Using your iPad as a LISTENING STATION with Storia

I know you're thinking, well duh....of course I can use my iPad in listening. There are tons of free books for the iPad.

But what if you used it in a more efficient way?

I've put Scholastic's Storia app on my two classroom iPads. You can set up one account onto 40 devices! 

If your school has an iPad cart for check out make sure you can put this app on all of the iPads. There are so many stories to purchase for Storia.  There are read-to-me books as well as enriched ebooks that include comprehension activities. Books can be purchased with your Scholastic Reading Club points! WHAT?! I know! My library has gotten to be pretty decent over the past few years so now I can use my points for my listening station. I've purchased books on the iPad and downloaded lots of free books, but I hated that I didn't really have an elibrary. Also many of the books you can download for free aren't leveled in any way. With Storia I can easily purchase books at different levels to differentiate for my groups. 

But with only two iPads how can you make sure everyone gets to hear without it disrupting your whole class? 
Get a Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter! They aren't very expensive. $15 at Best Buy and they are even cheaper on Amazon. Aaaaah- everyone in the group can hear the story, and the rest of us can focus on our own work. I'm setting my iPads up at a couple of lap desks so each group member can see the story while they listen. Why did it take me so long to figure all of this out?! 

Get to Know Your Nouns!

I survived week 4! Testing is finally finished and we are full force into both reading and math stations. It's all coming together! Whew but those first few weeks are exhausting!

This week we worked on nouns in my classroom. We created a simple anchor chart and listed our nouns. (Of course I didn't even think to take a picture) 

I wanted to incorporate nouns practice into our literacy stations so I created a cute little unit. 
Get to Know Your Nouns is available in my TPT store for just $3.

Sort then nouns and record your answers. 

This was a big hit in my class. None of my students had done a spin and graph activity before!

Students pair up common and proper nouns in this activity and record their answers. 
Ex: state, Texas

There is one additional proper noun and common noun activity that will be in our stations this week so I don't have any pictures just yet. I've also included posters for nouns and proper nouns. They have a chevron background so they are perfect to incorporate into your writing wall if you purchased my 
All the Write Moves writing pack.

I'm off to watch football while I print and laminate some of my latest TPT purchases! Have a great weekend!

Inferencing Mentor Text

A few years ago I purchased a whole set of books from Scholastic at the end of the summer. This little gem was inside.

I had never heard of it and I wasn't familiar with the author. But it turns out this book is GREAT for practicing inferencing! None of my students had ever seen or heard of this book. 

The first page starts out with Yvette asking her dad "Is it time yet?" He answers "Not yet, Yvette." 
I asked my students what she could be so excited for. Some answers: someone is having a baby, it's someones birthday, it's time to go someplace fun like the zoo. Each page lends itself easily to questions and students can use what they know from the first few sentences to make strong inferences. I didn't show pictures until I had asked questions from each page. 

When Yvette and her father grabbed sugar and flour and other ingredients my kids thought they were baking a cake. That led another student to guess that maybe they were making a cake for a wedding. It's a cute story and at the end I was able to ask my students to tell me what clues helped them figure out who was having a birthday and they were all eager to share their answers. 

Debating the 5 Senses

On Thursday we began learning about the five senses. We added an entry in our science journal using the Science Penguin's Primary Science Notebook.  I'll admit science isn't my strong suit so this resource is amazing!

Yesterday I put my students into groups and asked them to debate which of the five senses they thought were the most important. For six year olds they had some really good arguments. Each group presented shared their outcome and reasoning with the class.

Then I showed them the Sock Puppet app. If you aren't familiar with this app it's really cute. Students can record a 30 second video as a sock puppet. I let my students pick their sock puppet and their background before their recording. I had to pair up members in each group so that everyone would have the chance to speak as a sock puppet. Some of my students needed a little help and prompting, but it went well for our first time using this app. You can share your videos on Facebook and YouTube. However, I couldn't get my video to export to YouTube this morning so I recorded it on my iPad. Please forgive my shaky hands!

