In February I had the awesome opportunity to visit the EDExpo in Atlanta.
While there I met the most humble creator of the coolest product.
Dr. Duncan created an app and letter product called Touchtronics.
It brings the use of iPad technology to a WHOLE. NEW. LEVEL!
Touchtronic was kind enough to share their product with me.
It comes like this looking just like a 
regular old set of letters.
Just simple old letters!
With a cute carrying case.
But then....KAPOW!! 
They interact with your iPad.
You place the letter right on the iPad to find 
beginning, middle and end sounds.
The level of engagement my students had 
practicing with these is outstanding!
They could have done them all day!
Amazing, right?
Here it is in action!!
Touchtronics promo video is pretty awesome too.
Check it out!
The app you need for your iPad is free!
You can grab it here.
Now for the good stuff!
Want to win two sets of your own for your classroom?
Enter the giveaway!!
Giveaway ends Sunday night!

Can't wait and want your own set right now?!
You can get 20% off any Touchtronic product 
by using the code TRONIC all May long!
Want to read a bit more about Touchtronic and Junior Learning!
Visit them here.

The spring cleaning continues!
The Daily 5 is getting a spring cleaning, 
but there are not enough hours in the day to clean my house. 
I've been on vacation this week and just can't get ahead. 
Of course the three children aren't so much help in this process!
Sigh. Whoa is me! 
I feel just like the little girl in this picture. 
Before we move on with Read to Someone...
Last week I got a great question about the basic running of Daily 5 in my classroom. 
My schedule is very simple. 
I am truly blessed to have an assistant for an hour each day. 
This makes my first two rounds/groups fly by.
You can get way more done with an extra adult in the room.
Also this person should be extra awesome 
and preferably have a British accent.

For our rounds I simply gather the kids at the rug.
I first tell the kids who are in a group where they are going.
Then I ask the rest what choice they would like.
I have a Daily Five clipboard that I didn't take a pic of...whoops!
This is my little recording sheet.
So simple!
I then let the kids go off and our rounds last about 20ish minutes.
To get everyone back to the rug I have a little wind chime 
that I will ask one student to ring to 
let everyone know the round is up. 
We then return to the rug and repeat!

We have a few small rules.
*Only 4 kids can to "Read to Someone".
*You can only visit each "5" once a day.
*You can shop for books once a week during a "5". 
*Only 4 kids can "Listen to Reading" 
due to the amount of materials we have.

So onto "Read to Someone"!
In my room it is pretty similar to Read to Self 
except you get to read really quietly to someone.
I only allow 4 kids to do it each round to 
keep the sound level to a minimum.
I also have those kids read on the rug 
that is farthest away from my group table. 
When kids choose Read to Someone they come see me right after 
everyone has made a choice and gone off to their area. 
I quickly pair them based on skill or behaviors. 
Use your best teacher judgment here! 
They bring their book boxes and can do several options.
They can read a whole book to their partner.
They can share the book by each reading a page.
They can read a play.
I have plays in all my Crazy About Reading packets that we use. 
They also often read from their Reading St. anthology.
I would love to create a bin of double copies of books 
for kids to grab during Read to Someone! 

I did a little pinning about Read to Someone for you!
So many cool ideas out there!
I love this simple retelling idea from I {Heart} Teaching!
Amber from School is a Happy Place wrote this great post on how to get Read to Someone going early in the year. I tend to wait on introducing it until November/December. They've really got the routine, structure and expectations down and are ready for the next step!
One more great post from One Extra Degree with lots of tips and tricks on Read to Someone!
Time to link up your Read to Someone ideas!

