Words Their Way

I'm sure many of you have used this word study program for years! I'll admit that I was nervous about starting this in my class for a long time, simply because of a few teachers who said it was very time consuming. I decided to give it a try though and I'm soooo relieved that I did! It wasn't even half of the stress I'd expected it to be!

For those of you who don't use it, Words Their Way is an amazing program for differentiating your spelling instruction. I thought I'd share how I use this in my fourth grade classroom for those of you who are considering starting it!

After giving students the pre-assessment to determine their level, I placed my students in four groups. Each of my groups has a color from low to high: red, yellow, green and blue. All of my groups have different numbers of students in them, depending on how many are at that specific level. Each group is given their sort on Monday, and for organizational purposes, I color code them according to their group.

Every day students practice sorting their words according to the specific spelling patterns and rules. Here's my weekly schedule of our Words Their Way time…

Each day students spend about five minutes sorting which is followed by an activity or game, depending on the day.

I've created many student direction sheets that I either project during the activity, or print out for under my document camera.

Here are some examples of sorts, activities, and games…

I've uploaded a 25 page file of tips, how to get started, games, activities, sort ideas, and all of my student direction slides to both of my stores! It includes everything listed in the picture below. Just add your words and you are set! Click on the picture below if you'd like to check it out! I hope some of the ideas in this post are helpful for those of you considering this type of program! I highly recommend starting a word study program! It is so beneficial to your students and you will be easily differentiating on a daily basis!

What kind of spelling program do you use? I'd love to hear about it!

New Blog and a New Pack!

I'm in love with my new blog! Thank you, Honey Bunch Blog Design! Their design for my blog is beautiful, brighter, and definitely "beachy"! They do amazing work and were so quick and helpful! Be sure to check them out if you are looking for a new design!

I also have a new pack for all of the polka dot lovers out there! I posted my Figurative Language Posters in Polka Dots (also in chevron) to both of my stores!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Management Linky

Another Linky Party! Can you tell I love these?  Today I'm linking up with What the Teacher Wants for the Management Monday Behavior Linky! I'd love to share something I use for management in my class, specifically student bathroom management! It took me a couple years to come up with a system to get rid of the dreaded, "Can I go to the bathroom?" I finally have a system in place so I NEVER have to hear those words again!

 I give each of my fourth graders two "Bathroom Tickets" at the beginning of the year. Whenever a student needs to use the restroom, they simply give me the restroom signal and place one of their tickets in my bathroom ticket bin. So simple! Every Friday, I collect all of the unused tickets and reward them by choosing 5-10 winners out of a bin.  I let the winners choose one prize from my treasure box and pass them all back to start over again on Monday. Students see that if they use their time wisely during recess and lunch, they have a chance to be rewarded on Friday if their ticket is picked. You can modify this for any grade, and just print multiple copies of the file for however many tickets you want your kids to have. I give each of my students a student number, which is why you see the numbers.

If you'd like to download the file click HERE or on the picture. They are listed at $1.00 in my store. I included numbers 1-36, so hopefully no one has more than 36 students! Just print on cardstock, laminate, and cut! I hope you enjoy this management tip!


Freebie Friday!

I'm in the second week of my narrative unit and so thankful that I'm finally starting the year off with a complete writing unit! After many professional development meetings, I finally have a finished unit complete with mentor texts, mini-lessons, rubrics, writing samples, and more! I'm offering one of my Narrative Writing Rubrics for free from my Rubric Pack. Click the picture below for your free download! Enjoy!

I hope this is useful for many of the 3-5 teachers out there! Happy Friday everyone!

Figurative Language and a New Pack

I hope everyone is having a wonderful first couple weeks back at school! I am exhausted! It sure takes a while to get used to being on your feet all day again! Between grading, planning, and going to bed at a ridiculously early hour, I've also done some creating! I created some Figurative Language Posters in bright chevron to go with my new colorful classroom decor. I've added them to my store for $2.00 if you want to check them out!

I've also realized recently that my most popular items seem to be my rubrics! This is probably since they are the most painful to create for new units! I've bundled all of my rubrics together into a Writer's Workshop Rubric Pack that includes rubrics appropriate for grades 3-5 for the following units:
  • Narrative
  • Personal Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Response to Literature
  • Fiction Writing
Many of these rubrics are two pages long with the writing conventions on the second page so you can choose whether or not to include them. I've also deleted my point values that I gave each item and left blanks so you can decide if you want to use point values or any other grading system you use! I hope these can be useful for you! 

I also wanted to thank the numerous teachers who shared the following video for their September 11th discussions. My students loved it and it led to some great conversations and stories about our heroes. Thanks to all of the heroes on 9/11 and those who sacrifice their lives for us each day!


Bulletin Board Link Up

I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for Open House Week's bulletin board link up. I absolutely LOVE looking at ideas for bulletin boards so I'm really excited about this link up! One of my favorite Open House/Back to School bulletin boards is my Country Report Board! This is the board that gets all of the parent "Ooohs" and "Ahhhhs" every year! The kids just do a wonderful job on this project and their creativity really shines through!

Basically, I model the research process in class with an example country and teach the process of writing a research report. Then, students are each given a country to begin their report as well as their "paper doll" which is what gets all of the attention! I model the process in class but the report and doll are done at home. I use this report for 4th grade but it would work 3rd-5th and you can just modify the amount of research required!

Here are some pictures of how I display them in my classroom.

The parents are always so impressed with the creativity!

If you are interested, I've added this project to my TPT store! The packet includes student directions for the report, a parent letter, a grading rubric, and the template for the paper doll. I suggest printing the doll template on card stock so it's sturdy enough to staple the whole doll to construction paper to display later!

Please click HERE for my country report packet.  Enjoy! I can't wait to check out all of the awesome bulletin boards out there!


Currently September Linky

I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for Currently September! As you can see, there's one special thing on my mind! What a great start to September!

Planning, planning, planning!

I feel like for the last month, all I've been doing is planning! Planning for back to school and planning out all of my upcoming units! Just when I thought I was all planned-out, I now get to plan a wedding! I couldn't be more thrilled! This is going to be an exciting, busy year for me but I can't wait! :)

Back to planning for school...I've recently finished planning my upcoming personal narrative writing unit and have bundled many items and posted the unit in my store. Our school uses the writer's workshop model so hopefully this will be useful for some of you! I've included a sample unit plan, two rubrics, student graphic organizers, editing and revising check-off sheets for students, a writing conference sheet, a mentor text list for mini-lesson read alouds, and a reflection sheet! Click on the picture below to check it out!

Happy Planning!