Welcome to my blog site. This year I will be teaching 4th grade ELA/SS. I'm excited to embark on the new changes approaching me. I'm always looking for new ideas to get students engaged and eager to learn. I hope you enjoy my blog. Please leave comments or ideas.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Many teachers have been in a frenzy trying to reconstruct their guided reading groups or establish interventions that meet the diverse needs of their students. The "Show Down" will occur at the end of April when students begin taking the new State Assessment STAAR. The new assessment is geared towards higher order thinking and more rigorous questions along with content. -----I recently had a teacher ask "what interventions were taking place within the classroom to ensure success?"  I thought since it was a pretty important question, I would blog about the interventions.

Everyone should know that I started guided reading groups the second week of school. I sought out my low babies and the rest is history. I had a parent volunteer that came on Tuesday/Thursday mornings to work with my low students. I also had an Ace Teacher come and volunteer her time on Tuesday/Thursday in the afternoon.While these ladies were doing guided reading, phonics review, or comprehension strategies. I was busy in small group with another low group.  Another intervention that was implemented at the beginning of the year was "Success Maker" which students receive three times a week in the morning in the computer lab. My students have now graduated to "Study Island" We decided as a team if they were performing above third grade level on "Success Maker" it was time to advance to "Study Island".

So you ask--"What interventions am I implementing currently?" Well my volunteer schedule remains the same and research based programs are still three times a week. The adjustments that I have made recently with my low groups have been reviewing  weak objectives gathered from data on the benchmarks & practice assessments completed each Friday. I take the data and develop small reading passages and questions geared towards the skills they are lacking. I notice that constantly reviewing these objectives helps them immensely. I developed an "Intervention Sheet" that has the names of the passages, objectives covered, and student's names for each volunteer including myself. This helps keep everything organized. Very Simple!

Another intervention tool is recognizing when it's time to go back and reteach. We still have those moments when I wonder where they have been during the school year--like recently not knowing the characteristics of various periodicals. That hit a nerve with me! So guess what---this week we are reviewing the concepts again. Below are some pix of my intervention folders. It's very simple because that is how I like it!

Here is a copy of the Intervention Sheet.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dear Mrs. LaRue

This week we are reading two books that correlate with writing letters. Our objective for the next two days will be to familiarize ourselves with "Point of View", and "Write Persuasive Letters". The students seem thrilled and they love IKE!

Chart: I had "Mrs. LaRue's Point of View" completed and students had to complete "Ike's Point of View" as a ticket out before switching classes.

As I read the story, we would stop and write specific information regarding "Ike's Views" about his treatment at Obedience School and the "Actual Reality" of what was happening.

I'm really big with expanding my student's thinking---so the last component of the activity sheet reads "Ideas of what could have been Added to the Story-line on this page". My students wrote some amazing things--for example ( Ike getting a massage, Teachers petting the dogs to show kindness, Ike having food service in his room). We were rolling over laughing! Of course we added information to the story-line that supported the "Reality" of what was really occurring in the story.


Newspaper Article & Flyer

Today we read the story about Ike LaRue being a detective. The kids had a great time comparing the story to Dear Mrs. LaRue. Many times during the read aloud they would interject with various comments about the similarities and differences of the stories. Several times I had to remind them to let me read. LOL

After the read aloud, students were given the opportunity to choose which assignment to complete. They could either choose to complete a Newspaper or Flyer. Each assignment had a rubric with information they had to follow.

Some of the requirements on the newspaper were the following:
Date, Picture, Caption, Location of the Event, 4 Adjectives used in sentences describing the Outside Characteristics, and 2 Adjectives used in sentences describing the Inside Characteristics.

Some of the requirements for the Flyer included:
Picture, Location, 4 Adjectives used in sentences describing the Outside Characteristics, 2 Adjectives used in sentences describing the Inside Characteristics, and Contact Numbers either by (Cell, Email, or Address)

My peeps loved the assignment! I was able to tie in some of the text features that we had previously been studying. I also connected the assignments to the periodicals we have been reviewing...YAY



Wow! was I in for a SURPRIZE when I noticed my students were not  very familiar with the main characteristics of Magazines, Newspapers, etc..... I thought that we had reviewed this concept enough with the different activities we do during the year using these tools. I was dumbfounded on Friday when many students missed the following question on a practice assessment ---- "Which of the items listed below would be the BEST tool to use for locating a missing dog?" GRRRRRR.... How could half the class get this easy question wrong. Soo in order to ensure that everyone becomes familiar with different reading materials, we will take a walk down memory lane to review these concepts. Each day students will recieve a small paper that represents the periodocal. We will glue the pictures in our journal and then write the characteristics.  I'm aware that a Flyer may not be considered a  periodical but we are going to review this tool as well.

This is my baby Bentley! 
He  reminded me of the kids on Friday----Confused!

Newspaper Characteristics in Journal

Flyer Characteristics in Journal

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mini Tri-Fold

This is what I found yesterday at Walmart. It's a mini tri-fold (22 inches by 14 inches) and cost  only $1.97. I bought six of these and intend to  purchase some more this week. This will be ideal for my students  when they have test prep week to get ready for the state assessment. This year I would like to do something really fun! Any suggestions????

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln

Wow! What a fun and exciting day of learning! My kiddos were a little hyper due to the weather changes here in Central Texas. The high was in the 80's therefore my peeps were off the chain literally!!! After some calming down --they got back into the pace of instruction. Before we started the lesson we spoke about our prior knowledge regarding Abraham Lincoln. (pic 3). Next we read the story and in between reading pages we wrote factual information down, characteristics of Abe, and questions that were on our minds. Then we listed information that we learned about Abe on the half Sheet. (pic2). The last step was gluing the paper on to the black construction paper and forming a huge black hat. Time was our enemy today and we weren't able to create old Abe's face.

