Thursday, August 23, 2012

Writing Folders with Photos

Hi Friends!
Today I'd like to share how I made my writing folders this year using
photos of my students.  First, I sent a note home to each parent requesting pictures
of their child that would be great photos to write about.  I asked them to include
a variety of pictures including holiday, seasonal, special occasions or events, and family & friends.
Next, I took the pictures and copied them on the copier in black & white.  I reduced the
size of some photos so I could fit as many as possible.  Last, I glued them on the front
of a folder & laminated it.  I would love to share all of the folders with you because they
turned out AWESOME, but I would have to white out all of their faces because I am not
allowed to share their photos on my blog.  So, I made a folder with pictures of my son Austin. 
 He's not a first grader.  He's almost 20 and he would probably be mad if he knew
 I included a picture of him in a Barney costume.  I did not laminated his folder, but I think
you get the idea.  You can see from the photos that Austin would have lots of ideas to write about!

Happy Writing!!
P.S.  I have a wonderful student teacher that helped to cut & glue all the pictures.  Thanks, Kate!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome a Newbie!

Hi Friends!
I'd like to introduce you to a colleague of mine.  Her name is Allison Hutchins and
she teaches kindergarten.  Her classroom is across the hall from mine.  Allison and I are
always talking about all the wonderful ideas we find on blogs and Pinterest. 
I am happy to announce that she has started her own blog so that she can share all of
her awesome ideas with us.  I hope you will take a minute to visit her blog at
She has pictures of her classroom on today's post. 
Please stop by and welcome her to the blogging world. 
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Call Me!

Hi Friends!
I am a big fan of the Teacher Tipster videos from  I believe it's important to add
humor in my classroom.   My kids love to see me laugh just as much as I love seeing them laugh.  Today I'd like to share one of my favorite videos called Fake Phone Call

I am going to give this a try this year.  I know it's silly, but I think the kids will love it.
I hung a few pictures on a wall by my classroom telephone with the words "Call Me."
I don't plan to do this often, but when I do, it's going to be a big deal. 
My call list, so far, includes Justin Bieber, Spiderman and Captain America.
Please let me know others that I can add to my list. 

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Poetry Folders

Hi Friends!
I am a lover of poetry.  It can be silly or serious, happy or sad, touching or downright ridiculous!
I love all kinds of poetry.  I have incorporated poetry into my daily schedule at school
 for many years.  I'd like to share one way I use poetry to work on fluency, vocabulary, and
phonics skills.  It's a very simple idea, but does take some time to prepare.
I make poetry folders every year for each of my students.  I use heavy duty 3-prong folders and
add 34 poems that I have chosen that highlight a different phonics skill each week.  
 I make these in the summer so they are ready to go. 
 Next, I write the poem for each week on large white chart paper and add a
picture that goes with the poem.  I reuse these year after year, so I don't have to make them again.
On Monday, I introduce the poem.  I read it to the class and we discuss the the phonics skill and
any interesting vocabulary.
On Tuesday, the class reads along with me and we add some movements either with our hands or bodies.
On Wednesday, we read it together and I invite some students to come up and point to some words
with the phonics skill we are working on that week. (-at)
On Thursday, we read it together and I ask students to come up and use yellow highlighting tape to highlight words with the phonics skill we are working on that week. (-at)
On Friday, the class reads the poem to me.  Then, students go to their desks and find the poem in
their poetry folders.  They highlight the -at words in the poem and color the picture.

This magnetic board and word family chart are hanging next to the poem. 
 Before we read the poem each day, we are building and writing words with -at. 

The blue pocket chart holds our spelling words for the week.  The words for this week would include
words with -at.

The poems in the poetry folders are read and reread daily for fluency practice prior to beginning my
guided reading groups.  My students LOVE reading the poems!!  So, if you have a spelling program
that focuses on a particular phonics skill, you might want to give this a try.  If you don't, you could
always use holiday poems, seasonal poems, or poems you think your kids would like to read.
Here are a few poetry resource books I've used.
LOVE this anthology!!

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thursday Folders

Hi Friends!
Today I'd like to share what my school district uses to send home notes and student work.
We use what are called "Thursday Folders."  Every Thursday this folder is sent home with
important notes and student work.  Instead of sending notes and work daily, we all send the
folders home on Thursday.  Parents are encouraged to check their student's backpack every night, but
especially on Thursday.  This is a two pocket folder.  I write "notes" on the left inside pocket and
"work" on the right side.  I file students' work in their cubbies all week and then on Thursday, I
fill their folders.  Students take them home, parent empty them and sign their name on the
back of the folder.  The date for each Thursday of the year, along with a line for a parent signature,
is listed on the back of the folder.  This system has worked really well for me over the years.
I do, ocassionally, have to send an important note on another day.  That's why I encourage parents
to check their child's backpack every night.  Check out the pictures below.
 I'd love to know how you send notes and student work home.

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