Saturday, August 24, 2013

Oxford Owl - Free Online Books for Children

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope you have all had a great week. This was my 2nd week back at school and it has been crazy busy. I've been helping our EIP team test all of the K-3 students for DIBELS and all of the new students in the school so that they can start their interventions.

While doing a little searching, for some new reading sites, I stumbled across a really good one! Have you ever just stumbled across an AMAZING website by accident and wondered how you ever lived without it? I recently found the website Oxford Owl which houses over 250 free e-books that you can read for free.
Now, I'll be using this for reading in my classroom, but the math section is always pretty great too! When you click on the reading section you will find a list of tabs at the top:
  • tops tips
  • find a book (free books are found here)
  • fun ideas
  • at school
  • expert help and
  • kids barn
You can search the books by age, book type, series, or ebook/print. To view the free books make sure to select a book with an "e" on it. The best part about these free books is that they have audio to go along with them! You could use these whole group as a read aloud, small group on your tablets, or as a listening center. 

I've already found a few books that I will be using this year in my classroom! I can't wait to introduce this website to my readers. I hope that you find this site useful in your classroom. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

B2S Sale @ TPT - What's On Your Wishlist

Some of you are preparing to go back to school while others, like myself, are finishing up your first week or weeks back at school. While we are all prepping for a wonderful school year Teacher's Pay Teachers is hosting an awesome back to school sale from August 18-19. They are giving you 10% off your entire order and many stores have teamed up to hold sales of their own. You can get up to 28% off select products. At my store, I am offering all of my products for 20% off, so when  you use the code: BTS13 ,at checkout, my products will really be 28% off! To help you all decide what you should buy Ideas By Jivey is hosting a linky where sellers are showcasing their top 2 most wish listed items and 1 personal wish listed item.

My number 1 most wish listed item is....

My Black and White Teacher Binder would be perfect for the beginning of the year! This set includes 38 pages that you can use to get organized for the upcoming school year! 

My second most wish listed items is...

These  4th Grade Math and ELA Common Core Punch Cards and Recording Sheets are the perfect way for you and your students to monitor which standards you have covered and which standards your students have mastered! They include all of the Math, ELA, and Reading Common Core Standards.
One product that I've been really wanting to get my hands on is...
The Teacher Reading Binder" The Ultimate Resource for any Teacher is by Lesson Plan SOS Teachers. It includes a wealth of information, materials, and resources for reading teachers. I hope it goes on sale this weekend! 

Now, head on over to Ideas by Jivey and get some inspiration on what products you might want to buy during the huge sale! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

B2S Sale at Teacher's Notebook

Have you seen the HUGE sales that are happening over at Teacher's Notebook this week? 100's of stores are offering discounts of 20% or more off their entire stores and the Teacher's Notebook team created amazing Back to School Product Bundles that you can purchase for 80% off their retail price!

Head on over and have a look around my store and all the other amazing stores. Don't forget to to look at the bundles (they are really amazing) and see what you can find! I've placed a lot of my items into the bundles so make sure to look for them =D

Click here to go to my store

You can find my supplies in these bundles: 
3rd-5th Bundle #16 - 3rd Grade Math and ELA Common Core Punch Cards
3rd-5th Bundle #23 - 3rd Grade Common Core Standards Journal for Teachers

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School... A Peek into my classroom

Happy Wednesday everyone! I just started back to school, yesterday actually, and I've been very busy sitting in hours days worth of professional developments, collaborative meetings, and beginning of the year orientations. We've been so busy that we've only been give around an hour and a half in our classrooms over the past two days! Crazy right?

I wish I could show you more, but since we haven't had much time in the rooms I don't have very many pictures. I did, however, want to give you all a little peek into my room now and hopefully I will be able to give you some much improved pictures tomorrow =D

Let me start by saying this, I have the most AMAZING janitor ever!! When I arrived at school yesterday I was dreading trying to unstuck all of my super heave desks (they are solid metal and seat 2) but when I arrived to my classroom I found that my room furniture has already been set up!!! Yes, my amazing janitor set up all the classrooms on my hallway (sorry to my co-works who didn't have this done for them). I do have some random desk and chairs in my room, since they decided to use my room for storage over the summer, but Mr. J said he would take care of them for me.

Ok, I'll let you see my very blank classroom now. I'm almost embarrassed to show it to you all.

See, I told you it was very blank. Today I managed to change the look, in a negative way, during my lunch break. I brought in all my car would hold and just throw it on the desks because I had no time to unpack; I still have about 4 car loads worth of supplies I need to bring in. We aren't lucky enough to be able to leave any supplies/resources in our classrooms over the summer so it makes it very difficult to get organized when you only have 30 minutes.