We read this book "Abraham Lincoln" and viewed it
on our big screen presentation center

Students had to write
facts learned from the story.
I got this paper copy from Amy Lemons .
Step into Second Grade  

I found this idea from Allison Nicole

Text Features--New Ideas

In order to ensure that all students understand and recognize text features, we reviewed the concept once again using some informational books about previous "Presidents". I collected six books from the library ranging from John Kennedy to Harry Truman. Students were given a small yellow text feature check off list to identify the text features within the book. Students worked in groups as they communicated together discussing the different text features. I stole this idea from a pinterest site. I only used one part of her idea. The creator is Allison Nicole. She doesn't have a website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Inferring Character -Dialogue/Action

I viewed this on Pinterest and had to share. The creator  http://oneextradegree.blogspot.com will provide you with free downloads. I thought this would be a great tool to utilize in the primary grades. I had to share her creativity with you.

Main Idea

My students have been struggling with Main Idea. This objective was one of weakest concepts on our District Benchmark. Today, we finally made a break through and I think I can breath again. Students worked with partners and rotated around the room reading short passages in order to identify the Main Idea. They were required to make (tables/graphic organizers) as they wrote the main idea and supporting details. Thank Goodness!! We are making headway. I have provided examples of the charts I created and samples of their work. Both my ELA blocks work so good collaboratively. The more they converse with their peers their learning improves. Also, both groups are very fidgety so tt helps to keep them moving around the room.

Main Idea Table 
Main Idea Graphic Organizer

Typical Question 
Main Idea Supporting Details

Main Idea Graphic Organizer

Example of Student's work using
Example of Student's work
using Graphic

My Third Graders ROCK

I'm so PROUD OF MY THIRD GRADERS! This is the second time this year that we have been number one in my district for  OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE on CBA AND BENCHMARK ASSESSMENTS. My district has approximately nine elementary schools and each school has a maxium of four third grade classes. I'm so honored that  both my ELA classes as a group performed remarkably on the assessments. Way to go my PEEPS!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Freaky Friday Quote Day

 As I reflect on the quote from Albert Einstein, I understand the importance of making changes and not repeating patterns that give you the same results. This is true for teachers as well. As educators we must acknowledge that each year we are given different students with a variety of learning styles. We can not continue to teach as we may have done the following year. Our lesson plans, pace of instruction, technology usage, and student mobility might be changes that must occur to get the results you anticipate for your students. Don't continue to drill and kill students with the same lesson format from the past---meet their needs so they can succeed. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Collection of Valentine Ideas

Collection of Valentine Day Activities

  • You can go to this website where it provides a timeline of the history of Sweethearts.

  •  Video on the How Sweethearts are made!  STUDENTS WILL LOVE THIS

  • After watching how sweethearts are made, students could write  their own REVIEW about their personal opinion about the Sweethearts Candy and Video Clip. How many STARS will you give the REVIEW

  • Students can also create their own Sweethearts Advertisement using Facts and Opinions. 

  • Place words from the Sweethearts in ABC Order

  • Students take three Sweethearts at a time and create a sentence using the words. 

The activities above were created by me. The activities below were found by many sources. Each activity provides you with the founder and blogsite that you can go to in order to retrieve the materials.   These teachers are all very talented teachers.

Inferring! I'm so doing this activity. Thanks to Sarah for sharing this on PINTEREST! Stations are set up around the room.  Valentine Gift Clues are glued to a paper bag for students to infer what may be in the bag.

Go to web page to download all the freebie material.

Great Way to Kick Valentine Day's Off with a Free Homework Pass. This document is created by Elizabeth Supan: You must go to her site to download her freebie! She is Amazing. 

This lady has some Great Ideas for Valentines. I love her Valentines Activities

The Night I Followed My Dog

After reviewing the weak objectives from our Benchmark, I knew that I needed to review these concepts with my students again. I often speculate if students really understand the objectives when as a grade level they score right at a 70%. 

This week we will be reading the book titled "The Night I Followed The Dog" 
Focus Points Include: 
Main Idea
Characters Inside/Outside Characteristics

This is such a cute little story. I chuckled as I read it today. : )

You can go to this website and have Amanda Bynes Read it to the Class.

I made this chart so students can identify "Character's Feelings and Traits". It's so easy for them to describe the Character's appearance but they need to think beyond appearance. I will introduce this chart to them before reading "The Night I Followed the Dog".

In collaborative groups students will select words that identify the dogs inside/outside characteristics. The chart will be a great reference for the students. One student from the group will be responsible for writing the information on sticky notes, all will participate and provide answers, and two students will take the sticky notes and place it in the correct category.

I created a Dog Menu for Students to Complete. Since you know I'm a big believer in "Collaborative Groups"  one of the assignments on the "Menu" consists of students working together. You can download the Menu from http://www.scribd.com/doc/81361453/Menu   I will be providing more examples of students work during the week so you will have visuals of their work.

Friday, February 10, 2012


During grad school integrity was one of the number one concepts that we revisited several times. It's been awhile since I've spoke about "Integrity" but I do know the meaning from the view point of a teacher and principal.

Integrity is being trustworthy
Noticing your actions and how others perceive you
Taking risks in a positive manner
Energy set forth by morals and ethics
Growing as a professional
Reaching out to assist all students, families, and staff members
Internal motivation and drive
Truly evolving as a self righteous individual that cares
Yearning to ensure the culture of diversity is accepted and appreciated