Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reading to Learn: Adding a Focus Wall

I love teaching Reading. I knew that this year I would have to change the way I was teaching Reading. After all don't they always say, "In 3rd grade students go from learning to read to reading to learn"? 

I kept thinking of different ways that I could help the students review the necessary phonics skills but also build their comprehension skills. How did I do all of that and then also allow the students to respond to the text and think critically?

I have spent a couple  lot of hours surfing through Pinterest in order to find ways to assist my third graders and teach effectively. I decided to create a Reading Focus Wall (Like this and this). I took the features of these that I liked and created my own.  
I ended up with a this! I love it! Below are the closeups of each section on my Reading Focus Wall. 
Comprehension Strategy
Essential Question
Phonics Skill
Currently Reading and Genre

I found the small pocket chart that includes our weekly vocabulary words in the dollar section at Target! I love the color and bought a matching one for my Math wall an extra just simply because it was a dollar. I also found the dry erase pocket at in the same section (circa 2012). The Essential Question is posted on a Wipe-Off chart.  The genre posters are from Our Sweet Succes. The comprehension posters are my own creation and can be found at my TPT store,

I am still working on the Phonics Skill Posters.  

Overall I am loving my focus wall. Not only have I added the focus wall to support reading, but I have also started incorporating Interactive Reading Notebooks. So far this year, we are off to a slow start. But, hey, it's only the third week of third grade! I can't wait to share more later. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

This past week was inservice. I spend a lot of time in meetings, learning the procedures of the school, and finalizing my classroom in preparation for the first day of school.

On Monday I added my Word Wall (pinspired by

(Sorry for the Blurry Picture) 

I am exciting about how interactive this Word Wall will be. Just think, all you have to do is put velcro on the word and ribbon and voila! I also like that if each of the letters gets full I will be able to remove words. 

I also added this banner above my library center. 

Here is a closer look: 

This week I also added the items to my reading focus board and created a worksheet for my interactive reading notebooks. The picture was way to blurry to post and I will be back with more details about how I plan on instruction reading to two classes with less time then I have ever had before next week. 

For now I am going to finish up my plans for Monday and spend time avoiding my nerves about the new year! 

Is anyone else nervous about the first day?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Classroom Set-Up Days 1 and 2

Inservice starts Monday... I am NOT prepared for summer to end. My room however is coming together nicely. 

Yesterday was the first time that I saw my classroom...and after about 6 hours this is what I was working with: 
Way (way) back in the corner you can see my library. Yesterday I was only able to haul in my chapter books. I spent the day cleaning and moving furniture, falling from a rolling chair, and cleaning so more. 

This morning I got to work and decided to tackle the task of making bulletin boards. It was the first time I had ever worked with blank walls. It was quite the process. 

 I started to add details and I was finally feeling a little better.  I have three different boards going on this year... The goal is to make them more interactive. On the Science board (white border) I have placed the Scientific process and my first 3 chapter posters. On the Math board (purple-ish border) I have added an alphabet with common Math terms. My reading board will be the one of the opposite wall (jumbo border). I am still figuring out what to put on there. Perhaps my small genre posters, a small pocket chart with vocab? (Thoughts would be appreciated!)
I also added my picture books to my library. It was a productive second day (despite the to-do list I am constantly creating in my mind...)

I will be back later with the finishing touches such as my interactive word wall and my READ banner. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

School Prep!

I must apologize for my lack of blog-iquitte! I haven't posted since December (please, please--don't count the number of months). However, I have some big news... 

As you will see Second Grade Success has changed it's name to..... (insert annoying, long, loud drumroll).... 

The name change came after a switch in both grade levels and schools! (Hopefully, with the change I will keep up with the blog even more). During the 2013-2014 school year I will be teaching third graders. Fortunately, I will only be teaching these older, more inquisitive children Math, Reading, and Science! That's right--they will no longer have to bear with me for seven to eight subjects. 

I am getting excited for the new year to begin and the preparations are underway. I have been working away at my yearly plans and have even attacked the first week lesson plans. All of which are CCSS aligned. This is new to me and I am a bit overwhelmed. I have also been working on getting my focus wall objects prepared. 

Thanks to the fabulous freebies I have found from The Teacher Wife, Meagen Begg, Our Sweet Success, and Little Lovely Leaders, I have been cutting and gluing all night in order to get ready to laminate and cut some more! Can I just say that I am thankful for a paper slicer and only 3 (that's right THREE) subjects. 

I am not able to get in to work on my classroom yet but I have a lot of things I can't wait to tell you about. The list keeps growing, and growING, and GROWING! 

For tonight I am signing off after a day of working on prep and a disappoint SYTYCD episode. 

(Pardon my button and TPT store name--they will be changed when I have more energy).