H is for...

Helpful Hints!  Today I have TWO helpful hints for you

NUMBER ONE: Putting together Book Bags

I have used book bags for several years in my classroom, and no two years have ever looked the same!  I do things differently with these bad boys almost every single year!  However, I am really liking the system I am using this year, and I am getting GREAT feedback from parents!  

First of all, my school purchased these canvas bags for all K-2 students.  The hope is that we will be able to use them year after year unlike plastic bags we have bought in the past.  I labeled each bag with student names, my name, and the note:  Return Book Bag every FRIDAY!
Inside the bag is a folder....
Inside the folder we have...

1 and 2:  Weekly Fluency Homework from Second Story Window and a book based on the student's reading level
3:  Reading Logs- these logs were made for all of our K-2 students so that parents would see a familiar format throughout their elementary years.  I actually have 2 of the reading logs so that I don't have to change them out as much.
4:  Dolch Word Lists from my Stickin' to the Sight Words unit... I have level 2 and 3 in there right now.
 5:  Spelling Word Lists for the whole 6 weeks!  I don't print off weekly lists anymore because it was such a waste of paper.  This lasts for WAY longer!
And, there you have it... that's how I keep my Book Bags nice and organized PLUS they hold a lot- fluency practice, books, reading logs, sight words, spelling words :)  I collect Book Bags every Friday, change out the books and fluency passages and then send the bags right back home!

NUMBER TWO:  Use what you have around the classroom!

Sometimes I just don't feel like recreating the wheel.  I want something that I've used in the past, have around the classroom, or that takes little to no prep.  My mom brought me these picture cards to use with Joelle when she first came home.  After she mastered all of the words, I decided that I would figure out some way to use these in the classroom (If you have a reading series you probably have something similar!).

I put some of the cards out for Work on Writing during the Daily 5.  There are probably over 100 cards, but I chose about 10 so that my students could make a quick choice.  They absolutely LOVED writing stories about the pictures!

I love how this kiddo wrote about ants... 
 While this one wrote a make-believe story about a magical flower!
So easy to pull together without eating up all of my time!  I found the writing paper on TpT HERE.  Once they get tired of the pictures, I can change those out and find a different writing paper... then it will feel like a completely new activity!

Do you have any helpful hints for teachers out there?!  If you are a blogger, make sure you link up with Blog Hoppin'!
I'll be back tomorrow to show you Activities that I am LOVING right now!  


Jessica said...

Love the idea about the picture cards. I have plenty of old picture cards I can use for an impromptu writing activity during Daily 5. Thanks for the idea!

What I Have Learned

Kelley Dolling said...

I really like what you use for your reading folders. They look so much easier to stuff and keep neat than my velcro pouches. Jottin' this one down for next year! Thanks Amy :)

Ashley Reed said...

Love the book bags...doesn't Second Story Window rock??
Just Reed!

Rachel Lamb said...

love the word cards!!! I need to get my writing butt in gear!

Kristen said...

I think I have those same picture cards, I got them for my ELL students years back, they are awesome! I love the idea of having all of those spelling lists put together for the coming weeks, must save a ton of time along with the paper. Thank you!

Alisha Colon said...

Hi Amy!

I LOVE the idea about the word cards..especially staggering them. I have a TON of old cards from a reading series we used to use..they'll be perfect!

Thanks for sharing!
First Grade Follies

Oceans of First Grade Fun said...

I love the spelling words idea!!! I'm so doing this!

Mrs. Wathen said...

The word cards seem to be such an ah-ha moment for so many of us! Thanks for the reminder!

The Resourceful Apple

Hope Newport said...

Your kiddos are so cute! They seemed to really love using the word cards as inspiration. So creative!

Teaching With Hope

Jessie said...

Loved this post and how you shared how you do Daily 5! I got some great ideas. I may add a couple activities to my set. I also loved the fluency and sight word homework idea. I teach second grade and I think it would be a great addition to their homework packet.

Look Who's Teaching

2nd Grade Teach said...

Hi! I was wondering if you differentiate the fluency homework as well as the reading book, or does everyone get the same passage?

Martha Lackey said...

Wondering where the spanish spelling words come from. I am a bilingual teacher and interested to get some book bags ready for my students to study words and write sentences with them.