Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pete the Cat Week

Each week, I love to focus our theme around what phonics skill we are working on in the classroom, as many other teachers do. This week, we went with the famous, "Pete the Cat." He is always so much fun!

When we had our Pete the Cat week, we were still very much in the midst of learning routines and procedures, so we didn't get as much done as I had hoped, but we became better students. That's a win for me!

We began the week reading with our short a phonics lesson. I introduced 4 work families and the students helped create new words by placing letters in front of the word families. Students practiced writing the new words on their white boards.

The next day, we were introduced to our poem of the week. I get out phonics poems here. I use the sentence strips to write our poem because on day 2, I cut up the words and we work to unscramble the poem. Day 3, we see if there are any sight words in the poem. There was only 1 since we only had 5 new sight words to look for. It was our first week of words. On day 5, students read their poem to a partner to work on some fluency!

Since, we were at the start of school when we did Pete the Cat, I thought it'd be perfect to use the following directions craft from Teacher by the Beach's Cat Pack. I read, "Pete the Cat, I Love my White Shoes," and then we did our pete craft. When students finished they worked on number recognition with this coloring activity.

We also had learned all of our reading stations by the middle of this week. So, my students learned how to play the popcorn sight word game. They play this while they wait for me to come to the teacher table... while I'm managing the chaos of kids trying to get started at their stations with out talking (Oh, the struggle). lol

At the teacher table, we did a color word lesson. I read the book, "Pete the Cat, Too Cool for School" to the students. Then, using flash cards. We matched our crayons to the color word. Students laid their crayon on the flashcard that said the correlating color. Afterwards, students completed the coloring sheet you see below. You can grab that here.

Something to help manage students in each group that I came up with on the fly... and I think, someone else came up with it but I can't remember who? Anyway, I grabbed some graduation caps from a free table at my school and I picked 5 responsible students to be quiet captains. There is one quiet captain at each group. When their group gets too noisy, they just do the infamous, "SH, sh, SH SH SH" tune. Then, the group repeats the rhythm.

I also introduced the kids to Cause & Effect! We read the book, and identified cause and effect situations from "Pete the Cat, I Love my White Shoes." 

Afterwards, students completed this reading response. 

To end our week, we read, "Pete the Cat & His Four Groovy Buttons." Then, we made this adorable but simple craft that I found on Pinterest!
You just need, graham crackers, vanilla icing, yellow food coloring and M&M's!

Thanks for seeing what we've been up to in Mrs. Hursh's class!
I'll be back soon with details from our Fish Week for Short I!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bone Soup: Books Teachers Love!

Alright! You have got to get this book, "Bone Soup!" It's adorable and perfect for so many reasons! Let's get started shall we?!

The book is super similar to, "Stone Soup." 
The character in this book is Finnigan. He is known for his enormous appetite and on Halloween he enters a new town. All of the creatures who live in the town quickly hide their food once they find out Finnigan is on his way! He knocks on doors to see if they have any food, but they all say no. So, Mr. Finnigan, plays a little... what I call, "trick" on all of these creatures. He gets a cauldron ready and puts in a magical bone to make some delicious bone soup. He just needs a few ingredients though. The other creatures come around and they all end up sharing their food in order to make the bone soup complete. So, in the end, Finnigan does get a HUGE feast and he is hungry no more!

I will use this book in a few different ways, I plan to have students sequence and compare and contrast "Stone Soup." I will be also having students respond to the book with an opinion. They will also do a directed drawing to go with their reading response. We can NEVER have too much practice with following directions! 

In the response, students circle if they would or would not like to eat bone soup. Then, I want them to provide a reason and a conclusion. We will do a lesson on opinion writing before they do this response.

After the response is finished, that's when they will do the directed draw. I always draw the picture with them for my visual learners!

By the time we reach this book, we will have already learned about digraphs. So, I created a quick SH/TH sort! Students sort their bones, and write their words on a recording form!

Thanks so much for stopping by to read my post! You can find the activities for free here!

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Finding Good Fit Books!

This past week my students worked hard to make sure they filled their book bins with good fit books! We spent all week practicing and reading those good fit books. My kids have quickly fallen in love with read to self and we make sure we get our 15 minutes in each day.

Here is how we learned how to find our good fit books:

First, we read the book, "Goldie Socks and the Three Librarians."
In the book it talks about how Goldie Socks found her good fit book and it just so happened to be the little bears books! As we read the book, we talked about why she kept choosing those books and why she wasn't choosing Mamma or Pappa Bear's books.
After we read the book, I asked the kids to just look through their books today during read to self and think to themselves if they thought their book was or was not a good fit book. After read to self, we closed the lesson with a quick discussion of why some of our books were or were not good fit books.. Some of the kids knew right away that their book was WAY too hard.

On day 2, I introduced this poster to the kids which will hang in our classroom all year.
Then, I modeled how to go through a book using the good fit book test.
Afterwards, the students went back to their seat and looked at the books in their book bin to see if they were good fit books. If they were not, they set them beside their book bin. Afterwards, I spread out the book baskets around the room and the students went shopping for new good fit books!

We then, did read to self and as we were doing it, a kiddo went to our recycle bin (AKA book mark bin), got a marker and wrote a number 5 on the paper. Came up to me and said, "Mrs. Hursh, I made myself a good fit book mark so I never forget to use the good fit book rule." *Happy Teacher Moment.* This sparked an idea for the activity the following day because my kids are always wanting a bookmark *proof they're actually reading*!
 I was going to print and laminate some, but it becomes so much more meaningful & purposeful for the students when they create something themselves.

I modeled how to trace our hand, and place numbers on our fingers. I modeled some fun coloring and then off they went. After students were finished, I laminated their hands so they could use them all year long.

Next week, we'll learn this poem as a beginning of the week refresher! 
I may use it as one of our transition songs too! ;-)

I'd love to hear how you introduce good fit books to your kids too! 
Feel free to comment below!

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