Monday, January 19, 2015

Guided Reading Rounds: A Management System

We teach our students about Martin Luther King Jr. but I believe as adults he can still teach us a thing or two about how we could and should live our lives. I find it incredible that even years after his death his words still have the power to make me stop, think and consider how I might better myself. 

Here is an adorable little story that helps students to see that even small deeds done for others can result in big blessings and even young people have the ability to make a great difference.

It would be a fantastic one to use when teaching the skill of cause and effect as one small deed leads to another in this cute story. 
It also has a math connection as on the last page it shows how one good action was multiplied again and again and resulted in lots and lots and lots of good deeds. 
Love this book!

So after my last post, I got email asking if I could explain how I handle guided reading since abandoning the flexible grouping scenario. 
I am going to share that briefly here.
I have gone back to what I used to do in the past.  I am running what I call my "Reading Rounds".
Our class mascot is the "Wildcat" so I found some little wildcat readers to use for the graphics. 
I like flexibility in my groupings so I am using paperclips to attach the small circles.  That way I can switch and change them very easily.  There may be some days that I am running two writing rounds and one reading round, other days that I want to run read to self, work on writing, and read with a partner.  It totally depends on student needs.  I also like being able to adjust the student groups so names are written on post it note strips so I can move them as needed. 

I have  reading round buckets that I use to put in the materials needed for the rounds.  These buckets sit on top my students' reading basket bookshelf.  Each student has a basket that they use to put in their self selected or teacher selected reading books.  They use these for reading rounds and independent book nook times. 

I have my students placed in four reading groups.  When they are not meeting with me, they are at one of the rounds.  They report to their assigned reading round bucket to gather the supplies they need to complete the activity. They stay at that reading round for about 20 minutes working on the "must do" and then a "can do" literacy activity.  

After about 20 minutes we move the little circles on the chart and students move to their next station. 
Hope this all makes sense!  Let me know if you have any questions.
Do you want to try out this system?
In honor of the great Martin Luther King Jr. I am going to "do something for others" and put this on TPT as a free item.....

head here for your download:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ancient Greece: A Main Idea and Details Flip Flap Book

This is what I found in my inbox this morning!

Oh joy, I am super excited and grateful to have this day. 
This is today's plan: 

quotes about life

What a great feeling, right?
I thought I'd also take this opportunity to catch up with a post. 
School has been somewhat overwhelming this year.
Thankfully, I have one of the sweetest and most loving classes ever. 
They have helped me keep my head in the game.  
I've been working them really hard; yet, they come to school with sweet notes and lots of hugs and love. 
I'm a lucky teacher. 

Those of you who have been following my story know that we had been flex grouping for reading for the last year and a half.  We are back to the traditional model  and I am scrambling to manage four reading groups in my class. 
Difficult to say the least. 
It is a struggle to meet the needs of such a diverse group and time is always an issue.  I always feel as though I am shortchanging someone. 
As we introduce reading strategies, we have been posting  them on this CAFE board.  It allows me to constantly refer to all of what we have been working on throughout the year.  All my groups refer to this all the time. 

We also create anchor charts  to record our learning.  We are using Benchmark Reading as our core reading program.  I like that Identifying Main Ideas and Details was introduced early in the year. 

We use this skill in so many areas, from science to math to social studies learning. 
 I'm constantly integrating content studies into my reading time.  Our schedule allows for 25 minutes for social studies /science a day. There is no way we can cover all that we need to in that amount of time so I weave content learning throughout my reading rounds, small group and whole group reading times. 
We recently worked through a unit on Ancient Greece. We read from lots of nonfiction materials to get information about this civilization.
It turned into a great practice and review of reading with main ideas and details in mind.
We created an Ancient Greece flip flap book to use as a study guide. 

The topics of physical characteristics, human characteristics, adaptations and contributions were recorded on each of the four flaps. 

Inside each flap, we glued down and wrote the main ideas and details associated with that topic. 
This flip flap book includes a pocket for each main idea.  This became the perfect place to put our folded Greece maps.  

Students used index cards to write and illustrate important words or ideas that they needed to remember.  

These index cards fit perfectly into the book's pockets.  Students can sort and classify these detail words under each main idea.  

Interested in making these with your third graders?
I have posted these materials and others related to Ancient Greece in my TPT store.
You can check them out here:

How are you managing to fit it ALL in? 
Would love to hear from you....

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Years Freebie

Hello Friends!
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.
Mine was extra special and I was seriously productive in many ways, just not any that involved my school work. So now I sit in front of mountains of books, papers and unfinished projects.
Yet, behind the clutter sits this little word art sign that sums it all up.

"It is well with my soul".
"No matter my lot, thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
One of my favorite hymns.  Do you know the history behind this song?
Take a listen:

This month has been one of many celebrations, but we were most excited about this...

Many of you know that we had been displaced from our home way back in August. After almost 5 months of hotel and apartment living we finally were able to move back into our home. 
Sweet friends brought us this platter filled with goodies. 
We are so grateful and humbled by the generosity of so many people who reached out and helped us through this trying time.
Yes, God is good.
In celebration of all the goodness that awaits us this new Year, I am offering up a freebie.

I have updated the New Years file  on TPT.  
Head here to download this free resource: