December 11, 2013

Developing Opinion Writers

Next week is our school-wide Publishing Night -- and the firsties are so excited to share their Opinion Writing pieces!

But first, a little about what we've been up to so far.  This unit is part of the updated Units of Study from the Reading and Writing Project.  This is the first year that we have taught this unit; however it has quickly become one of my favorite writing units because my kiddos have grown so much in just a few weeks!

When I initially gave the opinion writing pre-assessment, I got a mix of personal narratives, informational pieces, and odes to favorite family members and pets.  It was clear we had a lot of work to do!  Fortunately, this unit has includes three "bends," or sections, that have allowed the kiddos to home in on different parts of opinion writing.  They have slowly built up their knowledge and skill with this genre by writing reviews of objects, places, and now books.  And it's been amazing to watch!

During the first "bend" the kiddos actually brought in small collections to review!  It was so cute to see them closely analyze each of their match box cars, snow globes, and bracelets and then select their favorites.  They learned that opinion writers have to include reasons (and not just one reason), use words like "because," and consider each feature of an item -- like which seashell is the smoothest and which has the most interesting design.  This bend also focused on setting goals based off of our writing rubric.  I transferred the rubric to a chart and the kiddos set daily goals by moving sticky notes with their names.  (This helped all of us focus during Writing time!)

Setting Daily Writing Goals
A Collection of Trucks
One thing my writers struggled with was clearly stating their topic.  I got a lot of "I like this one because...".  The naturally assumed that everyone would know to which "one" they were referring. However, as they read their reviews out loud during our first mini-publishing party, they suddenly realized that it was totally unclear what they'd be writing about! (It was a little funny to watch their surprise.)  We knew what we had to work on next!

During the next bend, they got plenty of practice defining their topic as they reviewed their favorite games, restaurants, vacation spots, and movies.  In order to publish these reviews, the kiddos put together books of like-reviews.  They produced a wonderful anthology of "Places to Travel in the USA" which includes reviews of Seattle, Florida, and Indiana, as well as an anthology of "Things to Do in DC" which suggests the National Portrait Gallery and McDonalds among others. :)

In this last bend, the kiddos are writing book reviews. For our final publishing, we will be recording their reviews: Reading-Rainbow style.  More on that to come... 

Working together to create the cover for their review anthology

December 10, 2013

Best Work Board

When I taught Pre-K, one of the primary bulletin boards in my classroom was always our "Best Work" wall.  Whenever my Pre-Kers produced something they were proud of, they would ask to put it up on the wall.  It was often challenging for little guys to learn to spend time on a project, but teaching them about choosing "best work" helped them learn to focus on a piece of work.  Well, the fabulous second grade teachers at my school recently made their hallway board into a Best Work board for their kiddos, and it reminded me of the importance of letting kids select the pieces they want to put on display.  

Yesterday, I talked to my kiddos about how we would create our own best work board.  We brainstormed all the things they have worked on in class - from spelling tests, to literacy worksheets, to math book pages, to reading responses, to science journals - and then they thought about what piece they wanted everyone to see.

After the kiddos selected a meaningful piece, they got to write about why they selected it.  It was cute to see the work they were excited about and the board came together really easily!

"... I worked very very very very very hard on it..."

Super STARs

I posted about our STAR cards (here) a few weeks ago, but I realized that I hadn't yet posted about what the kiddos have actually been writing!

Here are just a couple examples of the unbelievably adorable things that my kiddos have been writing to each other on their STAR cards.


It has been so sweet to watch them notice each other doing kind things around the classroom.

It's also wonderful to see them acknowledge each for working hard.  We've just introduced subtraction problems, so we've been talking a lot about the importance of trying and persevering, even and especially when things are hard.  It's really sweet when the kiddos get recognition for pushing themselves, and as much as I try to be an encouragement, it seems to mean more when it comes from a peer.

Definitely love this new part of our class character program!

November 29, 2013

A Miss Nelson Moment

During my first year teaching, I kept track of funny quotes and situations from the classroom as a way to stay optimistic.  It was easy to get lost in the difficulties of first-year teaching, and neglect the lighter moments with my kiddos, so I learned to pick out at least 1 positive moment each day.  I'm grateful that I no longer need quotes to keep me afloat, but there are still some hilarious moments that I don't want to forget.

Fortunately, I now have this blog to help me keep track of them!  One of these moments came last week...

I had intended to be out of the classroom on Thursday to observe in other teachers' classrooms for the morning.  I had prepped my kiddos the day before and didn't plan on seeing them in until the afternoon.  However, about 20 minutes into my first observation, I learned that another teacher had called out sick, so the substitute scheduled to cover my class was going to pulled for the rest of the day.

I happened to have worn my glasses that day and a new button down shirt (not my contacts and usual version of a knit top), so as I walked into the classroom, I got some sideways glances from the kiddos.  When the substitute left the room, one of the kiddos asked cautiously, "Are you our new substitute?" I had a flash of the classic book, Miss Nelson Is Missing, where the sweet teacher "disappears" for a few days and is replaced by the mean Viola Swamp who straightens out the unruly students and makes them realize how much they love Miss Nelson.  I decided to give it a try...

"Sure," I answered, "Show me what you are supposed to do." For the next 45-minutes, I watched as my kiddos lead Morning Meeting, dismissed themselves to their Literacy Stations, and then cleaned up from Literacy Stations and went to their reading spots for independent reading.  I gave a few cues and prompts, but resisted the urge to step in much more. Instead, as the kiddos worked, I took the opportunity to give a few one-on-one assessments.

Of course, I didn't really have most of the kiddos fooled, and unlike Viola Swamp, I didn't have to be a nastier, stricter teacher to get the class into shape.  In fact, it was impressive to see how capable they were of taking over many of the classroom routines.  It was actually a relief to take a break from the nagging and reminding that I've been doing way too much of over the past couple of weeks.  Lesson: I just might have to be "out of the classroom" again sometime soon...

November 23, 2013

Exploring the Elements

Yesterday we took our first "mini field trip" of the year.  As part of our unit on living and nonliving things, I wanted to give the kiddos a chance to see some living things in action, so we went to the park across the street from our school to explore our local environment.  

To be honest, I feel like this trip was a little contrived. While I was planning the unit, I wasn't sure whether the kids would actually be excited to observe rocks and air . . . but leave it to firsties to get pumped about the littlest things. As we assigned the teams before we went to the park, the kiddos were cheering for their groups.  You would have thought the "Air" group won the lottery!  {And that's why I love them.}
Once we were in the park, the kiddos made their observations.  We had four observation groups: Air, Rocks, Soil, and Water.  Fortunately, it had drizzled earlier in the day so there were puddles for the water group to check out.  The air group even got lucky because there was a bit of breeze.  They noticed so many things floating around them!  The kiddos made scientific drawings of the moss on the rocks, the worms in the soil, the leaves in the water, and the ladybugs in the air.  Wow!

Once they had completed their observations, the kiddos sorted the items they'd found into living and nonliving features.  My goal was for them to begin to recognize the variety of living and nonliving things around them.  Over the next couple of weeks, we will be learning about how organisms interact with their environments, so these observations will also be the starting place for that discussion.  Despite the fact that we could see the school over the hedges, and they were observing rocks, the kiddos had a great time!  I'm really looking forward to the rest of this unit!

November 22, 2013

Roll & Cover Phonics Game

This week I added two new games to our Phonics Station: "Short Vowel Roll & Cover" and "Long Vowel Roll & Cover."  I wanted to get the kids listening carefully for the middle vowel sound, so this seemed like the perfect simple game.  I try to avoid adding extra worksheets to our paper-heavy classroom, so this was also an easy "when you're finished" activity.  
It was a big hit among the kiddos. In fact, one kiddo even declared in a moment of triumph, "BEST GAME EVER!"  :)

November 9, 2013

We are Thankful

A few weeks ago, our Responsive Classroom committee got together to discuss our upcoming community bulletin board.  This board is something new that we instituted this year.  We wanted a place, on the first floor, to showcase community, diversity, and learning from around the school.  Our first bulletin board had the teachers' "hopes and dreams" for the school year.  Then we took pictures of kiddos around the school performing common routines and procedures, like walking in the hallway and hanging up their coats.

For our most recent board, we invited every kiddo in the school to share what they are thankful for on a half-sheet of paper.  In my own class, I read Splat says Thank You to introduce the idea of being thankful.  I'd never even heard of this great book until one of the other amazing first grade teachers told me about it.  My kiddos loved Splat and Seymour and the story was so sweet!  Plus, it definitely sent home the message about the importance of showing gratitude for others.  

