Saturday, November 30, 2013

Listen to Reading

For all of you Daily 5ers out there:
How do you manage Listen to Reading?

I have 4 iPods and 1 iPad that we use for LtR. Last year's group managed it well on their own and I had to interfere very little. They were able to share the 5 devices among everyone without conflict. THIS YEAR'S GROUP--we have tears. And tears. And tears. And tears. And tantrums. Lord, have mercy, my bunch this year is very emotional. :/

SO, this is what I came up with to manage who gets access to the iPods and iPad each day to avoid the tears and tantrums about them.

#1: We do Daily 5 in 2 separate groups.

I split my class in half by ability; during round 1, group 1 works with me for phonics/spelling while group 2 does Daily 5. After 15 minutes, we switch groups. Round 2 is the same except we work on reading in small group instead of phonics/spelling.

#2: You may not have a second turn at LtR until everyone in the group has used the devices once (or at least has had the opportunity to use the devices).

This is our LtR management board:

The colored magnets near the bottom of the board have the kids' names on them, placed in their respective group. Right below the title, "Listen to Reading," you see a sign that looks like this:

This is where the students sign up to use a device. To sign up, they just move their magnet to cover one of the devices on the sign, like so:

Ideally, the magnets for each group would all be the same color. I will do that next year. This year, it was a last-minute idea so the magnets aren't the same because I had to use what I had! Initially, I actually had everyone in one big group so color wasn't a big deal until I decided to split them into 2. Oh, well. It still works. The kids do a great job of paying attention to who is in what group (mostly because they are ALWAYS all up in each other's business) so it works for us. No confusion thus far.

After Daily 5 is over, we simply move the magnets into the pail that sits between the groups of magnets. (If we do run into confusion with colors as described in the previous paragraph, I will just use two different pails to house the used magnets.) 

After majority of the magnets in a group are in the pail, we put them back on the board to sign up again. I say majority because if less than 5 students' magnets are left on the board, then there will be extra free spots for others to sign up.

If a student chooses not to do LtR at all, then he/she moves his/her name into the bucket at the beginning of round 1 so we know that he/she is choosing not to participate. This avoids the problem of waiting for someone to take a turn when he/she does not even want a turn.

So far, this has worked VERY well. The kids even take ownership and move the magnets in and out of the bucket for me! No tears over that yet. :)

#3: You must follow the rules in order to continue to use the devices.

Period. Dot. This will not be a problem to a lot of them at all, so I feel that revoking the privilege is fine for those who are deserving. As a reminder of the rules we came up with together, this mini poster is taped to the management board and to the area where the LtR books and devices are kept:

Click on the above picture if you would like a copy of this mini poster!

LtR is easily a popular choice during Daily 5, so this management system has really helped us keep potential problems under control.

What do you think? How do you manage your devices?


Friday, November 29, 2013

Awesome Apps Post #5

Awesome Apps is BACK!!! And I have some GREAT ones for you!!

 10 Frame Fill
Price: Free

Understanding how numbers relate to 10 is critical for fluent computations and is part of many state and common core standards. This simple app is exactly what the title suggests--students will fill in a ten-frame using a given number. We always start off the year doing this very activity in my classroom with counters and ten-frame mats; at that point, my students begin making statements such as "5 and 5 more is ten" or "8 and 2 more is 10". Later on when we discuss addition and subtraction, my kids have a better understanding and begin to make and use number sentences to go with the ten-frames.

You can customize the app to fit the needs of your students:

I like the option to add a number sentence to the ten-frames to practice missing addends:

Writing Wizard
Price: $2.99

This is THE BEST app EVER!!!!!! EVER!!!! I know, I've said that before, but I really mean it! This incredibly engaging app helps with proper letter formation, an essential in my first grade classroom. You can also spell words and even customize a list of words. Gotta love all of the options.

Every letter has a brief tutorial that shows the proper direction to go to form the letter.

Students then form the letter under the guidance of the arrows and dots.

