Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Change Will Do You Good

Change happens all of the time in education.  For several years my school district used the Imagine It textbook program to teach literacy.  No comment... I am a whole language girl at heart.
Last year I decided to publish this blog with all of my literacy centers that I used during workshop time to differentiate learning for my students. 
Well, this year the change came around again...for the better this time! My school is piloting a balanced literacy framework to meet the demands of the new Common Core Standards. I intend to be able to use some of my literacy centers during word work or during times when I need to do assessments and even possibly (gasp!) when we just need a break from the norm. So now I have decided to add on to my centers and share some of the organizational tools, minilesson ideas, read aloud ideas, and anchor charts that I use in my classroom.  Thank you for reading and I hope I can give you a little something new each time you visit me.

This is my meeting area for Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, and read aloud. I need this open space in the back of the room because I have a student in a wheelchair and she needs an open traffic pattern.   I hotglued clothespins to the wall to hold my anchor charts for teaching since I am not near the board and I don't have an easel.  On the cart next to me I have a basket of supplies (markers, pins, scissors, post its, correction tape), a basket of books (including my Reading Notebook), and some questioning cubes I can use for reluctant sharers--you can read my post titled Rolling Out the Questions to see how to make the cubes.

My classroom library is arranged by topics, genres, and levels.  I have two bookcases that have baskets of books sorted by similar topics.  This year my students like animals so we have several different animal baskets.  The books have the Fountas and Pinnell levels written inside of them, but I also write the range of levels on the outside of the basket.  You want to read about pigs and you are a level R...sorry there are no books in the basket for you.  I also have a bookcase where the books are put into bins that are simply all of the same level...an entire basket of L, one of M, etc.

I have an area in my room with leveled Social Studies books and leveled Math books.

The books I plan on using to teach minilessons, read alouds, skills groups, and writing connections are housed on shelves and sorted according to the Common Core mapping units for 3rd grade. 
I am not an ornate font and glitter with bows and decorations teacher, so my Focus Board is nothing fancy. I made it to be easily updated and maintained.  You can visit Pinterest and Google images for cuter and fancier versions! The mini pocket charts are from the Target Dollar Bins!
Next to my focus board I activated my students' schema by having them make mini books of their favorite stories since our first unit is Stories Worth Telling Again and Again. This is a little link to the previous years when they were used to making a Question/Concept Board.  I wanted to feel a little something familiar amid all of the new things being introduced.

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