Monday, April 26, 2010

Classroom Data Wall

Here is a sample of our ever changing Data Wall. The kids add a sticker every time they get a 100% on their spelling tests. As you can see from the sticker chart, we went from less that 50% of the kids achieving a 100% to almost 100% once we started keeping track of the data! The other charts consist of Excel graphs made up of various pieces of classroom data. The post-it notes on the graphs are the students "thinking" in regards to the data. This wall became a great motivational tool for my fifth graders!

Writer's Workshop Mentor Texts

I just found a new web site that has lots of mentor text with mini lessons for Writer's Workshop. Here you will find resources for word choice, voice, getting ideas, conventions, and many more. There are some great titles to add to my own basket of Writer's Workshop mentor text. Amazon, here I come!!!

Mrs. Craig's Web Site

Here is a literacy resource I put together. It includes great literacy web sites that are great for use during work stations as well as for extra practice at home. There is also additional information I have gathered for parental resources and content area literacy. Check it out!

Magnetic Poetry

I just ordered a few magnetic poetry kits. They are awesome!!! I ordered "First Words", "Really Big Words", and "In Other Words". They are perfect for literacy work stations. First Words and Really Big Words both have tons of sight words. In Other Words has a simple word on one side and a more descriptive word on the other side. For example, fast and rapid. These magnets can be used to increase vocabulary as well as for endless word sorts.

On a side, my toddler loves Really Big Words. They are currently plastered all over our refrigerator as we help to to create various meaningful phrases...."I love daddy and mom."


Jar of Words = Better Word Choice

In my classroom, I like to create a jar of words. I draw a great big jar on chart paper. The students and I work to fill this jar up with descriptive words that make our writing more exciting. I also encourage my students to keep their own personal word jars that they fill with words that they find exciting or meaningful to them. Their jar of words can be kept in the back of a Writer's Notebook in a Writer's Workshop folder.

Reading, Writing, and Content Area Resources

Looking for a new idea to increase comprehension and motivation in your classroom? I have found a web site that offers several new ideas to try.


Here you will find strategies for before, during, and after reading. Strategies to improve fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and phonics. There are some great suggestions for increasing students' exposure to nonfiction text.

There are also tons of ideas for Writer's Workshop. There are lot of fun strategies that can easily be incorporated into the classroom that correlate with the qualities of good writing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vocabulary Building Exercise

Here is one of my personal favorite vocabulary building exercises. Every week we have approximately 6-8 new vocabulary words that go along with our story. After we spend some time learning these words, there meanings, and connecting them in some way to our own personal lives...we create stories!!! The kids write down the new vocabulary words on a piece of paper. We tear the paper so we have "notecards" and save time. The kids work individually or with a partner to create a story including these vocabulary words. They lay each card down in order as they verbally tell their story. Then they record their story on paper and add an illustration. My students have gotten very creative with this activity. I had one student who began creating "wanted posters".

Poetry Web site


This is an excellent resource for poems as well as poetry lessons during Writer's Workshop. Here you will find poetry theater, poems written by kids, as well as sample mini lessons. I can't wait to try poetry theater in the classroom. My kids will improve fluency while having fun! It will also give them the opportunity to step into a different role as they act out the poems.

Reader's Workshop


I also found wonderful resources on this site for Reader's Theater. Last year I created reader's notebooks using the templates on this web site. My students had a place where they could keep track of the books they read, as well as a notebook to hold their thinking while reading.

Classroom Library

I have found a web site that offers book basket labels that can easily be downloaded to your computer. I have found just about every label I have ever needed on this site. This site also offers great suggestions on organizing a student friendly library.

Reading Lady

Here is an all inclusive reading site!

This site has tons of downloadable items perfect to enhance literacy experiences in the classroom. You will find reader's theater scripts, posters explaining comprehension strategies, popular author study information, and fun poetry resources. Check it out!

Qualities of Good Writing

Lester Laminack's book Saturdays and Teacakes, provides EXCELLENT examples of qualities of good writing to use during mini lessons in Writer's Workshop. This book great examples all wrapped up in one place. It's fantastic! Every year, my students and I make an anchor chart that lists the qualities of good writing as well as examples from the text. They often refer back to this chart as they are looking for ideas to make their writing stronger throughout the year.