Saturday, January 25, 2014

Personal Student Scales (FREEBIE!)

I don't know about y'all's county or district but ours is all about Marzano.  Scales, learning goals, the whole gambit!  While we have a whole class scale in our room that we use weekly/throughout a unit, there are still times I want to get a quick check as to where my students are without having to waste time on everyone getting up, moving their clip, and then possibly changing their mind because other people are on a different number than they are.

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of a scale and having students take responsibility for their learning as well, but sometimes this all feels like a show.  Possibly because it's not how I would necessarily do it.  There are so many different ways to gauge students understanding and learning and what might work for one, might not work for another...  AND THAT'S OKAY.  Luckily, I work with and for some amazing people who understand that.

To still stick with Marzano but make it more comfortable for my teaching I have stolen, yes STOLEN, an idea from another group of fabulous people in our county.  As fifth graders, my students go on the Mud Walk to the Environmental Center every year for a field trip.  It's a two day trip and the dry day is a more indoor learning experience and they had these fabulous little scales that the students used.  My team and I LOVED them and knew we had to recreate them for our classrooms.  In case you were wondering, the other day is the wet day.  Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like: Mud Walk Wet Day.  We literally spend an hour or so walking through mud and river water, but I love it!

Now we want to share them with you!  You don't even have to be implementing Marzano in your classroom to use these bad boys :o)  Here's how to set them up!

1.  First, click here to download your FREE personal student scale.  Go ahead, I'll wait...  Oh good, you're back!  Now print them on cardstock (they last longer).  You can laminate them but I did not because usually they don't stay folded if it's laminated, but your call!

2.  Once you have printed them off, cut down the middle to separate the two scales.  If you are OCD like me and want them to be exactly the same/perfect spacing, then measure your paper (length wise) and draw a line at the 5 1/2" mark.  Slice the paper right down the middle!

3.  Now that you have separated the two scales, fold them in half (hot dog style, as my kids say) to make a table tent.

4.  Cut a piece of yarn that can wrap around the front of your scale.

5.  Tape the yarn to the inside cover of your scale on ONE side.

6.  Choose a bead and string it onto the yarn.  Then tape the yarn to the inside cover of your scale on the other side.

7.  Your completed project should look like this...

Now your students can move their bead along the scale without distraction as their learning increases or if they are having struggles!  Another reason I really like this personal scale is because kids tell you how they really feel about their learning.  Even though it sits on their desk and everyone can still see it, this is more comfortable to them as opposed to getting up and everyone watching them decide where their clip belongs on the classroom scale.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Disney Baby Shower!

Even though this doesn't have to do with my classroom, it does have to do with school.  Our teammates are just one more aspect of our lives at school and usually a very important one.  They are our second family, the people you spend most of your day with and on our team we go all out for each other!

One of my teammates just had a beautiful baby and I wanted to share the super cute baby shower we threw her (if I do say so myself!) before winter break.  She loves Disney and we knew that would be our theme long before she ever told us she was pregnant, haha.

Here is our table spread!  We tried to make these super cute Mickey Mouse cupcakes that we saw on Pinterest but around 1 AM the morning of, my teammate said it best... "Meet Mickey's illegitimate cousin Ricky."  Now to be fair, we used a different word than illegitimate, but you get the idea!  In d├ęcor, they were a Pinterest fail, but in flavor a success! 

Every food item was based on a Disney movie or character: Mickey Mouse's Cheese Platter, Minnie Mouse's Cheesecake, Three Amigos Chips and Salsa, Cinderella's Pumpkin Pie Dip, Snow White's Poison Apple Slices, Rabbit's Veggie Tray, and Ariel's Ocean Water.

On every table we had a little Mickey head centerpiece along with paper Mickey heads (made on my Silhouette Cameo) and directions for people to write advice for the new parents.


Our gift to her was a year of monthly onesies that were Disney themed.  Aren't they ridiculously cute!!!  We ordered the printables from Etsy, printed them on iron-on transfer paper, and voila!

We didn't really want to do any games because baby/wedding showers in our county have to be after hours, and we didn't want people to feel like they had to stay too late.  Instead we just had advice cards and "Diaper Duty" messages.  That diaper castle was made by our amazing art teacher!  IN. A. DAY.  More like hours.  It's hard to tell but the stained glass windows are of the classic Disney characters (Donald, Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto).

Last but not least, my favorite piece of all!  Our art teacher created letters of the baby's name using some of the most popular Disney male characters: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Tigger, and Peter Pan.  Isn't she amazing?!  I couldn't get over how well these turned out!

