Thursday, September 19, 2013

Common Core Quandries

Some many growing pains and changes this year! I'm so looking forward to the CCSS, but this limbo year is killing me! California has passed a bill through the Assembly that would essentially stop our state testing this year, and would have each school take EITHER the ELA or math pilot Smarter Balanced assessment. The Governor won't sign or veto until 10/13. That means that I won't know until mid-October which standards I'm going to be tested on, which means that right now, I'm trying to cover BOTH! Our school has decided, for now, not to purchase bridge or new CCSS aligned materials. The Primary teachers are using our basals, but from 2nd on up, we are all doing Daily 5 and CAFE. I don't have time this year in my schedule to read aloud as much as in years passed. I don't know when/where I'm going to do explicit teaching on things like citing from the text. I'm considering moving back to lit circles for one round of books so I can get in some of those ELA standards. 
Daily 5ers: How are YOU handling this in your room?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Made It, Finally!

Yay! It's finally time for...
I am so glad I get to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It! 

Tomorrow I'm rolling out Word Work... I've pushed it to the very last!  I use Words Their Way for spelling, so I am actually starting both tomorrow. I've been super stressed about starting Word Work this year.  In other years, I've been able to glue a spelling work "menu" into my kid's Word Study Journals.  This way, they can just do the written activities as homework or in class. When I started Daily 5 last year, I decided to have this be their Word Work.  Some liked it, but most found it boring after a while.  I really wanted to add some of the fun activities I kept seeing on Pinterest, but I didn't have the infrastructure set up in my room.

So all summer I've been ransacking Target and Dollar Tree to get my hands on Word Work activities.  I really lucked into some great values. Bananagrams (Espanol) and Scrabble (Espanol) were on sale at Target for $5 each!  Funny story, my 11 year old daughter saw the Bananagrams and grabbed them for me.  They stayed in the Target bag for a month until I was ready to put them in my room. I had told a friend of mine that she should go to Target and snag them too.  She told me that the only ones that were on sale were Spanish.  I looked in the bag, and sure enough, 3 sets of Bananagram en Espanol!  Oh well, I just need to take out the Spanish characters and the set works perfectly...

In order to have my kiddos know what to do for each activity, I've created these fun activity cards. I've made them in full size and in mini-card sizes.  You can snag them for free here...





I've also made a real world rounding activity using population data.  It was great for my kids.  I'd share it here, but I need to create a key first.  Does anyone else find that rounding is particularly difficult for kids to "get"?  I use "5 or more, let it soar.  4 or less, let it rest."  What do you use?