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Writing Workshop Tips

Are you looking to begin or tweak Writing Workshop in your classroom?

Writing Workshop has been a important and delightful part of my classroom for over ten years. My students and I absolutely adore writing workshop! Yet - I'm still in a constant state of refinement.

Here are some tried and true tips for what has worked well over the years, regardless of the writing curriculum I was using...Let me know which tips you find most helpful!

Growing Firsties - writers workshop tips

Make sure to pin this post so you can come easily back to it when you want to add more layers to your workshop or have more questions.

Heads up - this is a MONSTER BIG post! Took me over two three months to write (#reallifefirst #thenbloglife) and there's SO much more I could say about each tip. #teachingiscomplex #whichiswhyiloveit #mostdays #somedaysijustwantjammies

Here we go...

Growing Firsties
(There are some affiliate links in this post.)

This one's a big deal that can have a big impact...
All writers need to feel successful. As a teacher who ditched the deficit model decades ago, I am eagerly on the hunt for positive, genuine ways to compliment each writer as often as I can. Not only is this kind and humane, it respects the writer's developmental stage and builds on his/her strengths. And they ALL have strengths.

In an effort to be strategic...
Compliment based on your teaching points...and do it in a loud-ish whisper...it's another opportunity to reinforce what you're teaching. And...it will benefit all who overhear it.

In order to feel more genuine, your compliments will often sound like "noticings."

If your mini-lessons are about including introductions, your compliments (noticings) might sound like...

"I notice you introduced your piece with a question!"

"You're trying out a sound effect in your introduction!"


If your mini-lessons have been about improving writing stamina, your compliments might sound like...

"Check out the way you're really sticking to it today! You're not letting anything distract you from your important writing work!"

"Wow! I noticed that you turned your body away from your friend so that you could stay on track with your work. Powerful decision!"


If your mini-lessons have been about editing, your compliments (noticings) might sound like...

"Look at you, going to town, editing your piece for punctuation!"

"I see you edited for using capital letters only for names and at the beginning of sentences!"


For 11 more tips, pop on over to this Growing Firsties post!

6 Easy Things You Can Do to Change Negative Behavior in the Classroom


When dealing with negative behavior in my classroom, I love to make sure I have a lot of ideas in my back pocket to pull out and change what I don't like. Here are 6 things I do that you may want try out and add to your arsenal management techniques!

       1. Make a weekly behavior chart and allow the student to come up with their own behavior goal.
Meet with the student frequently to find out how they think they're doing. Ask their input about how you can help them reach the goal they set.

   2. Choose a responsible peer to partner up and be a role model for their classmate. The student with negative behavior must be willing to accept encouragement and direction from their peer. The peer must realize they are NOT in charge, they are simply helping.  This has always worked great in my classes! (As long as the responsible one isn't taken to the dark side in the process)

 3. Leave positive notes for your student to start the day off right! Yes, maybe they ended the previous day by not completing any assignments, and refusing to follow directions, but today is a new day! Let them know you still believe they can change, and that a new day can be their new start.
Handwritten notes and a treat go a long way, too!

 4. Have some behavior reports handy to document incidents in the classroom, and to involve the parents. (Just make sure this isn't the first time you communicate with them. Start off on a positive note.)
Having behavior reports really helps me to keep track of a student's repeated behavior. Sometimes looking over past reports helps me to recognize a pattern or even a trigger for certain behaviors. It also helps to involve the parents and show the student that you AND their parents are a team, and do not find their behavior acceptable.
These are also great to pull out at conferences if negative behavior persists. Sometimes the student and their parent don't realize how much of a problem there is until they see it right in front of them.

 5. Make some incentive tickets! You know what your student likes. Make some behavior tickets that they will really want to work for. You can decide what it takes for them to earn one. Completing their writing assignment, not calling out the entire day, being respectful at Specials. Whatever you need to them to work on!

6. Make some badges for your students to sport! Chances are your student is acting out for attention. Train them to seek attention for positive behavior instead of negative. I let m student wear these badges and encourage their classmates, other staff members, and even the principal to ask them why they are wearing it, so they can proudly boast about the good choices they've been making!

I hope these ideas help you in the ways they've helped me out!

Have fun teaching- Naomi

For more ideas or for the resources shown click the links below!








Guided Reading Strategy to Help Fluency

Guided reading strategy to help with fluency

Hi all, It's Emma from Clever Classroom

Okay, let's talk guided reading for emergent readers.
Reading comprehension and fluency are vital reading competencies for any reader, especially our beginning readers. These leveled reading pointers provide a FUN, hands-on system for your students to grow their fluency. These reading sticks will help children follow and understand the text that they are reading.
When I taught kindergarten I had an inspirational mentor who helped me understand loads of things like: phonemic awareness, phonics, guided reading and spelling strategies. I am so passionate about these aspects of teaching all these years later. She helped me understand 1:1 correspondence with text and how students move from that to sweeping their finger under the text as they read. Finally, students should move away from these two foundations to reading just with their eyes. This was a great framework for my students.

