!  Sounds like fun right?  Who doesn't love to shop for good books!  Here's what I need...  

I need a LOT of standard specific Social Studies suggestions.  I will not be teaching a separate social studies class, but SS will be fully integrated into my ELA Common Core Informational Text instruction.  My time frame is 1865 to present, which is designated by my South Carolina fifth grade SS standards.  I have set myself up for 8 units of study, with civil rights weaved throughout.  Suggestions?  Tips? Ideas? I need a book list!
1. Reconstruction
2. Westward Expansion
3. Immigration and Industrialization
4. Becoming a World Power
5. The Great Depression
6. World War II
7. The Cold War
8. Globalization

So, let me hear it!  This is your chance to tell me what to buy or beg for!  Please make suggestions of all types of texts that I could use with these units.  Please comment with a title and which unit it best belongs and I will start making my list!  Thanks so much for your help and Happy Sunday!
We won the second round of our state tennis tournament last night! I'm off to play round 3...WISH ME LUCK!

May 25, 2013

Spark Student Motivation with Techonolgy

Happy Saturday! Just a quick post to link up with the fabulous Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching! :)

She is hosting a party to link up about Student Motivation.
Student Motivation in one word: TECHNOLOGY!

I teach 3 different ELA classes of varied ability levels.  TECHNOLOGY is the one tool that motivates ALL kids on ALL performance levels.  

I'll offer two pieces of evidence to prove this fact.  :)

Evidence #1 One of my students in particular struggles a great deal and is very dependent on the resource teacher or me for most assignments.  However, he has gained a tremendous amount of confidence while researching on an iPod.  This past week, he politely put his hand in the air as we offered to help and he stated, "I got this!"  With joy, we walked away to let him fly...and he did!  A very proud moment for all of us!

Evidence #2  My students have gotten a bit lazy about getting papers signed, etc.  This past week, I sent home a permission form to allow my students to set up EDMODO accounts for a SUMMER BOOK CLUB!  That was one paper that few kids forgot!  They were thrilled and had a ball making their first posts!  This made my day for several reasons.  I love the implications of this for their reading, as well as for constructive use of technology for them this summer.  I'm really loving EDMODO right now!

Students are motivated and driven by TECHNOLOGY.   If we harness that drive and use it to push our students, imagine how far they can go!

Have a great weekend!  I'm in between State Tournament tennis matches today!  I won my first this morning and I'm heading out for #2!  Wish me luck!

May 24, 2013

SPOILER ALERT: Magical Hidden Secret Revealed from the works of Chris Van Allsburg

When discussing the Magic of Reading, I am sure many
different books and authors come to mind for each of us. For me, Chris Van Allsburg is the top of the list. If you are visiting from my post over at The Nerdy Book Club, welcome to Creating Lifelong Learners. 

In my post over at Nerdy Book Club, I wrote about the MAGIC OF READING and how I feel it connects to the MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS. Each year before Christmas break, I teach a very deep critical reading unit focusing on Chris Van Allsburg’s books. Although he is thought of as a children’s picture book author, if you look critically at his books, you will notice that there is much more there than meets the eye. His books are fabulous for teaching readers to look beyond the text to find hidden meanings and themes any time of year.

Below are just a few examples of the MAGIC in Mr. Allsburg’s pieces. 
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick 
Van Allsburg begins this book with an opening letter about a character by the name of Harris Burdick. There is very little text in the book other than the letter. The book itself is made up of 14 illustrations and one caption for each. Mr. Van Allsburg claims that the illustrations found in the book are simply leftover from other unpublished stories that had by written by the man named Harris Burdick. He leads to reader to believe that he didn’t write this book at all, he simply compiled the pictures in hopes that his character would come forward to be recognized.  However, Mr. Burdick has not been seen or heard from since he delivered the original snippets of the stories, leaving a bit of mystery and intrigue.  If you read his books closely, you will notice small trademarks through out the book that prove that he did in fact write this book.  It gives students a wonderful chance to build the missing stories and explore the possibilities of the clues within each picture and caption. This book inspired the creation of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, written for adults, which was written by 14 phenomenal authors such as Lemony Snicket, Kate DiCamillo, and Stephen King. Each author took one of the illustrations and created a story to go with it.  

