When planning a lesson…

 

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Planning a lesson-reading, math, writing, science or social studies- can be a daunting task.

Having an essential binder is what I would call a planning lifesaver.

I’m going to be completely honest with you…I am a super planner.

If you’re not a super planner- you may just want to skip over this post!

Okay-so when you start to plan you usually sit down and have a goal in mind…right? You think of all the things you want the students to accomplish by the end of the lesson.

Unfortunately, I don’t have your goals or scales and can’t help you with that. What I can help you with is show you my planning binder.

This binder is my essential binder. When I say essential, I mean every possible thing I could need is here.

I don’t know if I’d be such a planner with out…the binder needs me-I don’t need it. 

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So what’s in my binder?

The first thing found in my binder are the state standards. In Florida, we have LAFS and MAFS. Seriously- that is what they are called.

I have all the standards in order of my day- sowhen I plan, I can just flip through the pages to move through each subject. I also have science fair game standards-which are the standards that we need to reteach from 3rd and 4th grade.

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Next, I have the Kagan structures. This is a HUGE 5-day training that I went to and I bought these for my binder. If you are trained in Kagan-get this. If you have yet to be trained-unfortunately- I can’t discuss it with you. Research some Kagan structures. You won’t be disappointed.

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Next is my If…then by Jen Jones. This has helped me more times than I can count. When I am working on my small group activities- I refer here to see what I should do in order to help support that student. Here is the link to her if…then document. You won’t regret it! Jen Jones If…then

 

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Next, I have Costa’s level of thinking. Costa’s level of thinking helps me sort out some of those higher order questions. Coming up with questions for my read aloud is always difficult-it really is!

What do I do so I am successful? I have over forty pages of different type of questions I can ask during lessons, small groups, or homework follow up questions. 

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Throughout the year, I add a ton of different resources to this binder.

When it comes down to it- it’s a binder full of necessary things to help me be successful. 

What would you put in your binder? Leave comments below to help other teachers out!

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New Teacher Survival Course

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Why would one create a New Teacher Survival Course?

How did NTSC come about? Well, I had a really rough first year of teaching. Like…really rough! I had no support-then I realized, if I had no support…did other teachers?

Turns out not very many school districts provide support for New Teachers. This has lead to states scrambling for teachers, and a major shortage of teachers because they leave after a few years. (Don’t get me started on pay.) I finally realized that if I wanted to see a change…I needed to make a change.

New Teacher Survival Course was born.

It wasn’t easy to get here either. I had many hurdles that I had to constantly conquer.

I had many self doubts, but finally I realized that if this had been around when I was first starting out…there would not have been so many tears. There would not have been so many struggles and hurdles. The first year of teaching is the hardest year…honestly…I would have said of my life.

It is also insanely rewarding and I am so glad I chose this profession.

When you join New Teacher Survival Course, you don’t just join to learn how to conquer your first year. You join because you want help, someone to rely on, and guidance.

Don’t worry. That’s what I’m here for.

I can’t wait to see you New Teacher Survival Course!

Fifth Grade Dive Into Reading

Oh my gosh- it’s so close to the end of the year. I always get super sad when the year is up. I then get really happy to spend 12 weeks with my little guy! One of my favorite things is to reflect on last year and see what needs to changed or what I love! I am loving how create my reading curriculum turned out this year and so I want to share it with you. In order for me to share it, it is through the reading program that I created.

It contains mini-lessons, interactive read alouds, doodle notes, turn and talk questions, vocabulary, vocabulary activities, and so much more!!

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These are the books we will be using for 5th Grade Dive into Reading!

We are having a GIVEAWAY!!! I am giving away 5th Grade Unit 1 Dive Into Reading and the theme is Fairy Tales. *Does not include books*

***Click on the website below to enter the giveaway!!
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Mini-Lessons


Do you ever feel like you’re teaching forever and forever? You look up at the clock and realize whoops!!! That lesson went way too long! You notice your students zones out, your throats hurts, and you’re exhausted! You probably thought this lesson was going to be the bomb diggity and then the kids barely retained any of that information. What do you do? You adapt. You change the way you teach. Every year, I change the way I teach. If you don’t, it will consume you. You won’t see the gains that you need or you won’t get anything accomplished. Studies show that kids have an attention span of 7-10 minutes depending on their age. It’s about a minute for each year. Even adults barely can stay focused for so long. Think about the time you were at the last faculty meeting. How many times did you zone out? How many times did you doodle something? Kids are the same way!! We need to teach the way that they learn. 

What is inside the mini-lesson?

