Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Conglomerate: made up of various parts or of various kinds.  See also: this post.

Okay, in all seriousness, I decided to clear off my phone pictures before I head to my 8:00 class tonight.    I am fairly certain that I am going to be exhausted tomorrow {again} because unlike my undergrad experience, I cannot take a nap tomorrow to even everything back out.  My other class is fortunately or unfortunately entirely online.  I can't decide how I feel about it yet, so I am sort of straddling the fence about whether I like or loathe the online format for my capstone.  All I know is... I require a lot of sleep.  So, this semester should be interesting!  :)  

In other news, to mix up my Reading Street vocabulary practice, I had the kiddos practice glossary skills.  They worked in pairs (or groups of three as needed) to look up the definition of one word and illustrate it.  Then, they had to teach the class about their words.  I believe in making vocabulary lessons quick and meaningful, so rather than having them copy down 10 words each in a notebook like drones, I try to involve them in meaningful partner work for one word, have them make a pictorial representation for a little brain-friendly action, and then they need to teach it and synthesize.  It goes quickly, they practice the glossary, and they learn their words from each other.  I love it. They love it.  Everyone wins.  :)

Beyond that, we did a little work with Martin's Big Words, and made a little Martin craftivity that I tweaked from Cara Carroll's MLK crafts that she did last year with her first grade muffins.  I love kid art, and I don't have the time or extra help to pre-slice & dice the pieces, so I opted to let the kids make the faces on their own.  I love how unique they all are, and frankly how exaggerated the features are.  So cute! We focused on writing adjectives around Martin that show what kind of a person he was.  Here they are!

My kiddos also wrapped up their study of communities with their own community creations!

We are focusing a lot on being able to discern if questions can be answered by looking at the book {book questions} or have to come from their brains {brain questions}.  This may seem over-simplified to some of you, but it's been nice to have my kids start to internalize where they get their answers and to strategize as they encounter tricky questions on weekly tests, and I can only hope they will use the same strategies on the OAA this spring. As we get into questioning deeper {answering and asking them}, we are going to be using materials from my WONDERland packet... including this Wonder Bag. {I used a bag from Target, and I attached the laminated sign with velcro to make it easy to replace if I need to down the road.  Nothing super fancy.}

Lastly, I wanted to share a way that I organize fluency goodies for progress monitoring!  I mounted the DIBELS progress monitoring passages on colored construction paper and laminated them for durability.  I keep them in sequential order in a plastic storage bag with the DIBELS chart to quickly reference how many words my students should be reading per minute at each "benchmark".  This is also nothing fancy.  I just like being able to pull the sheets out, put them in front of the kids easily, and listen to them read without having to shuffle around too much with flimsy papers that get stuck together or messing with a binder.  I keep them in a file cabinet, and this works well for you.  It may drive some of you crazy, but for me, this is a keeper.  :) 

Okay friends, have a great night!  I'm off to college to get more knowledge!  :) Ha!  If you have any questions about any of this, let me know!  Actually, I'd be happy to answer any of your questions, so ask away!  Happy Hump Day!  :)


  1. Boy, your semester is so packed, not sure how you do it all! I need a lot of sleep too, so not sure how I would survive. :-) Love the MLK activity!

  2. Very cute MLKs. And good luck at your class! It's rough!!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  3. Love our MLK portraits... I think I want to do this with George Washington (I teach 5th grade).

  4. The MLK projects came out great! I usually trace all the pieces and then the kids do the rest.

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  5. Would love to hear more about your WONDERland activity....

  6. I am curious. What is the Wonderland packet.

  7. I use this same craftivity and they are do die for. Nobody's cutting for this gal either!

  8. Thanks for the great vocabulary learning idea. :) I was in need of one to spice up our boring routines.

  9. Hey Amanda,
    Love your vocab idea and used a little spin on it today and the kids LOVED it!!! I blogged about it and linked back to you:) Thanks for sharing:)

    4th Grade Frolics