Wednesday, July 18, 2012

50 followers announcement, Daily 5, and awesome giveaways!

Well it's Hump Day...middle of the road...boring ol' Wednesday!  NO!!! It  is Daily 5 study day!!! A reason to want Wednesday (other than being a couple of days closer to the weekend but that doesn't really effect me! or us!)  I have been trying to work a bit each day to get ready for school.  I keep getting off task though.  Imagine that...actually that is a real problem for me.  I am easily distracted...and I know it!  But I find if I work early in the morning I am more successful in getting things done!  Right now I am working on printing stuff I've bought or downloaded and recreating old files.  That brings me to an announcement!  I am going to give away some of my re"new"ed old files for reaching 50 followers!  I don't have a store or anything to give away things from so I decided to just redo some of the things that my kids love to do from my files.  As soon as I reach 50 followers I'll post the freebies!

Now for class.....

                              Daily 5 book study

Chapter 6

Work on Writing/Word Work

I think the best way for me to tackle this is to interpret what I read first then to describe how it looked in my classroom. Then I’ll add my questions. They will  be highlighted in yellow.  I hope some of you will leave comments about how you use these two components in your classes.  I want so much for this to work and I KNOW I need some help in this area!

Work on Writing
The book continues in the same pattern of introduction of the session, modeling correct and incorrect, practice and checking in.  However the sisters stress that this is a time for writers to focus on sustained writing of their choice (pg. 80)  We begin with having conversations about why writing is important and making the I charts/anchor charts needed to be successful.  The first teaching point needs to be how to write words they don’t know how to spell.  A description of how to do so is on pg. 82 explaining how to write what you hear and underline the word so you can go back to it later to correct the spelling.  (But it never addresses how to teach that.  Or at least I didn’t ever see it).  Then we will list behaviors independent writers will use to be successful writers. 
To be totally honest, I feel this is my weakest component of D5.  I didn’t do a very good job of teaching what could happen during working on writing nor did I do a good job at checking for understanding of this area.  So, no big surprise that kids didn’t utilize this as they should’ve.  AND I missed out on an opportunity to help foster independence in my kiddos in writing.  I was so excited to get to this partthen I was kinda let down when I reread.  There isn’t much in the book about it (or at least that is my opinion) compared to the reading componentsOf course the approach is the sameteach, model, practice/stamina, check inyes I got that part.  But I need help with the actual “how do ya do that?” kinds of things.  Looking at the focus lesson described in writing on pg. 82-83 it looks like we teach/model how to write words in a sentence. Make the I chart, then model correct/incorrect and practice.  But the focus lesson guide shown in the table at the top of pg. 83 doesn’t really match it.  Also, what does check in look like with this? Do we talk about what kind of writing went on or how we followed the I chart (or both?) I do like the focus lessons for days 1, 2 and 3 though.  I like talking about procedures because I know how important it is to make sure kids know writing and word work.  Another thing that I am not secure with is the writing notebooks.  What are they, what do they look like, what goes in them??? Questions, questions!!  I mean, is it a spiral? Do I look at what is in the notebook? Do these things come to final copies?  If working on writing is truly just for practice and sustained writing of their choice we shouldn’t expect them to edit and produce right?  SeeI’m confused. Please share your experiences with me!!!  Help a sista’ out!   
Word Work
The book says to focus on spelling and vocabulary work in order to develop readers, writers, and communicators.  Start by setting the sense of urgency for this session and the materials they can use to accomplish this.  Then make your I chart to show these.  Also make an anchor chart on the procedures for setting up and tearing down. ***My own little PSA Super Important thing to do with your kiddos*** This session follows the writing session pretty closely.  They allow for lots of practice during the introduction week so students will learn how each activity works.  Word work was pretty successful in my room.  I focused on using this time for practice with word patterns, spelling, sight words, vocabulary etc. Here’s a list of some of the activities we did but definitely not all of them:
          Wiki sticks, pom-pom words, cheer words/whisper words (with tiny megaphones), file games, POP (sight word game like POW), scrabble spelling, scoop and spell, big beginnings (a scatergories type game), boggle, spelling/phonics dice, magnetic letters, rainbow writing, spelling task cards, play-do, dry erase boards, shaker bottles etc.   
Like I’ve said before though, I didn’t spend an adequate amount of time on setup and clean up.  Big mistake for a couple of reasons:  
A.     lost and destroyed materials
B.     wasted time
C.     missed opportunities for powerful learning to take place. 

