Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sticky note list freebie

"Yeah, I'm a planner. No, actually I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants gal, you know, moment to moment. Yeah, that's me. " MOVIE ANYONE??

Which do you think I am? HA, was that even a question? No surprise, I am TOTALLY a list person. So I was inspired by this project from a great DIY site called Cornflower Blue.
I wanted to make them for my family so I was lazy efficient and made a smaller printable version with space for doodling-although no one else in my family seems to have the doodle bug. Do you?
 I decided a DAILY PLAN was needed to make sure we were all balancing our free time with our responsibilities.
 The categories work for the boys and me.
CHORES-These are in addition to the ones they have every day. For me, I am trying to break my big monthly goals into smaller parts so I don't feel so overwhelmed.
SCHOOL WORK-They have Summer Bridge workbooks, flashcards, math games,etc to keep their brain from turning to mush. I have my teaching stuff to work on.
OUTSIDE-They love hockey, football, etc but get drawn by electronics so I schedule it. I am even worse and send them out but get sucked in by the computer. Trying to change this.
READING-I require at least an hour but luckily they like to read so this isn't an issue. I would read ALL DAY if I could so this is giving me time but I also have to do the others. RATS.

The boys decided they wanted to write with a dry erase marker instead of post-its which worked for me. They hadn't finished filling it out when I snapped the picture.
Then, I started thinking about how it would be great to have a To Do version of this for my teacher organizational binder so I made a version of that as well.
If you think you may be able to use any of these sticky note lists you can download them FREE by clicking on the pic below.  I'd love to hear from you if you do.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Listening FREEBIE & 2nd grade CCSS Pack

Hi, my name is Jenn and I am addicting to teaching. 

 {"Hi, Jenn," the rest of the meeting intones.}

I am trying to relax, I am, but I find that difficult. Instead of disconnecting from teaching like I probably should, I find myself spending many hours planning, creating, and organizing because I finally have more time to do it.  Most of my teacher friends think I am nuts and have no problem leaving their classroom behind. Anyone else feeling me? I am thinking I know some bloggers who should be commenting below in a similar AA format. :-)

A lot of my brain is consumed by this Common Core leadership thing I have gotten myself into.  I am feeling kind of stressed that I am the only one at my site (20ish in the whole district) to pilot this.  I keep looking over my yearly plan at what I will need to change.  I am still not 100% clear if somethings are still mine to teach or not. For example, I am not seeing contractions or compound words as a first grade standard. Anyone who is teaching/learning common core want to chime in and tell me if I am correct on that? What are the other changes you have noticed? I bet a conversation on this would help a lot of us.

One of the things I am trying to do is tweak what I already do to make it fit the standards better. I adjusted my listening center response sheets. These are FREE in my TpT store.

1st grade:  I filled this one in as an example.
2nd grade: they would have to be taught to include the info like above with a conclusion. {This could also be used later in the year for first.}

I also added the requested 2nd Grade version of my Common Core Assessment Pack to my store along with the Kinder & 1st. {Click the picture to visit my store}

 I'd love to hear from you if you download my listening center freebie, want to talk about what standards you notice are different, or want to come up with a name for our Anonymous meetings? :-)


Friday, June 22, 2012

Number Sense Game & a discount

Don't you just love coming home to a box by your front door? Today I received my order from MPM School Supplies.
I was pleased with the variety of items that are available on this site! I got EXACTLY what I needed and couldn't find at the stores near us. The website was easy to navigate and the order came quickly. I highly suggest you check them out.  The first 25 readers of my blog can click {here} to get 15% off their purchase.

So what did I get?
1. Hundreds Pocket Chart (I saw some great activities with this at my math training.)
2. Ladybug 2-sided (I have this already in my door window but mine is faded so I needed a new one.)
3. 10 sided dice. I have been looking for these and the kids will LOVE that they are die in die!
4. Transparent counters (to use on 100 chart activities)

Do you have a hundred pocket chart?
Part of my math training last week was provided by outside speakers from the Silicon Valley Math Initiative.  They suggested that you change it to a 0 to 99 chart which was very interesting. If you think about it, that makes a lot more sense. Not only are all the tens digits on the same row (rather than the 30 last in the row of all the 20's) but I think it reinforces place value better. At the end of the row you have to make a move to the next row, just like you have to bundle that tenth straw and move it over to the tens pocket.

