Sunday, August 10, 2014

B2S Bag of Tricks {Begin with the End in Mind!}

Hi Friends, It's Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher
Begin with the end in mind! This is the best tip/trick I could give you for anything and everything you will do as a teacher. From your teaching, to your training, to your bulletin boards. That has been a motto in my district for the last year or so. But when you think about it, it really makes sense. 
Think about these for a minute:
When your kids come to you in August or September what are your expectations for behavior, learning? 
How do you expect them to sit when you are teaching? 
How do you expect them to sit on the rug?
Where do you want your students to place their completed work? 
Where do they write their names on their papers? 
What types of behaviors do you expect of your students? 
When you are doing guided reading or daily 5 what do you expect your students to be doing? 
How do you want them to do it?
I could go on and on. But the point of all of these questions is to get you to think about where do you want your students to be?
I am going to focus specifically on the training of students for independent reading centers. I personally use Daily 5, however the aspects of the Daily 5 for training students is FABULOUS!
I have read both editions of the Daily 5 by Boushey & Moser. If you have not had a chance to read this book, I highly suggest you do. As a classroom teacher for 17 years with a Master's Degree, I can tell you, this book is worth your while. I don't think I could teach or run centers any other way. Especially after reading their 10 Steps for Establishing Independence.This book and the following 10 steps, transformed me as a teacher and my students as independent learners. I always felt the need to rush. Like if I didn't get my centers started right away the world would end-- RUSH! Maybe it was the New Yorker in me? I'm not really sure why I wanted to do it all so quickly. But that side of me is no more.

Download your Copy HERE
Whether you do Daily 5, stations, or literacy centers, you need to train your students. I guarantee if you Begin with the End in Mind, you will not be disappointed. 
When I am at my guided reading table, it is my expectation that all of my students will be engaged in some form of Daily 5/Literacy activity. I do not want to have to be interrupted 427 times during my small group time to find a book, spell a word, or tell students to stop being so loud. Now, don't get me wrong some of those things do still happen from time to time. Nobody's perfect, especially me. Without a doubt, there are always kids who have trouble and take longer to build stamina. But not nearly as often or with as much frequency. In fact, the more time I take to train my students in the beginning of the year, the less this happens throughout the rest of the year.
Why Daily 5? Each Daily 5 has a purpose behind it. When you introduce each one to your class, you sit with them and ask "Why do we read?" "Why do we write?" etc..., you would be surprised how insightful 6 year olds can be when you ask for their opinion on this area. I'm never at a loss for good answers. Here is a set of posters I have in my room. You can download them HERE.

Now to the Giveaway! 
No room is ever complete without a theme! What's your theme?  The last couple of years I have had owls. I'm slowly changing over my theme this year to birds, but owls will still be present. It's good to have an idea of what you want your classroom to look like. What colors will you use? borders? patterns? etc...
I personally go for a solid bulletin board with the pizzazz on the borders and from either student work or information. Here's a few examples of simple ways to make your room fun and a calm learning environment at the same time.
Solid background, Fun borders and ribbon to hold the velcro so the word wall will be interactive.

CAFE is another book from Boushey and Moser. This portion focuses on  Reading Instruction in the areas of Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary

Here is the Owl Love Alphabet, Word Wall Bundle {including the Editable Labels} You can win in this Rafflecopter! Head on down and Enter now!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. No magical tricks here! I put them by my focus board so the kids can remember what they are supposed to be doing. I try to keep it fun!

  2. I don't have any tricks either - I do the bulletin board just like it is in the CAFE book.