18 September 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!! =)

10 September 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! :)

09 September 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)