Halloween Emergent Reader

I am so proud of my newcomer students! This week marked a turning point in their reading and sight word recognition.  Most of them are saying words in English when they can, and getting so excited about learning more words.  I am especially proud of their sense of humor- sometimes ELL's don't understand jokes, but these kids are constantly making jokes and laughing with each other, even with the little English they know!

We have been working on simple phrases such as "I can" "I have" and "I am" but next week I will introduce the phrase "I see" to them.   We started learning some Halloween vocabulary, but this will help us finish up.  They are so very excited about Halloween vocabulary, even though they've never been trick-or-treating and probably won't have costumes to wear unless I buy them.  Every time one of my students passes a certain ghost bulletin board, he says, "Wooooooo," just like a ghost- it's so cute! Next week I'll be reading Diary of a Witch with my 4th graders, but didn't want my newcomers to be left out, so I  decided to make a little treat for them to read- I hope some of you can use it!   Click on any picture to grab it from TPT.


My husband wants to watch  scary movies...let me tell you, some of this clip-art is about as much as I can handle! I am a Halloween wimp! I'm off to convince him to watch something else.

Funny Classroom Stories and an Adjective Freebie

I have a few funny things to share with you from this week, because I think we all need a laugh!

1. I pulled a price tag off a book and stuck it on my shirt to throw out later.  Two periods went by and my fourth-graders came in.  "Mrs. M-C, why do you have a price tag on?  Are you really only worth $3.00?"
Another one chimed in, "I have $3.00! Can I buy you to do my homework?!"

2. My littlest newcomer is in 1st grade.  She says "yes" when she means "no."  She is the sweetest little thing.  One day this week, she shouted out in the middle of class, "Oh My GOD!" When I rushed over to her, she just looked up at me, smiled, and said, "Ok, yes!"  I still don't know what happened, or where she learned that!

3.  I have my 3rd and 4th graders in with my 1st grade class to do Guided Reading.  We're slowly mastering walking in line and standing in line at the bathroom.  One of my first graders was behind my 3rd and 4th grader, but ended up out of his spot.  The two newcomers knew something was not right, and the 4th grader just reached around to my little boy, pulled him up by his shirt collar, and placed him in his spot.  It was like a mama cat dragging her kittens.  I said, "No! We don't pull the kids!"  My fourth grader said, "I sorry," and my first grader was fine, and here I am still laughing about it.

4. I needed something to help my students understand the relationship between the 5 senses and adjectives.  Click any picture to grab it from Google Drive.

Have a great weekend!

Cornell Notes for Second Graders? Yes!

What are these two sweethearts working so hard on?  You might not believe it...in fact, I didn't believe how well it worked until I saw the finished result- it's Cornell Notes, done 2nd Grade style!

In one of my post-grad classes we researched strategies that are promoted by McCrel, Marzano, and Danielson, three of the 5 evaluation models approved by the state.  A few of the girls in my class are using Cornell Notes with their high school students, and knew a lot about it- I had never heard of it, but once they explained it, I was hooked! A note-taking strategy that keeps things neat, simple, and stream-lined? Sign me up! 

Here is a Prezi we were shown at the class I went to- I did not create it, nor do I claim any rights to Cornell Notes, I'm just sharing so you can see what I saw! Update: Here's a pin I found that shows you how to set it up.

I chose my smallest class to pilot Cornell Notes, because the girls I have in that class are superstars and are always up for a change! (Plus I wasn't sure if it would work out!)  We started our lesson with this book: 

I drew the "Cornell" lines in the girls' notebooks and modeled where to put the date and title, modifying slightly from the high school models I had seen in my grad class. I wrote the words "author" and "illustrator" on the "vocabulary/essential question" side of the line, and they located the names and wrote them in their notes. 

Once we moved to the carpet to start reading, we stopped to record characters and setting.  We filled in time after we finished the story and were discussing setting in greater detail. 

What I like about Cornell Notes:
  • I can use the bottom portion as closure, because my district has put a huge emphasis on showing that in each lesson.  I had the girls write their favorite parts of the story, then turn and share with each other.  In a large class, you could have them "think, pair, share" with multiple partners or cycle around the room before turning in their notebooks.  The next day, you could have them review the characters or setting before re-telling the story or starting a main idea/cause and effect lesson. 
  • They wrote the notes in their own words, which meant they could read them back to me!
  • For a Read-Aloud/Guided Reading, it allowed them to go back in the book and search for text clarification and spelling of words
  • I can ask them to flip to their page on "The Old Lady Who..." and tell me who the characters were in two months and they'll be able to find it! (Post-It notes fall out)
  • Plus...I love how neat they are! Neat! Clean! Uncluttered! Hooray!

I can't wait to start this method with all my groups!  We'll still use post-it's for chapter books, but I like this for quick content-based or mini-lessons and shorter read-alouds.  How do you teach your students to take notes?

Number Sense Games

We are rolling right along in the land of ELL's! Here's a little glimpse into our week of number sense.

1. In first grade, we worked on short a words, and played a game similar to "Stomp the Number." I just make up these titles...I also just make up games off the top of my head most of the time!  I showed the word, the kids read the word, we tossed it on the carpet, and then I had someone from the other team call a word out.  Kids had to race to pick it up.  So we had gym and literacy! You can do this game with anything- sight words, math facts, periodic table elements...

2. We are plugging along with counting and number recognition with my sweetie-pie newcomers.  I am SO excited that they now say my name when they need something.  It's a huge milestone!  They are also really into music- they sing along to everything!! Here's the "flavor of the week" number song: 

3. We learned Even and Odd this week...thank goodness for Brainpop.  I heard, "Moby, yes!" a hundred times.  We haven't learned "cool," "awesome" or "great" yet!

Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser and Giveaway Winner

Happy Wednesday! Hope you've had a great start to your week!

I am participating in a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research going on this month over at TPT.  Breast Cancer has affected many of the women in my life, and anything we can do to promote and fund more research gets an A in my book!

There are bundles for K-2 ELA, K-2 Math, 3-5 ELA, 3-5 Math, 6-8 ELA, 6-8 Math, and a bundle for clipart.  All of the teacher-authors who participated are stellar- I can't wait to go pick out my bundle!

Here's a quick screenshot of the TPT store: it's all dressed in pink!  Click on over to make a donation and pick up an awesome bundle...I'm in the 3-5 Math Bundle. (Just sayin'!)

This weekend I posted a few pictures of my Smashing Pumpkins activity as well as a giveaway.  I'm happy to report that the winners are Diane from Fifth in the Middle and Kayla from Rooting for 3rd Grade!  Check your emails, ladies! 

Have a smashing week!

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