Guided reading strategy to help with fluency and reading competencies
Providing a Concrete System to help Children with Fluency
I found that some of the students needed concrete materials to motivate their reading progress. I came up with a fun way to help my students. Reading pointers aren't new, they have been around for years. I remember using them more that 15 years ago!
Another great idea is to use transparent counters to help students read the word they are pointing too.... anyway....
Providing students with a system will ultimately help them grow and motivate them to keep going. It's kind of like giving them goals to work towards. We all love that, right?
Guided reading sticks - 3 levels to help motivate children and develop reading skills
Different Countries, Different Guided Reading Levels or Systems
I know that different countries use different leveled systems, eg. letter and numbers and some colors. Which system does your state or country use to represent leveled readers?
No matter which system, I am referring to the first emergent and beginning reader levels. You might implement the graduation of pointing, sweeping and eye sweeping slightly different to myself, that's okay, you can decide when to change up the sticks.
What do I Need? 
The sticks are easy and very quick to make. your students might like to help!
I found three different sized popsticks, but you could use just one size if you wanted.
Reading sticks for guided reading. Use three levels to promote reading fluency with emergent and beginning readers.
What are the Three Levels?
One on one correspondence is first. I use this for the first 2-3 levels.
Guided reading idea fluency with 3 levels of reading sticks for emergent readers
I promote reading with a sweeping finger for the next two levels. The best way I thought my students would understand this was with a paintbrush. Woot-woot, it's kind of FUN!
3 levels of reading sticks to match emergent reading progression great idea for Kindergarten first grade and reading RTI
Then finally, I encourage students to be using no fingers, and just their eyes to follow the text as they read. I would invite students to use the eye sticks for one level as a transition to independent eye scanner reading. After this, there are no more sticks!
Guided reading idea to build reading skills

guided reading fluency sticks 3 levels for Kindergarten and first graders
These fun sticks are a great way to help children progress and develop their reading competencies. I hope your students love them too.
Guided reading sticks - 3 levels to help children's developing reading competencies including fluency and comprehension
Thanks so much for dropping by. I hope this idea helps to motivate your students as they develop their reading skills.
Similar Teaching Ideas
You might also like our Reading Reminder Slips which are a fantastic way to communicate with parents and also remind students which skills they are working on at home with their take-home readers.
guided reading skill and strategy reminders  Guided reading reminder slips to help develop reading skills and strategies
 If you're looking for emergent reading centers that are hands-on and that will last the entire year, and are also super-dopper FUN, your students will enjoy these centers and printables. They are matched with kindergarten or emergent reader skills set for both reading and writing. Click the image to see more.
I can read center activities to last the entire year   Kindergarten reading books and activities
Learn to read and write activities for kindergarten
Thanks so much for reading, I do hope it helps.
If you are a mad word work and reading nut like me, then you might like to join me over on my blog; Clever Classroom.

You can also follow Elementary Chalkboard to receive updates from more than 30 of our talented teacher-bloggers. 


Thanks for dropping by. 

Emma

Teaching Two Syllable Words

I love teaching two syllable words! It's always exciting when I get to that point in the year where they are ready to take that next step with reading and spelling. At the same time, it can also be a challenge for our struggling readers. I want to start this post by talking about some common errors I see when my students are starting to read and spell two-syllable words. Then if you are interested in reading (a lot) more, come on over to my blog to get more details and resources. 









Teaching Ideas for the WHOLE Class
Here are some ideas for how to teach this to your whole class. (The activities after this will show mainly how to teach and reinforce small group or one-on-one.)




First model several times, then start calling up kids to the board to help. To keep the rest of the class involved, use hand and body motions. As your helper is splitting the word, ask the class, "Do you think the first syllable should be open and closed?" Have them use these motions SILENTLY to answer. After it has been split, ask what vowel sounds the first syllable is. Have them silently use motions (short vowel is just a swoop of the finger showing the short vowel symbol which sort of looks like a U.)


This next activity is always a fun one. To get the rest of the  class involved, they could be writing the word and splitting it using their own white board or in a notebook.




I hope these tips help and get you started with teaching two-syllable words. :) 


Click here or on the picture to come visit me. :)



Ideas to help your students get their classwork done!


The idea for the green pen comes from Amy Green.
  1. Teacher roams around with some green pens. 
  2. Completed work gets a green star. (In my class we do hearts.)
  3. Author of completed and accurate work can go on to other things of interest or take another green pen and go help/ look over the work of other friends in class!!!
  4. Kids become captivated by the idea of getting their hands on a greeen pen, so they start to work harder and faster. PLUS the kids work with more accuracy.  They know their FRIENDS are roaming the room, so they want to get their work done right.   ((((Teacher heaven- Am I right???? ))))
(((purchase a box of green pens from Office Max {here}))))

Want more amazing ideas and these freebies?



