Sunday, October 30, 2011


The week started out with making an anchor chart about visualizing and why good readers use this strategy.

I then read the classic poem "The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee" in my best pirate swagger voice.  The children were told to visualize the poem and create a movie in their minds.  I gave them each a piece of drawing paper and told them to create a picture of the poem.  I ended up reading the poem a second time, I have a few ELL students and one late comer.

The next day I had them write vivid words on sticky notes and we shared them.  We talked about how specific words and phrases create a better picture in the reader's mind.  ex.  a zigzaggy scar, floppety plume, and slickery slosh.
We then choral read the poem and talked about expressive voices and fluency.  I love when one lesson hits many standards!

I ransacked a bag of leftover party goods up in my attic to add to the pirate decor.  The children picked eye patches, compasses and gold coins.  I enlarged the poem, changed the font and printed it out on card stock.  I tore the edges and inked them with brown ink using an old sponge.  Here is the display we created:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dead Words

I saw a few great posts on Pinterest and blogs to put Dead Words (over used vocabulary) to rest.  We do not celebrate Halloween at my school and I thought this would be a fun October activity.  Here are some ideas that I found:

I created my own image to download  11 documents.  22 tombstones in all.

Here is my bulletin board and my student's creations.  The larger tombstone was from Target.  I hung it up with Velcro...I hope it is still hanging tomorrow!  They had a blast and some were very creative!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Daily Five

Many of the primary teachers at my school were buzzing all last year about the Daily Five and The Cafe.  I bought both books at the beginning of the summer and read them...some parts many times.  I really could relate to the sisters books and my teaching experience.  I want to make reading "fun" for my children and instill that love of reading that is working in their classrooms.  I was tired of DEAR time being five trips to the book corner and many children never really reading anything. The authors have come up with a management system that teaches children how to become independent readers.
The CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction

I was very excited and nervous about implementing this in my classroom.  I was starting a new grade level for the first in 19 years and had to learn a brand new curriculum.  I made the decision to "JUST DO IT!"  I started on Day 1 and have introduced Read to Self, Read to Someone, Writing and Listening to Stories.  Being in a fourth grade classroom, they had no problems building their stamina.  The only area that I have not introduced is Word Work, but will incorporate that into my schedule soon with the focus on synonyms, antonyms, word parts, vocabulary, etc.

The children are loving it and picked up the Daily Five routine quickly.  While the children are doing the Daily Five, I have been completing my Reading assessments and will start my small groups and conferences this week.  I have been doing many mini-lessons that are becoming part of my cafe.  Here are pictures from my classroom of my CAFE board and my students actively participating in the daily five.

I was fortunate to attend a workshop in Rockland, Maine yesterday that was put on by the authors of The Daily Five and The Cafe, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  They were amazing and worth every penny!  I got to speak to Gail personally...I had my camera and forgot to take pictures.  I can't wait to try some of their new ideas.  During the workshop, I felt like I was at the Oprah Show....they gave everyone many of their favorite things throughout the day.  I had many "Aha" moments during the day.  I will definitely sign up for The Cafe next year.

Here are a few of my favorite links: (free site for teachers...join and go to the peony room) (check out my literacy board on pinterest...many daily five ideas)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A New Twist to My Author Studies

I used to always put up an author study each month on a large bulletin board.  I somehow got away from that and try to keep bulletin boards up during the year that are more interactive and that I don't have to change(my favorite kind) the calendar, US map, daily five, etc.

I bought a great frame at Target that was designed for album covers.  It has hinges and the glass is really plastic.  I get nervous with kids.  Here are the two that I have designed so far.  The pages are very easy to make and take up no space!

 I am incorporating the authors with my listening center.  I got two of Shel's books on Itunes and set the books out with the CD's that I made.  It is great for fluency and The Daily Five.

You can see the frame at the listening center

My second author is Andrew Clements and I just got "No Talking: on CD. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My First Award


I am a newbie to blogging and I am very honored to receive my first award! A big thanks to Patti, at  I have been inspired by all the blogs that I started following this past summer and I want to do the same for other teachers!
I hope to pay it forward by posting 15 more blog sites. Like Patti said, it is so hard to pick just 15, but now I get the chance to pick 15 more. Following are the Award Rules:

*Share 7 things about yourself.
*Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

1. I love fourth grade!  After 19 years in third grade I feel like a brand new teacher!
2. My favorite time of the year is fall.  I love going back to school, foliage, and pumpkin flavored coffee! 
3. I love to eat out, lately it has been for seafood.
4. I love musicals, especially when my girls are in them.
5. I love to shop at The Loft
6. I love to read to my students!  There is nothing better than having them begging for more.
7. I  become easily obsessed with things.  Right now it is Pinterest!

My 15 blog site picks: