Sunday, September 30, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
You could pick up my Pumpkin Writing Craftivity if you haven't already. It's so cute and perfect for Halloween coming up. Don't forget I also have 2 boggle boards that are great for word work, and I also added two new graphic organizers that are regularly priced at $1!
And I haven't already mentioned my newest item. I finally finished my Bat Research Unit! I'm so proud of it! There's even a Venn Diagram shaped like a bat. :-)
Friday, September 28, 2012
I'm sure most of you have. The awesome little manual pencil sharpener created by a teacher? I actually got mine at the end of the school year, and it was like Christmas! The only bummer is that it was literally the last day of school, so I had to wait 3 months to get to really play with it and try it out.
We finally got back to school after Labor Day, and I started showing it off to my teacher friends. My para had MAJOR doubts ("I have to actually crank it?"), but after a few trials, she was converted quickly.
This was the first week with students (remember, I'm a reading specialist - don't hate me!), and my 5th graders have really learned how to use it. They think it's awesome, and I think they might break pencils on purpose just to use it.
How does it work? Well, you have to put it together first when you get it. There's only 3 or 4 parts, and it comes with directions (at least online, I honestly don't remember if they had them in the package). Then when you're ready to sharpen, you pull out the metal part (see below), and pinch the black thingies to stick in your pencil for a perfect fit. Once the pencil is in, let go and it holds your pencil in place.
This is important because you will need both hands to sharpen. One needs to hold the sharpener in place, and the other to crank.
SIDE NOTE: I couldn't get it to sharpen one day, then I realized I was cranking it the wrong way. If it feels really lose, try the opposite direction. You have to crank toward you.
The whole sharpening process is very quick, even if the pencil is brand new, so you don't have to worry about your arm getting tired. And it really is very quiet. Not silent, but it's WAY quieter than an electric sharpener or the old fashioned manual ones. Plus it's so cute! They now come in green, blue, and red. You can order one or even put in a school order for a VERY reasonable price. I love my sharpener!
WARNING: I just went to the website to link up, and they are unfortunately sold out right now. However, I will continue checking and post again when they restock. I promise it's worth the wait to get one of these!
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
So far, I've identified 9 kids in 3rd grade and way too many in 4th. This stresses me out because my numbers should get smaller as the kids get older. Right now, my 4th grade list could easily be 14 kids...craziness!! Oh, and did I mention their levels range from G to Q (Q's failed the SOLs, so I have to pull them until they show improvement)? Today the focus is on 5th grade.
Okay, enough focus on the stresses. I think it's perfect timing for this linky party that Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade is hosting.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Word lists are complete! Well, I have to get a few kids who were absent, but that's it. Today I actually started giving a few running records to the kids who scared me the most (4th grader on an H and two 5th graders on L). The fourth grader was still at frustrational level there. People, that's end of 1st grade! How did she get this far with being retained or labeled?! I'm really concerned...
Oh, and did I mention she's not the worst case I found? The others are at least labeled special ed, though. This girl has NOTHING but Title I.
Okay, before I explode, let me share my funny story. Since I don't have a home base, I've been doing bus arrival and dismissal. After teaching 4th grade so long, I forgot how little kindergarteners know, especially at the beginning of the year. We have to do a TON of herding!
Well, my classroom is also tucked away beside kindergarten and 1st grade. Today I was making copies and heard a line of little ones behind me acting crazy, hitting each other with lunchboxes, yelling, etc. My first thought was, "Where is their teacher?", but I assumed they were following up the end of the line. The kids went on in the room, no teacher. Then a few seconds later, one kindergarten teacher comes flying around the corner like a tornado! Apparently the kids lined themselves up and walked back to class ENTIRELY on their own with nobody stopping them. When said teacher arrived ON TIME to pick them up, her table was empty! Needless to say, they got in a lot of trouble and had to march back to the cafeteria to practice waiting on their teacher.
