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Rating: 9 votes, 5.00 average.

Reward Coupons

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:10 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 09:59 PM by Mariely

I wanted to post on my blog the reward coupons I created for my students.

There are eight coupons per page and a total of 27 pages (27 coupons) to use. I created them in black and white so they are easier to copy. I copy my coupons on various sheets of color paper. The color of the coupon matches a price category the coupon belongs to.

My students are able to use their "Fin" dollars (earned in our classroom economy) in order to purchase coupons they want. I also award free coupons to students who consistently demonstrate super behavior and consistently turn in their homework.

Since the file is too big to attach to this post, I am providing a direct link to the PDF file of the reward coupons. I hope other teachers may find these coupons useful in their classrooms. Enjoy!

Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

Melissa Forney's 12 Steps of the Writing Process

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:07 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 09:59 PM by Mariely

I wanted to post some additional information I gathered from Melissa Forney's 2009 Writing Conference. Here's her 12 Steps of the Writing Process.
  1. Think It
  2. Talk It
  3. Do It
  4. Draw It
  5. Explain It
  6. Gather Vocabulary & Put Money in the Bank
  7. Watch Modeling
  8. Write It
  9. Revise It
  10. Read it Aloud
  11. Edit It
  12. Share It
To explain the process a bit further I'm going to combine my notes from this summer's writing conference and last summer's writing conference.

Step 1: Think It
Students need some time to think about what they are going to write, so we must give them time to think about the topic.

Step 2: Talk It
Thinking and talking go hand in hand. Kids need to talk with their peers, with older kids, with younger kids, and with adults. The more opportunities we give them to talk about what they are going to write the better prepared they'll be when they start writing. Talking gives them an opportunity to brainstorm....
Rating: 4 votes, 4.00 average.

Melissa Forney Writing Conference '09

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:06 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 09:59 PM by Mariely

Last summer, I had the great priviledge of attending my third Melissa Forney Writing Conference. She is a dear friend and an inspiration to me as well as other teachers. I learned a great deal from the conference and I would like to share some of that information on this blog.

Day 1: Writing a Beginning, Grabbers, Middle, Ending, and Zingers

Melissa had us practice writing a beginning to different topics she gave us. Each time we wrote a beginning to a topic, she asked us to share it, and then share out. She helped us differentiate between a grabber and a beginning and told us to only write a beginning for the sake of this activity. Afterwards, she asked us to write a new beginning to the same topic. She had us repeat this process about two to three times. It was a great revision activity and a great way to help students learn that there are different ways of saying the same thing.

Here's an example of...
Rating: 27 votes, 5.00 average.

Reciprocal Teaching

Posted 06-27-2010 at 05:02 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:00 PM by Mariely

Here's some resourceful information about reciprocal teaching.

I initally learned about the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy while completing one of my reading endorsement courses a few years ago. Reciprocal Teaching is a reading comprehension strategy meant to help students become more independent during reading. The strategy is first introduced by having the teacher model each step in the process and doing it along with the students until students are able to take ownership of the strategy and use it independently. The Reciprocal Teaching strategy has four parts which are: Predication, Clarify, Question, and Summarize. My school district added a fifth part to the process called Visualize or Make a Picture.

As a result of my reading endorsement class, I created a set of reciprocal teaching cards that are used by the students while implementing the strategy. Along with the cards, I created a reciprocal teaching worksheet which the students may...
Rating: 9 votes, 5.00 average.

Word Walls 411

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:58 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:00 PM by Mariely

Here's some information on Word Walls to refresh my mind and keep in my arsenal of references and resources.

The following is based on information about Word Walls that I acquired after attending an incredible Reading Institute for teachers at the University of Miami back in 2006.

Word Walls are an essential part of the literate classroom environment. Word Walls foster and support the development of written language. Word Walls should also be interactive by allowing students to complete Word Wall related activities on a daily basis.

Word Walls may be organized in various formats. A common organization for word walls is placing words in alphabetical order. In the upper grades, however, word walls may be organized based on parts of speech for example. Regardless of the organization of the word wall, teachers should include words that are meaningful to the learning content of the classroom. Some suggested word listings...

