Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Bites-Intro to Book Bites and Episode 1

Welcome to Book Bites! I am so glad you stopped by to read or stumbled across the video on FB! My wish is that you find something positive and useful each time you visit Book Bites.

Why Book Bites?
A love of books of course! All books! Math, ELA, Science, SS, Professional, etc! Teaching can be overwhelming, especially all the possible literature available to be able to use in the classroom. I want to be able to share titles of books (specifically read alouds) that are well known but also maybe titles you have never heard of or used. 

What will you get with Book Bites?
During this series I am hoping to be able to provide a nice little sampling, a taste, of sorts, to all things literature. Hence the name, Book Bites!
I am hoping to give any of the following:
-overview of the book
-sticky notes for teaching
-ideas for teaching points
-maybe even some extra resources, craft-tivity, etc

I will also feature books across content areas-math, language, science, ss!

I may have suggestions for which grade levels for the books, but ultimately it will be up to you to decide if it will work for you and your group!
Some times I might just pop in with a recommendation of a new book without allll the extras, but just to give you a taste of the book so you can decide if it would be of interest for you! That is what I would call a "minisode" where I will probably do a quick video over on FB or Instagram, so hopefully you follow me there! Just search The Blessed OCDiva! 

When will Book Bites happen?
I am striving for at least once a month at first for the big videos and resource uploads. This is time consuming so I have to prepare everything for ya'll and get it uploaded. If time permits I may pop in more frequently. Some Book Bites may happen LIVE on FB or pre-recorded. So keep your eyes peeled over on my FB page for frequent updates! 

If you are familiar with workshop, you know read alouds are very important within reading time. There are many benefits to reading aloud to your students.
-Intro students to engaging, entertaining, and though provoking literature
-Model expressive and fluent reading 
-Lead student discussion through accountable talk
-Builds literacy skills:vocabulary, phonics, storytelling, and comprehension

There are also many benefits of implementing accountable talk:
-stimulates higher order thinking
-reflecting on learning
-communicates learning and understanding with others not just the teacher

A few years into teaching I realized how important preparing for the read aloud and being familiar with how you were going to implement it throughout the week was for not only the students but for me to use time strategically and effectively. 
One thing I did do with my team during planning times was to go through the read aloud we were using together and make notes on stickys of where we wanted to stop and talk, turn and talk, how to model, teaching point, etc. This is very beneficial for new teachers, however, 10 years later for me I love still doing this and it again helps keep me accountable. We all know how quickly the day can go and how precious the time is during workshop.

Another thing to note, when I give suggestions for stickys , I may give multiple and some may not be appropriate for certain grades at certain times of the year. I am just kind of brain dumping so I can squeeze as many different lessons out for ya'll to chose from. When you sticky note, you can skip some I suggest or tweak until they work for you. You won't ever have time to stop at every sticky when it is overloaded, you need to be focused and particular on what is the objective you are trying to hit home and hone in on that. 

Another tip I have realized is that you do not have to have a million books to be effective on read aloud (although having a million books isn't a bad thing haha, I am quite the book hoarder myself). But if you do not have the resources or financial ability to hoard books, only having a few very effective books can still get the job done. I have been sitting in planning looking at a book and I find SO many teaching points and places for accountable talk that would not be possible to address in one mini lesson. So what do I do? I go ahead and make those notes so I don't forget and then I have it ready when I want to pull that book back out to teach a different point.

It is also important to remember sometimes it is okay and beneficial to do a read aloud just for enjoyment the first day then revisit it for the particular modeling, stop and talk,etc. Every book you read does not need a whole lesson made around it or talked to death. Sometimes kids just need to hear the story and enjoy it. You as the teacher professional have to decide when, where, how, which, and why you are choosing a book for a read aloud for workshop. 

If I provide the notes/info for Book Bites sometimes it may look overwhelming at first glance, however, they are meant to front load you all at once and then you can go in and choose what you need and when you need it based on your teaching schedule. Hope that makes sense. Using whole brain with these as well work wonderfully (Teach, Ok- gestures, etc) 

I think that is a basic run down of Book Bites! 