Here are two of my favorites from the firsties:

Throughout the week, teachers turned in their classes' forms to me.  I compiled them onto a bulletin board with the title "We are thankful."  Around the edge of the board, another teacher printed out "thank you" in a variety of languages and fonts.  I love the resulting diversity on this board: some teachers took dictation, there's lots of invented spelling, older kiddos tried out cursive handwriting, and the pictures range from stick figures to full-color sketches.  There is also a lot of variety in what we are thankful for -- many kiddos were thankful for their family, friends, and pets, but we also got everything from candy to football. 

My favorite thing about this board though, was actually putting it up.  While I was in the midst of stapling, a couple of kindergarteners walked by with their moms asked what I was doing.  I explained the project and the kiddos recalled writing their own thankful notes.  They began selecting sheets for me to post up and reading each of the cards.  They were so excited that one of them pulled a notebook out of her backpack and began to create a list of other things she for which she was thankful!  So sweet!

*I ran out of room on the board, so now we have notes of thanks covering the windows to the office and library as well -- what a great thing to see when we walk around the halls! :) 

November 7, 2013

What Does It Mean to Be American?

We've just wrapped up our American Symbols unit.  I loved this unit last year and I didn't change too much about this for this year.  Once again, this unit was a big hit with the kiddos.  First graders just love learning about national symbols!  I think this is probably, in part, because once they learn these symbols they find them everywhere: there are bald eagles on quarters, on top of flag poles, on signs all over DC!

 Toward the end of this unit, I had the kiddos choose an American symbol to write about it on our banner paper.  They had to write the name of the symbol and any common names for it.  They also included what the symbol looks like, stands for, and why it is important.  This served as a great assessment to see what kiddos had learned and remembered about each of the symbols.  This could easily be made into a book with each of the symbols, although this year I just had them each do one.

I also had the kiddos write the meaning and importance of the civic values we learned about, such as liberty, independence, courage, and fairness.  It was interesting to see the things that the kiddos pulled out from all of our discussions and stories.  The kiddos were very impressed that America had won independence from the British (I tried to stress that America and Britain now get along, but I think the firsties might still have hard feelings!)  They certainly got the point that Americans value bravery and freedom.

I put up a bulletin board today to showcase our learning from this unit.  I titled the board "What does it mean to be a American?" because our focus has really been on how all of these symbols and values connect to our history and culture as Americans.  This board is actually on the first floor (not in front of our classroom) so it will get a lot of traffic.  Already, I've seen other kiddos walking by getting excited to see familiar symbols and words! That's bulletin board success in my mind :)

November 3, 2013

Update on Character Education

Last year I posted (here) about the character education "program" I created for my class.  I have continued to use the acronym "STAR" to teach my students about character qualities, but this year I took it a little further.  I wanted the kiddos to notice their peers' positive behavior on a regular basis so I created "compliment cards" for them to write a note to a friend who demonstrates a STAR action (they write what they observe on the back).

The kiddos love writing and receiving these cards!  Plus, families love getting these notes home to see what great things their kiddo has been doing at school.  One mom even said she was thinking about bringing them out at home so that her family could recognize each other for strong character.

I also updated the look of the STAR posters with my new clipart!

Update on STAR Books: 

This year I used Lily's Purple Plastic Purse again to teach about "Show Self-Control."  Lily is a great example of how challenging it can be to show self-control; the kiddos definitely identify with her when they have something exciting they want to share but need to wait.  

I chose Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi as our primary teaching text for "Try and Persevere."  The kiddos and I love Poppy Pig, but I'm sure there are other books that might reinforce the importance of trying and persevering to achieve a goal a little more directly.  

I use Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie, by Laura Rankin, to teach about Acting with Integrity.  I adore the illustrations and language in this book.  The kiddos can identify easily with Ruthie as well, which is great for referencing integrity in other situations (i.e. "Remember what Ruthie had to do...).  

Finally, this year I used Jamaica's Blue Marker to teach about Responding Helpfully.  This books is actually more about empathy and perspective than about being helpful, but that's part of why I love it.  All of the "Jamaica" books are great and this one is especially powerful.  It explores such a real and difficult fact about being at school -- sometimes other kids are mean -- so I think it really hits home with my kiddos.

I'm still on the lookout for more books to use a "mentor texts" for each of the character traits that are part of STAR.  I suspect I'll need to do to review of STAR when we get back from Winter Break, so I know I'll need some new books to keep things interesting.

Reflecting on Our Learning

Another post from a few weeks ago...

As the kiddos prepared for our "Celebration of Learning," I wanted to have them reflect on what they had learned and enjoyed during the beginning of the school year.  (Truthfully, I also needed something to put on the back of the invitation to the Celebration of Learning.)

However, this short assignment also allowed me to gather some interesting information about what had really soaked in during those first few weeks.  I think I might need to do a similar reflection at the end of each of our units!

* "Being a STAR" refers to our character education program (read more here).

Celebration of Learning

Whoops! Forgot to hit "publish" on this post from a few weeks ago...

This year, my school has a new "Celebration Policy" which outlines expectations for school and classroom events.  Specifically, we will no longer have cupcakes for birthdays, or a costume parade at Halloween (you can read about last year's Halloween Parade here).   Instead, we will continue to teach, read, learn, and share about holidays as they come up during the year; we will continue to honor students with stories and special activities on their birthdays; and we will continue to invite families in to celebrate students' achievements throughout the year.

The goal of the new policy is to keep the focus on the students (and less on candy, costumes, or cards), and to celebrate what matters -- their hard work and accomplishments.  Personally, I also wanted to find better ways of including my families in celebrations, not just providing them with a photo opportunity.  
As I searched for suggestions about how to celebrate with my students and their families, I found this great article on the Responsive Classroom website about "Learning Celebrations."  The author expresses the same concern I've had, "The parties and celebrations had their benefits, but they didn't fully achieve the purpose I had in mind."

I decided to host my own learning celebration to honor the end of the first six weeks of school (all classes at my school are required to host a family event at this time of the year).  As we neared the end of the first six weeks of school, I began to talk with my kiddos about how far we'd come since the start of school.  I pointed out all of procedures we'd practiced, books we'd read, and lessons we'd completed.  We talked about how we could share these things with our families.  The kiddos were so excited about the idea that their parents could come in see them do "first grade things"!

On Friday afternoon, our classroom filled with adults and the kiddos got to show off their first grade skills.  They read to their parents from their book bins and personal narrative stories.  They taught their parents how to do a word sort and how to play the "Roll and Record" game at the math table.  They showed their parents how to write compliment notes to their peers.  Finally, we all sat around the carpet to do a Closing Meeting.  The parents and kiddos shared their "highs" and "lows" of the day -- almost everyone agreed that the high of the day was spending time together celebrating our learning!

I realized that not only was this learning celebration an opportunity to truly include our families in our learning, but it was a great review for the kiddos, and allowed us to have some important discussions about families and celebrations.  As the kiddos created invitations for their families a couple weeks ago, we talked about how some parents don't live in the same house and some kiddos might make more than one invitation.  Then we talked about how some parents work far away or can't take off work to come to school.  My sweet kiddos immediately suggested that if a friend didn't have a parent attend, they would "share" their parents.  We talked about the importance of being able to share the things we've learned so that our parents would learn about our community.  It was so special to see parents and kids side-by-side counting, reading, spelling, laughing, and smiling -- definitely a highlight of my teaching career!

October 13, 2013

Vocabulary In Action

A few years ago I attended a professional development training on the importance of teaching "Tier 2" vocabulary words.  Tier 2 words are complex, often nuanced, words that can be used in a variety of settings -- words like gullible, mimic, and coincidence.  These words are unlike traditional vocabulary words (Tier 1 words), which are low-frequency and domain-specific -- words like peninsula, proton, and protagonist.  Tier 2 words are found in literature and mature conversation; they are essential for strong comprehension and fluency.

In order to learn Tier 2 words, students need to hear them in a variety of settings and be able to recall and utilize them in different situations as well.  For the past few years, my school has been using the Scholastic Text Talk® program to introduce weekly Tier 2 vocabulary words.  There are a number of great features about this program, but my favorite thing is how much the kiddos love it!

Text Talk® Level B Books
Each week we have a new high-quality book to read-aloud (the books are a mix of realistic fiction, fairy tale, fable, and fantasy).  Throughout the story, there are teacher notes which include deep comprehension questions, retelling prompts, and brief vocabulary explanations.  The kiddos love the books and get very engaged in the stories through the questions.