My mini-lessons are approximately ten minutes long. I try really really really hard not to go over that ten minutes. In the beginning of the year, that ten minutes is like fifteen or twenty so don’t worry if you’re not in that time. Once the “flow” of the classroom happens then everything will fit. I always do the following:

  • State the goal. 
  • Explain the method that is being taught and why it’s useful in real life.
  • Teach the lesson 
  • The end is crucial- I state what the goal was and then at the end of every lesson I give them a task. For example “today as you go to read, I want you to look to see what kind of character traits your character has. Then think what does that say about them?” Or “as you go to read your nonfiction book today, I want you to identify the main ideas within the book, or text features” you get the idea. It gives the students a goal. I really try to match it to interactive read a loud voice that I’m reading with them. It allows them to see the book through your eyes.

What kind of lessons go in the mini-lesson?

Pretty much everything that you need to teach to your students in a reading lesson. Below is a quick list incase you are stumped.

  1. Structural lessons based off of Fountas and Pinnell.
  2. Meaning lessons based off of Fountas and Pinnell.
  3. Visual lessons based off of Fountas and Pinnell.
  4. Main idea
  5. Chronological order
  6. Sequencing
  7.  Character traits
  8. Text features
  9. Text structures
  10. Summarizing 
  11. The list goes on and on but you get the idea

Remember that mini lessons should be quick and to the point. If you ever have any questions you can leave a comment here or email me at ateacherswonderland@gmail.com

I have 90 minutes for reading…what do I do?

Let me start off with congratulations!!! 90 minutes for reading is an ideal time. Our district does provide us with 90 minutes of reading plus an additional 30 minutes of intensive intervention for the lowest 25% of the class. So really I have 120 minutes of reading. That is a lot of time!!! What do I do during that time? Well I will break this into two posts…this one will be for intermediate grades and the second post will be just for primary. 

Let’s start off with the components of my reading block. I’ll get into details in so many ways and through many different posts so hang tight on that one. 

1. Mini-Lesson- it’s a quick ten minute lesson that teaches the students explicitly a lesson. (Ten minutes)  

2. Interactive Read Aloud- probably one of my favorite times of the day. You read students a book and allow them to get immersed into the book or novel. (Twenty minutes)

3. Independent- you can either do strategy Groups (intermediate) or guided reading (primary). Like I said earlier, I’ll get more descriptive throughout other posts. (45-50 minutes)

4. Shared reading- yes, even in intermediate you still do shares reading!! This is where we all have the same document or item and we are all working together to dissect the article or text. (10-15 minutes)

Now that you are aware of these components let’s start by talking about how my block looks. 

9:30-9:40- mini lesson

9:40-10:00- interactive read aloud

10:00-10:45- independent reading time

10:45-11:00- shared reading 

At the beginning of the year, it takes some time to get into the flow. After about 2-3 weeks though, we are rocking and rolling! 

Stay tuned for more details within each of these 4 components within the reading block!!!
Hugs and High Fives,

Ronnie 

nonfiction comes to life…




I have been racking my brain lately to make sure that I do things that are engaging. I have really wanted to make sure this year is engaging especially because there are four tested areas in fifth grade in Florida. FOUR. How the heck do you do it all? I want to say you do and you can and here’s all the tricks but yeah right. I don’t have the tricks BUT I do have ideas and hopefully they’re going to be just as strong as the year goes on. 


One of my first ideas this year was to follow Hope King and set the stage to engage or on Instagram known as #setthestagetoengage. If you don’t follow her…you should. I wanted my kids to review text features so I brought it to life. Figuratively speaking of course. I used anchor chart paper to draw a person. I used 1 for about every 3 people. Then we used nonfiction articles and we found all of these amazing text features within the article. They had to use the article pieces to “save” the persons life. It was a super simple lesson and it showed me that the students most definitely understood text features. 
*Supplies- * Please know that the following links contain affiliate links. this means that I earn some money if you purchase through the links provided on my website.
Face masks for doctors– 
Gloves – 
Hair Net
– nonfiction articles
– a person drawn on anchor chart paper


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Guided Math- Part 3 How to implement Guided Math Successfully

Guided Math- Part 3 How to Implement Guided Math Successfully

I told y’all that there are four parts and we are finally at part 3. The baby and I got super sick so we were both out of commission for almost a week. Let me tell you…a baby and the mom sick is pretty bad! I digress. 