Another tip: when I was sticky noting books this year for my teachers one of my first grade teachers came up with a wonderful hack! 
Not every book's pages are numbered. *wamp waa* and if they are not your personal copy then you may not be able to number them in yourself. So when typing or writing the sticky notes if they get misplaced or you need to remember where it belongs when teaching all you do it write the first few words from the page at the top of the sticky note.Genius right?!

Okay so onto the first Book Bites! If you want to see and hear along with reading go watch it HERE over on FB. (I am debating loading it to my YouTube channel as well)

In the spirit of back to school I am featuring this adorable book! 

How Rocket Learned to Read stars an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally… learns to read all on his own!

Teaching points:
Back to School, Learning to Read, Connections, Vocabulary, Verbs, Character changes
This book lends itself to multiple teaching points. Again, you would not address them all at the same time. But go ahead and make notes so you could always refer back to it. You could use it for B2S and then pull it back out when teaching verbs to showcase those pages.

Sticky notes:
Here are the suggested stopping points for this book- remember you will not want to do everyone all at once. These are front loaded so you decide when and how to use them. Grab them HERE.

Other ideas to incorporate this text:
-Do a book talk before reading to kids-this would be a little personal story you have in connection to the book. For example, you might tell about a teacher you had that made learning to read fun and not too scary. This just helps to really personalize it and model that for the kids.
-After reading-ask more questions (included on sticky notes), integrate into writing and make a class book "How ________ Learned to Read"

I will also use some short little acronyms in the stickys as well. You will decide when and where to actually stop reading and have your kids discuss so I give options.
T&T- turn and talk (incorporate Teach/Okay for Whole Brain)
TO-think out loud (more so for the teacher to do)

If you have any other questions please go watch the video to help get more of a visual!!

Stay tuned for the next full episode or even "minisode" where I will feature another fun book!

Have a BLESSED Weekend!! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Subitizing DIY

Do your kids struggle with subitizing numbers? Subi-say what?! I know quite the mouth full huh? Honestly I was not familiar with this term in my early years of teaching. I think this definition pretty much sums (no math pun intended;) ) it up for us! 

Subitizing is the ability to 'see' a small amount of objects and know how many there are without counting. Subitizing is what tells you what number you roll on a six sided dice – most adults no longer have to count the pips after playing board games for a while.

Having the ability to do this at the primary grades really is so important for numeracy. It does transition over as well in the intermediate grades with higher order mathematics. 

According to The National Council of Teachers and Mathematics, one key part of effective subitizing is developing pattern recognition. Moreover, this mathematical skill allows students to gain a grasp of numbers and advance to higher levels of addition. As an activity, the NCTM suggests taking “snapshots”. Taking snapshots means showing an image of a collection of objects to the student for just a second, then asking him or her to take a mental “snapshot” in order to identify how many objects are included in the image. (

Some benefits of subitizing:

*Saves Time-not having to count each individual member of the group

*Precursor for more complex number ideas-Students who can Subitize small groups of numbers are able to develop their counting skills by beginning their counting after the subitized group, or by using subitizing to count forwards or backwards by twos, threes, or even larger groups later when they are exposed to more complex multiplication tables. (Reys, et al., 2012) This type of subitizing falls into the category of conceptual subitizing which occurs with larger number sets, and involves  breaking the group into smaller parts (Clements, 1999). 

*Lends itself to learning addition and subtraction easier- it means that they are better equipped to handle addition and subtraction concepts, as they do not have to count each small group to be added or removed when learning operations with manipulatives (Reys, et al., 2012). 

Also having a strong base in doubles, number combinations, as well as making ten really creates the ability to subitize and group numbers together when in sets higher than 10. 

Having taught first grade the concept of subitizing was essential in our math journey. There are many activities you can do with kids to scaffold and teach them how to subitize. One quick and easy DIY I am listing below! 

We did this activity as a math warm up daily and it took us less than 5 minutes. Gosh, make it a race for them, bettering their time each time. This can be done whole group or small group. You can now get subitizing cards all over TPT,etc, but these little guys are cheap and require no ink! We made these with our math coach (Hey Jackie!) one year and I have been pulling them back out for my tutoring. All you do is flash the plate! 

Prompting some questioning while doing this as well really gives the kids a chance to express their math thinking and also gives you as the teacher a chance to hear if they really understand. 
Some examples of questions you can ask after flashing a plate/card: 
-how did you get that number?
-how do you know?
-what did you see?
-how did you group?

You could also hold up a plate and ask:
-what is one more/less than this number?
-what is ___more/less than this number?
-is this odd or even?

Some responses I have heard from kids might be:
-it is 8 because I see 4 here and 4 here and 4 and 4 make 8
-it is 6 because I grouped 4 and 2
-the number is 9 because I see 4 and 4 and one more make 9
This also lends itself to eventually add three numbers as well because of how they are grouping combinations. 
I have also heard kids say "Well I visualized that dot moved down to make a row of 5 then added the extra dots" *mind blown teacher* right?! When you can get your mathematicians talking and discussing like that it is amazing!!! 

It is also VERY important to point out and let the kids discover there may be more than 1 way to subitize and get to their answer. I often have kids say one of the responses above and another kid say a different way they saw it but still are able to produce the same number as their answer. 
I have also seen firsthand how quickly they get better at recognizing numbers, building that number sense, and utilizing strategies to make the combinations faster (make ten, doubles, etc)

So onto the DIY:
Materials needed: paper plates (we used the small ones and the cheapest ones)
                             sticker dots (two different colors)
Then add the dots in different configurations on the plates! 
Use my plates as an example.

Also, what if you put subitizing configurations in a math station and some extra plates, index cards, scrap paper, sentence strip pieces, etc. and they create their own subitizing cards with dots, paint, bingo dotters?! EEK how fun right?

Some other ways to incorporate subitizing into your daily schedule:
-put subitizing dots on your stations instead of the actual number
-subitize as an entrance ticket in the morning on their way through the door
-display your number line with dots under each number

Kids can subitize things other than dots:
-tally marks

A few minutes a day will make a difference! 

Have a Blessed Day!

"Be Good to People"

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Keto on the Go!

Today's post is slightly off the teaching subject, in a way. I guess I will still be teaching, but just about another one of my favorite things....FOOD!
The hubs and I have recently (5 weeks ago) started eating Ketogenic-ly. I am not an expert so if you'd like to read more "information" about it please visit this site. Today's goal is to share a bit about our journey and how we maintained it while traveling recently.

Disclaimer: I have not done a ton of research on all of this and I am not a certified nutritionist so I am only speaking from what I have seen in passing, what my hubby tells me, and what has seemed to work for us. 

A few weeks before starting Keto I had decided to get off dairy too cold turkey. I had been having some crazy bloating and stomach issues for a few months. Which was weird because I have eaten dairy my whole life and never had any issues, but just goes to show you how things can change. So I started just doing lactose free milk and it didn't get much better, so then I just stopped. No milk, no cheese, no dairy, only almond milk. You guys, the bloating stopped, my stomach felt soooo much better and my face cleared up! I have been going to the dermatologist since middle school and now I literally don't think I have to be on meds anymore! It was that good of a turn around!

So back to keto. We looked up keto recipes, made lists, went to the store, and spent the whole Sunday meal prepping for the week. Now I am not a chef or a baker by any means, in fact, I'd rather not, but it was actually fun to methodically think through what we were going to eat and how healthy it all was. Now some say Keto is not something you can maintain forever, some opinions differ. I am not getting into all of that. Our goal was to mainly try it for 6 weeks and see what the results were. I mean it wasn't night and day from how we were eating, it just made us more mindful of what we bought (like chips,bread for toast, eating out, etc). 
We stocked up on eggs (no shocker there for us), bacon (uncured-no nitrates/nitrites), spinach (just be careful how much you can get kidney stones), broccoli, salmon, meat, pork rinds, etc. Here is a graphic for the types of foods they suggest.

Once the first week was over it was not so hard. I didn't lock myself in the room in the dark and rock back and forth screaming for cakes and bread, I only had one carb dream ;) haha jk. It really just ended up becoming a habit for us. I was able to learn new recipes, especially some sweets to cure the sweet tooth cravings. Now depending on who you talk to as well as with any eating regime it can be taken extreme or you can fall off the wagon day 1...we are more of the sitting in the wagon type of people. We are going to take it seriously and try to meet our goals but not dissect every little tiny thing. When we would eat out we did take our time to decide where it would be and if they had anything we could turn into Keto friendly food. For the most part it was rather easy. Which brings me to the whole point for today's post. How to be on the go with Keto. Again, I am not going in depth about the origins of Keto, or research, etc. This is mainly for anyone who has started and needs to travel and how you can possibly still stay true to the course even while traveling, where your diet could be sacrificed. Also, these are just ideas, they may not work for you. That's okay! Just merely suggestions.

We were traveling to Colorado. So our first leg of the trip would be about 8 hours. The second day about 5 hours. We had a large cooler and bought ice for the first half of the trip. We made sure our first hotel room had a fridge and microwave in it as well.

The night before we spent time preparing. We prepared: egg salad, Mcgriddle, and cookies.

Grab the egg salad recipe here

Grab the Mcgriddle recipe here (we used bacon instead of sausage)

Grab the cookie recipe here (we left out the chocolate chips)

For snacks between meals we packed: almonds, protein bars (keto friendly), sunflower seeds, almond butter spread, pork rinds, and beef jerky.

We mainly snacked on the road and ate some of the cookies (mainly b/c I accidentally used salted butter for the cookies and it actually came out like little corn bread cookies haha-keto friendly of course)

We did stop at Mcdonalds for a quick lunch and had the burger without the bun, no ketchup, and add mayo.

Once we arrived at the first hotel we had the egg salad to snack on and we were able to eat the Mcgriddle that morning since the hotel had a microwave.

Once we arrived in CO, we were staying with his gma so making food was much easier! We still had leftover egg salad to munch on as well! For meals throughout the week we stayed the course!
Breakfast: eggs and bacon
Lunch: egg salad, rotisserie, burger no bun
Dinner: pot roast, raw broccoli and ranch, avocado, salad, radishes (this lasted two days or so from leftovers)

We snacked throughout the day on some of the items we had brought with us from above!

On the way home we didn't have the ability to home make as we did on the way to CO. We still had leftover snacks but we did have to stop and get fast-food once on our first leg on the way back. We just did what we had before-hamburger but no bun!

When we got to the hotel for the way home we were able to eat a fresh salad with veggies and hamburger meat with bacon and a fried egg on top!

We were fortunate to be able to stay with his gma and us be able to cook with her. However, we were so happy we decided to cook items before we left for the trip to be able to really watch our intake on the road, especially when it can be very tempting to not pay much attention to your eating.

Now I will divulge on our way home we stopped at Ihop for eggs and bacon, but once we got there we saw the new cupcake pancakes and decided to go for it. At first I was hesitant because, I mean we went to all this work all week to stick to our plan and now the last few hours of the trip we were going to ruin it?! But, no, it was not ruining it for us it was a moment of "live your life". We had made it 5 weeks AND a major road trip on our plan! We limited ourselves to 2 and we went right back to keto for the rest of the day/week! We just have developed the habits of choosing our food so the pancakes were not something that threw us over the edge like a wild animal that gets a taste of fresh meat.
Oh and yes they were worth it for a little cheat meal,no calories wasted there! :)

I am still not completely sold on high fat the true way Keto calls for it for long periods of time, but I also need to do more reading on it. Like I said above we aren't driving the Keto bus but merely just some passengers enjoying a new way of eating and if anything it is teaching us to think more clearly about our choices and when it is okay to indulge.

I will say I have enjoyed my face clearing up and I have also noticed I have had much more energy naturally and not so zombie like after eating!

Even if you aren't doing Keto, maybe you found some new recipes to try out and enjoy something different!

Have a BLESSED week!