Back to School Smorgasbord!

WHOA!!!! This post is going to be a little bit long... I've got a ton to share. :)
I'll start with some of the exciting happenings TODAY...
Around 1:30 this afternoon these two fellas showed up at my door. I kid you not, they were set up and programmed while I was in the middle of teaching math! I'm so excited to have them I didn't even care about the added distraction. I never thought I'd see the day! I'm now lucky enough to say I've got 4 iPads, 2 student computers, and a working Smartboard. Guess I can't complain anymore about lacking technology! Eh, I'll find something else to complain about....I kid, I kid. I'm so excited to get my kids to work on these next week! Woohoo!

Open house was last night and I made these cute little jump ropes to pass out as "favors" to all my kiddos who showed up with their families. I got the jump ropes at the Dollar Tree, of course! Every family got a jump rope and a packet of tips for helping your child succeed in school. Nothing fancy but they seemed to enjoy them. Pardon the blurred out name and picture- you get the gist.
My kids worked hard on their self portraits for Open House. It's an activity I do every year, with the book The Colors of Us and my Crayola multicultural crayons and colored pencils. They always turn out super cute. I must admit, this years bunch are not the most spectacular renderings. Oh well, it's still a cute display.
We're finally getting settled into our routines and I've started getting to the "meat" of our Reader's Workshop lessons. I'm doing a VERY modified version of The Daily 5 in my room. I read the book over the summer and fell in love with it (...and CAFE!). But I've got an interesting group this year. 13 out of 24 of my firsties have speech IEPs.  I've got push-in support from a speech pathologist and a few pull-outs here and there. My district curriculum is also framed around the "workshop" model and VERY soon our curriculum will be shifting to an all out Common Core based curriculum.  Yeah, it's a lot to manage. Sooooo... I'm modifying EVERYTHING!
 My reading block time is very limited so I'm working with "The Daily 2".  Ha! Unfortunately there is just no way I can accommodate 5 rotations in one day. However, I think it's still going to work and I'm using the basic philosophies of The Daily 5, namely, trying to stay out of my students' way. This also poses a challenge because some of my kiddos are not quite ready to "take responsibility of their own learning". With lots of modeling and practice, I'm hopeful we'll get there.
 I'm really pleased with my group so far. They might present me with some academic challenges but they are so sweet, kind, and enthusiastic. THAT I can work with. I have no doubt we're going to have a lot of fun together this year. Scaffolding has to be my motto and patience will be my middle name. :) 
So far I have introduced Read-to-Self and Read-to-Someone and we've been working on building our stamina. They have surprised me with how well they've done. I did the lesson on Good Fit Books that "The Sisters" wrote about in the Daily 5. Here's our anchor chart. My kiddos loved looking at all my different shoes!

Okay, maybe that wasn't as long as I thought it would be. I leave you with my latest TpT project. I'm pretty excited about it. I've been thinking of it for a long time and working on it a little here and a little there. I'm so happy it's finally done so I can use it. I'm starting my groups next week and I'm looking forward to doing the little craftivity I designed for decoding strategies.  I've already begun using most of the other pages included in the pack. Here' a look at a reading folder belonging to one of my students.
I love plastic two pocket folders with the brads in the center. They're so durable and the brads help my kids stay organized and hang on to important reference charts, reading logs, and sight word work (Sight Word Study Guides).
Here's the preview of what's included in my Reader's Workshop Folder Pages
(You can click on either picture to be directed to my TpT store)
There are a lot of color files and I know that I always have a hard time printing it all when I buy units from TpT. Also, I think it's a little excessive to use up all your color ink printing 20+ copies for your class! I certainly can't justify that, I've got 24 this year! So I just wanted to include a picture of the craftivity copied in black and white on my school's copier. It still looks great and the kids can spend some extra time coloring in the pictures. Another way I save ink is to use my Smartboard. I project a lot of these files on to my Smartboard for whole group lessons. The kids love it, they become interactive, and when they get back to their seats they can find the charts and pages look exactly the same in their folders. So, don't waste your ink!
I'd love to hear your comments! ...and I'm always looking for new followers...*waves at my 13 followers* :)

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