Sunday, August 25, 2013

Parent Letter Homework

WARNING!  This assignment could possibly cause tears, laughter, tug of heart strings and many more feelings that you never thought you would feel for students you have only known for a few days.

Okay!  Now that that tid bit of information is out of the way, lets get to the good stuff... homework for parents!  This wonderful idea was given to me by my newest team member and I absolutely love it and will be doing it every year from now on.  The assignment is very simple and I'm sure some of you might already do this.  As a team, we sent a letter home to the parents on the second day of school asking them, in a million words or less, to send in a letter telling us all about their child.  I already have that section on my student's information cards that says, "If you would like me to know anything about your child please tell me here," so I thought the letters would be similar to those responses.  BOY WAS I WRONG!

Almost all of my parents returned their letters (I gave them a week to complete them) and they were beyond moving.  I read them in one night and some had me laughing out loud, some had me tearing up, a lot had me smiling and a good majority had me saying "Oh my gosh."  There are things in those letters that these kids would have never told me because they were too shy or I might have found out later on in the year by circumstances popping up.  All the letters I got were at least one whole page and they were some of the most heartfelt and beautiful things I've ever read.  I wish these kids knew how much they are loved.  Even though these students are "my kids" since the second I see their name on my list, this made them all the more mine and I just wanted to protect them and make sure they had the best year ever.  I loved them all the more because of what their parents said and hopefully I'll remember these letters when we're having a rough day! LOL

Some of you might be thinking, "this would not happen at my school" but I work at a Title 1 school and got incredible support with this assignment.  I think it really helped to show the parents that I do care and am not just a passing person in their child's life.  If you would like to do this as well, I've attached a copy of the letter we sent home.  Just fill in your information where needed :o)  I hope you have as wonderful an outcome as I did!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Open House!

I'm back!!!!  Sort of... lol.  It has been insanely hectic around here trying to get back in the swing of things for school with remodeling/moving into a new home during preplan week.  Needless to say, I recommend picking ANY OTHER week than that one, haha! 

We had Open House last week and I have to say it was probably my most successful Open House yet!  Not only because ALL my students and parents showed up (that has never happen to me before) but I was super prepared and had cute little folders full of information thanks to my Back to School Packet and Pinterest finds :o)

I used my Cameo to create the large "Welcome" letters and I LOVE how they came out!  I got so many compliments on the door and entrance.  I'll show you more of what our hallway looks like on my next post: Room Tour.

I saw this idea on someone's blog, she was in second grade, and lord if I can remember where!  If you know please leave a comment so I can give credit where credit is due!  I loved the idea though and had to make one for our class!  I printed it off on an 11x17 size paper so it would be more noticeable when parents walked in.  There are four QR Codes: Our Class Website, Sunshine State Book Trailers, Our School Website, and Our School Facebook Page.  My contact info along with codes that parents can text to me to get classroom updates is added on the bottom.  I use for classroom updates through text messages!  They give the parents a random number to use but you control it.  This way parents can get all the goods and information you need them to without having your phone number :o)

Here is just a quick shot of my room before they all showed up.

Here is what parents found on their child' desk.  The different colored labels can be found in my Editable Back to School Packet.  I wanted to type in their names but we kept getting new kids up to the last minute so it was just a hand written kind of night.

Inside there was a student information sheet that parents needed to fill out on the left and all about our class and myself on the right.  As I showed you a couple posts back, my Vistaprint business card magnets came in just in time and I added those as well!

Here is a closer look at the items on the right: a smaller version of our "smart phone" poster, FAQ for our Class, and a Meet Your Teacher sheet.  I snagged the Meet Your Teacher letter from Suddenly in Second and just put in all my information and added a banner on top.  Such a time saver!

What do you do for Open House/Meet the Teacher?  I'm off to paint my craft room and then our master bedroom!  Finally a real bed to sleep in!!!!!!!!!  All our master bedroom furniture has been covered in drop cloths and what not while we try and find a color and I think we have found a winner which means I get my bed back!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's on Your Wish List??? Linky and Sale!

Hey y'all!  It's here, it's here!

As we are all prepping our classrooms, going through professional development, or in survival beginning of the school year mode we have been anxiously waiting to hear when our favorite and most wish-listed products will go on sale at TPT.

Well friends, I am happy to announce it is finally time!

In celebration of this momentous event, myself and a group of wonderful, wonderful bloggers came together to create a fun linky to showcase our shopping carts and our favorite products.

If there's one thing we teachers love to do, it's shop for our classrooms, right?


