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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Not a Cake Job.....

I'm telling you...
First, I never thought any job in the teaching field was a cake job, but I have "friends" who think that this my new job title is a cake job. It's not...granted I don't have to do grades, take attendance/lunch count, or new this year--have breakfast in my room, but it is quite busy.  I have to stay organized to remember what's what and who's who.  I start my day out with a planning period (because I'm not taking attendance/lunch count/etc) but then BOOM!  It keeps you on your toes.  I have to adjust my mindset just a bit and remember that I just worked with first and I have third graders following.

Then the planning, oh the planning!   I'm finding this to be my hardest part of the year so far.  I'm not sure if it's because it's new, if it's because I have a variety of grade levels or if it's hard because I have a variety of students from various teachers and I'm not sure what all has been covered in class prior to them coming to me.

So what do we do?  We play games and work on sight words! ;) Well, for reading anyway. 

Okay, so we still do WORK, but I want them to have a love for reading....to enjoy reading...to do well on those silly assessments that the state makes us take. 

Speaking of silly little assessments, our third graders will be taking a test next month.
I'm hoping they do well.  Here is what we're doing to prepare during intervention with 3rd grade.

We are beginning our reading time with a Grammar Minute.
Click the picture to see this on Amazon.

 *Side note, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE these books.  I've used them in 1st, 2nd and now 3rd grade and for grammar AND math! Perfect quick little activity.

Then this week, we are working on an Aesop Fable from this book.
Click on the image above to see this on Amazon.

What I like about this book is it offers comprehension, grammar and reading skills.  A focus of this week is TTQA (Turn the Question Around).

(Another side note--a couple years ago when I was teaching 2nd with one of my coworkers, we wrote a song to TTQA to the tune of Turn the Beat Around.  If I could sing, I'd record it for you!) ;)

Here's a picture of my wonderful third graders working hard for me.  Yes, they wanted to use the witch fingers.  Apparently I can keep my first grade mind set...thank goodness.  :)
 I grabbed my witch fingers from Micheal's, but here's a decent price on them. 
The colored overlays I've had for YEARS.  I'm not sure where I picked them up...maybe really good stuff?  Amazon has some too.

I have two groups of first graders.  
We are working on alphabet letters, sounds, sight words and phonics skills.
Here we are doing an activity from my PrePrimer Dolch Pack.

Another activity that are using is an alphabet matching game. 
It comes from this set. 

The great thing about this product that I made last year, it works 
for both my first and 2nd grade groups.
Here's a picture of my 2nd graders working on a sorting activity from the above pack.

Yes, they are also working on Pre-Primer Dolch Words and it is going well.
They have mastered nine words since last week.  I'm impressed with them! :)

My Kindergarten groups haven't started yet. 
I'm a little nervous (okay SCARED) of when that time comes!
Kindergarten teachers, you deserve a RAISE!!

In math, I have K, 1 and 2.  Again, K hasn't started.
In first grade we are working on Part-Part-Whole and telling Addition Stories.
 I'm so grateful for My Cute Graphics so I can can completely change my lesson plans last minute if a better idea pops up! :) 
Here the students were telling joining stories about cookies and cupcakes-
--not sure where that idea came from!

We also used lemonade mix and water as a part-part-whole lesson.
It went over VERY well.  We discussed that I couldn't have a full pitcher of lemonade without adding the two parts.  We related it back to making cookies...all parts have to be there, and when we add, it's the same way.  We have to have two parts of a number to make the Whole number.
At the end of the lesson, they were chanting
____ is the first part.  _____ is the other part.  ______ is the whole.
We used numbers smaller than 10 so we could demonstrate on our fingers. 
Our arms were extended palm side up with the number showing on both sides as we said the chant.
We then brought our arms together when we said _____ is the whole.

I really think they understood the terms of part part whole.
We did an Anchor Chart---not my forte.

As for my 2nd graders, we are working on place value to 1000 currently.
I had freebies to share with you, but I did it on my school computer.
It was nothing fancy, but it was simple and effective.

I wanted them to write out the number of ones needed to make a ten, the number of tens needed to make a hundred, the number of hundreds needed to make a thousand.  We wrote about the terms ones, tens, and hundreds.  We also wrote about their other name units, rods, flats.

I can't say it was like an interactive notebook because it was done just on regular paper.  I would love to do notebooks with my kiddos, but my groups may change based on student needs.  So we just do what works for now! :)

Oh yeah, we did an Anchor Chart too---again, not my forte.

Tomorrow we are working on creating our own numbers using graham crackers, pretzel sticks and cheerios.  (Graham crackers=100, pretzel sticks=10, and cheerios=1)

So if you made it this far, and you are teaching little ones, perhaps you can use these freebie.
 If you like this game, there are some similar games in the literacy pack. 

*I would love to hear how your school year is going!!  Please share in the comments! :)


  1. I can COMPLETELY relate with your feeling of different grade levels and different teacher expectations and not knowing where kids are at sometimes. I do the lesson planning for the ESOL paras, on top of my 2nd grade stuff. It's difficult planning to supplement what multiple teachers from different grade levels are doing.
    Sarah from Mrs. Jones Teaches :o)

  2. Wow, it sounds like you are busy. My year is soooo much easier than last year. I go home thankful every day.

  3. I am glad you are enjoying your new job! It is definitely looked at as a "cake" job at times… and you are right- it definitely is not! I always say it's a "different kind of busy". The busy you have now is WAY different. These kids are coming to you because they need some big time help and intervention:) The individual needs that you have to meet (and document) can be crazy! Good luck to you!

    JD's Rockin' Readers

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