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Friday, October 18, 2013

Five for Friday {October 18, 2013}

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday to share some highlights of my week.  We had Monday off from school but those shortest weeks always seem the longest!

 I am slowly getting into the groove of organizing three blocks of ELA classes.  We are departmentalized this year and I teach three 80 minute blocks of ELA.  I finally cleared out this organizer to make room for each block to have its own shelf.  In the folders are papers for each block (they are packed full of grading to do this weekend...ugh!) and I have a clipboard for conferencing with individual students during each block's Daily 4 rotations.

This week we finally started Daily 5 (4) centers with students at different stations.  The first five weeks of school were spent training Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, and Word Work as a whole class.  Those weeks flew by and it is always a breath of fresh air when I can let the students work freely on different tasks and I can begin individual conferences on a regular basis.  The students did an amazing job!!!  A reading specialist pushes in for 30 minutes of each block and I save that time for rotations to allow for more individualized conferencing and instruction.  Here is what my calendar looks like on the front of Block One's clipboard.  There are two columns for two different teachers conferencing.
Right now, I am keeping these D5 sheets (copied front and back) under the calendars on the clipboard.  I am placing the sheets that my reading specialist will need for her conferences that day on her clipboard.  She has one clipboard that she uses throughout the day.  We can easily see the notes from the teacher that met with the student last time.  Last year I had a binder with a section for each student but it was too cumbersome to carry around.  I like carrying around the clipboard and the ease of finding the sheet for each student by placing the students who I intend on conferencing with that day at the top of the pile.
 For now, the students are assigned to their center topic but have their choice of the activity at Word Work and Work on Writing.  When I put this up today on my SMART board, the students were SO excited to see their center assignment.  One girl was doing a little dance at her seat and said in the sweetest voice, "I am so excited that I get to read to self today!"  It just gives me the warm fuzzies. :)
I use this simple tracking sheet for students to write down their Word Work and Work on Writing tasks.   They also record a little note if they need to go back and finish it later.  
You can download it here as a freebie
We are starting our poetry unit next week and reading Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.  The students started making predictions about the book.  Each student made their own prediction and then the groups placed their post it notes on one group handout.  The groups discussed their predictions.  The handout is from this pack that I purchased during last weekend's TPT sales.
My daughter was so proud to earn her yellow stripe belt at karate last night!  It was a surprise and she was SO excited.  I am in the same class as a combo class for adults and children about 5 and up.  She was presented the belt at the end of class in front of everyone and it was so neat to witness it in class!

I love this time of the year and we have had gorgeous weather the past few weeks in NY (knock on wood!).  Here is a picture of a little hike we went on last weekend with the kiddos.  I am probably my most relaxed in the woods and this is definitely one of my favorite ways to spend time.  
The stillness, smell, and beauty just captures me every time!

Happy weekend everyone!! 


  1. Holly,
    You are so organized! I sure could use some help in that area! I had hoped to use the Daily 5 in my classroom this year, but we are required to use our new reading series. I was very disappointed, but I'm trying to make the best of it.


  2. Way to go getting organized! I teach two 120 minute blocks and just keeping track of two groups and four grade books (reading & social studies) at times gets all wonky! Way to go!

    I love, Love that Dog! Sharon Creech is amazing! We will be starting poetry a little later in the year but each year I discover a new love for that book and get choked up every time I read Jack's poem. It's one of my favorites of the year plus my students' absolutely love it - even my poetry "haters" usually convert. I make a big deal about it. We do a lovers and haters wall and I celebrate all my converts.... just like Jack ;)

    Looks like a great week,
    My Shoe String Life