The Wretched Stone

This is a story about a crew of very intelligent and talented men aboard a ship. They find a stone and it begins to draw their attention to such an extreme that they begin ignoring all other aspects of their lives and duties aboard the ship! Never is anything other than the stone specifically mentioned in the book.  However, if you read very deeply…you may notice that this stone is a symbol for other types of “stones” that draws many people’s attention away from other duties. “It is a rock, approximately two feet across. It is rough textured, gray in color, but a portion of it is flat and smooth as glass. From this surface comes a glowing light…” Do you notice any hidden themes or stories in this quote? Do you notice any symbolism? Do you see any connections to television or technology?  Maybe not, but is sure does offer some deep literary conversations to have with your students.  

Ben’s Dream 

A wonderfully told tale of a little boy who falls asleep studying for a geography test. That afternoon he had wanted to play baseball with his friend but the rain kept him home and inside his house. As the story is told, it begins to rain and his house begins to float past several famous landmarks around the world. We are led to believe that our little friend is dreaming of his adventure, however, at the end of the story, we realize that his friend had the same “dream,” and both kids saw each other as they were floating around the world. This surprise ending leads you to flip back through the story and in fact, you will find the children passing each other and waving while they were “dreaming.” Not only is this a great book to demonstrate the importance of deep reading and re-reading of a story, it is great for geography, and writing, and so many wonderful things. After reading the book, my students researched each landmark and used Google Earth to visit each place! A fabulous book to introduce and build many lessons for kids of all ages. 

I could go on and on, and if you ask my friends, they will certainly tell you that I do.  I have a true fascination with his work and am in awe of his imagination and creativity. I hope that you have found at least one book by Chris Van Allsburg that you can incorporate into your classroom, no matter what age group you teach! 

If you would like to win a 10th Anniversary edition of The Polar Express, complete with the magical letter written by the author which inspired my post over at the Nerdy Book Club, please join in the fun and register below! You'll need to be connected with at least one of the options listed so that  I contact you for delivery information.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by and don’t forget to visit The Nerdy Book Club!

May 22, 2013

Book Talk Time and the Library System we use to ORGANIZE IT!

In our room we call it Book Talk and I could talk about BOOK TALK all day long!  Today I am linking up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday to discuss reading response strategies and I couldn't have been more excited when she announced this week's focus for her linky party! This is my favorite topic to talk about and I truly feel it should be the HEART of LITERACY ALL CLASSROOMS!  

I am also linking up with two fabulous bloggers, Elizabeth over at Fun in 4B and Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files to share how I organize our Book Talk library checkout.

I wrote about our procedures for BOOK TALK in a previous post, so I will try to only hit the highlights today for the link-up, but I must warn you,  I am not good at keeping this topic, or any topic about books, short and sweet!

My students enter my classroom to a similar greeting each today. "Good morning, have a quiet seat at your desk."  During the first week, we establish that this actually means, "put your hiney in a seat and your nose in a book!" ;)  They think it is our little secret, and it's funny, so they remember it!   This saves us a couple of precious reading minutes because we don't waste time talking about our plan.  The plan never changes, and why should it?  If they are reading, they are learning!

If they happened to have finished a book before entering my classroom, then they of course, ignore my request and start talking about their books immediately, simply because they can't restrain themselves. I avoid this by reminding them that we can talk all about their book during their conference and I send them to our library to find another book.  More than likely they already know what they want next because we are constantly talking about their future reading plans.  I find that part of the problem with young readers is that they simply don't know what to read.  If they have a plan that they are excited about, it helps eliminate this problem.  We have standing waiting lists in our library and they have a wishlist in the front of the Book Talk notebooks.

This leads me to the organizational part of my post...our library checkout system.  I have read about, and thought of using several different apps and online systems, but I find myself always going back to my old faithful plan that you see below.  This checkout board gives us a visual and the procedures couldn't be more simple and effective.  
I currently teach 3 different blocks of fifth grade ELA. That's a lot of books to check out.  Each homeroom has a pocket chart and each student has their own pocket.  If they are reading a book from home or from a friend for our BOOK TALK time, they simply use a blank blue card.  I know that a blue card means they do not have a book that belongs to me.  If they are reading a book from our school library, they use a blank red card.  Again, I know that book does not belong to me.  If they are reading a book that belongs to me, I am a bit more protective and require a white card with the title of the book written on it.   So in a glance I can tell how many books I have out from my library and who is responsible for each book.  When they change books, they simply change their card.  When they return a book to my library, they take the white card out of the pocket chart and place it in the library pocket in the back of the book.  If it is a new book, then they simply make a title card and put a peel-and-stick pocket in the back of the book.  Easy as pie!  They take care of the entire process.  

Here are a few close-ups of our system:

Assuming everyone has a book, then we can continue with our BOOK TALK RESPONSE TIME.  While my students are reading, I confer with 4 to 5 students.  During these conferences I use an app that I could not live without called CONFER. (see post here if you are interested) During these conferences we talk about several things:

~Each week my students are required to RESPOND to their reading in 3 different written ways.    I model many different response options at the beginning of the year and each option is open after it has been modeled.  I model one at a time to make sure my expectations are very clear for each option, but my students quickly learn that they do not have to stick to the list.  I simply require that they are reading, thinking, and demonstrating good writing about their reading and thinking. :)  If they can find another way to show this, I am perfectly okay with them using their own creativity to express their thoughts.  This opens up many teachable moments where I can address reading and/or writing skills and strategies that specifically apply to each individual student's needs.  I truly feel that this is where I give the most meaningful and lasting instruction.

~During these conferences, we use a rubric to assess their written responses together. I say assess because I don't usually count these as actual grades, we simply use the rubric to make sure expectations are clear.

~Perhaps my favorite thing to do during these conferences is to simply talk about and encourage their reading.  We talk about whether or not they like their books, what they think might happen, connections, whether or not I've read the book, friends that they think might enjoy it, how it might help them choose their next read, etc.  Anything and everything that relates to, and motivates them to read is open for discussion.  :)

~At the conclusion of our conference time, we have some time for open discussions and responses about reading.  We might have a read aloud, I might share a book trailer, or introduce a new book that I've discovered and have added to our library.  We might even have time for a quick mini-lesson, but I would never let them know that I was actually trying to slip instruction into our BOOK TALK time.  I make a point that this is simply a time to CELEBRATE books.  It's not about the work, it's about the pleasure and joy of reading!  Once they are enjoying themselves, the learning comes naturally.   

Most of my students truly enjoy and grow during this time.  This past week I announced that I would not be checking up on their reading through conferences during these last few days, and that they were no longer required to do their written responses.  I actually got MOANS from some of my students!  Can you imagine, moans after a teacher released students from responsibly?  I quickly jumped into a discussion about adults that journal about their reading/thinking and encouraged them to build this as a habit for themselves rather than as an assignment from me.  I explained that I didn't know what expectations their middle school teachers might have for their reading and writing, and that I wanted them to continue their reading lives just as they had in my classroom.  I truly feel that this response to reading time is creating real readers, writers, and thinkers and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Thanks for reading, I know this was a long one! ;)  Take some time to click over and visit Jivey to get some other ideas about how some fabulous teachers and students respond to reading in their classrooms! Also, make sure to visit Fun in 4B and Ladybug's Teacher Files to find some valuable organizational tips for your classrooms!  

Have a fabulous rest of your week Teacher Friends!