It's a Weekend Warriors weekend!
This month we are focusing on Open House!
We have a beautiful fresh new look created by the 
adorably hilarious and sweet Aimee from Primarily Speaking.
We are also OPEN for business!
We want you and you and you to link up with us.
Have a fabulous Open House post?
Link it up!!
Open House this year was a blast!
For some reason or another my school has done 
a different theme for Open House for the past few years. 
Helpful, huh? (insert sarcasm)
This year we had a more traditional Open House.
But with a fun flare!
We did a play!!
We used Bad Wolf Press "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". 
Their plays are FANTASTIC! 
The music is wonderful and catchy!
I have been singing the songs around my house 
for weeks and weeks!
My husband just loves it! Ha!
My three kids do an excellent rendition of "The Chair Song"
If you are considering doing a play with your class do check out their website. It will make the whole process an absolute dream. Plays or productions are such a wonderful group building opportunity. My class loved working together. 
It was ridiculously cute. 
On more than one occasion I turned around to find a 
group of them sitting on the rug singing the songs 
or practicing their lines. 
Of course in the whole process I took so few pictures!
It's really hard to be the director, music coordinator, 
props manager and photographer!
So my photographer hat fell right off!!
We did super simple costumes.
Sentence strip headbands are the way to go.
For the night of our performance I had the kids wear 
a solid color shirt that matched their animal. 
Some parents and big sisters also came and 
did simple face paint on the animals. 
My little cutie that played Golidilocks 
I could put in my pocket and take home!
The kids did all the coloring on the scenery.
Also super simple, but effective!
Next year though...we are moving to the STAGE!!
Watch out Broadway!

We had some adorable art work up in the classroom too.
We made these "Build A Bunnies" which I just love!
I guest blogged about them over on Who's Who and Who's New?
You can get the specific directions, a writing prompt and a freebie template {here}. 
Here's a little bunny eye candy!
 Last but not least we did directed bird drawings 
by the uber talented Jen at First Grade Blue Skies.
Her directed drawings are so bomb diggity that 
she created a product with a whole year's worth.
Check it out {here}.
You can get the bird for free {here}. 
Last year's Open House was all about poetry.
You can read more about those adventures here and here
Here's a little sneak peek photo of that fun event!
Time to visit my other wonderful Weekend Warriors!
Link up too!

It's Week 3 of The Daily Five Spring Cleaning!
Oh! We're halfway there! Oh! Oh! Livin' on a Prayer!
I sing bits of songs all day long. It's my thing.
I digress...moving onto READ TO SELF!
Ever since I started The Daily Five three years ago I have been amazed with my students ability to read to themselves. The early lessons in the Daily Five are all about creating stamina in reading. I find these lessons to be essential to turning my students into independent readers! Take your time in these lessons. Don't feel like you need to hurry it along! Some classes may have their students reading for 20 minutes in just a few weeks. Other years it may take you a month or more. 
I love my class library! Most importantly my students love it! This space is always overflowing with little bodies. Creating this space has provided my students a place where they love to read. I've had to put parameters on who can be in the library when so it isn't too crowded! To get my library to this point of happiness it's taken me about 5 years. Just tackle a little bit every year!
Organizing my books really helps my students find what they need quickly. The yellow bins contain books by author and series. The books in the files on top are AR leveled. The bookshelf (not shown) holds my monthly/seasonal books. Students can "shop for books" once a week. They are allowed to have 10 books in their book box. In the beginning of the year kids need to have 2 books they can read and 8 they are reading the pictures of. As the year progresses it becomes 5 just right books and 5 books they are reading the pictures of. And by this time of year we are at 2 books they are reading the pictures of and 8 just right books. When students are "done" with a book they put it in agin called "Book Return" (not shown). Myself, my assistant or a parent volunteer then returns the books.
This is a little controlling of me, but I like knowing the
books are going right back where they belong.
You can grab the library labels in my tpt shop.
Click the pic to check them out.
Reading Buddies are the best!! I borrowed permanently these from my own three children. My students adore reading with them. They also work as great leverage. If students aren't using them correctly they have to go back to their bin.
Too bad- so sad!
I think book boxes are the most genius things I have implemented from The Sisters. Before we used book boxes kids would get a book, put it back, get a book, talk to a friend, put it back, take 12 minutes to pick out a new book, barely read it and repeat. It wasn't pretty. If you do nothing else with The Daily Five create book boxes for your students! Mine are from the Dollar Tree and are on their third year. I think I will need to replace them this year, but three years for a dollar is pretty awesome! 
Book boxes give students a dedicated space for their books.
They feel so much pride in having their books
that they chose at their fingertips. 
My students are so much more focused reading now than in my early years of teaching. 
They understand just the right ways to read a book and 
demonstrate the appropriate behavior for independent reading. 
I can't say enough good things about Read to Self!
If you are interested in learning more be sure you read 
The Daily Five by Gail Boushey and Joan Mosher. 
It's available on Amazon here

