Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 for Friday and a Learning Scale FREEBIE!

First time linking up with the 5 for Friday teacher linky party.  I will be sharing five random things from this past week in my classroom.  Also, I am sharing a Friday Freebie of my Learning Scale Posters available in section one below!

Had to decorate my room with some fab 90s nostalgia, not to mention TMNT is all the rage with my kiddoz!
To update my Marzano learning scale so it would better fit with the "Rate my Learning Response Cards" described in my previous post, I printed the posters shared above, then mounted on black cardstock, attached a yellow star post-it to the 3rd level of proficiency which is the goal for students to reach on the learning scale.  Finally, I just laminated / stapled 'em to the wall above the SMARTboard where I do most of my teaching from.
 This is part of a new product I will be adding to my TpT store this upcoming weekend, it's a quick math bulletin board activity to reinforce the concepts of rounding.  You'll also see the Rounding Rap which I love chanting / gesturing out with the kids to make this math concept more engaging!
Each student rounded out a different number 5 digit number with their Rodeo Boy or Rodeo Girl on the outside of the flip-books.  Then, they explained how they knew their solution was mathematically correct on the inside - great for having students justify their reasoning!
Wednesday, 9-17 was Constitution Day!  We dressed up in red, white and/or blue, how about you?
How cute is this little darling with her BLING-ed out shirt and that patriotic flower pinned to her hair!
  
On day 1 of reviewing fractions with my 4th grade Math Intervention group, I had students quickly jot down notes on the vocabulary we would be using.  Then, we got to play Fraction Shake!  Students compared fractions by using the raspberry / blackberry / blueberry / strawberry containers I had been having family members save for me.  Using the 2-sided counters that came with my district-provided math curriculum, I had students choose a total number of counters that met our denominator guidelines for 4th grade: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 & 12.  This simple game kept students engaged and boosted their understanding of fractions!
P.S. If using up to 12 counters at a time, the strawberry containers work much better but consume much more storage space than the tinier ones!
To enhance our study on the Water Cycle, students and I ventured outside to create & observe "Water Paintings."  At the end, students water paintings should have nearly evaporated showing that evaporation occurs when heat (from the sun) caused the liquid water to rise into the air as water vapor.  I loved how simple this little water experiment was and it is definitely a keeper for the future. Don't mind my Halloween buckets - that's all I had available in my classroom to transport the water outside!! =)



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Marzano Response Cards

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo for this week's Wordless Wednesday link-up party.
Using paint samples from Wal-Mart (warning not all Wal-marts carry the Disney paint samples, so I picked up Ralph Lauren samples from Home Depot) in white, red, yellow, green, and blue. I had my intern assemble these student response cards to align to our class "Rate Your Learning" scale.  Since these swatches were essentially free I won't be too annoyed when one of the cards break.

As students are working on their assignments throughout the day, they can personally rate their learning using these response cards on their desk by flipping to the card that best matches their current level of comfort with the subject matter.  For example, if they are struggling and need help, they will flip to the red card (1) - and it will serve as an extra alert to me that they need immediate reteaching.  The response cards are definitely intended to be flexible where at one point they may be experiencing great success and are at a level 4 with their learning but then they reach word problems and need to flip down to a level 2.

Also, I plan on training how peer tutors (those who have rated themselves as  a level 4 expert - blue) may assist others (those who have rated themselves a level 2 - yellow) once their work is done.  I'm hoping this works wonders to increase students tracking their academic progress alongside our data binders! :)



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Map Madness (making map skills fun)

Well this year I have quite an interesting group of students.  Basically, everything my last year class was - they're the opposite.  Last year, I had focused, overachieving, listeners who took pride in their work.  That means.. this year I have quite the group of easily distracted talkers who are learning to take more pride in their work.

If there's anything that brings me displeasure as much as reading horrendous writing assignments filled with sloppy handwriting and distracting conventions errors, it's having to deal with sloppy coloring & illustrating alongside illegible writing.  

 To assess map skill concepts and the various types of maps outlined in our state Social Studies standards, our grade level has used an Imaginary Island project that allows students to use their creativity, and sense of neat quality work to get a feel for a day in the life of a cartographer.  Last year, I had quite an array of original and gorgeous islands grace the walls of my room including Booklandia, Ice Cream Island, and Mustache Island.

This year, only half of the assignments were turned in on time (after becoming homework assignments), and out of that group, only half of those were completed to the requirements outlined on the grading checklist.  I can't even believe the lack of quality work that was turned into me, especially after the heavy emphasis I had placed on making it look the BEST they possibly could.  Talk about a headache!  My solution - develop a step-by-step set of directions to go alongside a grid paper with a premade island shape to design.

 What an improvement in color awareness and legibility in producing quality 4th grade work!
 I knew my kids needed a quick mini-lesson on the art basics of shading in the same direction, how to outline, and then shade lightly inside.
After the mini-lesson, look at how much more enticing the new maps have become to look at!
Map madness (map skills & island projects)
This 30-page map skills unit will develop a love of learning for geography / social studies and allow your students to create their own maps containing the compass rose, a scale, climate map key, legend, two natural resources, four physical features, cities, capitals and a variety of roadways.  Find it here on TpT!

