Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Expanding Vocabulary: WORD NERD Style!

Friends, this summer is off to a GREAT start!
One of my very important summer to-do's  was rethinking and creating some meaningful type of daily Vocabulary and Language routines in my classroom for next school year.  With an already "jam-packed" schedule, I needed something that would streamline the new common core language objectives along with introducing more rigorous vocabulary.  My grammar lessons of seasons past have included the Six Traits but something was definitely missing and I couldn't put my finger on it. Then, this past year the momentum seemed better and more structured around the "Theme" that I was teaching.  So for example, if the theme was APPLES,  we would tie in adjectives describing apples and so on.
 After more reflection, it became clear that I had some "gaps to fill" so that my students have MORE consistent, daily opportunities to reach a higher, richer vocabulary with adjectives or any grammar component for that matter.  So I went off to do a little research!  


Have you read this little gem?
Word Nerds
I read the first chapter and was HOOKED!
By chapter 3, I achieved  full-buy-in.
By chapter 5, I put the book down, not even finished with it yet, and ran over to my computer to begin brainstorming ideas!
Word Nerds was exactly what I needed to clarify my vocabulary and language goals for my students.

So what does that look like exactly for first grade? 

Friends, I am bringing back WORD OF THE DAY in Word Nerd Fashion!  Creating a short interval of time spent, EVERY DAY, for a rich & rigorous "vocabulary workout" is how I plan to achieve such a BIG goal in first grade.  Just like with Daily 5, this needs to be consistent, routine, and most of all, engaging for students.
Looking through the first grade Language concepts, the heavy hitters are common & proper nouns, singular & plural nouns, adjectives, verbs, determiners, prepositions, contractions, compound words, conjunctions, pronouns, and possessive nouns.  My goal is to hit each one of these major concepts using the same consistent routine and trying to reach a higher level of understanding of WHY these word categories are so important to the kids.
Since I had so many ideas swirling around at once, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to choose the first one that popped out.
ADJECTIVES!  And a week later, this was born!

 I LOVE calendars and planners.  So I decided to make a month-long planning calendar with my ADJECTIVE of the Day focus-

 Now with that in place, I created some anchor charts for my focus wall for daily interaction.
 Here's a peek at the template I created for our 
Word of the Day focus lesson.  
 Saving paper, I am running this second page on the backside.
Next is a more descriptive explanation that provides 
Step by Step instructions:

  I am absolutely thrilled with how this activity turned out! There are multiple concepts and strategies being used all at once and I think that will provide me the piece of mind that I am hitting target goals for each student.  I think my first graders are going to be eager and encouraged to take risks with these BIG fancy words because the framework is designed for all levels of learners.  Even those who can't write up to par will still get to "sketch pictures" to show their understanding.

 Also included in this new unit is a fun BINGO game to play at the culmination of the word study unit.
 Of course, the final excitement comes when the students get to really SHOW what they KNOW on these handy-dandy 
weekly word assessments!

 You can find this new unit over at my TPT store!  Just click on the image below for more details.
I was so inspired by my WORD NERD reading adventure that I have already began the next set in what I hope to be a series! 
 Wish me luck!
Thank you so much for stopping by and catching up!  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend Warriors: June Edition: Teacher Bio

Welcome to this very special monthly edition hosted by Our Weekend Warriors Team!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know alittle about me!
Now it's your turn!
LINK UP with us and share your favorites!
Feel free to use these blank slides in your post.

Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#TPT Seller Challenge & A Fabulous Freebie Just for Stopping By!

Happy Sunday friends!  I am so excited to be joining the talk of the town this week!  Have you heard?  The PeppyZestyTeacherista and several friends are hosting #TPTSeller Challenge and being on vacation, I thought what better way to spice things up a bit!  
OF COURSE I take the challenge!!

My first TPT product makeover begins with WILD about Sight Words-
This teacher challenge was entirely worth it because then I got the real creative juices flowing and decided I wanted to spice up a few more products! :)  #Ilovethisnewchallenge!
As many of you know I am a HUGE advocate for building in student-led self assessment tools in the classroom.
I created this 4-point scale rubric to use as a quick and easy way to assess student understanding of each & every mini-lesson throughout the teaching day.  It has been a HUGE success with my first graders for the past two years.
If you already own this lovely little unit, please head on over to TPT for a new download!
And now that I have Self-Assessment on the brain, why not create a  new kid-friendly rubric for let's say......WRITING!!!
POOF!  Done.
This new RATE YOUR WRITING scale stream-lines beautifully with the same corresponding 4-point scale as mentioned above.
I intentionally left off the number cards because I feel it is so important to have a strong introduction to each level of writing followed by an opportunity for students to play with the numbers and RATE the posters themselves.  This allows them to have meaningful connections with this new grading scale that will become a very integral part of their learning day.
I plan on taping  the reference ladders to student desks and giving students that same opportunity to practicing rating the levels of writing again- Students will get 4 mini-dot stickers, color-code the stickers to match our Levels of Understanding posters, and then with pencil or marker, write each number in so they are fully participating in their new learning.
If you think this product might be something useful for your classroom of little learners, click here or on the image above for more details.  Did I mention it's FREE on TPT?  Thank you for leaving your encouraging feedback on this item!  In doing so, I am challenging myself to create more and more products this summer!

There are hundreds of other teachers just like me participating in the #TPTSeller Challenge so be sure to grab a refreshing drink and follow along!  We will be back next week with a new challenge!
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