It will be different for us this year.  We are going to start with our discussion and I charts/anchor charts and really model how I want this to look like in our room.
I do have a couple of questions about word work though. 
1.      Do you allow kids to work together in partners during this time?  Like what if they want to play a game? 
2.     Do you make your kids stick with the same activity the entire round?  Are they allowed to get up exchange activities? If so, how many times?  
3.      Do you worry about accountability?  Do you make them complete a “page” or something?  I’ve done yes to all the questions but they didn’t always work out so well.  Especially the moving to the work station and replacing their activity.
What are word study books?  I’ve no idea about these and there aren’t any examples that I could find in the book
I have said yes to all these questions in my class.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. I think that is the way it is with anything though.  I know I need to spend more time on modeling what and how I want things to look. If I teach them how to work in partners or how to get another activity then things will be much better during this session. 

Like I said last week, this is an area I really need some guidance on.  I hope some of yall will share your experiences with me!  We are getting near the end of the bookI am excited!  Next week we will put it all together!  Flow, flow, flow

Rachel over at teaching maddeness is celebrating reaching 500 followers!!!!  Wow and in such a short amount of time!!!  She really is awesome and has a fun blog to read.  I hope you'll check it out!  I mean, who couldn't use $50 bucks?

Also Sandy from Ms. Fiorini's Stadium is celebrating reaching 600 followers!!!  She is having a give away too for items from her awesome TPT store and a $25 TPT gift certificate!  

If you don't follow these gals you need to consider it.  You'll get lots of great ideas, good laughs, and good finds!  

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!

Keep Coming Back
"Sing and dance LA, LA, LA, HEY, LA, LA, LA, HEY, LA, LA, LA! Dark clouds may hang on me sometime but I'll work it out!"


  1. You have lots of great questions! I also think it's great the way that you reflect on what you've done. For writing, I sometimes have the kids pick entries from their journal (notebook) to take all the through the steps to publishing. At other times I have specific writing projects that I have them do.

    1. Thanks Anne for your intake! I like that you use journals. I was envisioning these elaborate things...I'm not that great with elaborately made things! hee hee


  2. It's so good to hear someone who is using it still has those questions that I had when I was reading. I can't answer them really since I'm just getting started. However, I did decide that I was going to have the kids write in composition books - it's all in one place then whether it's writing or word work. We'll see how it works.
    Thanks for pointing out that the last two components need to be really modeled and practiced like the other three. I can see as the year is getting going that is overlooked as we get nervous about getting started. But those two need to the practice just like the others do, especially that set up/clean up piece.

    1. Kimberly I think that is a good idea you have got going on.I have tons of questions, even after 23 years of teaching!! I am one of those rule following people and it is hard for me to remember that I can do things that need to be done for my class' sake! Its a framework right? I can't stress enough how important modeling clean up many things get lost or ruined. I don't believe it is intentional or that they are irresponsible (not all of them), it is a matter of making sure they know what our expectations are! Let's keep in touch over the year so we can cheer one another on!!