Luckily I'm now fully prepared to handle grading these map projects - phew! At least they were able to grant me some new inspiration & my map skills project arsenal is now fully prepared for years to come. 8)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Everything is AWESOME!! (like Made-It Monday)

Made-It #1: Awesome Student Welcome Bags
I don't know if I was the only teacher who experienced this, but my class would break out into singing the Lego movie chorus spontaneously on Friday afternoons in the computer lab starting in February when the movie premiered in theaters.  "Everything is Awesome" became our unofficial class song because as soon as somebody started with Everything... the whole class would be harmonizing along before it ended!  I actually quite enjoyed it because I love including songs and music throughout the day, plus I thought it had a good message for kids (side by side ... working together).

There in lies the inspiration for my new and improved Student Welcome Gifts looking quite AWESOME in my opinion.  I've been doing these goldfish bags for the past 3 years and was ready for a change.
Last year, I moved to a new school and our site mentor used white paper bags to contain all her safari-themed items for her student welcome gifts.  On the outside of the bag, she had glued a nice poem framed in a jungle-esque border.  I thought it was such a grand gesture to start off the year on a positive/exciting note having a cute goodie bag to take home with you from Meet the Teacher night.
 While at Walmart, I had to pick up these bags ($1.67 before tax)... Fortunately, I had recently seen a blog post by Club Chica Circle on how to print on paper bags.  Her tutorial is great at explaining how to load the bags into the printer to avoid the most mishaps.  Initially, I forgot to flip the image upside down so that was fail #1.  Next, I printed one at a time and was having great success and no jamming.  So, I decided to load more than one at a time and request multiple copies be printed.  Then, the printer began to jam and misfeed - so back to one at a time to keep my printer happy.  In the end only 5 bags were lost to the recycling bin.
On the keepers, some of the ink smudged (but let's be honest, I don't think the kids will mind) - plus it adds a bit of character.  I was trying to help the planet by not being wasteful by tossing out some imperfect bags because of a few smudges here and there.
Inside each bag, students will receive an owl fridge magnet (see original post here), the best fruit snack ever because it's made by Black Forest (who knows gummy better than them?), and a groovy 'stache detailed further below.  I say I'd be one ecstatic kid going back to school if I knew these gifts were waiting for me!
 Boys are getting the green mustache cards inside their goodie bags.  Since I have 11 boys and 13 girls, 1 gal will get a green 'stache while the rest get pink.  Because of that, I needed to be able to identify "boy" bags vs. "girl" bags.  So, I put together two different designs - here's the template if you'd like to have for personal use.  Make sure to follow the printing tutorial I mentioned above if this is a project you decide to tackle.
Disclaimer: All images were found licensed and labeled for reuse through google images.  I am in no way making a profit off these gift bags inspired by The Lego Movie.  "LEGO®is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this content."
Made-It #2: Mustache Student Gifts
Well, in addition to the obsession with "Everything is AWESOME" our second obsession was with the humorous little mustache.  Take a look at the new "Congrats, You're an Official 4th grader" proclamations complete with stache swag.
 Summer clearance at Hobby Lobby means quite the bargain find for me.  It was perfect since I needed enough for 24 students and there just happened to be two packs left in the store to meet my needs!
 Here's how I turned it into the official announcement cards.  Use mailing labels (30 to a page - type up what you want it to say), gather cardstock you'd like to use - I never used the leopard pattern in my animal prints pack and purple just happens to be one of our school colors!  Then, use hot glue to adhere the sticker backs to the  square card.
Made-It #3: Notebook Ribbon Markers
We use composition notebooks for grammar and writing.  When I did notebook checks, I'd have students place a sticky note on the page of the assignment I would be checking for.  Well, now that I know how often I checked these notebooks last year, we went through A LOT of sticky notes.  Not to mention, some sticky notes managed to wriggle their way out of the notebook before I got to it, making it an ineffective system for some.  Have no fear, pinterest sent me the solution to this pesky problem here!

Made-It #4: Labeled Lunch Tub
 I inherited a pretty beat-up blue lunch tub from the former teacher who's room I was given, and never quite got around to relabelling it.  So all last year my lunch tub had the old teacher's last name.  Found these letters while in the Duct tape aisle at Hobby Lobby and I think they're a fabulously new product, perfect for labeling my new white lunch tub.
You may notice these large plastic tub from the summer section at your local Target, we use these to tote the lunchbags down from the classroom to the cafeteria. I love how the letters look similar to the Felt font I'm obsessed with!!

Made-It #5: Compliment Can
Earlier this summer I had pinned Funky in Fourth's compliment card freebies.  I knew I had wanted to do some sort of class bucket-filling container, and this was perfect for naming my clearance find.  Picked up this cute canister for just $3 - 80% off from Hobby Lobby!!
Just tied some funky black and silver ribbon on the handles and hot-glued the sign - I love it!!
Can't wait to see what crafty projects the rest of you have been up to lately over at 4thgradefrolics' linky!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Snapshots from My Classroom!

So I went in to drop off a few things today, and decided it was time to put the desks back into table groups.  Here's some quick snapshots, obviously most of the walls are bare of anything but fabric and border.
7 Habits / Data Wall / Clip Chart
Science - loved the plate idea from Pinterest last year


Reading Wall Panels / Horseshoe TAble

Writing Wall / back of room

student work wall (no students yet) / blank space = Grammar Wall / Fear the Fork (go ASU!)

Math Wall  / view of desks from back of room

view of whiteboard from back of room

view of bathroom sign-out table / lunch tub / recycling bin
Well, I still have plenty to do, what teacher doesn't?  But it'll happen next week because a week from now,  Meet the Teacher will have already happened!  WHOA