I’ve got quite a bit of questions about how I implemented in the beginning of the year or even in the middle of the year. I will tell you right now that I tried so many things before I got to how I implement. There’s a few things that I want to start off with.
1- it does not happen over night
2- your first implementing will drive you crazy but the second day you’re going to be like oh my gosh my class is amazing and followed directions and they were so quiet!!!!(okay maybe by day 4 this happens)
3- Relax. We as teachers are all OCD and trust me…things will go wrong. Just do a minor correct and move on in your life.

Where do we start? We are going to call it the ABC’s of getting ready. 
A. Always have your copies ready
B. Block your math block out. Plan out your time for your math block, when will you rotate? When will you see your groups? 
C. Centers are huge in Guided Math. Get the centers every week planned out. Remember that you won’t want to things in the centers that are not taught yet. That will just get everyone frustrated.
D. Divide out your math groups based on levels
E. Expectations are key. Write your expectations down so you can remember when you are telling the students. 
F. Flat out say no. Remember it is your classroom and when your students try to be clever and go “can we…” you can say no. A lot of Some times, I will say hmm..let me think about it. I usually give them a time frame like give me until Friday or Monday etc. Sometimes they forget and I won’t have to deal with it and sometimes I will make changes accordingly.
G. Giving up is super easy because in the beginning it is a lot of works. Don’t give up. It’s hard in the beginning but once you get the hang of it- you’ll be fine!
H. Have a plan. Have a plan for all things you think you will come across, questions, rotations, how to move, the noise levels- ANYTHING that could “pop” up. 
I. Interruptions kill your time. Really they kill your time. Have students be your in the meantime teacher. If they need help with something they go to that student instead of you. I always include the rules of the hands on activities or how to “play the game.”
J. Jumping in head first is how I do everything but if you don’t like doing that then slowly implement portions. This will help you especially if you are in the middle of the year.
K. Killing time? No. Don’t do this if you are one of those teachers who are just using Guided Math to kill time. Let me tell you-your little teacher heart is going to break. I knew a teacher once who did not teach. Merely she taught for 3 minutes on the skill and then gave the kids work. This is not to just kill time. This is a life changing model that will impact your classroom. 
L. Loud noises will distract me. If they can distract me then you know they can distract your students at your table or any other students around the room. I usually put the hands on activities in the farthest spot from me. Try it…it really does work.
M. Materials are extremely important! Have your center materials ready, your independent work ready, the passwords for computers ready (soooooo important), and anything else you need.
N. Notes. Take notes during your small group. I will be the first to tell you that I need work on this. Next year, I will have a binder for my notes(hopefully) but I always took notes on what the students needed but it ended up being always on sticky notes. That is no problem (for me) because I just had hundreds of sticky notes around until I was able to reteach or fix any mistakes that happened. One thing I did that popped out right which I feel like is a best practice was I knew that student B struggled on her shapes so I made flash cards and in order for her to ask a question, she had to tell me what the shape was. I did this quite often and often had success. 
O. Overzealous teachers will get burnt out quick. Don’t go insane because you will 
P. Pinterest. I know you know what it is but pin everything you think would be good. I usually make several boards for each subject. For example one board for Operations, one for Numbers & Base Ten, one for Geometry & Measurement. Once we get to those standards I bounce over to Pinterest and voila half the work is already foreign for me. 
Q. Quiet is out the window. Seriously. I feel bad for those teachers who MUST have a quiet classroom. I’m not that. In fact, I love the conversations. I love that the students can interact with each other and use math language to talk. Do they have side conversations? Absolutely but I won’t discourage it because then how will the kids be able to have conversations with others as they get older?
R. Relax- let your kids make the mistakes. They will figure it out. You could try to do everything for them but then they will ALWAYS need you for every…single…thing. By the 3rd or 4th day it should be good.
S. Setting up the areas is just as important as everything else. You need to make sure you provide everything for that group so that you don’t have to be interrupted during your small groups.
T. Transitions are key. You need to make sure that you teach the students how to transition to each center. If you don’t teach them how to transition, you will have LOUD chaos. 
U. Understand all the parts because if you don’t understand then you will implement and be looking around like what’s going on. 
W. Wait. Patience is key. Trust me your hard work will pay off. You are going to have success but not in 5 minutes. Usually for me it took a solid 5 days for the kids (they were 1st grade) to pick up on it. I am eager to see how the 5th graders do in the fall. 
X.Y.Z.- I don’t have something here hahaha. If you do- let me know!

So listen- you may struggle. It’s fine. Just pick yourself up and dust off your shoulder and try something else. You are going to do great and I’m here if you need me. If you have questions you can leave a comment here and I’ll respond as quickly as I can!

Hopefully I have given you plenty of ideas for you to use in your classroom! 
xoxo Ronnie