I typically read each book all the way through on Monday, and then we re-read sections on Tuesday and Wednesday to focus on specific vocabulary words.  Each book introduces 6 vocabulary words, although only 4 of them are directly from the book -- the other 2 words can be used to describe a situation that occurs in the story but are not actually used in the book.  For instance, in the book Caps For Sale, one of the words is mimic. Knowing the word mimic, helps students explain and understand how the monkeys act in the story, although the author never says it.

Text Talk® Concept Web for the word "suspicious"

This year, I've also added actions for each vocabulary word to support kinesthetic learners.  During the 2nd and 3rd read-throughs, I often add interactive writing tasks, such as making lists, concept webs, or other graphic organizers that help students examine certain words in more depth.  By the end of the week, the kiddos have heard each of the 6 vocabulary words multiple times and begin to use them around the classroom.  It's so cute to hear them saying, "We need an orderly line," or "He has an assortment of toys," or "The monkey bars are very versatile"!

October 10, 2013

Custodian Appreciation

National Custodian Appreciation Day was last week and my school invited classes to find ways of thanking our sweet custodians.  The timing worked out perfectly for me because we were in-between writing units and I needed something for the rest of kiddos to work on while the last few finished up their personal narrative stories.  

We started by defining the role of custodians in our school.  Most of the kiddos already know our custodians and generally know that they keep the school clean, but I felt it was important to point out all of the many jobs they take actually on around the building.  After we had a list of things that the custodians do to help us, I sent the kiddos off to write cards.

I was busy meeting individually with kiddos to review their personal narratives, so I didn't see the cards until I collected them at the end of writing time. They turned out so cute!  A couple of kids decided to write about how our custodians are always in the cafeteria to help "fix the tables" -- we are currently using a temporary folding table and it's legs have a tendency to fold under during lunch.   Most of the kids wrote sweet notes thanking the custodians for cleaning, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, and keeping the school clean so that we can all learn. 

We set the cards up in the Staff Lounge, along with a banner made by one of the 4th grade classes.  I think the custodians got a kick out of reading the kids' writing and knowing they are very appreciated.

Low-Risk Greetings

I wrote another post here about the importance of greetings throughout the year; but at the beginning of the year, our class greetings are especially valuable for teaching names, practicing listening skills, and reinforcing behavior expectations.

I begin the year with our most "low-risk" greetings -- ones that don't involve touching, or even knowing everyone's name.  We start with a couple of singing greetings that go around the circle.  These greetings allow me to lead and say all of the kiddos' names (we wear name tags on the first day or two to help me).  Slowly, the kiddos start to join in, say their own names, and sing the names of the friends they know.

After a week of singing greetings, we start with a basic hand shake greeting that travels around the circle.  The kiddos only need to know the name of the person on either side of them and I make sure to give them time to check with each other before we start.  I then teach a few greetings that target specific components of greetings: the "hand stack" greeting really promotes eye-contact and the "pattern greeting" encourages paying attention.

After the first few weeks, I finally introduced greetings that didn't just go around the circle.  By that point, the kiddos understood how to have a successful greeting; they know they need to use names and a strong speaker voice.  Then we practiced the "closed-eye" greeting, which requires listening, and the "ball roll" greeting, which involves the extra challenge of using a material.  We added the "baseball greeting" and the "snowball greeting" last week.

Now that almost all of our established greetings have been introduced (we may create new ones during the year), we have started selecting a different greeting each day, using these greeting cards.  The kiddos love the variety and I have quite a few cards to keep things interesting!

September 27, 2013

Pinterest Finds

I've been on Pinterest for awhile now and love getting inspiration for my classroom, kitchen, and apartment.  I frequently troll the Education and Kids pages while I'm cooking dinner, getting ready for bed, or waiting in line.  I've gotten a ton of ideas for Anchor Charts, bulletin boards, and worksheets.

I also got an idea for a Back-to-School treat for my teacher friends. During our Week Zero (professional development week before the kiddos come back), I made about 50 of these cute little tags and attached them to a mini-bag of M'n'Ms.  I snuck them into all of the teacher mailboxes over the weekend before the first day of school (since, of course, I was at school on Saturday to finish setting up). 

Then I saw a lot of cute pictures of kiddos holding signs announcing their grade.  I thought this would be a fun idea for the first day of school.  I downloaded this template from Mama Bub.

The kiddos loved getting their picture taken with the sign and the pictures turned out great. I made them into a collage of our whole class which I'm going to use for thank you cards.

