Saturday, December 6, 2014

#HashtagObsessionIsMovinngIntoTheClassroom and A Look at What We've Been Up To

#IDontKnowWhyButILoveUsingHashtags.  My dad is even at the point where that's simply how he communicates with us, even if he does put a # before AND at the end of whatever it is he is saying.  

As I was typing one of my incredibly long normal length hashtags, I noticed it sometimes takes me a minute to read others!  What does this mean to my 24/7 teacher thinking brain?  Make the students EDIT sentences in the form of HASHTAGS!

I know we all spend countless hours going over what sentences need to include at the beginning of  throughout the entire year, but it still doesn't seem to "stick" as much as we'd like it to.  My little ones do a sentence editing page on the smart board during calendar time each day to help with sentence editing and finding/ correcting mistakes, but even that can get tiresome day after day.  I also wanted them to work on spelling their sight words correctly, which some of them were simply being too careless to pay any attention to this.  How can I get them to edit on their own in a fun & engaging way, yet requiring a little more higher level thinking?

We spent a day editing some of these together on the smart board.

After about 2 or 3 examples, they were really starting to catch on (I was totally impressed). 

On Day 2, after a few more examples,  I released them into the wild--the wild being our very organized and well groomed classroom ;) ).

I use these cooperative grouping mats with my students for many different things, one of them being an easy way to level their independent practice. 

After diving them up according to their number (aka level), they set off to edit with their paper, pencil, and clipboards!  I had the cards taped all around the room.  Crowd control was no issue since they were only to edit their assigned "color" card.  

I just stood back, looked around, and was soooooo excited as to what I saw!!

Here's a little peak...

You can see the different levels of complexity here in the colored cards

After they finished their assigned editing strips, they came to me to check.  If they had perfectly edited sentences, they got to pick a piece of candy out of the candy basket that never seems to end thanks to the visit from my sister and my dad on Halloween.  #ALittleSweetIncentiveNeverHurtAnyoneRight

More than half of my students had a perfect paper, but I knew they could do better.  We did the same activity again the next day, but switched leveled (I had their papers copied two to a page and front to back so it only took one sheet of paper for them to complete all 4 sets). #SaveATree  This time all but 2 had a perfect paper!!! All but 2!!! #SuperProudTeacher #SuperProudKiddos #HappyHappyHappy

I then had them complete the other two sets during Morning Work the next week.  It's always good to get them up and moving whenever possible so this little activity did just the trick!

Since we had so much fun with it, I put together a little Christmas pack as well :)  

They couldn't wait to get their hands on it and there was no explaining needed on my part.  #Score

I put the Christmas Pack Sentences as their "Must Do" during our Work on Writing center during daily 5 this past week.  They loved it. I loved it.  They were all totally engaged.  They were reading, writing, and thinking just a little more than a typical sentence editing requires.  

Grab the Christmas Hashtag Set HERE and the Tiered Set HERE.

Here's a little snapshot of what we've been up to this week...

Using Popplet to tell the Plot of a Story!

Stay tuned--Follow up post to come on this :)

Snowball fight with idioms!

We read Merry Christmas Amelia Bedila and charted some Idioms found within the story. I wrote a some idioms on white strips of paper, along with a sentence to help determine the meaning.  Students balled them up, and let it RIP!  We had a mini snowball fight for 30 seconds and then chose one snowball of our own to make meaning of.  We of course had to add some Christmas Craftiness into the mix {outside of the tree is where we wrote the Idiom, while the inside of the tree told the actual meaning of the word}.

Forgot to take a picture of these cuties! I'll add it to my Monday's "To Do" list...

Oh yeah, and made these little beauties with my Silhouette Cameo ;) 

 Aaaaaaannnnnd if you already have one, make sure you stock up on your digital files! #byebyepaycheck

Classroom has been Christmas-fied, including Good Behavior Stockings which I do with my littles for the month of December. 

Everyone receives a stocking with his/ her name (iron on transfer paper).  Each day they exhibit EXCELLENT behavior (blue or higher on our behavior chart), they place a "Gift of the Day" into their stocking.  At the end of the week, they empty out their stocking and the process repeats over again.  I love doing these and the kids get really excited about their stocking printed with their name  :)   

Since our Elf {Elfie} from last year got promoted to the Head Director of the Naughty or Nice Department at the North Pole, we weren't sure if we were going to get an elf this year :/  

However, after getting our letter from Santa, we wrote him some persuasive letters as to why we should receive an elf this year!  To our surprise, it worked!  Our little Elf showed up as a Special Overnight Delivery in our classroom Tuesday morning. 