 One of the activities that they shared was a game called Build it Fast using the 0 to 99 pocket chart.
We went to a summer school class of 1st graders and they fish-bowled the game for us.

First, she passed out all the number cards to the class and they put them in order, least to greatest, on the rug in front of them. This in itself was an interesting assessment since it became clear who was unable to do it. She went around, helping those that needed it.

Next, the teacher explained to the students that during the game they would use a technique called Silent Star. When she made a star on the whiteboard, no one (not even the teacher) could talk. She then wrote their starting time on the white board.

She placed the 99 in the bottom right pocket and motioned to the 98 spot. When a student raised the card she motioned for her to come put it in the chart. The students were encouraged to go up on their own and put their card in when they saw where it went. When the teacher noticed a student holding two cards because they were only one apart from each other, she silently encouraged her to put both of them in at once, leaving the appropriate space.

If someone put a card in the wrong spot, the teacher did not correct them but waited for another student to notice the mistake and fix it when they went to put their cards in. It was

This was an awesome way to assess. You could see who totally got it, fixing others mistakes, using the ones place in a lower row (off-decade ten) to determine the correct spot for their card, and who needed to be prodded by their neighbor because they had no idea they should be up there.

It took this class 14 minutes but the teacher said after you play a few times they get it down to about 5 minutes. I thought this was a terrific number sense activity and I hope you do too!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WInner & answering a question

Today I thought I would answer one of the questions that was left for me in a comment this week. 

Q: Do you still use Whole Brain Teaching?

A: YES! I really like it because the call response style keeps the kids engaged and I can use it ANYWHERE. In the library and need to get my students attention? No chimes to ring? NO problem! It also works well for Common Core because students are often asked to turn and "teach" their neighbor.

Here is a video if you've never seen what this looks like.

If you want to learn more you can visit the Whole Brain website.

 I also want to announce the winner from yesterday's contest.
April will be getting a copy of my new Kindergarten Common Core Assessment Pack.
I am happy that so many people are finding these helpful. 
If you want to pick up a copy for yourself click {here} or for 1st grade click {here.}

Alrighty, off to tutor. Let's hope they remember to show up since it is our first session since school let out.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Shift Happens & CCSS Kindergarten Pack

Many comments on my last post asked me to share anything I could about my Common Core training so I thought I might devote a few posts. Here goes...

At first, I thought that the Common Core wasn't that big a change from our California state standards. I figured, "Okay, so I lose coins and pick up a little fractions, no biggie."  BUT, what I learned is there are some MAJOR SHIFTS in the WAY we are to teach and students are to learn.

I loved this video! So what does this mean? Clearly we need to focus on teaching our students how to be good thinkers and be able to sift through information and decide what to do with it.  Isn't this opposite of how it is now? Don't students wait to be told the "right" way and then try to copy it exactly to get the correct answer? Isn't that sad? Is there only one right way? Wouldn't it be amazing to have a classroom full of students who think of their own, independent answers, feel comfortable and confident in explaining how they got there, and respect others points of view? Can you imagine how this would better our future workforce?

One of the major shifts in the Common Core standards is the emphasis on students explaining (orally and written) HOW they got their answer and providing evidence.

What will this look like?  This means less filling in bubbles, and more free-response tests or PBAs (Performance Based Assessments.)  It also means providing more opportunities for students to orally explain their thinking. This likely means more formative assessments, hence my idea to make checklists to keep myself on track. 

As requested, I made a Kindergarten version of my Common Core Assessment Pack.
Click on the pic to take you to my TpT store.
If you don't know what I am talking about you can read my original post by clicking here.

I will pick one winner tomorrow to receive a FREE copy of this pack. To be eligible, comment below on the video, this post, tell me you pinned it, your thoughts or questions,  a book recommendation now that I am done with 50 Shades?

And yes, I am working on 2nd and 3rd grade packs for those of you who asked. I think I am getting carpal tunnel from all this typing!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

And the winner is..

Congrats to Elizabeth of First Grade Frolics who was the winner of my 1st grade Common Core Assessment Pack!!

If you missed my post about this yesterday, click {here}. If want to pick one up for yourself click {HERE} or on the picture below.
By popular request, I am working on sets for the other grades as well.

Reading all your comments totally helped me get through Day 9 of training today. How will I get through my last day tomorrow???


