Tuesday, January 28, 2014

UBD Units: ELA and Math

I have had a lot of requests for the UBD units that my team created last year.  This post will explain the UBD model and also give you resource links to the units that my team created.

UBD or Understanding By Design is a new way of teaching that's basically a backwards design.  You come up with the assessment first and then create your teaching sequence geared toward the assessment.  (Kinda like teaching to the test.)  The units are designed to teach the most important topics at the beginning of the school year and these topics are usually taught longer due to the complexity.  You basically want to dig really deep into the minds of your students so they REALLY master the skill.  The phrase I have heard that's best used to describe this teaching method is:
"Teach a mile deep and an inch wide"
"Teaching an inch deep and a mile wide"  
In my opinion, the old way of teaching (spiraled) teaches students a mile wide because we are teaching a million different topics (a mile long) every other day (ok, I know...I'm exaggerating!)  But really, how much of this information taught really sinks in??  I believe that the UBD units help students to have more time learning a topic instead of bouncing around all year long.

The new school that I moved to does not use the UBD's but I do miss using them.  It makes total sense to teach deeply instead of just skimming the surface like the spiraled units of the past.  I'm hoping that my county will adopt the UBD model soon because this spiraling of units is driving me crazy.  LOL!  END RANT! :-)

Here are the links to the ELA and Math units that we created:

These should be ELA units 3-8.  We didn't do unit 1-2 at the beginning of the school year.  We started our UBD's on unit 3. 

Unit 3: Characters

Unit 4: Nonfiction

Unit 5: Fix-Up Strategies

Unit 6: Reading Across Genres 

Unit 7: Thinking Deeply About Characters

Unit 8: Reading Science Topics


Unit 1: Numbers and Place Value

Unit 2: Addition/Subtraction Word Problems

Unit 3: Fact Fluency-Unknowns-Adding 3 Numbers

Unit 4: Comparing-Adding 2-Digit Numbers-10 More/10 Less

Unit 5: True/False and Unknowns

Unit 6: Data and Graphing

Unit 7: Geometry

Unit 8: Fractions

I hope these units will help you plan your next UBD or lesson plan.  The units are not completed to perfection so please feel free to overlook any mistakes...they were created with limited time during the school year.  Each unit takes 1-2 hours to complete.  I know you can imagine trying to squeeze these units into the regular planning time that teachers are given.  I was fortunate to work with an awesome team of first grade teachers that were dedicated to creating these units with me.

Have a wonderful week!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2 Year Anniversary: Double Sale

It's been 2 years since I entered the blogging and TPT world!  I never imagined that I would be where I am today!  Everything in my life changed after realizing that I had a creative outlet for all of the ideas that were jumbled in my brain.  

When I created my very first product, I worked on it for an entire month.  (I know, crazy...right?!)  I was so proud of it when I was finished but decided to post it for FREE on TeachersPayTeachers just so I could get noticed.  Looking back on that product, I can't believe how far I have gone 
(It's a lil embarrassing...lol).

After seeing the progress in downloads from my freebie,  my first paid product was posted. I can remember the very second that I made my very first TPT sale!  I never knew my legs could move so fast!!  I ran upstairs to tell my husband and we just celebrated!  I am so grateful for everyone of you that show an interest by reading and following me.  My motivation comes from all of YOU!  Thank you so much for all that you do!

In celebration, I am offering a 
DOUBLE Anniversary SALE!

You can take advantage of 20% off at my TPT store and 50% off at my Teacher's Notebook store. 



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Reading Workshop Resources

Reading Workshop is a wonderful part of the day and sometimes can be overwhelming with all that is included. I have created some posters for you to hang up as reminders for what to do and what to say in order to maximize your reading time. 

