Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Cleaning Sale!

Sale Time!

Spring Cleaning Sale this weekend! Go get all of your favorites for up to 20% off! Everything in my store is on SALE!

Head over to the Linky Party to find out who else has their store on SALE! Click the links in this post to get where you need to go :) 

Time for me to go shop the sales! 
Yay! Hooray! Wahoo! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Informational Text Features and Graphic Organizers

Informational text is a difficult area for our students. No matter who the teacher matter which state they live in...informational text is a tough concept for elementary students. 

We all use graphic organizers - whether it be the simple "web" or a Venn diagram, I am sure you would all raise your hand if I were to ask who has used one or more in their classroom. However, have we really ever taught the difference between the graphic organizers? Or have we explained how they can be used to a benefit our ability to dissect informational text? If you follow along with this blog post, I will go through an entire reading lesson that will dive deep into graphic organizers and their uses for ANY text (not just informational).

Text patterns help students become more comfortable with the ways informational text is presented to them...which is not always the simplest way. They will also help create scaffold (the graphic organizers) to assist students in organizing the information they are reading - in a MEANINGFUL way! Last, the lead to "framed paragraphs" which is a strategy I will touch on later that helps students recall what they learned from a specific piece of text.

These text patterns can be used to give meaning/purpose to the text. My favorite way to use them is to have them act as an active reading strategy - having students organize their information into their graphic organizer while reading or after reading makes them a more active reader. They also develop your students into a worker - forcing them to gather important information while they are reading.

This is the list we make in class that allows students to understand how our text patterns and graphic organizers are helpful to us for reading:
1 - help you preview what you are about to read and how you are going to read it critically
2 - help you organize your thoughts while reading
3 - help make information text less confusing and "wordy"
4 - help you learn how to take notes
5 - help you write a response to your reading

Our graphic organizers:

1. Compare and Contrast (aka the Venn Diagram):
I sometimes like to give my students the option of using the H Chart. We use this when we don't have enough room to write in the circles of a Venn Diagram. Each side is a topic, and the middle (horizontal section) is the "both" area.
 2. Cause and Effect Webs:
 3. Attribute Web (aka Characteristic Web):
 4. Sequence Chart (aka Timeline):

For this lesson with the students, I always find a piece of writing from one of our textbooks (usually Social Studies works the best!) that allows me to create a question for each of these graphic organizers. Your questions should use the "neon light words" that I have listed in the Graphic Organizer Pack available in my store. These neon light words allow students to figure out which graphic organizer will best help them organize their information and write their response. Here are some question stems that may help you generate your questions:

1. Compare and contrast.....____ and ____
2. Describe the characteristics of ____________
3. What might have caused the author to ..... ?
4. What was the sequence of events that led to .... ?

See!? You can pick out which graphic organizer to use because of my neon light words! (more listed in the pack)

I love love love this lesson and it has proven useful for me time and time again. I have done many different lessons that later stem from this lesson, as well. This is only the start to your students fully understanding information text. It also allows them to see the importance of having a purpose when we are reading and taking notes...otherwise, why take notes? 

If there is no purpose to it, 
students will not retain it.

 Working together!

 Group presentations
This is the star system I use to monitor group work - they earn stars while they work and they know how to get stars (as discussed prior to group work)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Digital Print Giveaway

It is that time of year...that stretch between Winter break and Spring break! We are all tired and probably have not felt like putting any time into classroom decor. We might be sick of how our desk looks at this point in the it is TIME for a GIVEAWAY! 

I got this amazingggg digital print from Meghan at Life with Peanut, an awesome new mommy who creates sooo many cute prints! She customizes everything and anything! Favorite song lyric? Wedding song? Poem? Quotes? Anything you'd like! She is especially awesome at baby nursery decor! 

I am SO in love with how my desk looks now! What was super awesome was that Meghan will match the colors of the letters on your digital print to whatever color scheme you use in your classroom! 

Check out this particular print by clicking on the image, or clicking here, to view it on Etsy!

I am super-duper in love with how she perfectly matched my teacher binder! 

Time for you to win your very own digital print of this quote in YOUR classroom color scheme!

Enter in the rafflecopter below to win your very own digital print of this quote to match your class! So exciting!! Maybe you picture this on your desk at home? On your wall? On your desk at school? Maybe you want to give it as a gift!? There are so many different things you can do if you win!

The more points you earn by doing the little things you see in the rafflecopter, the better your chances are to win!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Foldable Love is in the Air

I am about to admit my obsession with foldables...

Anyone else in the same boat as me? 

I have used foldables for years, and have never disliked a single one of them! The kids, luckily, feel the same way! Foldables are just awesome, all around! The kids love them, and they are so much fun to create. Keeping all of our information in one place that has illustrations and "doors" to lift up, foldables have been way more fun than journal writing!

This week we have been working on animals and their behavioral/physical adaptations to their environments (part of our life science unit). Our focus for this foldable was on the animal's adaptation and whether it was physical or behavioral. We later discussed whether the behaviors were instinct or learned and added to our foldables.

I love having the kids add captions to their pictures. It brings in an important reading skill by having them write their own captions.

We also use foldables for each of our science units - in full. The whole foldable will contain ALL information for our entire life science unit. 

I choose my tabs based on our standards. This allows me to be sure I am hitting everything the students need to know. We get our notes from multiple sources, starting with our textbook. I feel as though science textbooks do a great job defining their vocabulary with images and captions, as well as providing practice reading informational text. 

Since we were discussing animal adaptions with my earlier tri-foldable, I figured I would show you where we kept our notes for this unit. We organized our foldable so that we divided land habitats and water habitats. The adaptations these animals have in order to live and survive in these environments will be completely different. 

I always create a sample foldable of my own. This is great for a few reasons. The main reason is that showing my sample causes the students to see my expectations with their own eyes. I show them my neat handwriting and my pictures that are fully colored, and they seem to understand that I want them to look like they put in a lot of effort into their foldable. I take these very seriously, and want the kids to take pride in their work. 
I save all foldables and hand them back out at the end of the year. The kids are amazed at how much work they have done by the end of the year, and because it is work THEY produced on their own, they feel so proud of it. Their recall has improved since moving from journals to foldables, as well, because they are so much fun to look through!

When they are all finished with their foldable, hang them up in the hallway on ribbon with clothespins so that people can take them down and look at them! This is so much fun for the other classes at school, as well as for parents or other visitors. When they are ready to be taken down, you haven't stapled through them or anything, so they are ready for the students to use as study guides when reviewing for testing. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Updated Fan Freebie

After listening to what other teachers say they feel like they are missing in their classroom organization system, I have created a new FACEBOOK FAN FREEBIE!

This system will help you keep track of all of the centers you have available in your classroom - whether they are games, flash cards, word work, etc. 

I have always felt like I create these awesome centers one year, and then the next year during that same unit I forget that I have that created...sitting and waiting...nice and neat... in my classroom CLOSET!

That is NOT where it belongs! 

I decided that I need to have a LIST. I mean...I already have a list for everything else...what's one more? This list will keep my centers and games in order by standard. I sit down and plan for the week, look right to the standard I am teaching, and BAM! There are all of the centers I have to reinforce that standard! I just love a reference sheet!

These lists are done on PowerPoint slides, so the charts are completely editable. You can type straight into them. That is probably what I will do...rather than write them like I started to... because as time goes by I may create more centers and want to add them in by the correct standard. 

How do you download this freebie?

If you are not already a Facebook fan of Little Lovely Leaders, you will need to "like" the page before you can download this organization system!
Happy Organizing!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Taking Requests

January is FLYING by so quickly! I can't even handle it! 
So, I have to start with a huge apology...

I have not updated my Facebook Fan Freebie in SOOOO long, it is ridiculous! I can't believe how long I have had that on the back burner! How dare I do that to you all!?

Anyhow...updating it this week and I want to hear your thoughts.

What is it that you feel like you NEED, but cannot find it anywhere!? I would love to create this item for you as a "Thank You" for being a fan/reader of Little Lovely Leaders!

In order to request something, head over to my Facebook page and comment on the recent thread about my fan freebies. DONT FORGET to "Like" the page so that you will be able to download the new freebie once it is created!

So...I am asking you...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Updated Freebies

Hey guys! How is your Saturday? For most, it is the first weekend off since the holiday break! I hope you are using it to rest rest rest! It is quite a while until Spring break! Ah!

I have finally made updates to ALL of my Seven Habits FREEBIES!
My school has not started using this habit yet; however, there is now an 8th habit!

Find your Voice

This habit is great for kids because they will understand how important their thoughts and opinions are to the world. They will understand that what they say should matter to others, and that even if you disagree, you need to see others' perspectives - because their voice matters, too. Class participation is not the only time their voice should be heard, but also on the playground, when synergizing, and when adding ideas to someone else's thoughts. They will also need to grasp that their ideas should not be vocalized ALL of the time, but only at the right/appropriate time.

I feel like we, as teachers, already try to teach this to our students with our everyday lessons and use of manners; however, now you can enforce them in your classroom with the same freebies I have shared all along - NEW and IMPROVED :)

The following products have been updated with Habit 8: Find your Voice

(Click on the image to download these items for free)

**Wanted to leave this post here for all of you so that I could continue to share the ideas; however, the company is no longer allowing teachers to create these materials. I hate that I cannot share these with everyone. I am so sorry and wish there was a something else I could do - hopefully the ideas are helpful anyway!