Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Just Loving My Snow Day

I L*O*V*E snow days! What teacher doesn't? The anticipation is like Christmas Eve . . . waiting for the snow day to be announced. Will they cancel? Are they really going to make us go? So many parents will be upset if we go/don't go . . . Should I have another glass of wine . . . I better refresh the webpage and check Facebook just to be sure. Ah, the important questions. 

On snow days we get to stay in our PJs, hang out with our kids and husbands, play in the snow, catch up a *little bit*, enjoy our coffee, read a good book, enjoy the latest show on DVR . . . the list goes on and on. 

Snow days are an unexpected and brief respite from reality. They allow us teachers a chance to rest and recharge so we are ready to take on our classes with 100%.

As I am writing this post, I can't help but reflect on the month of January. It FLEW by. Our school continues to grow and we had a lot of new kiddos join us after Winter Break. Even though we have large classes, each member of my grade level teaching team strives to fit everyone's needs.

I will admit . . . It is quite a challenge for me having 6 or 7 reading groups to fit in during our Daily Five literacy block. Each reading group needs my full attention and I have to ensure that *authentic* learning is taking place in each component. I mean, the little sweeties are still in first grade.

Even though we practice and practice our Daily Five expectations, there are still some kiddos who need a hug or an arm squeeze to let them know their teacher notices them . . . and even though I LOVE  each and every one of them, it does take my attention away from my reading group - I know you understand. :)

In order to increase independence, I created a few literature packets to supplement texts that we would be working on in reading groups. This way, if an "emergency" does arise (I use the term emergency loosely, because . . . well . . . ya know . . . some of us are still learning that a little hang nail is not a true emergency), I can help the student and be back to my reading group without them even noticing. 

So far, there three different literature packets to go along with the following books:
Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik, 
Amber Brown is Not a Crayon, by Paula Danziger,
and Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe, by Judy Cox.

After the success of these in my classroom, I plan on creating many more literature packets. Time is really not on my side with these because they take a long time to create but I am steadily working and working. 

My goal with these packets is to aid in building close reading skills, develop questioning techniques, foster discussions, and promote higher level thinking.  Each packet consists of 10 days of literacy activities. These may be used as is or may be supplemented with your own material. My firsties loved these packets! They were challenged and engaged throughout the 10 days. 

Click on the picture to take you to my TPT store. Each packet is $2.50. The Little Bear packet is $3.00 because Literature Circle task cards and instructions are included.

Below, you will see some example pages from the packets. These pictures will give you more of an idea of what is included. 



So . . . Mr. Superintendent . . . will we have Snow Day #2 tomorrow? Will you give me the opportunity to create some more literacy fun? Let the anticipation begin. The teachers are counting on you!

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