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Common Core Assessment

I am dreaming Common Core. That is just wrong on so many levels. Especially since I read Fifty Shades of Grey recently. WOW, that was an eye opener. BIG mistake to read an erotic book while my husband was out of town. HUGE. I was super happy to see him when he got home. :-) Am I over-sharing? My cheeks are pink just typing this.  

Anyway, what kind of lame brain focuses on the Common Core over a Red Room fantasy??  One that has sat through 8 days of training, perhaps?
One of the shifts in the Common Core is the idea that learning will be proven through student explanation. It seems to me that many of these standards will best be assessed through observation. To keep myself organized, I made checklists for each strand (ELA) and domain (math.) 
One set has each standard listed across the top. 
The second set has the cluster headings and space to write in the activity, skill, etc. Many districts break their report card down into similar headings so I thought this would be helpful.
I plan to put one set on a clipboard for me to jot down quick formative assessments. My district uses 3=at grade level standard, 2=approaching standard, and 1=below standard but you could easily use +, ✓, − or your own system.
I plan to hole-punch another set for my grade book to record summative assessments.

I was also thinking these checklists would help me form intervention groups.  As I observe students struggling, I can quickly highlight the standard on their names and voila, small group formed!
     As I familiarize myself with these new standards, I thought it also might help to check off each standard as I teach it. This will ensure I hit all of them throughout the year and will illustrate which standards need more attention.

 If you think this might be helpful, click {HERE} to visit my TpT store. 
Would you like to win a FREE copy? Just leave a comment below about anything {Common Core, the kinky book, let me know that you pinned this, a question you have for me, something else you'd like to see me make,  ANYTHING just talk to me peeps} and I'll pick a winner as I sit attentively in day 9 of training tomorrow. ;-)

Anyone interested in me making one of these packs for a different grade level?


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Common Core PD & some reviews

I was contacted by Educational Insights and asked to review Classroom Jeopardy.
This electronic version of the classic game is engaging for our high-tech students. My own two sons (4th & 6th grade) couldn't wait to take it home and set it up. They were able to figure out how to hook it up to our T.V. by themselves although they were only able to get two of the scoreboards to work.

The game includes remotes to buzz in and even white board paddles to write down your wager.
It came with a USB stick with sample games on it.

The questions were geared more for upper elementary so my sons had fun but I couldn't see my first graders using it. I understand that you can write your own questions and they even have a site for teachers to share the ones they have made. I so wanted to make questions around our insect unit and use it with my first graders but the end of the year was just too crazy.

My friend Jennifer did me a favor though and tested it in a classroom with her 4th graders. She said they loved it and were even asking to stay in at recess to keep playing!

This game comes in a large, sturdy case so I decided to put it in our staff room and share it.

Maybe you can get your principal or PTO to buy it as a shared resource for your site?

I also wanted to let my upper-grade readers know that my friend Jessica recently posted a TpT item that I think you will want to check out. 

 The idea is similar to my Sight Word Superstars program that I've posted about before in that it gives a systematic way to track and encourage your students to learn their facts.

The upper grade teachers at our school got together and decided that although multiplication is taught in 3rd grade it would be 4th grade where they were expected to master it. The 5th grade passed the Big Blue G (a multiplication competition in which the winning class gets- you guessed it, the coveted Big Blue G) down to 4th grade 2 years ago. The winning class now gets to redecorate the large wooden G and hang it proudly in their classroom (not sure why it is a G, I think it was just a weird thing that was lying around that became a joke.) The bragging rights are HUGE!  Jessica's class has now won 2 years in a row! So if you are looking for a way to improve multiplication mastery just click HERE to go check her ideas out.

I'd like to say I am enjoying my summer but my first week was spent in PD on Common Core ELA. :-( No sun or fun for me. Next week is the same but the focus is math. Since I seem to be promoting others today, I thought I'd share that my fellow 1st grade teachers at the PD loved Anna Brantley's Common Core Essential Questions posters. I haven't bought them yet so I don't have great pics but they look like they would be helpful and are cute so I thought I give her a shout out!
This brought up the world of TpT and blogging and my coach spoke up and outed me!  (Thanks a lot, Carmen!)  :-) I guess it is fine that people in my district know that I blog, it is just new to talk to someone about it face to face! :-) Anyway, I have lots of common core ideas floating around so I will post about some of that next time! Enjoy the sun for me!