Saturday, September 20

Table Zones with Masking Tape

Howdy Friends!

I'm popping in to my favorite Linky party with a quick tip on helping your kiddos have a defined table space.

This year I'm at a new school (loving it!) and getting a groove with my classroom. I have 5 giant tables, 23 students and kind of a small the tables are packed. Fortunately, there are seat sacks, which help get stuff out of the way when we need it.

But several kids have been struggling to know their space. Think, two-thirds of one child's stuff being in the child next to them's area and that child cramming themselves into a tiny area. I wanted to help them out a bit...


I grabbed my handy-dandy orange masking tape, since I was almost out of green, and got busy.

To figure out the spaces, I put a folder at each table spot to get a gauge for spacing. It's not perfect, but it does help.

I'll warn ya, though...
I did front load, telling my friends not to pick at the tape...after a week I have two spots where there was some picking.

Not gonna sweat it too much, the goal is to use the tape as a scaffold for becoming more aware of our place in space.

Will let ya know if I end up needing to buy and use more tape for continued zoning. :)

Thanks for stopping by today!!! I hope you found this helpful!!!

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Wednesday, September 10

Parent Support for At Home Reading & Back To School Parent Input Form

It is so helpful to parents when we, as teachers, provide strategies and tips for working with their readers at home! Parent input at Back to School time can be so helpful, too! I'm a big fan of parent communication and love doing what I can to help set parents up for success. This post contains two  parent letters - one for Reading at Home and one for Parent Input during Back to School or when you have new students.

This letter supports parents in reading at home with their children. I print it out and send it home in my first graders, Read at Home poly envelopes. Students keep it in their envelopes all year long for parents to refer to throughout the year as their readers grow and evolve. I don't even laminate it because it saves the environment, money AND time! I make 5 or so extra copies at the beginning of the year and replace any letter that's been ruined.

Parent Information Night is Thursday night and I've been getting a bunch of stuff ready! One of the things I've been getting ready is this letter to help parents support their child's at home reading...which, of course, I'm sharing with you! You guys are the best!!! I can't thank you enough for your kind words, emails, comments and support!

Disclaimer: this post contains some affiliate links. If you choose to click on the links, I receive a small commission.

I use letter size poly Take Home Book envelopes like  these or these because they last all year long (after we discuss and practice the expectations on how to take care of them)! 

This is all in an effort to support and enrich the foundation of reading workshop...which is to build readers who read like a star (S=study, T=think, A=ask & R=respond):

In my district, we use Lucy Calkin's Reading Units of Study. I created my reading workshop units prior to our district adoption, but because all three units are totally unique from one another AND from Lucy's curriculum, I still use them during whole group and small group. They are a GREAT supplement and can stand alone or be used in addition to any curriculum.

Readers Workshop Tips

Do you struggle with students that don't self monitor their reading? They plow on with their reading even when what they've said doesn't make sense, sound right and/or look right? Be sure to check out "Teaching Readers to Self-Monitor" in my TpT store!

This parent reading support letter provides explanations and examples of how they can provide support and compliment their reader from the lenses of word-solving, fluency & comprehension.

The other side has the Word-Solving strategies, a tidbit about fluency and an image from my READ bulletin board in the classroom.

Here are the word-solving strategies.

You can find this At Home Reading for Parents letter here.

For building your classroom community with a culture of kindness, you might want to check this Let's Be Kind mini-unit out, too! 

You might also like this back to school Parent Input form. It's a zipped file containing a non-editable pdf and a Powerpoint file that you can edit & tweak to your heart's content for your classroom. (Uncomfortable, but necessary, terms of use...please do not edit the file and then redistribute it, claiming it as your own.)

Read more about how I take the Status of the Class in Writer's Workshop. It is a practice I will continue for SO many reasons! 

Status of the Class

This Writer's Workshop post is full of tips for tweaking or refining your Writer's Workshop at Back to School or any time of year!

What tips do you have for building parent support and communication? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, September 1

Back to School Preparations!

It's Back-to-School Eve and miraculously, my house is quiet. I'm going through some pics I snapped this weekend while I did some last minute back to school preparations prior to chillin' with my newest crop of firsties at my new-to-me school tomorrow.

The staff and families have been super welcoming and knock on wood...I'm pretty calm. Tonight, anyways.

A few of my favorite things have been getting a pretty serious workout this weekend! My new color laser printer...soooo worth it! Laser is soooo much cleaner and nicer than inkjet! And not having to wait my turn and monkey around on the color printer at school? Priceless! Cuz somehow I always mess something up when trying to multi-task!

My laminator! LOVE my laminator AND the pouches I get from Amazon...they work fantastically!

Here's what they've been doing for me...
Growing Firsties
Last year's batch didn't have Careful Caterpillar on them...and when a customer requested it I added it to the freebie pack on TpT but since I'd already made mine for my class I didn't make new ones.

I printed them on bright white cardstock, labeled them at the bottom with 1-M in case they get lost somewhere in the building...I also added student numbers at the top so that if one gets dropped in the room, it's easy to know who to return it to.

Included are full-page size posters and a page with all the strategies on one. 

Growing Firsties

Also got labels made and printed from the Avery Templates...if you'd like to download them for free, go ahead and click here or the image above. You will need the following free (for personal use) fonts in order for them to look the same as mine do...KG Behind These Hazel Eyes; KG Second Chances; Janda Silly Monkey.

Hope your year is off to a great start!!!
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