Join us by linking up with 2 of the top wish-listed products in your store and 1 product on your wish-list you just have to purchase! *If you're not a blogger or TPTer, still feel free to comment with your most wish-listed item!*
Here are two of my most wished for items (and I have to say they are some of my favorites as well)!
1. Fraction War Math Center
My kids absolutely love this center!  This is always the first one they grab when they get the opportunity and it is still a challenge for them every time!
2. Editable Back to School Pack: Open House and Getting to Know You Goodies
I am so happy and in love with this pack!  I just used it last week and got TONS of compliments from parents and co-workers.  This week my new kiddos are getting a chance to use it with the "Getting to Know You" portion and they love all the activities so far!
There is also plenty that I will be buying but one thing that I am very excited to snag is Farley's Back to School Pile It On!  I can't wait to try it with my new kiddos!
Link up below with your goodies as well!  What will you be buying this weekend?  Don't forget to use the code BTS13 for up to 28% off!!!!   Happy shopping y'all!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Orange Ya Glad it's a BLOG HOP!

Hey y'all!  I am so excited to be a part of this Florida Back to School Blog Hop with this great bunch of ladies!

 I am the fourth stop on your lovely tour today and am very excited to share with you my goodies today!


I have two products to share with you! The first is my Editable Back to School Bundle!  There are over 40 pages of goodies to help you get ready for Meet the Teacher/Open House and activities to help you and your students get to know each other during that first week of school.  Click on the image below to get more information!

The second is a FREEBIE!  This is a set of Genre Posters (mostly geared toward intermediate) with a Polka Dot theme.  The set includes: Mystery, Biography, Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Nonfiction, Poetry, and many more!  There are 11 different posters total.  Click on the image below and it will take you to my Facebook page, once there click on the Blog Hop Tab and collect your freebie!  Remember, this will only work if you "Like" my Facebook page :o)

Thanks for stopping by!  You're next stop is one of my favorite gal pals, Leigh from the Applicious Teacher!

If you'd like to start from the beginning, you can head on over to Tamara's blog by clicking the link below!

Happy Hopping!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Word Nerds Chapter 8: Learning Through Assessment

** AAAHHHH I just saw that this didn't post this morning!?! :o(  I'm sorry y'all!  I've been in my room all day and this is the first time I've been on the computer.  Thanks for hanging in there! **

This is it!   This is the last chapter :o(  I'm kind of sad to see it end...  This book had some amazing ideas and I cannot wait to implement them into my classroom this year!  Next week I will finish up with the Epilogue and have a Vocabulary Linky Party so EVERYONE, yes even you, can link up all your vocabulary ideas or freebies so we can all grow together as Word Nerds!

One of my very favorite bloggers and lunch date ladies, Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room, will be your host for this chapter!  Click on the image below to head on over to her blog and check out her thoughts and ideas on chapter 8!

Here is my quick run down of learning through assessments:
  • "Assessment is one of the first steps, one of the last steps, and part of everything we do in between." - AMEN!  Assessment does not mean a test at the end and let's see how we fared.  It will never go as good as it could have if you had monitored your student's learning all the way through.
  • How to plan for vocabulary assessment: think about the goals and purposes of the assessment, use authentic measures of vocabulary progress, plan for ways to assess depth of understanding, and be aware of comprehension connections. 
  • LOVED how they laid out their Vocabulary Cycle Plan with related assessment and time frames!  Exactly what I have been wanting the whole book :o)
Formative vs. Summative Assessments:
  • "Formative assessment is a plan to gather day-today information about learners, what they are learning, and what they need to learn."  I felt like this summed it up nicely!
  • LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the metaphor about the soup!  "When the cook tastes the soup, that's formative; when the guests taste the soup, that's summative."  Did I mention how much I LOVE this metaphor???
  • Different assessment strategies: thumbs up/thumbs down, observation, analyzing student work, teacher questioning, and student-generated questions.
  • Give practice tests so students don't stress on the actually graded test because that's the first time they hear the word "test."
  • Also, let student's create their own vocabulary test so they get a better understanding of applying their words.

I have had a blast hosting this book study and have learned SO MUCH from not only this book but y'all too!  I appreciate all of our hosts along the way and everyone else who jumped on the bandwagon and linked up as well!  Check back next week for Vocabulary Freebies Linky to build up your arsenal.  Have a great vocab idea?  LINK IT UP!  Don't forget the check out Tamara's blog and link up your thoughts and ideas down below!  Thank you all again, it has been a tremendous experience and I have loved every minute of it :o)