Back to School Hop

Well, it's that time.  Or maybe it's almost that time for you. Back. To. School.  It's the best of times and the worst of times... lol.  Thanks to The Owl Teacher I'm teaming up with some awesome bloggers for our Back to School Hop to give you guys some fun ideas just for this time of year.

I thought I'd share a little about one of the lessons I liked to do the first week of school for part of my Reading Workshop.  I'm a huge believer in the importance of independent reading and I almost always started some sort of independent reading the first day of school.  The first couple of days the kiddos were usually just reading from their book bins that I kept on top of their group of desks that had a variety of reading levels and genres.  As I introduced our library and completed DRA's the students were able to pick out books for their individual book bags on their own independent levels.   

But, before any of that we spent at least one lesson discussing what independent reading was and what it should look like in our classroom.  As we discussed this, we made a simple 3 point rubric for independent reading.  My three levels were usually Amazing, Okay, and What?  (as in "What are you thinking? This is definitely not what you should be doing!" haha).  As the kiddos helped to tell me what a great independent reader did and looked like, I charted their ideas (see Anchor Chart below) and we practiced showing what it looked like as well.  From there we did the opposite- what it shouldn't look like.  I always made a really big deal about this "WHAT?" category being funny and shocked that anyone would ever even do this during I.R., plus I always showed plenty of non-examples.  The kids always got a kick out of it.  Then we did the middle level.

Make an Independent Reading Rubric with your class at the beginning of the year to set the expectations for independent reading time.

That day we practiced independent reading for about 10 minutes (every day we practiced reading longer amounts of time- up to about 45 minutes) and I would spend that time really observing students and looking for those AMAZING on the rubric readers.  I also reminded my readers that weren't quite on the amazing level what they should be doing.  After independent reading time that week students would share what level they were on the rubric that day and give examples why they assessed themselves that way.  I always had a couple of students share with the whole class and everyone shared how they assessed themselves with their partner. 

These first few days spent just observing and watching were essential for me to establish the expectations for our daily reading time.  Later on I would do guided reading and student conferences daily while my students were independent reading and/or completing literacy rotations.  

Now, for some fun giveaways!  
All of my blogging friends have a great prize package for you to enter to win a ton of great products below.   I completely forgot to send my contribution in time to get in our organized giveaway (mommy brain!!), so I'm doing my own giveaway too!  

You can enter to win my Back to School Story Problem Task Cards and ANY OTHER PRODUCT FROM MY STORE!  Just enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Elementary Antics: Back to School Story Problem Task Cards. Two sets of addition and subtraction task cards- great for centers for your kiddos. Easy to differentiate for your students needs.

 Enter the K-2 prize pack on the Rafflecopter below :)

Hop around to all of the other blogs below! 


All Things Bullentin Boards #2togetherWeAreBetter

I am so excited to be linking up with Lucky Little Learners and Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd for this month's 2gether We Are Better post all about BULLETIN BOARDS!

I don't know about you all, but bulletin boards are not a huge thing to focus on at my school much anymore.  When I first started teaching 12 years ago bulletin boards were a BIG deal- especially the beginning of the year board.  Nowadays (at least in my district) we just don't have the time to worry too much about changing our bulletin boards every month.  The last couple of years what I have done in my hallway board is use a design that will work all year that incorporates our school theme.  Then I just switch out the work that is displayed every month or so to keep it updated.  Now, this isn't glamorous and anything, but it was what worked for me and the I was able to spend my time working on a lot of other things in my classroom (like getting centers ready, looking at data, organizing my library, plus 100 more things)!  

This year I am no longer in the classroom, so I don't have a bulletin board to show you all from this year.  But I do have a few from my archives. :)  

Now, last year my school's theme was a beach/surfing theme, so I did a pretty simple "Surfing into 2nd Grade" Welcome Board.  If you're familiar with Krista's work from Creative Clips, then you will totally recognize her cute clip art on my board above.  I had a lot of questions about how I printed that out or where I printed it big enough for my board.  Well, guess what?  I didn't print it!  I thought back to the old days when I used to watch my 3rd grade teacher make giant pictures for our classroom after school.  She used to copy a picture on an overhead and project it on the wall where she traced the now giant image on butcher paper.  Obvi, I don't have an overhead projector anymore, but I did have a projector and a computer!  So, same idea with modern technology.  I hooked up my computer, opened the line art picture and projected it on my classroom wall where I had white bulletin board paper taped up.  I traced the art and then painted it and cut it all out.  Viola!  Totally cute clip art in bulletin board size.  I kept that cute summer buddy bird and his surfboard up on my bulletin board all year and just added student work and a new title every month or so.  
Keepin' it simple!

Here's an example from the year before.  We had a cruise theme.  (Can you tell we live near the beach??)  I found this awesome chevron fabric and used it to cover my board.  I added a giant anchor and our school theme.  Then, I just changed the work throughout the year.  You can tell this picture was around winter time since we had just done our hot chocolate book reviews (a freebie from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade.)  Again, just keepin' it simple.  Same background all year and just update the student work.  By the way, if you don't cover your bulletin boards with fabric- you should!  I usually cover all the boards in my classroom and the hallway with fabric or plastic Dollar Store tablecloths so I don't have to worry about fading or anything like that throughout the year.

Follow my Bulletin Boards pin board on Pinterest for lots more fun ideas!

Go check out all of the other super fabulous bulletin board ideas in this awesome linky!

Back to Top