Here is a recommended schedule of the reading workshop components. This sequence works very well and my students respond well to the sequence. I like to do journal writing after we read so students can write a response to what they read. We use sticky note codes while we are reading so we can remember our favorite part, a funny or surprising part, or a part that made them wonder. I really try to increase their connections by thinking while reading. This helps them remember the story and thus comprehend better. 
Within reading workshop, is my favorite part of teaching first grade...guided reading!!  This part of my day is amazing because I get to see their growth right in front of me. I love to encourage students to be better readers by giving them the tools in order to be successful readers.  By doing so, you should teach your guided reading lessons in a meaningful sequence. Therefore, I have also created a schedule of activities to follow during your groups. 
Along with the schedule, are some posters of things to talk about before, during, and after reading. This can be done during reading groups or during your Interactive Read Aloud (IRA). Here is the "Before" poster. Check out my TPT store for more information and to view the "During" and "After" posters. 
Once you understand the schedule and the components of reading workshop, you can begin adding meaningful questions to enhance the comprehension of your readers. It's pointless to read a book if you can't understand what's going on. These posters will give you some actions to do with your students and questions to ask before, during, and after reading with your reading group or when doing an Interactive Read Aloud. These posters come in full size and also in quarter sheets like this one. You can print these out for parents as a resource to use at home. It's helpful for parents to have questions to ask during the reading process that are the same as those modeled in the classroom. 
During the INTERACTIVE read aloud, students should be interacting with one another in order to stimulate text conversations. This helps to enhance their reading skills as well as those listening and speaking skills that are necessary in first grade. This poster will be a reminder of the interactive choices you can make during your IRA. It helps to change up the activities so your students don't get bored by doing the same activities over and over again. 
There has been a huge push for students to think critically and to create their own ideas in order to have a better understanding of what they're learning. According to the revised Bloom's Taxonomy, students should be analyzing, creating, and evaluating.  In order to increase higher levels of thinking while reading, you can practice these "Higher Order Thinking Skills" (HOTS) by asking deep comprehension questions. When students can find a simple answer in the text or remember that the characters name was Henry, they are answering lower level questions that doesn't require a lot of brain power. We want students to think deeply about the texts they are reading or listening to. Those low level knowledge questions like, "Who were the characters?" or "Where were they?" do not help students think deeply. It merely skims the surface of their comprehension of the text and also the world around them. We want students to make connections with the text by evaluating why the characters did a certain thing or acted a certain way. These questions will help your questioning techniques in order to increase reading comprehension. 
When you assign nightly reading for your students to complete, you can use these cute coloring reading logs to make recording their books a little more fun. You can also use these reading logs in the classroom to keep track of books read during silent reading. 

I have provided two different reading log designs for you to choose from with 16 different themes. 

You can choose from: Option 1 - Students will read a book and color the picture or Option 2 - Students will read for x amount of minutes and then color a picture. I like option 2 because it can be differentiated.

The 16 themes included in this download are:
Polar Bears
St. Patrick's Day
Farm Animals
Flies (Insects)
I hope these reading workshop resources will be helpful for you to use in your classroom. To download any of the posters, please visit my TPT store at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Michelle-Mcelhinny

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. Do you follow the same format for reading workshop or do your do something different?  I would love to hear your thoughts. 
Sorry for such a long post!  My brain has been on break for way too long and I absolutely needed to release some built up sharing. Thanks for listening/reading. 

Enjoy the rest of your week!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Catching Up and Cupcake Fractions

I hope you all had a restful winter break and spent some quality time with your family.  I'm one of the lucky ones that doesn't have to go back until Monday.  We spent a week visiting our family in Pennsylvania and got to enjoy some snow on Christmas morning.  Santa treated my boys well this year and it was awesome to have them both understand the whole present thing. It makes me sad that they are growing so fast!  Gavin is 6 now and is in kindergarten!  I'm fortunate enough to be able to teach at the same school that he now attends.  Being only 4 doors down from him makes me much less worried about him (even though he was blessed with an amazing teacher).  My other little boy, Landen, is now 3 and has been keeping our new nanny on her toes. 

This past year has been quite a treat for my family.  We have had quite a few fortunate events and a couple of unfortunate ones.  I think the best one was getting a new job that's only a mile from my house...saves on gas AND I get to be with my baby boy!  I know that everyone has a plan in life and it's amazing to see everything fall into place.  As we enter 2014, I'm hoping for even more good things to come!!

Now to the good stuff!!  I've been working on some cool products over break and with all the organizing I've been getting done around the house it's taking me a little longer than expected.  Here's a little teaser to keep you downloading and YES it's another FREEBIE for you to enjoy.  Click on the picture below to download this QR code math center game.


Enjoy your weekend!