For more Daily Five goodness 
be sure to check out this post on Word Work 
and this post on Work on Writing. 
See you back here next week for Read to Someone!
I'd love for you to link up your Read to Self awesomeness!!

Welcome Back!
Week 2 of the Spring Cleaning linky is getting a late start!
I forgot to take pictures last Friday.
It was all down hill from there.
So here it is Tuesday and this post is finally being written.
C'est la vie!
This week's focus is Work on Writing.
This time of year I love this "five".
Early in the year I find it more challenging 
because many kids are doing "Work on Drawing". 
I have to continually remind myself how for many writers 
this is such an important step in their writing growth. 
But, now it's April and it's all good!
My writing area isn't the prettiest.
Can you say summer project?
But, it is functional!
What's inside all those files you ask?
These are from Pat Pavelka's book Squiggles.
Many teacher friends of mine have seen Pat and they love her!
She's on my list!!
Grab it on Amazon {here}.
This is such great sequencing practice. 
You can grab a whole bunch in my Write Now! Spring Edition

The kids love these!
What fun to make this picture anything you want.
I love giving kids the opportunity to let their mind go wild!
These are also in Write Now! Spring Edition
We recently added these because our 
sentence writing skills needed some H-E-L-P!
I am loving them.
They are by Kerri B. at Teacher Bits and Bobs 
and you can grab them {here}. 

I am happy with most of the content
in my Work on Writing area. 
But, the area itself is pretty U-G-L-Y (you ain't got no alibi).
My school is older than old. It needs a mega facelift, but I am 100% certain that is happening no time soon. But, there are some beautiful writing centers out there in blogland. 
Feast your eyes on these beauties!
I love the organization and extra writing space in 
Reagan Tunstall's writing center!
The always adorbs Cara Carroll wrote a g
reat post on her writing area 
and how to get kids exciting for writing!
This pic is from an informative post by 
Jodi at Clutterfree Classroom.
Some great writing center tips over there!
This writing center by the 
sweet Sara of the Colorful Apple makes me drool!
Check it out {here}!
This from Second Story Window is just true loveliness! 

Time to link-up!
Even though the next post starts Sunday I'll still leave 
this open a whole week (through next Tuesday) since I'm such a slacker!

Oh, the bathroom! The bane of every teacher's existence. 
Never in the history of the world has a teacher ever said, 
"I love sending kids to the bathroom!". 
I recently sorted out a super simple trick for
sending kids to the bathroom one by one.
We all know that letting them travel
in packs is never a good idea!
So I bring you a...

Everything my students need is kept in 
these handy dandy caddys 
which I've blogged about here

This week I added a craft stick into the caddy 
with each students' name on it. 

When the kids need to go to the bathroom 
the girls put their stick in 
the pink cup and the boys in the green cup. 
Only one stick is allowed in each cup at a time. 
If your genders' cup is full the bathroom is closed. 
Don't forget to take your stick back to your seat.
Although the kids are great at policing each other about this.

 Here the boys' room is closed and the girls room is open. 

When the bathroom is empty is looks like this!

I make my kids give me the sign language symbol for bathroom to go. 
And of course 150 days into the school year 
and they still ask to go at all the wrong times, 
but we are working on it!

And if all else fails do this!
Check out more fun tips and tricks over at Becca's Foxwell Forest!

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