It's funny because it wasn't me. Although I would have laughed. Eventually. After I finished having my heart attack.
I'm so glad I don't teach kindergarten. I thank God every day that so many of you love it! I'll take them after they've been house broken.
Reminds me of Recess: School's Out where they refer to the kindergarteners as the "savages". Does anybody else remember that? It's my favorite description for them. If I ever taught kindergarten (and I don't plan on it any time soon), I would totally do a jungle theme for it (and I'd call them my savages if it wouldn't be frowned upon)!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I'm moving on up in the technology arena and decided to start a Facebook page for my blog! Click on the banner to the right to like my page. Then go follow my Pinterest boards! There are a TON of them, and I spent a lot of time this summer reorganizing them so they were more user friendly!
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Alright, I have a niece ready to see me, so I need to get Keagan and myself ready for the day! Have a great weekend!
Friday, September 7, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I knew about running records and the importance of them, but I never considered the importance of knowing each child's level. Thank God that our other reading specialist is AMAZING and helped push for this to be implemented! And also thank God for my master's program that taught me the importance of this and the best way to go about it.
So we ended the school year by giving all students running records. Each grade level used the level that students should be at for the end of the year. For instance, all fourth graders were given a level R. The only problem is that if students were higher or lower, we didn't know how much higher or lower.
In my program, we talked about using word lists to help decide where to start when giving running records. Most of these assessment kits come with word lists and give instruction as to what running record to start with. So starting today, I began pulling all of the students (grades 3-5) to give them a word list and see what level we should begin on. I started with 4th since I know all of the teachers so well (I love my former teammates!) and we had already talked about using the word lists.
The only thing to be aware of when giving word lists is that this is not necessarily the level they will be reading at independently. Many students can "call" words but have NO IDEA what they are reading. If they read it fluently but don't have comprehension, they need to go back a level. It does students no good to be placed in a level where they have no understanding.
I have more word lists tomorrow, and I start training teachers on administering the running records. Should be a busy, but fun day!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
First off, I slept through the night without any trouble. That NEVER happens the night before school starts because I'm always thinking about what students I will have and if they'll like me and what kind of craziness will happen. You know, the usual, right? Surely every other teacher goes through that antzy sleeplessness the night before.
Anyway, since I won't actually have my own kids to pull out for another two weeks and couldn't push in yet while teachers are getting to know their own kids, my only responsibility was bus tagging and dismissal. That's it! Crazy, huh? I kept feeling like a total slacker, but what can I do?
Don't worry, I tried to be productive and helpful. I introduced myself to the classes with students I would most be working with and gave some teachers their much needed bathroom break.
Then I worked on finding the rest of the books on my inventory and typing in ALL of their levels. Our school is switching to the Fountas and Pinnell assessments, so I want to make sure the books all have labels so teachers can easily pull books that fit their students.
I'll leave you with two questions: What reading assessments do your schools use? And if you don't have a homeroom class, what do you do on the first days of school?
Monday, September 3, 2012
I've been blogging over at The Dalton Gang for a little over a year now, but I decided it was time to separate my personal blog from all of my teacher-y things. I want this blog to be a resource for teaching reading as I begin my new position as reading specialist for grades 3-5. If you would like to learn about what's going on in my life (and see cute pics of my adorable little boy), I will still be updating my original blog and welcome you to follow it as well!
I got the name "Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late" because I am a little obsessed with Mo Willems and all of his amazing books, especially the pigeon. And, like many other teacher bloggers, I tend to sometimes stay up a little later than I should and then wake up feeling grumpy the next morning. I am NOT a morning person, but when you teach 30 minutes away from home, you HAVE to wake up early during the school years. Plus, with an 8 month old, I'm up earlier even during summer and weekends.
I digress. If you have any questions or topics you have questions about (mostly related to reading, please, although I'm willing to take a shot at other things), let me know! I want this blog to help us all become better teachers of reading!