Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekend Stories

Happy Columbus Day!

Hopefully, you have Columbus Day as a holiday from school, and you're using the day to find new awesomeness on blog-world and TPT. Or if you're lucky like me, you get to go to work as a Teacher Work-Day. I'm all for a break (I started teaching in 2010 when budgets were at an all-time low, and I was used to receiving a million furlough days), but now I'm just grateful that I'm getting paid to wear jeans and attend a few workshops tomorrow! And HEY! One less day for lesson planning :)

Okay so either way..... I'm here to share a new product with you. I've done Weekend Stories for a couple of years with my first graders, and I've seen so much progress after comparing stories from week to week.

Now this year, I'm teaching a 3rd grade Writing group, and I've had to differentiate the task so that they do not get away with the bare minimum! Also, the pace of the 3rd grade writing curriculum is so fast, that we don't have time to do this task every week. However, it's always good to do every once in a while, or once per month.

For me, it's a great work sample to use for data collection, since so many of my kiddos have needs in writing. For you, it may even be a great sample to hold on to and compare one from the beginning of the year to one towards the end of the year. However you choose, I think this will be great for you to use to differentiate whether you are teaching regular-ed 1st, 2nd, or special education 1-5th grades.

This product includes the following:
- 3 graphic organizers for different levels
- 3 content checklists for different levels (two copies on each page)
- 1 editing checklist (four copies per page)
- 3 styles of writing paper (you can use this as the final OR rough draft - whichever you choose)

Please click the picture below to find it at my store, and let me know what you think!

Graphic Organizer #1: Lowest Level

Lowest Level Checklist

Graphic Organizer #2: Middle Level

Graphic Organizer #3: Highest Level

Highest Level Checklist

Lowest level Handwriting Paper

Highest level Handwriting Paper

I hope you enjoy this product as much as I do! Let me know your thoughts,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2nd grade Reading Response Journals

Hey Everyone!

Happy Hump Day!!

I have SO many fun things that I am currently working on! My "TPT in progress folder" has too many things going on at once!

SO I'm here to talk about Journals today. Now that I survived my first year in a new teaching position, new school, new district, new house, everything, etc. I decided to "up my game" this year when it comes to accommodating student handouts. My first HUGE task at hand has been making printables for my 2nd grade reading class response journals.

Skill: Locating words that tell about the setting of a story, and using evidence to support
After seeing an overwhelming amount of sadly overwhelmed second graders when it came to reading response journal time, I quickly picked up on the fact that some students were unable to figure out where to write the title and date, let alone draw a T-chart and follow the prompt (of course, some tried really hard and did really well. But I was not allowed to leave any child behind). I immediately began making handouts that they could fold and glue to their journals. They were differentiated so some students who were more independent could actually fill out both columns themselves. Then I realized... with the GA Milestones test coming up in the spring, we really need to work on supporting evidence and reasoning.

So then - the guided reading response journal idea was born. My co-teacher and I got together one afternoon and listed 7 different skills to work on for the remainder of the 9 weeks. We would practice them in my group so that once they learned it with me, they could do it independently during their day to read to self. We co-plan weekly, so at the end of this unit, we will brainstorm the next skillset. 

With my new motor running, I eagerly started them a couple of weeks ago, but it took me weeks to see each group due to testing, early release days, etc. However, I did get a couple of pictures to share with you! 

Skill: Asking thoughtful questions before, during, and after reading. 

Another example

 I'm now putting final touches on my first unit. If you like what you see, please comment below with your name and email address (or email me personally at and I will email you the ENTIRE unit for FREE, to get your feedback before it hits my store this weekend.  

Deal?! You get to KEEP it. For Free. Just promise me to leave your feedback within one week! 

Now ....... please keep in mind, I am a new blogger! I've been accommodating assignments for YEARS, but finally now just getting around to jumping into this business, which is why I need your help! I'll take the first 5 people who contact me, so please don't hesitate. You get the product for free, you get to look over it and try it out with your own kiddos if you like! 

Also, I must add. These journals are not like any others that you've seen. I've taken time to make several differentiated versions, and labeled each at the top with an "A, B, C" etc. Some are made for students that need larger lines. Some are made with sentence starters. Some are more open-ended. It really depends on the skill. 

These are geared towards the 2nd grade curriculum, and currently I use them with the entire general education class. Some students need the step-by-step practice, and some don't. But everyone can use a little interactive~ness in their journal responding! ;) Dont'cha think?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts!