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Smorgasboard Of Random Answers!

Howdy ya’ll!   I recently teamed up with my friends at ESGI and Alive Studios for a free webinar about my favorite things of technology!   I shared my love of ESGI for assessment (hello simple and fast!!!!) and my new found love of augmented reality using Letters Alive from Alive Studios!    (Seriously ya’ll…Letters Alive is the coolest thing ever!!!!!!!!!    You must have it!)  As part of that webinar, people submitted questions before and during the webinar.   Today I want to take a few minutes to answer some of those questions!
So….here goes.   Smorgie answers questions.  Pretty exciting stuff huh?!
How Long Is A Typical Lesson?

I use mini lessons for almost all of my whole group instruction.  Those last 10-15 minutes depending on the skill/subject/topic we’re working on!   For our literacy block, we do a 15-20 minute literacy routine and then we have our read aloud and comprehension work before we move to small groups/centers/hippopotamuses and workstations.  Small group lessons last 10-12 minutes!
For more information on our morning literacy routine, check out this post to see our routine last school year!
What Do you Have Students Doing While You Assess?
When I’m assessing my students or working in small groups or one on one, the rest of the ‘staches are in their hippopotamuses (centers/workstations) working away!   My classroom is a centers/workstations based classroom which frees me up for assessments, small groups and 1 on 1 instruction!   It also makes differentiation easier and gives the students control and choice in their own learning!
You can see more about my centers/workstations/hippos by checking out these posts!
Centers Made Easy (Video of a PD session I presented!
How Do You Get It All Done In A Day?
Ummmmm I don’t!   LOL   I overplan and we don’t get to things.  And that’s ok!   No, really.  It’s ok to skip things for fun things and it’s ok to skip things for teachable moments.   And life happens.  Raise your hand if your day goes exactly as planned with no interruptions?!   Yeah, I ain’t seein no hands!   And by interruptions we mean from adults.  The office.   Custodians.  Parents.  
But we do squeeze in a lot each day and have no downtime.  This is great because no downtime helps cut down on behavior issues.  They’re too dang busy to be bad!  
Here’s my schedule for this year!   And let’s be honest…I always try to art daily so that takes precedence!  
Do You Use A Reading Series?
Our district uses Journeys but I don’t use it.  I don’t find that it meets the needs of my students so I pull resources and plan according to what my students need.  I use children’s literature to teach all of our comprehension skills!
Our district issues pacing guides for each 9 weeks and those guides tell us what standards we must teach during that quarter, but we have freedom to teach those standards however we would like!
How Much Time Do You Set For Centers And Do You Switch Centers?
NO SWITCHING!    I used to switch every 15 minutes but we lost soooooooo much instructional time that now we don’t switch.  This is possible because of how I run my centers/hippopotamuses!  The ‘staches have tons of choices and freedom to choose their activities to they’re engaged the entire time!   No switching=more fun and more learning!
Typically we have 45-60 minutes of literacy centers and 45 minutes of math centers!
What Is Your Favorite Literacy Center?
My favorite that I’ve created is What Does The Fox Say!  
It’s such a fun theme and the kids love the activities.  I also love that I have a set of these that covers the entire year and I’ve created them all the same so once they’ve learned one set of these, they can do all of the centers for the year with no reteaching from me!  Teacher freedom, people!
The skills included are:
Letters And Sounds
CVC Words
CVC-E Words
Ending Sounds
Blends
How Many Students Do You Have?
19.  
 3 English speakers.
13 ELL students who vary with English proficiency (1 Arabic, 12 Spanish)
3 who speak no English.
How Do You Handle Your Cusser?
So this year, I have a little guy who cusses!  A lot.  He drops those bombs all day long.  BUT he never does it to be “bad” or get attention!  He uses the words in context and uses them correctly.  One day, he got so excited he was clapping his hands and saying ” OH SH** OH SH** OH SH**”
So, how do I handle this?  I laugh.  And I ignore.  Why?  Because it’s not causing any issues.  The other kids don’t react or acknowledge that it happens so I’m not going to draw attention to it.  If it becomes an issue, I’ll address it.
That said, I have talked to the cusser about home words and school words.  But we still use our home words at school.  
Pick your battles, people!
How Do You Use QR Codes In The Classroom?
HEre are some blog posts about using QR codes in the classroom:
Here are my QR Code creations!
I hope this helps!  As always, fill free to email me or hit me up on social media if you have questions!  
Love ya’ll!
And if you’re interested in using ESGI, use the code B2442 to get $50 off the price!

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