Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Teachers-pay-Teachers Store

Almost Friday!! AND...only 6 days left!

My last post said we had 8 1/2 days, well, that was wishful thinking.

Our last day is ACTUALLY a full day (oops)!!!!

How can this be??!!??

Don't "they" get it - next Friday will be a total cra-cra day!!

The kids will be wild, the teachers will be wild!!

Good news, though!

I now have the "I can statements" on teachers-pay-teachers!

Click here to check out my new store and pick up a copy for your classroom next year!

Haven't read about my "I can statements" as a type of formative assessment/exit ticket? Click here to visit my previous post.

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Break - 9 Days Away

Well technically we have 8 1/2 because our last day of school is early release! I am getting so excited! It will be a busy final 2 weeks with EOG retesting, movie day (where each grade level goes to the movie theater), field day, and awards day. Whew, that is quiet a lot for only 9 days left!

One activity that I save for an end-of-the-year filler is Extreme Dot-to-Dot.

This is a fun activity that the kids love to do! The very first time I pass it out they just about freak out with the "extreme" number of dots, but then they get busy and take it very seriously! I even make it a contest of sorts and tell them that the best final product will be displayed.

If you teach in the upper grades you should check out these books! You can find them here. I especially like the Animals and Explorers.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cool "new" Trick

"I was born at night, but not last night." This was one of my assistant's favorite quotes last year. I heard her say it multiple times. Well, today I am saying it - only I need to change it and say that I must HAVE been born last night. I just learned something today that made me go "well duh, why hadn't I thought of that before".

Marking through my originals with a highlighter. I know I have lost an original or two and I know that I have accidentally given students my originals {{while keeping a student copy instead}}. But no more!!! I plan on forever giving my originals a slash of yellow highlighter. The highlighter won't show up on the copies and I will now be able to keep track of all my belongings!

I can't believe after 7 years of teaching that I am just now learning this little trick.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Data Boards

YEAH!!! We are finished with round 1 of state testing! The dreaded "week" is finally over! Testing makes for long days and they become even longer when the sun is hidden behind rain clouds. Luckily by the end of the week we had nice weather for afternoon, after-test outdoor recess time.

I wanted to share what my grade level has created to display and organize data. As a third grade team, we have been keeping classroom data on a data board we created out of a science fair board. On this board, we keep data for our aimsweb scores, monthly fluency checks, Inview scores (IQ), and our end of reading theme/ end of unit math test scores. This has been helpful in making decisions on RTI, parent conferences, small group (intervention) planning...

Each third grade teacher was assigned a number 1-5. We display data using our "teacher number" and use our classroom student assigned numbers to keep everything anonymous. Only we know who is who.

We are very proud of how it turned out and the growth we have seen in our kiddos this year. Next year, I hope to take it a step further and have a class board that the kids help take ownership of so that they can make personal goals based on their scores.

I would love for you to leave a comment below. What would you include on the board?

Boy am I looking forward to getting back into our regular routine this week! And No TESTing (at least this week - retakes will be the following week)!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award


I was just award the One Lovely Blog Award by Darleen @ Third Grade Love. Check it out right over there to the right...
Thanks so much Darleen! Check out her blog and become her newest follower!

Here are the blogs I would like to recognize and award:
1.Apples and Pencil Skirts
2.Tanya @ Vegan Faith
3.Caitlin @ Ms. Preppy
4.Hilary@ Rockin Teacher Materials
5.Dana @ A Place to Share
6.Dandelions and Dragonflies
7.Katie @ Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans
8.Lory @ Lory's Page
9.Abby @ The Inspired Apple
10.Amanda @ One Extra Degree
11.Penny Pinching Teacher
12.Miss Willis @ The Go To Teacher
13.Melissa @ Teaching Fashionista
14.Rowdy in First Grade
15.Heather @ Working 4 the Classroom

There are a few simple rules to receiving this award:

1) Follow the person that gave you the award.

2) Link back to the person that gave you the award.

3) Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

These are only a few of my favorite blogs! There are so many! Please take a minute and check out all of these talented ladies! Thanks to them, I continue to grow and learn as a teacher!

Thanks again, Darleen! I am doing a "secret silent" cheer right now! (more about what that is at a later date if you're wondering)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cruisin' Clipboards

Cruisin' Clipboards are wonderful tools for formative assessment. I keep mine located on my desk in an easy to access spot. As my students are working, I grab my clipboard and document student progress on a skill as I casually observe their work. This is also the place I stick my post-it note exit tickets (see previous post). I sort the exit tickets by those that master the skill and those that need extra assistance.

One way to organize your clipboard is to have a class list sectioned off into mini-boxes. I write the date and/or skill that I am formatively assessing and highlight or circle the students that I notice need extra help with that particular skill. A third grade teammate of mine uses different colors of copy paper for her class lists. One color represents math skills, the other reading.

During the last minutes of the day, I have a blocked off intervention time. This is when those students that need reteaching are pulled together in a small group.

