Throwback Thursday!

I am linkin' up with Carol for Blast from the Past Thursday.  An awesome way to reflect on a past practice and improve, make it better or get new ideas.
Blast from the Past.... This is one of my posts from September 2012.
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So this year I have made a few goals. One goal is that I don't get so STUCK in teaching ONE thing for a brief snapshot in time. For instance-- things like Text to Self/Text etc., the weather, graphing... you get the drift. 

This year (so far) I have introduced many topics/themes that we will come in contact with in much more detail at a later time, but want to give the students tid-bits of exposure to.

Here are some examples below--It's definitely going to be a re-vamp/learning year.

Here is a text to text comparison. Both grades nailed the comparison and couldn't believe that there were so many connections between a little girl and fish under the sea! I paralleled this lesson with Fully Alive (being unique) and voila! Fun little activity-- little stress and prep.

My morning message taps in many mini-lessons. Every day we discuss upper and lowercase letters, punctuation, ordinal numbers and whatever lesson is coming soon (i.e. graphing, weather, new words).

Making Connections is usually one of the writing ideas used in September. With a combo of grade 1's and 2's I decided to make a few class books to go along with a read aloud. Each student has their own page in each classroom book, which becomes a NEW book in the classroom library. The students were very excited to be AUTHORS and ILLUSTRATORS!

At this time, I have begun to send home easy-reads home with many students inside of their Monday to Monday Homework Folder. I use a plain old binder to sign these books out, to keep track of who has what.
 Here is the inside.

Assessment..... Grrrr.... So I have vowed to become better at assessing this year. Here is my attempt.

Each student has their own card holder for anecdotal notes etc.

I am not tracking their Monday to Monday reading log minutes-- Super easy to collect each Monday. I can do my part at school, but come parent/teacher time, I want parents to be able to see what work still needs to be put in at home-- (ie. reading and comprehension)

 Grade One beginning of the year assessments.
Recognizing  and writing upper and lower case letters.

Basic sight words.

Letter recognition and sounds.


I can't say how much the "don't teach too specific" idea really helped me this year. I really tried to blend the strands. For instance, with a combined class, you have double the expectations and it's a lovely thought thinking you will get EVERYTHING done, but impossible. When it came time to study Animals in grade two, I blended it with informational writing. See that post HERE. Many of our read aloud this year coincided with a certain strand, and had a language goal and a goal from another strand. It was a like a two for one combo all year long! :)

The Morning Messages worked out great! This is where I taught a lot of my every day word work (ie. capitalizations, punctuations, editing, revising etc).

The anecdotal binder (with different coloured pockets for each student) worked out GREAT! Would do that again next year, for sure. It also helped during report card time to pull out the card and refer to specific examples.

The library sign out--- won't do that again. Way too much work! Just ended up putting a check mark next to the students name if they brought home a book in their Monday to Monday Folders.

Monday to Monday Folders--- I would use those again next year!!! Loved it!!!! You can pick those up for FREE HERE.

All the pre-assessments, I would also do again. I got a lot of my pre-assessments from this book by Miriam Trehearne. I also pulled my monthly phonic focus from this book:
Even though reports are done.... we are still groovin' in grade 1/2. The kids are busy bees! I will post this weekend to show you how the week has gone down ("survival mode").