Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Techie Classroom Cool Tool - Flip It

Whenever I need a cool tool I hook up with my go-to girls, Bails and Liv.  They turned me onto this iApp called Flip It. It's a simple app that uses stop frame animation to create flip book-type movies. I created the following movies on my iPad while watching a movie. Bailey creates them on her iTouch.

I can see using it for word work...



It's quick, it's easy and it's free (for limited use). Love it? Upgrade the $1.99 price tag and you have unlimited youtube uploads and videos you can make.

This is definitely a cool tool worth checking out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Inspirational Monday ... The Best Ideas in Bloggerland

Sara at Smiling in Second started this great Linky to help us all get through Monday. She asked what inspires us. Here is what inspired me today. 

Here are the best ideas out in Bloggerland this week....

Tara at 4th Grade Frolics did this marvelous project with her Fab 4s to finish up a Native American Indian unit. I so want to do this as a project to wrap up our state of Wisconsin unit!

Clutter Free Classroom posted this incredibly simple yet effective idea for what an organized desk looks like.  My class needs this. In spades.

I love this. L.O.V.E. this. Jen at Runde's Room posted this beautiful art project she did with her students last minute. Do you not just admire teachers who throw this stuff together at the 11th hour? I do! It's fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantstastic!

Quick and Crafty Linky - Glass Number Buttons

Here is a quick and crafty idea for the classroom.

Glass Number Buttons!

These are cheap, easy and simple. All you need is a package of glass buttons, whatever size you prefer; sticky back magnets; a sharpie or printed background.

These are just simple glass buttons with a magnet stuck on the back. I wrote a student number on each one with a sharpie. Paint pens would work great, too. These are the playing pieces for our Homeworkopoly game board.

These are black and white printed numbers, cut out and glued under a large glass button. The magnet is attached behind the paper. 

We use these on our "Where Am I?" board.  

These are small glass buttons with a red printed number glued behind it, with a magnet behind the paper again. 

I use these for our class job chart. 

This is a fun way to display numbers for all kinds of classroom activities!

Link up with your Quick and Crafty idea!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Teaching Expectations with Rubrics - Freebie!

Freebie Fridays

Two weeks ago I posted about using rubrics in the classroom. I asked if classroom teachers would be willing to share how they are using rubrics in their classrooms. Thanks to everyone for linking up! There were lots of good ideas that were shared.

This week I introduced the Fab 4s to rubrics. I like to have guidelines for assessing work and rubrics fit the bill perfectly. It occurred to me that it would be helpful for the students to understand how I was grading their projects and assignments; as I was grading papers and marking items wrong or adding little comments and smilies here and there, I wondered if the Fab 4s would ever see my markings. Would their graded assignments go right into their mailbox>backpack>recycle bins? How would they ever know how I wanted them to improve their work? 

Enter the rubric.

We have been studying caves for the last few weeks, and the final project we are completing is a cave journal that the Fab 4s record their learning and understanding in. I had created a rubric so that I knew the parameters I was assessing within. Yesterday afternoon I started meeting with  small groups so I could teach them about using rubrics to assess work. The kids each had a copy of the rubric I would be grading against and their cave journal.

We went through each “attribute”, that is, each characteristic of their journal I would be assessing. We talked about the point values, and then broke down each attribute by points. We didn't have longer than about 20 minutes, but that was enough for the Fab 4s to go through their journals looking at each attribute and giving themselves a score.

After we were done conferencing they took their journals back to their seats and worked on improving certain areas to increase their score. Neatness was a big one for them, and it gave them an opportunity to go back and clean things up. A few of the students decided that they wanted to bump their score by adding some adjectives and adverbs. It was exciting to see them actively working to improve their writing.

I wanted to make using rubrics easier for my readers, so I create these editable rubric in word. 

There are three different styles for two different age levels - primary and intermediate. There is a simple picture based rubric and a more complex rubric for 4-6th grade. I also added in an independent reading rubric for primary, updated from my last design. 

You can pick them up at my TPT store.

Here are the results of the two $25 Amazon gift card giveaways:  for cutest rubric the winner is Lori Smith!!
Check our her CUTIE rubric here.

The rafflecopter winner is Jennifer Glahn Reck.

Congrats to both winners! Please send me your full name and email and I will send you your Amazon gift cards. Happy shopping!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Sale! 20% Off

I know this is a busy week for a lot you. Here's a little something to help you get through the week!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fiction Friday

Amanda over at The Teaching Thief did this awesome linky over the summer called Fiction Friday. It was a great way to link up and find out about all kinds of fiction to use in the classroom. I read some of the best books ever last summer, all thanks to this linky. I love being introduced to new books.

I've gotten a few reads done this fall and wanted to share them, Fiction Friday style.

I finally read....
I read it a month ago, and am now reading it to my class. 
Maniac is a kid who is searching. He is searching for a home, a family, and love. Maniac stays true to Spinelli at his best: your heart breaks at the same time it is blooming for this incredible character. 

I read Fig Pudding aloud to my class this fall. I had never read it before, so each word I read to the Fab 4s was the first time I had read it myself. I recommend reading it before hand, because there is a very sad part in it and it's good to be prepared. 
Cliff Abernathy is the oldest in a family of six kids. This book is great at demonstrating that it isn't easy being the oldest, but it isn't easy being the youngest, the middle, the only girl, the second oldest, etc. It's a story about family, sharing, and keeping some things sacred to yourself.