May 20, 2013

End of the Year REFLECTIONS :)

Hi Teacher Friends! I’m linking up with Miss Lifesaver today to wrap up another year! This is the perfect time to reflect on how we've grown and look forward to
continuing to learn and grow as educators. AND…the perfect time to plan our summer fun...but that’s not quite what this linky is about. ;)

For her linky, she is asking 3 reflective questions: 
Question #1 What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this year? 
At the conclusion of the previous school year, my administrators and the head of our
special education department approached me to discuss co-teaching an inclusion ELA classroom for one of my 3 periods in fifth grade. The expression, “the hardest job you will ever love” comes to mind immediately! This experience not only gave me the opportunity to work side by side with and learn from a fabulous special education teacher, but it also forced me to slow down and learn to think a bit outside of the box with how I teach. She has grown to be one of my best friends and I can’t begin to express how much I have learned from her. 

Question #2 What was the biggest personal challenge you faced this year? 
I guess the biggest personal challenge this year for me was starting this blog and
finding the time to fit it into my personal life. I have always admired teachers that were able to put their experiences out there for others to read and comment about, so I finally took the leap! There has been a learning curve on finding balance between “my world” and “my online world” but it has certainly been worth the effort! You guys are a very supportive and wonderful community and I have loved every minute of joining Blog World! My goal was to reach 200 followers by the end of my first month and I didn't quite make it. My new and improved goal is 200 followers by the end of my second month. We’ll see how that goes! Help a girl out, would ya?  

Question #3 How do you think you've grown from your experiences? 
Co-teaching in an inclusive classroom certainly made me slow down and reflect on
my teaching methods and realize that I need to approach every skill in many different ways to make sure I meet the needs of all different types of learners. I have also learned that progress is progress, no matter how small and to celebrate all victories, even the smallest of the small! 

As a blogger, I feel that I am still growing and learning along with each of you and I wouldn't have it any other way! Thanks for reading!

Don't forget to click over and link up with Miss Lifesaver to reflect on your school year as well.  I look forward to reading your reflections!
Have a super week TEACHER FRIENDS!  
Summer is coming soon!

May 19, 2013

Science Mentor Text App

Well, apparently I am starting a tradition of stepping slightly outside of the box for Collaboration Cuties linky for Must Read Mentor Texts. ;)  

Today I am suggesting a website/app to use as text in your classrooms.  Recently I suggested catalogs instead of traditional books. I guess I like to live on the edge! ;)
Have you ever used Wonderopolis?  This fabulous site states a WONDER of the Day and provides lots of text, videos, links, etc. to answer a question related to the WONDER! 

You can EXPLORE past wonders, Test your Knowledge, research related wonders, or dig deeper into the WONDER of the Day if you are "still WONDERING."  There are WONDER WORDS, and a WONDER Gallery of related pics, all connected to the daily WONDER!  A tremendous amount of scientific information at your students' fingertips!

Your students can even submit their own WONDERS to be discovered!  Fun, educational, and meets many, many Common Core ELA standards!

Best of all...THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT!
That's right, if you haven't tried it out, there is a Wonderopolis app that brings all this research and information straight to your handheld devices...and it's free!

Thanks for stopping by.  Don't forget to click over to Collaboration Cuties to see the other Science Mentor Texts that are being linked up today!

Also, if you haven't connected, I would love to connect with you to continue to grow our professional learning network.  

Please feel free to use any of the links on the right to connect so that we can all continue to be LIFELONG LEARNERS!

May 18, 2013

Simple Motivational Tip

Happy Weekend Teacher Friends!  For some of you, I bet this is the first weekend of summer.  Some of us have a few more weeks, or at least a few more days to go and we are going to need the fabulous ideas that I am certain will be posted today over at Head Over Heels for Teaching!

I'm linking up with what might be my quickest, simplest post ever because it's a beautiful day and I am heading out for tennis and then the pool with my kiddos.:)

All people, especially kids, need to feel successful! 
Kids will work harder to make something they are proud of better;but they won't work very hard if they feel like they are never going to get it right anyway!  
We, as teachers, need to remember that progress is progress no matter how small, and success for one child may be very different from the success of another.