Head over to Teacher to the Core and grab up some goodies!



TAKE IT OUTSIDE - 8 Educational Ideas with Sidewalk Chalk

Hi Friends!  This is Autumn from The Primary Techie.  Today I am blogging to you from my backyard.  It is the first day of spring, and I am loving the beautiful weather in Arizona.  Where I live, the temps get into the mid 120's in the summer and winter is very cold and breezy.  My kiddos don't get lots of beautiful-outside-weather days, so when we have them, I take full advantage.  One of my favorite things about spring is taking our learning outdoors.  Here are eight of my favorite outdoor activities the just require a little sidewalk chalk.


 1.  From Worksheets to the Sidewalk - I have the kids work with a partner and give each pair a piece of chalk and a clipboard with a worksheet or workbook page.  One student is the "teacher" with the clipboard and worksheet.  The other is the "student" with the sidewalk chalk.  The teacher tells the student what to write and solve from the worksheet.  The teacher is responsible for checking the work.  They take turns being the student and the teacher.  This is a WONDERFUL activity for differentiation because each set of partners can have unique worksheets.  They are spread out across the playground so they are not really comparing work or answers.  This is a great way to review skills.

2.  Walking Club Obstacle Course - I started "Walking Club" several years ago when I was trying to get fit.  During recess, I just started walking laps.  I quickly gained a group of students who wanted to join me in my laps around the playground.  We took our walking club to the next level by adding fun challenges with sidewalk chalk.  Usually, I let the kids draw obstacles on the side walk with chalk and we do the challenges as we walk our laps. They might draw tight ropes that we have to stay on, creaky bridges that cause us to lose our balance, bombs to avoid, or stones paths that we must hop on as we do the laps.  This is so much fun and I highly recommend it.  I have had some kids come up with REALLY cool challenges.  To make this activity more academic, I have them write sight words that we can read as we walk, math facts that we must answer along our path, skip count challenges (count by 2's from one green line to the next, count by 5's from one purple line to the next, etc.)  This is such a fun way to be active and practice some of our classroom skills. You can read more about my Walking Club on The Primary Techie.  Click here.

3.  The Illustration Challenge - Students use sidewalk chalk or sidewalk paint and I assign them a block of concrete along the sidewalk.  They have to create an illustration from their favorite story.  When they are finished, we guess what story they illustrated.  This is also a fun follow-up to a class writing project.  They can write their own stories in the classroom and then illustrate them outside.  I read the stories to the class and they choose which story goes with each illustration.

4.  Meet My Friend - I LOVE celebrating the kids in my classroom.  Everybody loves to be recognized and get a little pat on the back.  I have my kids work with a partner on this one.  They trace their friend's body on the sidewalk then draw details on their outline.  If it is too hot to lay on the sidewalk, we just trace shadows.  Next, they title their work "Meet ______" and they write sentences about what makes their partner special.  More advanced writers can write a paragraph.  Beginning writers can make a list of words.

5.  Make a Map - Kids always love creating maps!  I have them make a floor plan of their homes, their dream home, or our school.  They can plan their own city or amusement park.  I love to see how excited and creative my kiddos get with these projects.  We also include map features like compasses and legends.

6.  Geometry City - Divide the kids into groups and have them create two cities - one where each building has a line of symmetry and the other where no buildings have a line of symmetry.  You could also have one group make a city using specific shapes or attributes of shapes that you are learning about.

7. Measure It - Have the kids draw lines or shapes on the sidewalk and then have their friends measure the lines with their feet.  They can record their measurements on the sidewalk.  This is a great way to introduce non-standard measurement and discuss why we might have different answers.

8.  Life Size Board Games - Take your favorite games and make a giant version.  You can make a board game and let your students be the pieces.  This is fun to play with big foam dice.  Roll the dice to see how many spots you get to move, answer the question correctly to move forward.  You can use this to review ANY subject.  Work with other teachers to take turns drawing the giant board game that each of your classes can use.

I hope that you find some of these ideas fun and useful with your own group of students.  I encourage you to look at your classwork this spring and try to think of ways to take it outside.  Your students will love the change of environment and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  Please share your ideas and comments below.

Until next time,

Creating a Bibliography

Hello everybody!  Terry here from Terry's Teaching Tidbits.  My 5th graders and I have been hard at work on a Power Point project where they are researching important people from the 1920s.  They are creating phenomenal Power Points and I am currently in the process of showing them how to cite their sources and include them in a bibliography.
Back in my day, a bibliography was a headache.  I had to continuously try to either memorize the MLA format for a citation or consult my book that showed which aspects of the sources went where.  It was dreadful.  Now, citing a source is a breeze!  I am showing my students with Easybib.

Check out this video I made to see exactly how to use it.  I have also shared this with the parents from my class so that they are able to assist their children when working at home.


I hope this video is helpful and will be useful in teaching your students how to cite their sources as well!