The teacher assistant in my room last year made my clipboard for me, but there are cute tutorials on Pinterest if you want to create a jazzed up cruisin' clipboard. Click here to go to a webpage that gives step-by-step directions on how to decorate clipboards like the ones pictured.

front of clipboard

back of clipboard

Friday, May 11, 2012

Author's Purpose

Well, testing begins next week - yikes!! So... this week while reviewing, I pulled out this beauty to review why authors write.

I love this visual of PIE (( Persuade, Inform, and Entertain)). I made my PIE using my daughter's markers and a piece of white poster board. It was a bit tough because the markers are so small, but I love the colors.

Once we went over it thoroughly, my students created their very own PIEs to help them remember author's purpose before the BIG test next week. I came across this pin though on Pinterest AFTER we made our individual PIEs in class and wanted to share (because it is so much cuter than what my students created).
(Click here for the site)

I will definitely use this one next year. My students had a small plate that we divided into thirds and then they colored it to look like a pie and labeled the sections.

Here is an anchor chart I found on Pinterest - the students can even create their own author's purpose tree map by cutting out pictures of books out of book orders. (I always have a few extra Scholastic Book Orders - now I will have a way to use them!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Common Core "I Can" Posters

Not so long ago I discovered customized Common Core I Can Posters by Erin Morrison on TpT. {{Click here to check them out. }}My favorite thing about them {well TWO favorite things} are that they are written in "Kid Friendly" I can statements on one side and teacher language on the opposite side. They are adorable and it saves me the time from creating my own for next year. Best of all, she will also include your state's essential standards for science and social studies too!! After purchasing them, I emailed her my email address, grade level, and state. Within a day or two she was finished and sent them to me via email. Now my whole grade level has purchased a set from her. Thanks Erin, I just LOVE them!!

Okay, now for the part on how to organize these bad boys!! After printing, laminating, and cutting them all out, I had the dilemma of how to store and organize them. I decide to try one of my book baskets that I had purchased as a set from Really Good Stuff. I turned it sideways, cut down manilla file folders, and voila, I had the perfect storage solution. I sorted the Posters by subject and labeled the file folders. Now, I can easily access the posters when I need to change I Can statements!

Here is a closer look at my labeled file folder.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bloom's Foldable {FREE}

I wanted to share a great way to have students use Bloom's themselves in small group settings. This idea comes from a colleague of mine in 4th grade - Tina. Thanks Tina!

Each students creates a Bloom's foldable. During small group workstations, students take their Bloom's foldable with them to use in group discussions. One idea is to assign students a level that they are responsible for using during their group discussions (each level in freebie is in a different color). The students love carrying around their foldable and becoming the "teacher", asking questions that are related to their assigned Bloom's level. This gives the students the opportunity to have ownership in their learning!

Click here for your free copy! Just have students stagger fold four sheets of paper (or cut and stagger paper), cut out the Bloom's levels, and paste. Let me know if you have any other ideas of how to use this foldable!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We had a fun day in 3rd grade on Friday! (It was an early release day - yeah!!)

As we were settling in first thing in the morning, I was opening the blinds and noticed that our last caterpillar had finally blossomed into a beautiful butterfly!

We excitedly headed outside to release him. He was so reluctant to take flight though. He held on so tightly to his branch. One student broke out into song, singing R'Kelly's - I Believe I Can Fly! I decided we couldn't wait forever and the children inferred that his "wings must need more time drying"; so we headed back inside with him.

Later that afternoon, I remembered that I still needed to give this stubborn amazing creature another chance at freedom. I was too worried he would die if left in his box all weekend. My son helped carry him back outside and picked him and his stick up, admiring the beauty marks on his wings, when at last he took off into flight!

Also on Friday, we wrapped up our ROCK THE TEST project. This idea came from Tiffany Gannon's Rockin' Out the Test...
My kids loved creating a mini-me, rocker style. They also had to write advice or strategies about taking the TEST! They did a fantastic job, and it is stinking cute hanging up in the hallway!

Lastly, I want to share what I whipped up made Friday night for teacher appreciation week next week! I had seven gifts to give (one son has three teachers and the other two have two teachers each). I decided to create a gift similar to one I had seen on Pinterest. Altogether, I spent under $20 and less than 30 minutes creating 7 gifts. Here is a sneak peek...

To create these gifts, I bought clear frames at the dollar store ($7), ribbon ($2), flowers/stickers ($2), post-it notes ($4). Most items, except the frames, were purchased at Wal-mart. I already had 12x12 scrapbook paper at home (for 7 frames, it took under 1 1/2 pages).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching

This is such an amazing video!  I could watch it over and over.  I use several of the Whole Brain Teaching techniques in my classroom.  I learned a few more from seeing this teacher in action and will be trying more over the weeks.  My kiddos love to turn and teach their partner.  I have been using the "clap-clap teach/clap-clap okay" for two years now. We also love to "blow" our answers into our hands and "release."  If you want to learn more google "Whole Brain Teaching" for more videos.