Blah, Blah, Brain Dump.

  1. Christine

    September 28th, 2011 at 1:49 am

    I am with you thins year! Your charts are AMAZING! You really need to publish those babies with a poster company!!! Thank you for the inspiration!


  2. Tara

    September 28th, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Could you just make all my anchor charts PLEASE!!! Yours are tooooooo cute!! I teach 4th and had a super challenging group last year, now that's what I have signed up for because I am ESE certified as well as reg. Ed. so always get the bottom 25%. It is hard each year but can I tell you the rewards are worth it all:) Hang in there and have faith;) They will gain and grow:)) They are blessed to have a teacher like you:)

    4th Grade Frolics

  3. addiegirl724

    September 28th, 2011 at 1:53 am

    I totally agree about Treasures. I can barely get through a day and I haven't even been teaching all subjects bc we still didn't get our Math, Handwriting, or S.S. books yet. I know. Crazy right? It's only a month into the school year. Who needs books? Plus, our district eliminated our specials this year due to budget issues, so my kiddos are with me ALL day! My planning time is gone….ugh!

  4. Jess

    September 28th, 2011 at 1:54 am

    I understand your feeling about Daily 5. I use it for my literacy centers so I give choice but I don't break up the time for mini lessons. I do whole group reading then start Daily 5. My students still check in to pick their next choice but there isn't a mini lesson involved. I feel like it breaks things up too much and makes the students have less stamina. This year I've only done 3 rotations in a row…my students don't seem like they can handle much more right now. I still do a separate read to self time and my kids are great at reading and building stamina. I hope this helps you and doesn't confuse you! Remember to do what's best for you and your kids which may be a combination of what you have been doing! Good luck!
    Rambling About Reading

  5. Katie and Steve

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Don't give up on Daily Five yet! When I first began using it I just implemented parts of it and teachers in 2nd grade were amazed at how well my kiddos were able function independently! Soon you'll start to see them using the same strategies in math, science, and social studies!

    I'm working on a Daily Five page on my website with some other ideas that really helped me…Hoping to have it published later this month!

    You can do it!


  6. Rachelle

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Are you using "Daily 5 for Dummies" It's a LIFESAVER!!!! I used it and modified it to fit the needs of my students. I really liked it! google it! 🙂

    P.S. in Daily 5 for Dummies, she has included CAFE- I don't do CAFE so you can change it up as needed!

  7. Patricia

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Abby, Follow your instincts. You're an amazing teacher. You know your students, your curriculum, and your schedule best!

    I started using parts of the Daily 5 three years ago. Because of time contraints (specials break up every LA block every day), I could not fully implement all aspects of the program. I just use the parts that work with my curriculum, complement my instructional style, and most benefit my students' learning experience.

    It doesn't have to be all or nothing! Use what you love; eliminate what doesn't work for you.

    Have a great week. {Is it Friday yet?}

  8. Anonymous

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:31 am

    I would love to see resources/ideas to go along with Math in Focus!!!

  9. Booky4First

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:35 am

    You could have read my mind, Abby. I had such great plans to incorporate the Daily 5. I read Christina Bainbridge's blogs since she uses Treasures AND has a 1-2 split AND does Daily 5 and thought I could surely do it with one grade. But I just can't fit in the minutes and meet state requirements/evaluations. I do a Daily 5 while my Title kids are pulled out of the classroom and give them a choice while I am holding guided reading or completing evaluation "probes" required by the district. Later in the morning I hold a Reading meeting and then everyone Reads to Self. Writing workshop is at an earlier time.

    Thank you for your wonderful charts. Keep them coming. Since I am using Treasures they always fit in! (And yes, Treasures definitely introduces too many skills each week).

  10. L_La_Lau_Laur_Laura

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Hi Abby –
    I just found your blog a few days ago and I am LOVING it!!!! I feel ya on the extreme diversity in learners. First grade is SO diverse – some kids can read like a 5th grader and some can't even say all their letters and sounds – I mean, how do you keep everyone learning to their potential and engaged???? I know – multiply us by 20 and then we would be good;). I hear you with the Daily 5 as well – I ended up taking some ideas from it – but I love using cneter time to get in some inventing and creative things that I didn't want to spend time on as an entire class. I took a creative thinking class last summer and it really impacted me to give my students time to create and imagine during the day. Center time is a great time to whip out the inventor's box or have them create a game or whatever….Hang in there – my co-worker always says if we make it to Halloween, then we can last all year – only a few more days:).

  11. Stacy Johnson

    September 28th, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Abby, I totally feel your frustation with the Daily 5. My group of Firsties has been the most challenging for me this year too and it took sooo much longer to "train" them in center activities. I have math activities I still can't add until they begin to "get it"! I say go with your gut! Do what works and it will work for you! That is what I did and I am 10X happier because of it!

  12. Sandra

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I have heard great things about the Daily 5, that I am going to start next week! I am excited because I think my firsties will super enjoy it! It is a lot of work in the beginning though!
    I **LOVE** all of your charts!! I am making my own but they don't do yours justice!!! You are an inspiration!
    Thanks for all of your ideas and keep 'em coming.

    Ooooh…. and I just have to say that I'm excited because we get a four day weekend and tomorrow is our "Friday". Yay!! Thank you fall break!

  13. Kelli Evans

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Hi Abby!
    We just started using Math In Focus this year as well. How has your transition been for your kiddos? It seems to be taking us forever to move forward and it's taking up my whole afternoon to teach. I'm looking for anything to supplement because we are finding many holes that need to be filled in. About the Daily 5,I am struggling with the same things. My class this year is not low in skill, but low in maturity. They are very dependent and The Daily 5 has been a lot of work. Thank you for venting because at least I know that it's not just me. 🙂

  14. Anonymous

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:07 am

    I would love to see your supplementary material for Math in Focus! Yes, yes, yes!! 🙂

  15. First Grade Fanatics

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Don't give up on Daily 5 yet! It does take a long time to get it off the ground, but totally worth it once it's up and running. It seems like there's a hump to get over, and then it's easier. For me it's once you've got about three things going, when they get a bit of choice. But keep in mind, you don't have to do it verbatim. Make it work for you! We only do 2 sessions a day, and so the kids just have to make sure they hit everything during the week. We also meet with groups during one session, and do individual conferences during the other. After the initial rocky start, it works beautifully. Keep going! You can do it!

  16. Ms. Thomas

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I know what you mean about your class, I am there too sister!
    I only use the read to self component from daily five. I use Debbie Diller workstations for the time I guess I would do daily five. I would love to do all of it, but workstations just has worked so well I don't want to switch it up!

    Ms. Thomas

    The First Grade Jungle

  17. Miss Mize

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I agree completely with Daily 5! It's so hard to get everything done, I struggle with it every day and feel like I'm not doing my best – only giving a surface overview of everything instead of in depth lessons. I love what I have done, but I have no idea how to fit it in with everything! I'm searching for some inspiration tonight…hope you find some too!

    Kindergarten Creativity

  18. Michelle Walden

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:30 am

    I would LOVE any Math in Focus activities you have!!!

  19. Laura

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:32 am

    abby, I left first grade for fifth grade and still refer back to your blog for daily inspiration. I feel like since i am in an upper grade i have to stick to the book and I forget about all the cute activities i did with my firsties and they learned! I am teaching author's purpose next week and would love to see your anchor chart for it! Thanks so much!

  20. Sherry

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Tomorrow is Day 19 in school days and I am on Day 9 for Daily 5/Cafe introduction. This is my first year trying it too, but I am really excited that I have gotten this far. My Gr. 2/3 combined class is at 17 minutes stamina for Read to Self and 9 minutes for Work on Writing. Only the Gr. 3 students this week are adding Listen to Reading. We're moving along and you are too.
    The problem is….always….the expectations of others on what is to be accomplished, when we all know that WE know how fast this particular group can move along to be successful. Hang in there. Let's see how we're feeling about this in another month!
    Good luck!

  21. Lisa

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:41 am

    I had this same conversation with a co-worker today. She told me she was stuck. This is my 3rd year doing Daily 5, and I'm still tweaking it. In the first semester, the rotations serve as my reading rotations (what used to be seatwork, centers, etc. is now read to self, word work, etc.). At this point I haven't started word work. Right now my students are rotated–I pick where they go. In the 2nd semester (or earlier if needed) I start releasing some control and let them have choice. So I do whole group, then usually 3 15-20 minute rotations a day (I have 5 groups and might not see them all in a day). As I was chatting with my fellow teacher today, she was disappointed with how far she is vs. how far I am into the program. I follow the program mostly, but just don't have time to use so many weeks just setting up read to self, read to someone, etc. So I do my best to not give reminders and things, but I still do it–I can't stop everyone at 4 or 5 minutes for a week just because one kiddo is having a hard time focusing. The redirection usually works! Maybe keep it up for the year, then re-evaluate. In another 5 years, surely something else will come along anyway!

  22. Grade ONEderful

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Yeah, Daily Five is TIME consuming. I just use parts of it also. Listen to Patricia 🙂 and "follow your instincts".
    Good luck.

    Grade ONEderful

  23. April Brown

    September 28th, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Don't revert back to your old program. You've got grade one and they take way longer to get it. I've got grade two and we just started building our stamina to do read to someone. We're going to be here for awhile because we can't get the whisper voice. You've got to keep going because they will get it.
    Remember, new things always take time and there are ups and downs.
    Ms. Brown's Grade 2 Class

  24. Kim

    September 28th, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Hi Abby!

    You made me laugh…
    You started with (Brain) Dump Day and ended with Hump Day. Quite Seuss of you!

    If your teaching is anything like your blogging, kids are learning all the time–even if you can't see it immediately. One day, you will blink and everyone will be doing great and these "issues" will be a distant memory.

    And those charts! Bee-You-Tee-Ful.
    I'm so inspired! How can you sell these so that we can get "poster size" to come out of our printers?!

    I hope tomorrow goes more smoothly for you…


  25. Jen Mulloy

    September 28th, 2011 at 5:04 am

    *Hang in there* Don't give up on building that classroom community–even if it means sacrificing other things for now. Just keep revisiting and you'll get there.

    As for the Daily 5–I'm about where you are and today I finally started seeing my kiddos apply check for understanding independently. Ta da! You can do it! Keep going!

  26. Teach Love

    September 28th, 2011 at 5:35 am

    I've selected your blog to receive the I Heart Your Blog Award! Head on over to my blog:

    Thank you for sharing all of your fantastic work!

  27. Mrs. Moran

    September 28th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I love the way you think. You give me such inspiration for how to move forward in my classroom. Thank you so much.
    1st in Maine

  28. Gaylene

    September 28th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I'm sorry to hear your frustration, but glad to see your fellow colleagues encouraging you! This homeschool mom would LOVE, LOVE to see any MIF supplements. You are an incredible gift to your students and their parents. Thank you for EVERYTHING that you do…it's always with excellence. 🙂 -Gaylene (Mom/Home Centered Educator in Texas)

  29. The Andersons

    September 28th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Yes, I desperately need Math in Focus activities!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  30. Mrs. Lynes

    September 28th, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    This is my first year with D5, and I am loving it! However, it is soooo different and I am going a lot slower than I anticipated! I am lucky and have a fantastic group this year, so I think it's making it run smoothly. I am not sure how it would have worked with groups I have had in the past 🙂 We have done Read to Self, Work on Writing and Read to Someone. I will introduce Word Work (even though we've been doing it-just not as D5), and Listen to Reading in the next week or two… I will only be able to do 3 rotations a day though.

    I say incorporate parts of D5 that are working for you and then do what you know is best for your kiddos 🙂

  31. Gracie

    September 28th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I completely feel you on the Daily 5 and Treasure, (actually I just emailed you before reading your post) but in my honest opinion Treasures does too much and doesn't focus on teaching kids to appreciate books and reading. I have had to pick and choose what I like from the workbooks and skills. I too am in love with your anchor charts and have copied many to use in my class. You are an awesome teacher so just go with your gut and teach the rest of us Treasure's Girls! LOL


  32. Anonymous

    September 28th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I would love, love , love supplemental Math in Focus materials. We just started using the program this year and it's quite an adjustment!

  33. Miss Erin

    September 28th, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    This is my first year so I have no experience (minus the internship I did) to compare to but my class is WAY diverse. I am talking low low low and high high high, slow slow slow and speedy speedy speedy. It is very frustrating. Good luck and thank you always for inspiring 🙂

    P.S. Everyone loves a freebie 🙂

  34. Holly

    September 28th, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Hey Abby,
    I'm right there with you – I've always done Book Nooks (think: Sarah Newingham) but decided I would FINALLY (takes me a while – when I've found something that works for me, still seems to be best practice, I like to stick with it…especially since our district seems to always switch things on us; making me feel like a first year teacher EVER year) try it. I'm excited about it – but it does move REALLY slow. It's tough for me because my teaching partner is in a time warp about 20 years back and doesn't like to try new things. ever. She's already started guided reading and is sending books home with her kids. I, on the other hand, am still working on Read to Self and our reading muscles continue to be mighty weak at the moment…

    If you hang in there, I will!!!

  35. ashleyelizabeth

    September 29th, 2011 at 1:03 am

    youve been so helpful ….thanks for making my school year my fun with all of your ideas!!!!!

  36. Meridith

    September 29th, 2011 at 1:05 am

    My district adopted Treasures last year and it was soooooo overwhelming! The resources, the targets, the interventions, the materials to use…. SO MUCH STUFF! I went to a Treasures specific training this summer that my district provided and the guy said "Pick and choose what your students need and teach at a PERKY pace. Treasures is meant to be taught at a perky pace." I thought to myself perky? So, I made a commitment to myself to keep it moving at the "perky" pace this year and WOW! My kids are getting it. I focus on the main skill of the week (Plot, L blends and Questions). I don't do all that extra stuff thrown in because I know that through out the year those little tidbits will have their own focus time to be taught. I am loving Treasures this year because I know how to use it (FINALLY) and my kids are advancing! Yeah!
    Thanks for always sharing your ideas! I am doing Author's Purpose in two weeks and soooo stealing the Fiction and Nonfiction anchor charts idea!