Although Pinterest has potential to be a huge "time-suck" and it certainly has plenty of junk, I think it's a great way to share and discover new ideas and inspiration.  Plus, I'm starting to see some of my own pictures from TeachersPayTeachers and this blog surfacing on some of the Education pages -- and that's just cool! :)

September 26, 2013

Safety Tips... Updated!

Here is the original Safety Tips post...

This year, once again, we began our year with Officer Buckle.  I love this book to get the year started.  Officer Buckle and Gloria are great characters and the message of the book really gets through to the kiddos.  Once again, we read the story and then encouraged the kiddos to think of their own safety tips.  I tried to guide them toward thinking specifically of ways we stay safe at school.  They came up with some great ideas!

{Top: Do not talk when there is a fire drill. Bottom: Do not lean back on a chair or else you fall}

This year, I also used this lesson to introduce scissors and glue.  First we did a "Guided Discovery" of the scissors.  We talked about what scissors are used for -- and what they are not to be used for -- at school. The kiddos each demonstrated holding and carrying the scissors safely.  Then they got to cut out their own stars.  This was challenging for some kiddos but great practice.  Afterward, they kiddos got to use glue sticks to glue their star onto a circle (I cut out the circles).  We discussed safety and responsibility with the glue sticks as well.

The kiddos were very excited to see Officer Buckle and Gloria make an appearance in the hallway -- some of them even remembered them from last year.  Admittedly, I was nervous that having the kiddos do the cutting and gluing would make the bulletin board "messy" but my wonderful colleague reminded me that it would be great for the kiddos to see their work on display and they are, after all, in first grade so a little messiness would be okay.  I like this bulletin board tradition!

September 25, 2013

Ordering Numbers

I'm trying to stay caught up on blog posts, but there's so just so much that happens in the first few weeks of school!

I took these pictures two weeks ago while we were working on ordering numbers.  Here the kiddos are working to build towers of numbers and put them in order, least to greatest.  As I started to write about this activity, I realized that we've already moved so far beyond this lesson.  Today we began finding different combinations of numbers that can equal 7 (i.e. 5+2, 4+3, 6+1, etc.).

Nevertheless, I'm reminded of how essential it was that the kiddos started with these foundational activities.  We begin our year with a series of "games" where the kiddos match numerals to quantities, order quantities, determine less and greater, and count specific quantities.  Although we progressed through these lessons quickly, they really set the tone for the year: we developed common math language, identified strategies for counting and double-checking, and established the importance of counting and comparing accurately.

These first few weeks have also been a valuable time for me to gather anecdotal notes.  As the kiddos worked, I walked around taking notes about how they read numbers (do they know the difference between 6 and 9?), how they count quantities (do they start at 1 each time or can they group small amounts and count on?), and how they order and combine (do they have to count up or do they have an instinct about larger numbers?).  I have also been able to pull small groups of students who need to shore up their basic skills (I had a few kiddos who were not able to accurately draw or count a group of 20 objects.)

More to come on the math games that were introduced during this unit...

September 24, 2013

Grammar & Punctuation

This year we are the Evan-Moor Grammar & Punctuation e-books to teach grammar.  These comprehensive books outline 25 rules for each grade level that cover all of the grammar and punctuation expectations.  Each rule has a simple poster with a few examples and then three practice worksheets.  
We have been trying to introduce 1-2 rules per week in the beginning of the year; as the year goes on we will reinforce and extend the rules through writing and reading.  Already, the kiddos seem to be incorporating the rules into their understanding.  During our daily "Fix-It" sentences, the kiddos have been recognizing asking and telling sentences to determine the appropriate punctuation. (Rule 3 states that "a sentence that tells something needs a period at the end," and Rule 4 states "a sentence that ask somethings needs a question mark at the end.")

I have also been using the practice pages in our Literacy Work Stations.  Some of the worksheets allow the kiddos to cut and paste to finish sentences, sort asking vs. telling sentences, or build new words.  My goal is that the rules can easily be incorporated into our Writing Workshop as well.  This week the kiddos started editing their writing and I put up the Rules posters to remind them of all the punctuation and capitalization rules we have learned so far.  The kiddos were able to check their writing for capitals at the beginning of sentences and names, and the letter "I."  I am using a new Literacy Work Station rubric this year to ensure that the kiddos are always held accountable for these skills.

Next week I'll introduce Rule 11 (nouns) and Rule 12 (verbs).  I'm hoping to incorporate these rules into Word Study by sorting "naming words" and "action words."