Welcome to Mrs. Warner's Learning Community Blog! I'm excited to show off the new look of my website. Many of the pages have the same resources that you can use in your classroom. However, I've freshened up the look of the headers and over all look of the site. Hope you enjoy the new look!
This site originally started as my 4th grade classroom website. Many of the resources support any 4th grade classroom, yet you can find resources for all elementary grades. I had a wide range of learners every year in my classroom, so you will find links to pages that support 1st - 6th grade standards.
I have taught 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. I am now the instructional coach for my elementary school. I have always enjoyed finding, organizing and creating curriculum resources to meet the needs of my students and teachers. This website has been a wonderful way for me to keep all my resources organized and easily accessible. I projected pages of my website while I taught and then emailed the page links to my parents. Now I email links to my staff to help support classroom instruction.
Preparing students for the yearly statewide assessment is always stressful and not enjoyable for anyone involved, but great teachers always try to make the best of it. We try to encourage students through games, prizes, pep rallies, etc...but it is definitely not an enjoyable time of the school year. Proving to the state that our students are learning, even though we haven't finished all of the instruction for the year is how we do education these days. (Testing starts in March ~ with over 2 months of instruction time left in the year.)
I'm trying to model/demonstrate the new TEI (technology enhanced items) with my students during lab time even though our computers are old. I put a smile on my face and keep trying to motivate and empower my students to feel at ease with all this testing.
Here are some links to help my parents and fellow teachers that follow my blog:
Blendspace ~ Collection of Resources ~ Created by Mrs. Gilkison
Testing causes anxiety for students, teachers, and parents. We all want our students to do well and excel on these standardized tests...but at what cost? We test students in all content areas along with DIBELS (timed fluency, accuracy, and retell one minute assessments) and DAZE (timed comprehension cloze reading assessments). Now we will be administering a more rigorous and extensive state-wide test in the state of Indiana.
I try to help encourage my students to feel confident and relaxed during all of this testing by practicing released items, so they have a since of what it will be like.
Cause for Concern ~ How can we help our students?
This summer started out with some needed R & R and some summer time fun...but I've also been very busy finishing the supplemental materials for our new reading series ~ Reading Wonders. We survived the first year which was very challenging for our students and teachers, but the amazing and wonderful news is: OUR STANDARDIZED STATE TEST SCORES WERE AMAZING ACROSS THE ENTIRE TOWNSHIP.
We had concerned parents when reading test grades at the beginning of the year plummeted for classroom assessments, but we worked collaboratively with our grade level teams and found ways to support all learners. We also decided to create ways for parents to become more involved. Not all of our families have Internet access, so I created weekly reading bookmarks.
Students needed guided practice with the daily assignments, so I created the trifolds that were similar to what we used with our old series. I also found that I wanted a weekly overview of all the tested vocabulary as well as enrichment vocabulary that my students would encounter in the text. So I created those pages as well.
I'm excited to share those with my fellow teachers who will be using this series next year. All of these items are available at a very low price in my TeachersPayTeachers Store. You can buy 10 homework bookmarks, 5 comprehension trifolds, 5 sets of vocabulary cards, and 5 weeks of vocabulary overviews for only $5.00. You may also want to buy the entire semester or year as a bundle and save money. The entire year is only $24 for all 6 units.
Our parents loved the weekly homework bookmarks to help support and guide their child at home each week. The comprehension trifolds were an awesome way to help build skills and have another way to record a quality assessment grade. Hopefully you will find these useful in your classroom.
Click on slideshow above to view available resources.
I found this picture on Facebook about a month ago, and thought it would make a great writing prompt. I began a Google search of additional images of super squirrels and found many more. I then began creating a slideshow of images, and a short story line began to develop. I also found several cute squirrel videos in my Facebook news feed. I began another Google search for YouTube videos of squirrels. Putting all the elements together was a lot of fun. I was sure I had created a lesson that would really inspired my kids to write for days and days.
I showed my "Super Squirrel" slideshow during ISTEP TESTING WEEK. My students laughed and giggled and asked to see it again and again.
Finally, I asked students to plan their super squirrel writing. The room was "a buzz" with excitement. I encouraged them to share their ideas with a partner or small group...and ask for suggestions from their peers, if they were stuck on any part of their story. The writing began the next day, and students wrote amazing stories.
Click on page above to advance slideshow.
Super Squirrel Slideshow
This has been the longest and most challenging winter for most of us in recent history. Learning has been interrupted by the crazy weather, and students have a bad case of cabin fever. I think the teachers do too. It's only 5 more days till Spring Break. Looking in my backyard this weekend, it was so nice to see the first signs of spring.
During our Christmas Break, my family enjoys visiting the Indianapolis Zoo. The Christmas lights are so beautiful. I was blessed this year to be given a Christmas gift of free admission, parking, and rides for my entire family from one of my students. What a special and thoughtful gift!
My family was finally all home at the same time, so we were able to go out to eat at one of our family favorite restaurants (Red Lobster) and then head downtown to see the Christmas lights and animals at the zoo.
Indiana became the 19th state to join the United States on December 11, 1816. We celebrate this each December by decorating a chocolate chip cookie cake ~ shaped like the state of Indiana.
I give my students a copy of the state map to locate the major rivers and cities. Students are busy using markers to highlight and name the rivers, cities, and bordering states....while they wait their turn to decorate a portion of the cookie cakes.
I usually buy the store brand roll of chocolate chip cookie dough and the cheapest cookie trays along with tubes of blue and yellow frosting. I have two classes of students for Indiana history ~ about 55 students. So I make 6 Indiana shaped cookie cakes the night before.
I roll out the cookie dough right onto the disposable cookie trays using a little bit of flour as I roll. I then free-hand the shape of the state before baking. I usually check half-way through the baking process to reshape (using a spoon) the indentations of our state. This can also be done right as the cookie is removed from the oven...while it's still hot.
I'm sure this could be recreated for most states. It makes for a memorable experience and something fun to do before Christmas.
More photos available in my photo gallery.
Nearly record breaking snow and cold temperatures delayed school reopening in Indiana. We had 11.3 inches of snow in one day (the day before school was supposed to resume after winter break.) Now the temperatures are -12 below...but feels like -40 degrees.
I'm taking advantage of these extra days off from school/work to get organized. My closets and cabinets are finally cleaned out and organized here at home. Also cleaned out my "teacher bag". Wow, teachers have way too many papers to organize! Feels good to have time to get my head above water... or snow (ha, ha).
After shoveling the driveway and cleaning more than normal, I need that extra snow day to rest. I'm sure my students are taking advantage of these extra days to practice their multiplication facts. Ha...Ha. Well, one can only dream! Wishing warmth and happiness to my students and families. Missing all of you and hoping you are well. Be ready to learn all about fractions when you return.
It has been an entire semester, and I haven't added any new blog posts. My focus has been on transitioning to a new reading series for my fourth graders. It has been rough to say the least. Just like most reading series...teachers need to add their own scaffolding and creativity to make it work. I've begun creating a new resource page for each week on my website. Hopefully this will help me keep all the resources (I am finding and creating) organized in one place. I would like to create a homework and vocabulary resource for each week, but I'm probably not going to have all of them done until the summer.
I would love to hear from my fellow teachers on how you've survived the Reading Wonders Series. The rigor of text complexity and the assessments have been challenging. It's been frustrating trying to develop an action plan that will support all of our learners as we transition to a much more rigorous curriculum. We also have the added challenge of not having the technology to support this type of reading series. Hopefully we will have the technology issues updated soon and create all of the supplemental materials needed to complete this new series.