After much deliberation, we decided to name him, "Buddy."  

Could it possibly be because this guy showed up in our window, too? #Hmmmmmm

....and learned about the power of his magic from the video that was sent with him (an Elf Story which is so stinkin' cute I can hardly stand it!)

Morning Work and Center Activities

Elf Candy Contraction Match Up 

Grab the set HERE!

Since "Buddy" made his appearance this week, I thought to incorporate some little Elfness wherever possible. 
{match the candy contraction piece to the elf who is holding the two words that make up each contraction}

Fact and Opinion cut and paste for some review {and to keep our little hands busy} :) #FREEBIE

Part of Speech Cookie Sort!

Grab it HERE!
All I kept hearing was, "This is making me hungry!"  Not from my kiddos, but from me, myself, and I. :/  #NotTheyreNotGlutenFree

Next week, we'll be adding some more Christmas goodness to our day :)

Main Idea Sort and Write Pack

I love this pack!  Students draw and write about what they would take with them to the North Pole in the form of a little handy, dandy suitcase :)  Task cards, where they have to compose a Main Idea that would fit with a given set of details, and visa versa, stocking match up to keep us movin' and groovin' these next two weeks!

Grab it HERE!

Common and Proper Noun Sorting

Grab it HERE!

Love this because it's cute, crafty, and very hands on.  Lord knows we need it this time of year!

19 Days Until Santa!!! I'll be spending the day wrapping gifts and addressing Christmas cards :D and I'm sure making some soft of Christmas Crafty for my littles.  #ThatsAGiven 

Have a great weekend!

"May Your Days Be Merry and Bright!"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Where Has The Time Gone?!

Ok, so I'm just going to pretend like it hasn't been almost 3 months since my last blog post.  Time has totally gotten away from me-with being in three weddings within weeks of one another, preparing for family & friend visits, and getting my newbies adjusted to their new classroom has been quite more time consuming than I've expected.  However, things are finally settling into place and I couldn't be happier! :)

My room is pretty much the same as last year, with just a few minor add ons or cosmetic changes.  Here's just a mini tour of our home away from home...

Math Focus Wall

*Changes per unit

Table Signs

I added IKEA frames to our computer table with our class website (including easy access QR code) as well as what students may work on during the morning, daily 5, and math centers.  Nice, simple reminder just incase we may need it-wink, wink :)  I've also added question stems to each table using the same frames and some from Michaels.  

Grab these HERE!

It's a MUST HAVE during "Royal Readers" which is our small group reading center.  

My QUEEN crown came all the way from the Magic Kingdom at the new Fantasy Land {makes me wish I was there every time I put it on!  Student crowns courtesy of Michaels :) }

Cooperative Grouping Mats and Name Tag Helpers

My new sanity savers, seriously.  I've made these mats based off of the Kagan grouping mats, just added a little more pizazz.  The numbers place students academically while the icons are randomly placed.  Time saver for putting students in groups, and handing out independent practice, which 9 times out of 10 is leveled. So I simply have to say, "All the 1s come get your paper, then 2s, 3s, and 4s." or  "All the crayons collect the materials for your group."  or "The glue bottles are in a group, erasers in another, etc."  or "Find someone who has a different letter then you, and who is not sitting at your table (As find Bs)."  Makes getting into groups so much easier and incredibly fast! #HappyHappyHappy

Try them out HERE!

Name Tag Helpers--

One side for reading help, the other for math.  Love to see my kids actually USING these!! Counting money, telling time, and contractions have been a breeze to teach! And I don't have to spend $25 on a class set EVERY YEAR!  

Find them HERE!

White Board Erasers- #DollarTree

I wrote each student's "secret number" on the side with the netting in the event of no one being able to find theirs. Which SOOOOOO did not happen at the beginning of the year... #lie

Sparkle Pens--Must Have!  

I use these for pretty much everything, but I also let the kids use it to trace their SPARKLE WORDS (aka good word choice words) while at the writing center.  Motivation Station! They also make our interactive math notebooks that much prettier :)

Weekly Anchor Chart Display 

My kiddos are OBSESSED with anchor charts this year! Totally NOT complaining! And yes, that is a giant size picture of my dog, Benson. 

New Bulletin Board to display Monthly Family Writing Projects.  **I'll be posting about these soon!

Old board-blah...

New Board~ #TripleBorder 

October Writing Project- WANTED Poster

November Writing Project- Turkey Disguise

Love this one for obvious reasons...