Ocean Theme 2009-2010

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:49 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:00 PM by Mariely

Last year I incorporated an Ocean Theme in my classroom decor. Here are the ideas that I came up with to use with my classroom theme:


Word Wall
An Ocean of Words
Our Sea of Words

Student Work Bulletin Board
"Sea" Our Great Work
Splashing Great Work
Look Who's Work Made "A" Splash!

Math Word Wall
Hooked on Math
A School of Math Words

Writing Bulletin Board (displaying students' writing)
Catching Great Writers
Writing Treasure Trove
Riding the Writing Wave
A Treasure Trove of Writers

The Scientific Sea

Social Studies (showcasing our state: Florida)
The Sunshine State

Core Values (for core value student of the month)
Sailing Away with Core Values

  • D.O.L.P.H.I.N. Folders
    I used DOLPHIN Binders

Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide by Ralph Fletcher

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:44 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:01 PM by Mariely

I absolutely loved reading the book Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi. It has been a GREAT resource for learning how to implement a writing workshop into your classroom. Here are some of the things that I learned from the book:
  1. Kids need a regular and predictable time to write.
  2. Writing Workshop should be scheduled at least 3 times a week (preferrably 5 times) for a period of 50 minutes or more.
  3. Setup a place for writers to access writing tools like paper, pencils, notebooks, computers, folders, scissors, tape, stapler, dictionaries, thesauri, word lists, checklists, colored pens, etc.
  4. Create a comfortable place for writing.
  5. Create both short and long term goals for the writing workshop.
  6. Use a writer's notebook
  7. Write with your students
  8. Teachers should also keep a writer's notebook that they write in on a daily basis.
  9. Use read alouds to encourage writing and to set a basis for mini-lessons.
  10. Have procedures in

Classroom Library Organization

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:41 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:01 PM by Mariely

Here are some ideas on how I plan to organize my classroom library.

A few years ago I went on a hunt for cheap baskets I could use to organize my library. I visited Family Dollar, Big Lots, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and 99 Cent Stuff in search for various size and colorful baskets. Once I gathered my baskets, I began to brainstorm how I would use the various colors to organize my books by genre. I then came up with this idea to start with:
  • White Baskets = Math Books
  • Silver Baskets = Favorite Authors
  • Black Baskets = Fiction - Picture Books
  • Orange Baskets = Fiction - Chapter Books in Series
  • Yellow Baskets = Fiction - Chapter Books not in Series
  • Aqua Baskets = Non-Fiction
  • Green Baskets = Poetry
Again, this is just preliminary while I begin to organize my books. At least this is a start. I'm also going to level each book with a colored dot. I'm going to use the color labeling system that Beth Newingham uses in her class because...

Back to School Activities Part 1

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:34 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-09-2010 at 04:14 AM by Mariely

Here are some Back to School ideas I have used in the past.

Descriptive Name Tags
Before the first day of school, I prepared a series of cut-out block letters, a black construction paper strip to mount the letters on, glue sticks, and thesauruses. I made sure I had enough letters so that each student in my class would be able to spell out their first name. Students glued their letters onto the black construction paper strip and then used the thesaurus to come up with adjectives that described them starting with each letter in their first name. They wrote their adjectives inside each letter and then presented their descriptive name tags to the rest of the class. This turned out to be a great get to know you activity. At the end of the activity, I collected all their name tags and posted them around the room.

Name Alliterations
This is another great get to know you activity for the beginning of the school year. I distributed sentence...
Attached Images
File Type: pdf MrFalker-LearningLog.pdf (53.7 KB, 665 views)

Learning Centers

Posted 06-27-2010 at 04:13 PM by Mariely
Updated 07-01-2010 at 10:02 PM by Mariely

Learning Centers is a topic that comes up from time to time. So, here's some information about centers.

I'm actually going to try my best to explain how we do centers in our district. Being that I was the Intermediate Reading Coach last year, I can offer a bit of what we have shared with our teachers.

For one, centers should be a part of your differentiated instruction time within your reading block. We have a total of 90 minutes of reading instruction in our district. Of those 90 minutes, 50 minutes are for direct instruction or whole group instruction and the remaining 40 minutes are for your centers or differentiated instruction time.

You start planning for your centers by first placing your students into groups according to their reading needs. We sometimes tell teachers to have 3 or 4 groups depending on the amount of students in the classroom. Each group should have no more than 7 students, 5-6 students preferably.

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