There were Mickey heads EVERYWHERE!  You can't see them, but we even had them hanging from the ceiling.  We used black circular paper lanterns and glued on black circles for the ears to create Mickey Mouse heads.  We were going to have a contest to see who could guess how many there were in total throughout the room, but after counting over a hundred and then loosing count we gave up, haha!  All in all it was quite a successful baby shower and I think mama was very happy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Day Our Way Linky

Oh the great and powerful schedule!  It really can be a thing of beauty.  It can make your life go so smoothly but when someone tries to change it up on you, BAM!  It's like your children think the apocalypse is coming! Lol, luckily this year my kids are pretty good about with going with the flow.  One of the issues we have is getting back to normal after we have gone with said "flow."

It is quite the coincidence that this linky came up today because just this week my team and reading coach were discussing how our schedules seem to be ever changing and how that is one thing we would really like to focus on for next year.  Now I will have LOTS of ideas to bring back to the team to help us form a plan of attack.  Couldn't have worked out better!

This is our schedule for this year.  It's a little different for me because now I am teaching all subjects but it keeps me on my toes and it's never a dull moment!

Morning Work:
This is always such a hectic time of the day.  The kids come in and get out their planners and homework from the night before and then begin whatever morning work is up on the board.  Once they start working on their morning work, which could be ANYTHING, I am calling up tables one by one to check their homework, signed planner, and give them tickets depending on where they landed on the behavior scale the day before.  While all this is going on, the morning news announcements are also running.  Needless to say it's crazy but somehow it all gets done before we go to specials at 8:50.  If anyone knows of a wonderful morning work packet for either reading, math, and/or science, PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT!  I would love to find something all inclusive that people love already.

Reading Intervention:
This is 30 minute block is focused solely on our students fluency and reading comprehension.  The slight difference in this intervention block is that their reading comprehension is a specific skill they are working on.  This two week block my kids are working on comparing and contrasting as opposed to a story with questions that encompass all the skills.  This is the time where we really target our neediest students.  What's nice is that through the books we use, it's not always the same kids every time.  I might see different kids every few weeks based on where their strengths lie and depending on what skill we are learning. 

Reading/Social Studies:
MY FAVORITE!  Through this hour we do our Daily 3/Guided Reading Groups, Interactive Notebook from Erin Cobb, and any type of Social Studies I can get in!  Sadly, that doesn't happen as often as I would like but we use Social Studies Weekly and my kids seem to really enjoy that and it's a wonderful example of informational text.

During Daily 3 is when my students work on their spelling, vocabulary, and grammar through the different stations.  I'll go more into the 3-in-a-Row next week but I will show you some of the activities that they accomplish.  If you're like me then you know that finding Word Work centers for intermediate is not always the easiest.  I switch these out every couple of months just to keep things interesting but they can be used with any spelling or vocab word so they are always changing in a sense.  For writing the complete classroom journals, amazing sentences, and reading response.

Read Aloud:
I adore this time with my kids because this is when we relax and all get cozy on the floor and read a book just for the pleasure of reading.  We just finished Janitors (a Sunshine State Book) and it was good.  It took me a while to get into it but the ending was really good!!!  Now we are reading one of my all time favorites, The Sisters Grimm: Fairy Tale Detectives.  My kids are already hooked and I just love to hear them beg for more and tell me that lunch can wait, lol.

Math usually begins with a problem of the day (a problem of what we will be working on that day) and then we share all the different ways people solved it.  From there we move into our lesson in our math journals.  We write down our learning goal for the day and then begin our mini-lesson.  After the mini-lesson, they break up into their groups and do their MATH rotations (math facts, at your seat, teacher time, or hands on).

This was the beginning of the year, now it's filled with all sorts of math goodies!
With five minutes left we write down our homework and write down our reflection for our lesson using Runde's Math Reflection Fans.  I have these fans for EVERYTHING and LOVE them!  So do the kids!  They always ask if they get to do a reflection as an exit ticket and I am only to happy to oblige :o)

The last hour of the day is science and you never know what that's going to bring!  We do a lot in our Science Notebooks thanks to the Science Penguin, digital experiments, actual experiments, breaking down the lesson and more!  This year science is also a tested subject and it is pretty intense.  I'm loving it more and more as I go but still not my favorite subject, lol.

I know it's hard to see, but they are creating a series circuit here!
Afternoon Wrap-Up:
The afternoon wrap-up is the second craziest part of the day.  Safety patrols are trying to jet out while we are still packing up, cleaning up, writing down where we landed on the behavior scale in our planner and going over last minute reminders.  At the end of the day I'm always impressed what these kids absorb on the fly!

So that's it!  That's my day.  It seems so simple when I type it out here but it never really is, lol.  I like it that way though :o)  Link up with Amelia at Where the Wild Things Learn and tell us all about your schedule!