  37. Leanne

    September 29th, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Thank you for your honesty! It is so good to hear about others who are new to this Daily 5 thing too:) I am definitely moving slower than I thought I would be on introducing the Daily 5…right now we have done read to self, someone, and writing. Don't have a listening station yet:( Anyhoo, I took a "break" this week from introducing the next thing, word work, because I wanted to see what this might eventually look like. The kids are rotating through 3 stations per day. Today was a lightbulb moment for me and has given me some extra confidence that the Daily 5 is the way to go. I actually had some individual reading conferences and the 4 or 5 kiddos I met with really responded to the CAFE stratgies that are their goals. I think they loved the one on one attention too:) Just wanted to share this with you to encourage you! Keep us updated on how its going!

  38. Stephanie May

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:07 am

    I hear ya! I had to tweak Daily 5 and merge it with Treasures when I taught first. We usually did writing all at the same time. It was easier for me to conference and take them through the writing process that way. And "read to someone" we would do toward the end of the day. But the other 3 areas mixed well with our reading routine. My kids absolutely loved their book bins and read to self time, their word work was either the phonic focus or from their individual sight word rings that they kept in their book bins. And then for listening to reading I bought 10 portable cd players so that there was always a new option available. So it was a lot like running centers, but there was also a whole lot of choice and buy-in on the kids' part. While the kids were working on those various tasks, I met with small group and took them through Treasures stories & activities, or books on the same topic as the main selection. I was able to use a lot of the CAFE lessons and really felt the kids took more ownership of their own learning. This year I am teaching 2nd and it is a competely different scenario. Now that everyone has a pretty good phonics foundation it is much easier to trade that small group time for mini lessons and conferencing. That's my story. Use what feels good to you. You know how to do this! 😉

  39. Anonymous

    September 29th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Thank you for being honest about how you feel about the Daily 5. I've read so much about it in "blogland," but haven't read the book myself. I'm wondering if there's anyway to incorporate it into our crazy schedule at my school. I feel like my classroom is a revolving door with so many pull-outs, etc.!!

    PS Freebies=awesome! Thank you!

  40. Anonymous

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Seriously cute anchor charts! Do you trace the pictures first, or are you just artistically gifted? I need some of that ability. Love your blog!


  41. Miss Foote

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Seriously cute anchor charts! Do you trace the pictures first, or are you just artistically gifted? I need some of that ability. Love your blog!

  42. dbturner

    September 30th, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I'm with you too, Abby. This is my 28th year teaching and have seen many children during this time, but this year…what can I say. It has been a very challenging year for me also. I'm just hoping I'm teaching them something at this point! Hang in there!

  43. PJ

    October 1st, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I guess this is ad nauseum, but I'm glad to see that others are having a hard time fitting in Daily 5!

    It makes me feel better that others have said to just do what is good for you!

    I've gotta say that even with the haphazard job I've done, I like it more than centers. It's easier and I think their little noses are in books more, which can't be bad!

    Also, your charts are freaking AMAZING!!!

  44. Rachel Booth

    October 2nd, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Abby–we're using Treasures, as well, and I'm VERY frustrated with it. I feel that it's really weak, WAY disorganized, and too much going on for my little ones (ok, and me too). I used it last year for First Grade, and feel that the K program is not challenging enough.
    I LOVE your charts! I'm going to use your awesome chart ideas for teaching my kinders about nonfiction and fiction!
    Keep up the great work and hang in there!!

  45. angelajw777

    October 5th, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I do Daily Five but a modified version. I implemented it very slowly. I do not break up my centers/rotations with mini lessons and I do not give my students choices. We rotate through 3 each day.

    Girl, I am sure I was suppose to take away more from this post but I immediately went online shopping and bought 4 things for Christmas. Less than 88 days! Oh my gosh what am I going to do???

  46. Kati

    November 11th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Just found your blog and I love it! 🙂 I use Treasures but only for language arts and writing. LOVE your anchor charts! And yes.. Treasures is a TON to get through! Luckily my county gives a matrix of items that we need to hit.. it helps when picking and choosing things to work on for the week.

  47. Anonymous

    August 9th, 2012 at 3:23 am

    I would love to get some ideas for Math in Focus!

  48. Jeremy

    October 24th, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I do Daily Five but a modified version. I implemented it very slowly. I do not break up my centers/rotations with mini lessons and I do not give my students choices. We rotate through 3 each day. Girl, I am sure I was suppose to take away more from this post but I immediately went online shopping and bought 4 things for Christmas. Less than 88 days! Oh my gosh what am I going to do???

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