Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Without going into details, I am just going to say that this year is probably my most challenging year yet... and I've had a few difficult years. Ay carumba!  Luckily, I have made peace with Reading Street, and I am actually finding ways to enjoy it!!!  :)

We are currently working with What About Me? in our series.   The writing focus of the week is voice, and the kids are supposed to write a song.  I am trying to pull my old 6+1 Writing Traits knowledge into the lessons to blend it with Units of Study and Reading Street.  What I've found is that I can take a lesson from Reading Street, make it into a anchor chart, work on fluency, teach the author's craft, and find a little slice of happiness while doing it.  I modeled the reading "I Got a Funny Dog" from the series, then the kids read it with me.  We talked about how poems and songs are alike using "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as an example.  We talked about rhythm and repetition as it related to the song.  We clapped out the rhythm as it was sung or spoken. We discussed how the rhythm relates to the syllables in each word.  We then turned to voice and how it relates to writing with pizazz.  I may or may not have whipped out a totally impromptu rendition of "I Will Always Love You" to point out that I am not talking about a singing voice... that when we talk about voice... it's your personality or style coming through your words.  FUN! Anyway, we looked at our chart, and we discussed how the details helped us visualize the poem, and then we coded it to examine the rhyming words, the use of repetition, and we used x's to show how we could clap out the rhythm.  That's just a little throw-back to my cheerleading days!  :)
The posters above my poster are from THE fabulous Hope King from!

One of our focusing skills this week is sequencing.  To set them up for success with the sequencing worksheets, we read the short story "Chores", then worked together to write important statements about the events in the story.  We discussed how this would not be full of lots of details like a retelling, because we were trying to put together a summary that only lists the most important details.  We worked out the main events, and I wrote them on sentence strips.  We reread it to make sure that it made sense, and then I decided to jumble it all up.  We read it out loud together, and the kiddos giggled.  They pointed out that it doesn't make sense to start with "finally" in this summary, and we discussed some of the other gaps in comprehension that could arise from putting the events in an incorrect sequence.  The students came up to the board to put it back in order again afterwards and explained why it had to be that way.  
Illustrating that jumbled events lead to jumbled thoughts.
 I am also pretty pumped that I get to overlap so much of my Social Studies and Language Arts lessons!  I will say that I like the heavy Social Studies focus in the series, because we don't allot more than a half an hour on Social Studies (or Science) every other day to allow enough time for Language Arts and Math.  The overlap makes the transition from one class to another more seamless!  Love it!

In other news, I found a great new blog a few weeks ago!  A few things she mentioned in her posts made me wonder if she was in a neighboring district, so I emailed her, and it turns out that we are "school neighbors".  Her district borders mine!  As it turns out, we will be on a literacy team together this year, and it seriously cracks me up that the world is as small as it is.  :)  Kim has a great first grade blog called Starbucks, Standards, & Sharpies!  You'll definitely want to check it out and say hi!


  1. I just started following your blog this summer and have been so impressed with everything you do! I didn't realize that you used the Reading Street curriculum; I do to. Unfortunately, I teach 5th grade. (Well, it's not unfortunate that I teach 5th grade, just that it's not the same grade as you.) Do you know of any 5th grade teacher bloggers who use Reading Street?

  2. Your blog is so amazing! I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Check it out:

  3. Many teachers do not realize that sequencing is Synthesis which is Level V of Bloom's Taxonomy. Because it is a higher thinking skill, it can be very difficult for students.

  4. Hi! I nominated you and your wonderful blog for “The Versatile Blogger” award. Go to The Teaching Thief for more info. :) ~Amanda