I {heart} my students!  Every day they make me laugh.  Each of them are such unique people with amazing personalities.  I found this today, and I had to share.  My class has been Post-it note crazy lately, wanting to use them for everything!  As I was picking up after school, I came across this:
It says "I need to read!"  As a literacy gal, it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.  What did your students do today?
Several years ago I taught in a school that focused on making sure all students knew the year they would graduate from High School.  This was in an effort to reduce drop-outs early by helping students see themselves as capable of graduating High School, and put it in their mind daily.  I was looking back at old files, and ran across this one, so I thought I'd update it and share!  Click the image below to download in Google Docs.

Today was an early release day for my school, which is a more exhausting day than normal, because I still squeeze in reading, writing, math, etc, except that we eat lunch early, have no specials, and have no recess.  Then, I was Professionally Developed for 3 hours.  Whew!!

Now it's the weekend, and I'm excited!  I'm throwing a birthday for my favorite soon-to-be 9 year old in the world.  :)

I finished my Higher Level Thinking Questions the other day, so I thought I'd share.  Click on the image to visit my TPT store.  Enjoy your weekend!!

Sooooo, I was at a meeting recently where we discussed the upcoming Common Core adoption for our state.  

{OK. Side note.  This makes me hyperventilate.  Every. Time. I. Type. This.  We are adopting CCSS next year *without a transition year.*  Worst part?  I'm at a year round school, and we aren't guaranteed to have resources from the state ready in July, since they always target the traditional calendar schools.  This means the beginning of the year information comes out when I'm working on 1st quarter report cards.  OMG.  Breathe in... Breathe out... Breathe in... ok.  That's better.}

What does this have to do with the title of this post? You must be asking this by now, and I'm starting to wonder, too.  Oh, yeah.  We were looking at the 2nd grade CCSS objectives and noticed that a great deal of emphasis was put on the tier 2 words for vocabulary instruction.  We had a great discussion, which reminded me of Beck's book, Bringing Words to Life.  Odds are, you have a copy in your professional library at school, or can access it through your local public library.  It's definitely worth reading, as it will give you a new perspective on the power of a read-aloud. Try a goal of purposefully introducing tier 2 vocabulary weekly through a read-aloud, and you will be amazed at the results!!!  :)

If you are like me, and always looking for more resources that are already laid out for you, I've found several.  First, there are a ton of lessons ready for you in the back of the Bringing Words to Life book.  As a Literacy Coach, I used this book with my teachers to help us enhance our vocabulary instruction.  Here is a quick overview:
Step 1 Choose 3 words to explicitly teach from the text.
Step 2 Use the word in the context of the story, article or book. (Share a sentence from the story)
Step 3 Provides a student-friendly definition. (Ask the children to repeat/read the word.)
Step 4 Provide examples in contexts other than the one used in the story.
Step 5 Students practice with examples or provide their own examples. (Ask the children to repeat/read the word.)
Repeat steps 2-5 for all words.

Step 6 Do a concluding and/or practice activity for all words presented.
Adapted from: Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan 

Does your state emphasize tier 2 word instruction?  If so, how do you integrate this in your routine?
I can't be the only one feeling like it should be a bit later in the week!  Valentine's Day should count for at least 2 days.  I'm not fully recovered from the candy hearts everywhere, the surprise cookie cake, and the general hoop-la... a 3 day weekend would be so sweet, but it is not to be.  Oh well!!  ;)

I finished my "Magic E" word family game - it's played like the game Uno - to help my green beans learn the common word families with the silent e.  Click on the picture to visit my TPT store.  Feel free to become a follower on TPT, so you get updated when I post freebies and new items.  I appreciate your feedback, and I'm still digging through my "literacy specialist" files to update/post new files.  What are you looking for to help with word work, reading strategies, or guided reading?  Let me know!  :)
Click here to view in my TpT store, called Hello Mrs Sykes.
Want a copy?  Click the image to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Thank you and happy Wednesday!!  :)
VistaPrint... oh VistaPrint... what would I do without you?  Here are a few more of my VistaPrint classroom creations; maybe they'll inspire you to make something for your classroom. 

A car-door magnet reminding the sweet peas to find the answer to their question from a classmate...

 Business card - sized magnets... Students write their name on one with a Sharpie and we use them to create bar graphs, Venn Diagrams, indicate where we are in the writing process, etc.

Self-inking stamp to label classroom library...

Personalized postcards for parent contacts, supply reminders, thank you notes, etc...

Another car-door magnet listing our morning routine...  so many different ways to use these!

A cute personalized notebook for taking notes at meetings.

Self-inking stamp for stamping notes to be signed...

My personalized teaching bag...  Love it!

Personalized stickers to label my items in the classroom...
I purchased all of these items for free, which means I just paid shipping.  I always use the cheapest shipping, and it takes about 2 weeks.  If you don't have an account yet, click here to use my referral link for 80% off your 1st order.
I'm linking up with Kindergarten Lifestyle for the "You Know You're a Teacher When..." linky!  I can't wait to see how you know you're a teacher!!!

Don't forget to enter the Common Core I Can Giveaway!  I'll draw names Monday around 9AM Eastern time, after breakfast with the kiddos.  :)
I enjoyed dessert with a dear friend tonight. She is an ESL teacher at another school, and we were discussing how to differentiate homework for her uppergrade students who are still acquiring English. Her students get work on their level throughout the day, but they have grade level reading passages for their reading homework. We brainstormed easy methods for the teachers to differentiate the reading passages... keyword easy, since we all know teachers are already slam busy. My suggestion was she find a friendly lower grade teacher to borrow the reading passage supplement book that was bundled with our reading adoption (Houghton Mifflin) make copies for the teacher, and give them a file folder so they can pull differentiated homework daily. How do you differentiate for English Language Learners? I would love to hear your ideas! Don't forget to enter my giveaway below for a set of Common Core I Can posters! I'll notify the winner on Sunday! :)
Yay! It's time for another Currently from Farley. I'm loving the Random Acts of Kindness!! :)
My students love to leave notes for the class to read in the morning. Typically, they remind each other to have a great day and earn extra Golden Hawks (class rewards for positive behavior). Today we walked in and saw this:
It begins with "Dear Paper," (why??? I'm not sure!?!) and ends with a reminder that it's Groundhog Day today. My class cracks me up. What is something quirky that your class does?
Good evening, bloggy friends!! I thought today I'd share a bit of my classroom with y'all. Warning: Long post ahead!!! First up: Post-it management. I don't know about you, but I'm so enamored with those little sticky sheets. We use them to predict. We use them to show our thinking. We use them to mark where we needed to infer. Today, we were using them to document our connections, and I finally had a method to keep them organized: this chart paper grid with the prompt on a whiteboard.

Our CAFE wall: (though we refer to it often, we keep forgetting to add our new strategies!!)
Thanks for hanging in there for the long post!! Have a wonderful rest of the week. :)
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