  3. I am responding to the writing piece above. I am with you on the question part. I did not do the Writing part of the Daily 5 piece last year but this year I want to add it. Not sure how it is going to work because they say on page 80 that it is only a time for the students to practice their writing not for publishing or anything. That is for Writers Workshop. Well, the sisters must have more time in their schedule than I do because I can't put writing anywhere else in my day unless I take SS/Science out a couple of days.
    This is my thinking so far .... My students each get Writing Journals so I am going to let them choose what they would like to work on for that day. They can continue on a project or start something new. I am also going to put blank cards and stationary in the work area just in case the students want to write a note to a student or myself. I was thinking also putting my "Fill a Bucket" slips there so the students could write on those also if they want too. With my students writing journals, I do pick them up and write notes back to the students. They do love this! I give them suggestions for improvement or I say "Great Job" on their writing. The students love coming in the morning and seeing their Writing Journals on their desks. They actually open them up and read what I have written. Sometimes they write me back. I saw a great improvement with my students this year just because I responded back to them. I didn't do it all the time. Usually just once a week or so. I am rambling on. I am sorry. I am thinking things through as I am writing this out. I think it is helping me think about this a little clearer. Hope it helps you and it makes sense.

    Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis

    1. I so love the idea of adding your bucket slips to the writing station. I have quite a few "prompt" ideas for them for free writing like in a station or possible the writing notebooks. Have you seen those class journals on pinterest? I made something very similar a couple of years ago for the last couple of months of school to keep their attention. I used notebook paper and stapled it into a large piece of construction paper to make a booklet, wrote a title on the front (24 different topics), and kept them in a basket for them to write in. The did like it. This year I am going to have that activity from the beginning. I also write back to the kiddos in their journals. You're right...they LOVE this. I think you have an awesome start on your writing part. I'm excited to read about it during the year. I hope you'll keep me posted on how things work out!


    2. I will. Thanks for writing back. It's nice to be able to reflect with other teachers. You are on my main list for blogs. :)

  4. Ugh!!!!! I wrote out this long comment about Word Work and sometime it disappeared. Ugh!!! again. Okay, I will try to repeat what I was saying. I love your ideas that you used for WW. Some of things I did not think of. How do you use the pom-poms? Any way, to your questions.... I do allow my students to work with partners as long as their use the correct "Voice Scale". This is another Focus Lesson that I do with my students teaching them what type of voice you should use with Daily 5. Since you are sitting right beside each other, it should be in a quiet soft voice that only your partner can hear. It worked really well last year for me but we did practice a lot.
    Last year I struggles with this part of WW. After a while, I started deciding what the students would be doing for that week with their phonics, sight and vocabulary words. This year, I really want to try and do it the sisters way. I am really going to have to model and practice with my students. Another thing that I am going to try is having 4 or 5 WW bins. If a student/s decided to do WW, they take the whole bin and go to their spot. I'm hoping that this will help with the "stay in one spot". In the WW bins, I would have about 4 or 5 choices that they can choose from. It will take a while to get 4 or 5 in the bins but I think this will work after a while. As I introduce activities, I can add it and take something away from the WW bins.
    My accountability is their weekly tests that they take with their phonics, vocabulary and sight words. I also look at their writing to see if they are applying their new phonics skills and remembering the ones that we have already introduced. If students are having a hard time with this, they would be my Focus Group during the Daily 5 time and I would work with them more one-on-one. The Focus Groups are discussed in the CAFE book.
    I hope that I have helped you a little bit. Writing this has helped me think this through. I am a new follower. Hopefully we can help each other out as the year begins.

    Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis

    1. are awesome! You totally got it goin' on! I'm glad to hear that working with a partner can work. I know that one main reason it didn't work so well in my class is because of the lack of modeling what it is supposed to look like. I WILL do that this year...I don't care if it takes weeks! I do have a shelf that has all the word work activities in small containers. The kids choose an activity and take it to their area but I like the idea of several activities. Maybe that would illuminate the movement back and forth. I did download a voice scale type resource that I am going to use this year as well! The pom-pom spelling is just spelling the word with pompoms instead of playdo or wikki sticks...silly I know but they love it! I buy all sorts of colors, textures, sizes and the reproduce their spelling words with pompoms!


    2. That is a great idea and an easy idea with the pom-poms. I am going to put that into my bins. Thanks for sharing. I am going to place pictures on my blog soon of my classroom and my Daily 5 areas. Stay in touch so that you can visit and see them. Talk to you later. :)