The animations are fantastic. After the letter is formed, you are allowed a little play time with the objects used to form the letter/word. Each time is a different object!

 The app comes with this list of words that students can spell and write.

Add your own list of words! You can even record your voice to say the words so students can work independently. 

I love this app and so do my kids (including my 3-year-old at home!). Definitely worth the investment.

And now for the babies at home!

Hungry Hungry Hippos
Price: Free

Remember this game?? Yeah, there's an app for it! I love this game and so does my 3-year-old! We play it quite frequently! It's the same as the original game, but with no clean-up or game box storage problems. :)

Now go and download some awesome apps! :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Visual Plans for November 11-15

2 weeks in a row I am sharing my plans with you--WHOA. Here are some things I am looking forward to this week:

  • Veterans Day craft--it's going to be cute!
  • Teaching two more suffixes
  • Doing the Cha Cha Slide in science
  • Math Stations take 2--take 1 was not so hot.
  • A NEW POEM!! We all LOOOVE poetry!
  • Teaching in 1/2 groups for phonics and reading instead of whole group and then small group
  • Spelling on tactile boards
  • Fables
  • I am off on Friday! Of course, this is more work in the long run for me because I have to plan for a sub, but at least I get to enjoy the day! :)

I mentioned spelling on tactile boards for handwriting. Letter practice that involves touch allows the brain to remember motor patterns, so, on a daily basis, we get to have fun AND learn how to form letters at the same time. Basically, I have about 10 minutes designated for handwriting instruction (NOT a lot of time!) so I need materials that I can take out and put away fast and easy. Sometimes we will break out sand, rice, or shaving cream, but on a daily basis, we will use these:

 Don't look too closely, lol. Glue is everywhere and lines are crooked!

This is the best/model felt board. I made these by gluing felt onto poster board and ribbon for the lines. All were glued using spray adhesive.

I also have foam, felt, and glitter sheets on which to form letters--easy peasy!

You also may have noticed this in the plans:

I made this especially for my class this week. I am excited to use it!! You can check it out/pick it up below:

ANNNNND it is on sale for today and Monday only!! :)

What are you up to this week??

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I did it!! I FINALLY joined the "share your visual plans" movement! And it took foooorrrreevvveeerrrrr. It takes forever to do my weekly plans anyway, so this was quite the task. That being said, humor me and read them!!! ;)

You may have noticed that I have not used a ton of products, centers, games, blah, blah, blah. I know my Daily 5 plans look very, very sad right now. Two reasons for that: ONE--I make practically EVERYTHING I use in my classroom and most of it is currently not ready to be shared with you (time, time, time) or is remade from my district's curriculum and cannot be shared. TWO--this week we have a field trip, Book Fair preview day, and a sub day, so we are a little out of the ordinary; I also have yet to decide which Word Work activities I want to do first. The next visual plans I share should have a lot more in them, so worry not. ;)

You may have noticed this in the plans:
This product is BRAND NEW and I am excited to use it this week!! Check it out below:

ANNNNND it is on sale for today and Monday only!! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Five for Friday! (On Saturday)

I haven't joined this linky party in a while, so I am excited to be posting this today!!

Last weekend, I came across some infomercials, got sucked in, and ended up running out to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a Ninja Blender!! It's REALLY cool! :) Here is our first smoothie in it!!

THE absoulute BEST thing about sub days!!!!!!!!

.....and then there is the worst thing about sub days.......
I totally left a good marker out for the sub to use on this board and this is what it looked like when I got back to my room... :(

And I am not sure about the content of it or why the ones and tens on the bottom are in reverse order....

In reading, we studied Author's Purpose all week and did a little book sorting activity one day. The students were grouped into small groups of 3-4 and then given a stack of books to sort by purpose. They studied them, decided as a group, and then we piled them all together in a large group.

 Finally, my own little designed and carved her first pumpkin!! Well, since she is only 3, we assisted the carving BUT the rest is all her! :)

And now, THIS is what I am going to do.......

Happy Saturday! :)