The Lost Hero is the first book in The Heroes of Olympus series, based off the Percy Jackson series by same author Rick Riordan. I started reading this last week to see if it would be something I would recommend to my higher readers. It's a level W, so it won't be appropriate for most of my readers to tackle on their own, but would be great as a book to read along while listening to the audio version on an iPod. 
So far I'm liking it. I'm a fan of mythology; if you really dislike Greek/Roman mythology I would pass on this one. The characters are all half-blood children of Greek gods. There are many other mythological characters as well. 

I realized yesterday that this hits one of the 4th grade Common Core State Standards having to do with vocab. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

It's an action adventure story about several teens who find themselves pulled into a world hidden to mortals. I can think of more than a few kids in my classroom who would love this series. 

What are you reading this fall?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Testing..Testing - Teaching to the Test?

I'm a cheater pants.

I like to tell myself that I'm not into rewards or bribery, and that I read Alfie Kohn and that I think Standardized tests are bunk.

The reality is that I think it's fun to give treats, I secretly wonder how Alfie Kohn really thinks his plan works for the modern society's classrooms, and I really don't want my students to do poorly on the MAPS/WKCE/LMNOPs or the QRSs.

I have never had to give a state test before. I have never even had to stand by and helplessly watch one taking place. The only thing I've ever had to do was tiptoe by the 4th grade while they tested and cursorily glance through my daughters' scores during conferences and acted liked I really was paying attention.

Now, however, I do have to give these tests. Believe me, I feel an awful lot of pressure for my Fab 4s to perform. It's sick.

Somewhere halfway between rah-rahing them to good performances and guilt over making them spend a week taking these hideous things I found these ideas on pinterest:

So clever!

I decided to make some treats myself. I started with the key test taking strategies that we teach the kids:
Keep a good pace
Eliminate answers you know are wrong
Double-check your answers
Go back and reread, check for answers in the text
Underline important parts of the question (only if they can write on the tests without getting penalized)

Test day came and the Fab 4s arrived to find this:

This is the label....

Inside they found this:

The individual labels look like this....
Given with a baggie of pretzels

Given with a baggie of Lucky Charms

Given with two Toostie Rolls

Given with two Oreos

Given with a couple pieces of Doublemint gum

Did the Fab 4s like them? Yes, indeed they did!

After they opened and enjoyed a few of the treats, they wrote their favorite strategy on an anchor chart. I loved how they still keep referring to the strategies as "The Lucky Charms one - don't just guess and rely on luck!"

You can get yourself a free copy of the labels here, along with a set of blank labels with the phrase but no strategy so you can customize them for what you need,.

Middle-of-the-night delight

Read with serious sarcasm. Delightful only if you want  to "walk the path of shame".

The element in all of this that makes me chuckle is the fact that there was a new roll right next to the toilet. I think the cherub who left this message knew that. At least I keep telling myself that.

The saddest thing was that my mind was trying to work out how something like this could be used in the classroom.

Here are some other thoughts for the week....
In celebration of testing this week. Here's (not) to less instruction time in the classroom.

This almost makes me wish I taught secondary.....

Have a great ending to your week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boo! Pumpkiny, Leafy, Spooky Fun!

I be Boo'd!

I actually got Boo'd a week ago, but conferences had me running wild. So let's check out what this Boo'd thing is all about.

Here's the dig...
1. Give a shout-out to the blogger who boo-ed you and link back to their site.
2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!
3.  Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again!

I was happily Boo-ed by Caitlyn at Fourth Grade Lemonade (Um, Cutest Name EVAH). Walk run on over and check out her blog. 

I love this idea! Check out how fun these math problems are. I love how you have to solve a problem to get the answer, even when the answer has nothing to do with math!

We are having a Iron Chef cook-off again this month, and this is what I am going to make. Pus and blood band-aid treats. GROSS.  Bet I win.

I love this art project. It is rather creepy, but so cool.

Best dog costume. Ever.  I would make Juno be an Imperial Walker if she was taller than 12 inches. Maybe she can be an Ewok or Yoda or something. 

And lastly, one of the poetry/writing packs I made for this fall. If you teach primary, these are great little projects. Perfect for a sub!!

Now I have to run around and spread a little Boo myself!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

CCSS Math Assessment for Kindergarten

Last week I received the following feedback on the First Grade Common Core State Standard Assessment Kit I created for assessing those sometimes pesky math CCSS:

K is a whole different world than any other grade, so I wanted to be sensitive to the Kindies' abilities. Most of the assessments are administered by the teacher. This takes a little more time than simply handing out an assessment and having kids complete it, but this gives the teacher another opportunity to really get to know their students in a mathematical capacity. 

Each domain is broken into its standards, and each is broken into smaller sections if the standard had more than one element to assess.

A class list for each domain can be a handy document to keep on hand when looking at a class as a whole, or for a quick overview of specific students. 

Individual tracking forms keep more detailed notes on each student. Notes on each assessment can be kept for reference, analyzing and planning. Plans for interventions have their own space here, so keeping track of RtI (Response to Intervention) can be easy to do.

You can download Numbers and Operations in Base Ten free by using the the "Download Preview" button. Try it out, see if it helps to keep track of those rascally CCSS.