I was able to get most of my hallway bulletin board put together. I really had to improvise because our Principal told us yesterday at 2:00 that she wanted everyone to have a tropical/Hawaiian type theme. I was planning on a super awesome space theme so I didn't have any tropical supplies with me. I think for getting it put up in the hour that I had today it has turned out pretty cute. I can't wait to work on it tomorrow and add some fish with book titles written on them and a cute book sleeve to the scuba diver's hand.  I'm thinking about making a mermaid/man too. 

Tomorrow we have a few hours to devote to working in our rooms before Open House starts at 1pm. Hopefully I will be able to get my boards finished up and hid all my supplies before the parents get there. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

August Currently & Back 2 School Goals

Have you ever noticed how late I am when it comes to posting my monthly currently's? I just can't seem to stay on top of them and post them on the first, but I do know that this is the earliest I've ever posted one. Go me! I've been so busy with our move, wedding, unpacking, and getting ready to go back to work that I thought it would be relaxing to spend some time doing a little post that doesn't require me to really think =D

Since this is my first time doing the monthly goals link up let's do it first.

I {Heart} Recess
 This linky is hosted by I Heart Recess. You can get to her blog by clicking the picture below. 

  1. Personal: Leave school stress at school. 
    • Last year, my first year of teaching, was probably the most stressful year of my life. I started at the end of October and was thrown into a situation that had absolutely no plan laid out, no materials/resources, and no one to turn to for support. As I finally started to get things under control I was asked to step in and help a teacher who was struggling and my situation changed again! I was put into a very though 3rd grade classroom and still had to meet all the requirements of my Title I position. I was so stressed out that I would come home crying most days of the week. My goal for this year is to not let it get to me as much and to leave all my stress at school! I don't want to burden my new husband with all of my work stress and I want to enjoy my home time without worrying about school. 
  2. Organization: Update data binder weekly. 
    • We are required to keep a data binder. I had never heard of this and didn't even know where to begin. Once I figured it all out I was pretty good about keeping it up to date (in the beginning) but then I realized that it was only going to get checked once a semester so I just stopped updating it and would try to throw it all together a day or so before my formal observation. This year I plan to take 1 day a week to make sure that I am keeping my binder up to date so that I will never have to worry about making sure it's ready when needed. 
  3. Planning: Max of 5 hours per week at home. 
    • I spent countless numbers of hours trying to plan at home last year. I literally didn't have a live outside of school. I would get home from school and start working on lessons, grading, and finding resources for my classroom. This year I am giving myself 5 hours or work time a week while at home! If I can't finish it at school then I can have an hour a day to work at home. I also plan to only work on lessons on the days that my husband is at work so that I don't interfere with our time together. So some days will have more allotted planning time while others days I will not work on school work at all. We'll see how long this goal last. 
  4. Professional: Get certified in middle grades math and science. 
    • I've been meaning to go take my state certification for middle grades since last May but I never got around to it. This year I plan to take the certification test for both of these subject areas, and maybe even reading (since I am a reading teacher), so that I can eventually apply to teach middle grades. 
  5. Students: To increase reading levels by one grade level. 
    • I teach 3rd - 5th grade students who are 2+ grade levels behind in reading; last year all of my student were a minimum of 3 grade levels behind. My goal for my students is to increase their reading levels by at least one grade level by the end of the school year! This is something that even the students can monitor and will be a great goal for them to have for themselves.
  6. Moto: "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world" - Nelson Mandela 
    • How true is this quote? What other weapon do we, as educators, have to change the world? I became a teacher so that I could see a change in the world and so that I could help young lives realize that they are the sparks that will change our world! My students always ask me "But Miss. Banks, I'm just a kid, what can I do to make a difference?" or "Miss. Banks, why does it matter? I can't do anything." I plan to have this quote displayed in my classroom and to always refer to it when a child is doubting themselves or wants to know what they can to do make a difference. Although they are young, this is a quote that they will all be able to understand! 

Now let's jump into my August Currently, hosted by Farley from Oh' Boy, Fourth Grade... 

  1. Listening: The News. 
    • Do I really need to explain this one? lol. No, but I will tell you that over Summer Vacation I have come to have a must higher appreciation of the daily news! I watch it in the morning, I watch it at lunch, and I watch it before going to bed at night. I know it's the same stories all day long, but I love keeping up with what's going on in my community and the world around me. 
  2. Loving: My wonderful husband and our new married life together. 
    • I got married on July 21 and I can't even begin to tell you how amazing the past 2 weeks have been! I've been with my husband for 5 years and finally tying the knot was amazing. I am so in love with this wonderful man and I love that we are finally able to really start our lives together as a married couple! He's the most amazing person I've ever met and I still can't believe that he's mine =D 
  4. Thinking: I can't believe that I go back to work tomorrow! 
    • Where the heck did my Summer go? Oh that's right, I spent my whole Summer vacation planning my wedding, trying to buy a house, packing, realizing that we didn't get our house, having to find an apartment, moving, and entertaining family. It was a crazy, exhausting, fun filled summer but I still can't believe that it's over. Can't I just have 1 more week to sleep in late and lay in bed reading all day? 
  5. Wanting: Summer to last a little longer.
    • Well you can see, from above, why I want an extension on my Summer vacation. Oh well, just 9 more months until Summer Vacation starts all over again =D 
  6. Needing: To go the grocery store, do laundry, and get ready for my first day back at work.
    • I've been very good about keeping up with all my wifely duties but I just can't bring myself to do them on my last day of Summer vacation. Would it be so wrong for me to just wait and do it all tomorrow after work? Yea, like that will happen! 
  7. B2S must haves:

    1. Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! No need to explain; I'm sure all your teacher friends know the feeling. 
    2. Comfortable shoes! We aren't allowed to wear sneakers at my school so I'm in need of another good pair of comfortable work shoes. Last year I found these Keds Penny Loafers
       on sale for around $20. They were my favorite shoes. They are so comfortable!!! I wore these almost every day, but now they are worn out =( I need to find some more or find something that's just as comfy for this school year. 
    3. Lots of ink for my printer! We don't have printers at school and I always find amazing resources online. I've already finished off one thing of ink and I still have stuff that I want to print for B2S, Open House, Pre-Planning, and our 1st week back! 
What are you back to school goals? I can't wait to hear from you! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Laura Candler's Graphic Organizers for Reading Webinar and Book Review

Earlier this week I told you all that I have been spending my summer watching Webinars and doing some reading about reading. One webinar that I found to be very helpful was Laura Candler's "Using Graphic Organizers to Create Reading Mini Lessons."  As the Title I Reading teacher, I only get about 30 minutes a day to teach my lessons and many of my days are spent in leadership meetings, helping out in other classrooms, and whatever else my administration needs me to do. After watching this video I feel like I will have a better handle on what to do with my limited about of time. 

I've always tried to use the "I Do", "We Do", "You Do" method but after watching this video I realize that I was doing it completely wrong! My students are 3+ grade levels behind in reading and because of this I always spent most of our time together on the "We Do" aspect of the method. My kiddos just never felt confident enough to move on to the "You Do" part. I've now come to realize that even if they are behind, the "You Do" part is the most important aspect of this method! Even if the student(s) feel like they aren't ready who am I to hold them back? I feel like I'm the mother bird and I need to just my babies a little push to make them fly. I can't wait to get back into the classroom and really redo my own teaching method.

While watching the above webinar, I took some notes that I would like to pass on to you! They may not make much sense if you don't/didn't watch the webinar but I would highly recommend watching it! It's only about 60 minutes long. As you watch the webinar follow along with my notes and write some of your own. I hope that you can all benefit from the video and the little cheat sheet I created. To download the notes you can click either of the two hyperlinks above or click here to open the Google Document. 

Now for something that was truly exciting to me... I had the opportunity to do a really amazing review and here it is! I contacted Laura Candler to ask her if I could review her webinar "Using Graphic Organizers to Create Reading Mini Lessons" and provide you all with the little freebie above and I was presented with the opportunity  to review her book! 

Graphic Organizers for Reading, Teaching Tools Aligned with the Common Core

Can you say "WOW!"? How have I lived without this book? This amazing resource has everything you need to get started using the Common Core Reading Standards. Why stress yourself out by looking all over the internet for ideas to use with each of these standards when you would just open this book and have everything you need right in front of you? This book includes, at least one, graphic organizers for every Common Core Reading Standard for 2nd-6th grade. It also includes a reference table, for each of the grade levels, with the standards listed and the graphic organizer that can be used to meet that standard. 

If you are thinking "But Shanon, how will I know how to use these graphic organizers in  my classroom to meet these standards?" don't worry about that, Laura has done all the work for you! 

The book starts with a very detailed introduction on how to use graphic organizers and  how to create mini lessons with graphic organizers. Here you will find lesson plan templates, information on how to create a mini lesson, how to use graphic organizers, and a sample lesson. 

Next, you will have a lesson on Multi-purpose Graphic Organizers (ex. Vinn Diagrams) and ways to use them in your classroom. You will find teaching tips and ideas and sample lessons for each of the multi-purpose organizers. 

The last chapter is all about Graphic Organizers for Information Text and Literature. Here you will find specific graphic organizers to meet specific Common Core Standards. This chapter provides you with reading strategies, examples of text that you can use with each organizer, step-by-step techniques, lesson examples, and much more! 

As a reading teacher, this book is going to be my new teaching Bible. Graphic Organizers for Reading is 161 pages of pure teacher bliss! I know that I will be able to open this book and find anything I need to help me with my struggling students. I can't wait to dive into the school  year knowing that I have this book on hand! I can not recommend this book enough! If you have ever struggled with creating a reading lesson then you should really consider getting this book. If you are still not convinced, head over the Laura Candler's page and download a free sample pack of the book before you purchase it! 

And just in case you were wondering; NO, I was not paid to give this review. I was not asked to say anything that I said. All of the opinions above are my own truthful opinions of the book. 

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