A New Product Giveaway!

I've had several blog posts in the last couple months about the personal essay unit I was teaching. My students LOVED it and have mastered the structure of an essay because of it! After we finished the unit, I took some time to bundle all of the student handouts, rubrics, sample essays, and unit plans I've adapted for my class! I've bundled them together into my new 32 page Personal Essay Unit which is a great resource for upper grade teachers! It's great for grades 3-5 and is easy to modify for what your students need!

I've included many student handouts that can be used with or in the place of writer's notebooks depending on how you run your writer's workshop.

I've also included many pages of my entire unit plan for each day and the examples that I have created!

The pack also includes a detailed rubric and much, much more!

Since this is a new product, I'd love to give it away to the first two of my blog followers who comment below! I'd love to hear what you think after you receive it! Please be sure to include your email below so I can send it to you!

Freebie Friday: Writer's Workshop Planning Sheet

I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict today for the last Freebie Friday of January!  I'm sharing a planning sheet that I use for several of my writer's workshop units. I use it for Response to Literature, Personal Essay, and the Persuasive Essay Unit. Even though I have my students use writer's notebooks, I use this sheet as an extra page that students copy their planning on. It is much easier for me to take a stack of these papers home for a quick check to see if my students have an appropriate thesis with three supporting reasons. Click on the picture below to download the freebie!

Happy Friday!

Word Work Organization

I finally feel like I've mastered organizing my Words Their Way files! All of the files I use are now neatly combined into this small hanging file rack. I prefer this tiny one so I can pick it up and move it around to the group that I am working with.

I finally have a system in place that helps me organize my files and is easy enough that my parent volunteers can copy and organize ALL of my copies for the current week and weeks to come.
I shared in an older post HERE how Words Their Way looks in my classroom.  This post is more on just how I organize things. Since I have four groups in my classroom, I have four different files, one for each group that is labeled with their group color. These four files are labeled, "Current Set" for the words we are currently on that week. This makes it easy for me, my volunteers, and my students who are absent to pull the words they are on that week.

In my file crate I also have a different set of folders but labeled, "Next Sets". This is simply where my parent volunteer places the stack of next word sets for the remainder of the month, in order. Thanks to this system, I am able to have only ONE parent volunteer in charge of making all of my Words Their Way copies and she only has to come once a month, or even once every two months! Since she is the only one making these copies, the post-its are clearly marked for her that tell her where she left off. I only had to tell her where to start the copies at the beginning of the year, and that's all the help she has needed! I sure got lucky this year!

Here's a pic below just to show how there are stacks of the next sets, also copied in the same color paper as the group's color.

This system has made Mondays stress free when it comes to pulling out the new words for the week! 

Information Reports

We recently started our unit on information reports so I thought I'd share how I introduce them! I'm having my fourth graders complete their first one on a California mission. In order to prevent the often common "parent report", I take my students through the ENTIRE research process before even assigning  their individual reports. Yes, this can be time consuming, but it does in fact make them much less reliant on their parents for help at home. Many parents have told me that their children aren't even asking them for help anymore. Yay!

For this report I chose a mission, San Rafael, that I will not assign to any of my students. This is the one that we are completing right now, whole class. We first discussed the ways in which we collect research information and I spent some time on the projector modeling how to research online.

Then I photocopied a packet I made from a book on Mission San Rafael and we went over how to determine which information is important. We discussed methods of highlighting and using brackets. See example...

Next, we had a few lessons on paraphrasing and learned how to put the information into our own words. I also created a notebook for each student that they could use to take notes in during our research process. (I also later created one that they could take home for their individual report).

Inside the notebook I just have blank pages with a box for the topic. Students can simply write the title of the report section in the topic box and take notes on it.

I then model how to transfer the notes into complete sentences as well as methods for making sure they include all of the required info. At the end of this process, students have an example of research, note-taking, and a report that they can use as a model at home when they complete their individual mission report. The quality and research in the reports have improved so much since I started taking them through every step of the process! 

I know not many teachers out there assign mission reports but in case you are interested, I bundled all of the research templates, report requirements, rubric, and more that I use for my mission reports! Click below to check it out in my store. What kind of reports do you assign? I'd love to hear what steps of the process you take your students through! 

January Currently

Better late than never! Time for my January Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade

Listening: How did I not watch this show sooner? I think I'm officially obsessed with Nashville now!

Loving: Santa was very good to me this year. I loved the fact that I could just pop my iPad in my purse yesterday while out running my errands! Now I'm just in need of some new fun apps!

Thinking/Wanting: I've had such a wonderful two weeks off! I've spend a lot of time with family and catching up with friends! I've also checked a bunch off my wedding planning list! Yay! I'm really not looking forward to the test prep craziness that will begin when I return to school. I really do miss my sweet class though! This is probably the first year I can honestly say I miss each and every one! :)

Needing: Where did all of this stuff come from? Does a person really need 30 coffee mugs? How in the world should I organize a ton of plastic Glad/Zip-Lock containers?! I'm sure half of them don't even have a matching lid anymore. This is my next project I'm going to attempt, maybe with a glass of wine!

Happy January!