We will share our puppet videos in class on Monday!

Tweaking My Guided Math

I have used a Guided Math approach to my math block for the past two years and I've had so much success with it. My students show so much growth using this approach and I'm able to differentiate to meet the needs of all of my students. Previously I have split my class into three groups. The problem was that some of my groups wound up being really big. Over the summer I decided I need to have four groups of students.

Or if you need a different visual

Graphics by Melonheadz Illustrations

My math block begins with a whole group mini-lesson then students go to their first rotation. Students who struggle with math concepts the most meet with me first. Then if our math time is interrupted by a fire drill or assembly I'm still able to meet with my two lowest groups. 

Since I added a fourth group I needed an additional rotation. I decided on calendar questions. I can adjust the questions as much as I want through the school year and I also incorporated use of the 100's chart. Last year my students as a whole were very young and they really struggled with both calendar and the 100's chart. You can grab a copy of the sheet I'm using this week and next week below.

(I printed off one copy for each student and put them inside dry erase pockets- love those things!)

I have six math stations this year. 

1: dice game for number sense
2: activity that reviews previously learned skill
3: activity that reviews previously learned skill
4: activity that practices new skill
5: computer game
6: iPad

Students are paired up and go to one station with a partner per day. I have my stations on velcro dots so that I can move them down each day.

I have my student partners listed on the right. (I have one group of three) You can see the numbered stations to the right. Computer and iPad are just icons. 

At the end of our stations we all meet on the carpet to review the answers to the calendar questions and review the skill we have been working on. Today was our first day doing all the rotations and it went really well. It takes my first graders about two weeks before they remember where to go and exactly what to do, but they love it!

Classroom photos....and the secret to sanity?

I finally, finally, finally have classroom pics! I still need to tweak a few things and add a little here and there, but you'll get the picture.

First, my hallway bulletin boards.  I take tons of pictures and I'm super excited about keeping up with this board!

I used glitter chevron scrapbook paper! Glitter really does make everything better!

Writing Center: I keep student journals in those little drawers and Post It notes in the pink baskets.

So I had my math wall here. I would love to have it take up the entire white board but the ethernet cable hookups are right in the middle of the board. Drives me crazy. So after I took this picture I decided to move everything around. 

I moved all my math items to another wall. My math and reading tubs go into those cubbies. I moved my cubbies to this wall and I'll finish putting all of my reading items here. Also on the to-do list: find a cute and comfy chair for this area!
I need to hang up all of my numbers now as well as the rest of my math odd and ends. I stuck the border up with 3M in the corners and one 3M sticky in the center.

Our I Can statements will go here. I made the banners on my Silhouette!

I have one chevron candle. I keep checking for Hobby Lobby to get another set in so I can have two candles. The hanging file is from Mardel. I place items that need to go home in these folders. Each student has their own folder.

I've got reading and math station items stored in these bins. I staying super organized this year so I don't have to go searching through boxes. Just to the right you see a rolling book cart. These books are leveled and I use them in my small group instruction. 

Table caddies and books from our Journeys series. 

Each caddy has scissors, glue sticks, dry erase markers, and Post-Its inside. 


I think I have figured it out! Every year we have to take everything off of our walls and pack everything. Then we have about a week to start from scratch again and put the whole room back together. We can't use staples in our walls and when the air gets turned off on weekends and holidays anything that is stuck on the walls with blue sticky falls to the floor. This summer I thought- why don't I put things I know I put up every year on foam board and then use 3M velcro sticks to hang it?

Maybe y'all already knew this trick? It takes a little prep time but my writing goals, writing board, and math stations board are all on foam boards. At then end of the school year I just pull the board off of the wall. Then in August I can stick it right back on the wall!
I glued my writing goals onto foam board with E6000 because students will be hanging clothes pins on it. But I used velcro dots to stick items onto my math centers board. That makes it easy to move pieces around.