LOVE the creativity here!!  Their stories were even better :)

Made this little cutie using my new Silhouette Cameo--I'll have to spend an entire post dedicated to that little gem! In the meantime, put it on your Christmas List!

**Grab the Turkey Disguise Project HERE if you haven't done so already!

Work on Writing Center--

I have a MUST DO writing assignment students must complete each week.  The assignment is posted on a sentence strip next to the pink writing sign at the top of the pocket chart.  Below it, are the different components of 6+1 Trait Writing I want them to focus on while completing their must do.  Once they've finished, they may choose an "EXTRA" activity to work on.  Right now we are up to letter tiles, writing a friendly letter, making a list, and research.  It's working out much better this way, gradually adding things this week.  Students feel more comfortable with their choices their making, and also the quality of their work is much better than in years past.  I love when things work out better when you think you're behind schedule!

I once again started using 6+ 1 Trait Writing to teach my littles the various components of what makes a good writer (rather than simply handwriting and using correct spelling, which is what they think thought!)  I used this "program" when I first started teaching and can honestly say the kids really enjoy it and are making meaning of how to improve their writing.  You know it's working when we're reading a book and someone shouts, "Woah! They used great WORD CHOICE in there!" or "You can really hear their VOICE in this book!"  Seriously, makes my heart happy!!!

You can grab a set of these 6 Trait Writing Posters HERE!

*The Mailbox holds the Friendly Letter Templates.  They give them to me for a quick check once they're done and I let them "mail" their letter to their friend  (aka leave it in their friend's mailbox or slide the note under their classroom door on our way to lunch).  They take the letter home if they wrote it to a family member, and of course get to deliver it to another teacher if that's who they wrote to. I use a template from one of my Teacher Created Resources books--I love that company!

This will be added after Christmas most likely.  I made this little ditty from my dog's old "Greenies" dental bones box!  They are such sturdy well made boxes, I have a tendency to hoard them until I figure out a use for them. This Student Shout Out Box was a perfect fit :)  They'll write on square pieces of colored paper I've had sitting in my desk for about 3 years because I thought they were post its, but aren't, so I really have no use for any type of paper that isn't a post it. 

Writing Samples (letter, story, book, list, and card) along with a Writing Rubric for students to assess themselves once we get into the whole "story writing" thing-- #SlowAndSteady

The SPARKLE WRITING is for someone who produced a BEAUTIFUL writing piece while at the writing center that week.  We display it here and the student receives a little treat for doing such SPARKLY work! They of course get to share their writing aloud with the class, too!

Base Ten Holders-

Got these babies at the Dollar Tree.  They are small enough to stack inside our math cabinet, yet big enough to hold a smaller box for ones cubes and dice (use these for building numbers), while the tens, hundreds, and thousands (paper manipulatives printed off) fit perfectly without getting smashed! They're easy to grab and go since we pull these out at least once each week. #PlaceValueIsNeverEnding

This hot mess...

Just got organized into THIS beautiful creation!  #Ahhhhhhh #Relieved

Got these at Big Lots for about $4/ box.  They fit folders perfectly!!!! #WishIHadRoomForMore

iMath! Center Bins--

Math Facts
At My Seat
Teacher Choice
Hands On
! Computer

They have a "MUST DO" math activity to complete each time they go to that particular center, and then can choose from any of the games and activities inside the basket.  

The Must Dos correlate to the skill(s) we're practicing in class, or a spiral review of some sort--that's what I check for assessment.  The other games and activities don't necessarily provide a "product" so the Must Dos are great for keeping tabs on my little friends!

Headphones for our class iPads--

Best $25 I've ever spent! Got these at 5Below while I was back home for one of the 18 weddings I had this year. :)  #PeaceAndQuiet #SanitySaver

Used command hooks to hang and yes, my friends wrap them up beautifully each time!

Word Work Centers-- 

These little gems came from Lowes and I've had them for a little over 4 years now and they still look BRAND NEW!!! I change their choices out once every nine weeks, while changing out their "Theme Centers" once a week, or every other depending on mastery of the skill. 

New Star Student Instagram Wall! 

 Students post a "comment" about our Star Student of that week to place on their "Star Student Instagram Poster." I have these displayed in the hallway this year instead of in our classroom.  Everyone loves reading the comments from 7 year olds, such as, "I like your face." 

You can grab your freebie of this HERE!

Welp, that pretty much sums up some of the things we've got goin' on.  I can't believe it's going to be Thanksgiving already--Excited to travel home and to start Christmas shopping!  I would say decorate, but that's already been checked off the list.  #DontJudgeMe