There's my tip for a way to SPARK STUDENT MOTIVATION!  Make them feel successful and good about themselves and their work, and they just might surprise you.  You might be the first teacher that has ever found that wonderful skill hidden deep within them that makes them feel successful! And if you are, take that skill and begin building a confident successful student!

Happy Weekend Teacher Friends!  I'm off to enjoy this beautiful day!
I would love for you to connect using the links on the right if you haven't already!  I love learning from other teachers who love learning!  Leave a comment and let me know where I can find you to connect as well!

May 17, 2013

It's the Most WONDERFUL time of the YEAR!

It’s time for Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday and Friday Flashback from Teaching Maddeness! I hope you had a fabulous week in your classrooms! 
 We've had a ball wrapping things up around here! 

#1 I feel famous! Crystal, over at The Library Fox, created a mini ME! I am so excited. She does fabulous work and you should definitely check her out. Wouldn't you love to be famous too? She can certainly make you feel that way!

#2 Have you tried Edmodo in your classroom? I haven’t used it a lot this year but I am trying it out with a few kids now and will definitely be implementing EDMODO much more next year. This is the perfect time to try out new things in your classroom.

#3 Don’t you just love this time of year? We, as teachers, get to organize and refresh everything to get ready for the upcoming school year. It’s time to reflect on what worked well and even what might not have worked so well. This closet didn't look like this in the fall and it won’t look like this by the end of next week! YAY! I love organizing!

#4 BIG NEWS for me at school! I will most likely be teaching a ELA/Social Studies combo class next year and I am so excited! Although I only taught ELA this year, I feel as though I have been teaching SS all year long. I have been working very hard to integrate SS into our ELA common core standards for fifth grade, so it just makes since that I add it in officially. I currently teach 3 ELA blocks but will drop down to 2 blocks when I officially begin integration of SS in the fall. Any teachers out there have suggestions for me?

#5 On a personal note, SUMMER SWIM LEAGUE has started for my boys, or I should say for my entire family! My kids swim on a year round indoor league, but take a break to enjoy the sunshine and swim on a local club team during the summer! Can you imagine what sitting by a pool on nice warm May evenings does to a teacher SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE! 

 Don’t forget to hop over and visit Doodle Bugs Teaching and Teaching Maddeness to see what everyone else was up to this week!  
And if you haven't linked up to follow, I would love to connect with you.  Feel free to choose any of the links on the right to connect!

Happy Friday Teacher Friends!

May 13, 2013

Literacy Station Binders

Happy Monday! I’m linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made-it
This isn't something that I just made; these are constant works in progress, however I have been working on them a lot lately to help get organized for next year. 

My Station Binders are always evolving and they serve 3 purposes for me each and every day.  I use them all day long! 

Purpose #1 ~ The binders serve as a Station Signs so that students know where to go after checking our rotation chart. If you would like more information about our rotations, you can find it here

Purpose #2 ~I slide DIRECTIONS straight into the binders just in case students forget what they are supposed to do while they are at that station…Of course, that never happens, right? 

Purpose #3 ~ Quite possibly the most important purpose these little binders serve for me is STORAGE AND ORGANIZATION! As you may know, I teach 3 ELA blocks a day and am a firm believer in Balanced Literacy. Balanced Literacy requires lots and lots of books, articles, magazines, etc. These binders allow a place for me to file our task cards so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle. They are right where I need them when I want to reuse them later, or even the following year. 
I try to keep the task cards very vague so that my students and I can apply them to many different texts throughout the year. I have 4 binders for each station category in my classroom. For example, I always make 4 copies of each task card, and store 1 copy of each in a binder for that station. When I need that card, all I have to do is un-clip them from inside the binders and slide the directions in front of the generic station sign. Each binder has generic directions for each station that allows my students to choose a task card from the binder if I don’t have a specific standard that I want them to work on for that day. 

Do you have any suggestions for how I can improve my binders? They work great for me but there as always we need to keep learning and improving! 

Click over and visit 4th Grade Frolics and see what other bloggers have made this week.  

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