Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Magical Product Swap

This is my first time participating in this and I have to tell you I was so excited to be paired up with Gina from Beach, Sand, and Lesson Plans for the product swap.
I mean first of all, she has a phenomenal name! Second, we teach the same grade. And third, well maybe I am just a little jealous that she lives so close to the beach and my all time favorite place in the world (Disney). But she is extremely nice and supportive so I suppose I could let that jealousy go. I know, I know, this isn't what you came here to hear. You want to know all about the AMAZING product I was able to test out in my class. We are right in the thick of TCAP test prep and so I decided to test out her Multiplication Scoot Cards. My kids LOVE scoot. And what better way to make testing review fun than to turn it into a game?!
We have played scoot in a variety of ways. We have done it with cards on the desks where we physically scoot. We have done it where students stay put but "scoot" the cards to the next person. We have even done it in the hallway where they go around finding cards and answering questions. THIS I think is their favorite but it takes a bit longer because there is a little more freedom. This time, I decided to try something a little different. It was a beautiful day outside and since I teach in a double wide trailer portable, we took advantage of the nice weather and went outside for our game.

I sat the students in a circle, alternating facing each other or back to each other. Then each student got a card or two (there are more cards than students and for something like multiplication that is fairly quick, I use all the cards) and got to work. When I said scoot they passed their cards clockwise to the next person.

I LOVED that there was such a great variety of multiplication problems on the cards. There were cards for:
Finding the product
Writing repeated addition sentences for given multiplication sentences
Identifying the multiplication sentences a picture represented (arrays and groups)
Writing multiplication sentences for given repeated addition sentences

I also appreciated that they were simple enough for my kids to do without support, but challenging enough to make them think, especially since there were so many different questions. Now would I do it outside again? Who knows- it was a little slower than I would have liked. But THAT has nothing to do with how much I loved these cards. Thank you Gina for such an amazing and teacher friendly scoot game! And the biggest thing for me...they were super easy to cut! She had all the cards connected which makes cutting them out so much easier!

Gina also has a division set in her store!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Place for Peace

I am taking a day off from my regular blogging to share with you something amazingly generous my friend Abby over at Third Grade Bookworm is doing. She is hosting a fundraiser to help raise money to give one of her sweetest students a headstone. Ruby lost a 5 year battle with childhood leukemia last year and Abby is doing all she can to raise enough money so that her parents can have a proper headstone for Ruby. On top of helping the family out, with your $20 donation you will receive $130 in teaching products. Click the image below to go to Abby's blog for more information.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Test Prep Tuesday... er Thursday- Math edition

I know I have been slacking and I am sorry. I really wanted to do this every week but things have just been C-R-A-Z-Y over here. So today I just want to share with you a couple amazing resources I have been using to help prep my kids for the big test.

First of all, Ashleigh has the most AMAZING resources. I have bought so much from her it is unbelievable! And I am NEVER disappointed when I shop in her store. I bought all 3 sets of her test prep task cards(set 1, set 2, set 3). I project these on the smart board and let the kids put their answers on dry erase boards. To make it fun (and work on time limits) I give stickers for the first 3 to get it correct. They put their stickers on an index card and then when they have 25 stickers they can trade it in for a prize box pick.  I also bought her test prep math assessments. I love that these are organized by standards and they will come in handy next year when we fully switch to common core. I have given these as practice, homework, and we have even done some together on the board.
Another amazing resource that is common core aligned and done by standard is Jamie's Math Quick Assessments. She just recently update the entire file and it is super amazing! I typically pull these up on the board and we just go through them together. It saves on copies (we have limits ya know).
And my final go to for math review this past few weeks is from Melissa at Common Core and So Much More. They are her Math Assessments and are also done by standard. These I have sent for homework. I send home one or two sheets based on which skills we have been reviewing.
These products have saved me in so many ways and made planning for review so easy that I couldn't keep them to myself. I would recommend any of these products to anyone looking for common core aligned math assessments or review. My favorite thing about them is how they are done by standard. I can take a page from each file for any given standard and have a great variety of practice!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What's Working Wednesday

Last week for my What's Working post I shared some reading fluency ideas. This week for my What's Working Wednesday post I want to share something with you that relates to math fact fluency. My kids just have NO motivation to learn their multiplication facts. That is..until I found the most amazing resource. I knew I needed something to motivate them to learn their facts and I thought of the idea to do something with bubblegum. What kid doesn't love bubblegum?! And then... luckily for me and my lack of time, Chrissy and Tammy from Fluttering Through First Grade already had something created. I snagged it up and went to town preparing my copies.
The first thing I did was copy all the pages for the students flash cards, tests, and bubble gum machines. I copied them onto white paper and originally had them coloring the flash cards in. I decided today that I would have them just outline the cards in the color of the week.

Then I explained the concept to the kids and gave them all their machines to color any way they wanted.

And then we got to it. Each Friday the kids test on whatever facts THEY are on. It is easy to see who is on what number because of the gum balls in their machines. If they get a 100, they get a gum ball to color and glue to their machine AND a gum ball to chew in class the rest of the day. If they don't get a 100 they have to write the ones they missed 10x each and get it signed by a parent. They take that test the following week again until they get a 100. Everyone then gets the next set of flash cards (even if they aren't on that fact yet- it is easier to organize this way) and we go through the products together and they work on cutting them out.

I made myself a folder to keep everything together.

On the left I have all the extra copies of the tests we have already done. This way they aren't taking up space in my weekly drawers but I still have them for the kids who didn't make a 100. On the right I have the original copies as well as the color coding sheet.

My kids love it and they want that gum ball so bad they are studying their facts!
What's working for you? Link up a post! And if you already linked up, it's ok. Link up again!
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Common Core Organization

My goal this summer (and every summer it seams) is to get better organized. I started with Science last summer and was doing pretty good until I lost steam at the end of June. This summer I really want to get RLA and Math taken care of. I decided I wanted to use binders because I am better with them. I never file things in the file folders and I often lose the files. I can't tell you how many times I have lost file folders full of papers. So with that said, I decided to start figuring out just HOW I was going to organize all this stuff that I have.

I decided that since we are switching to the CCSS next year, I would organize by standard. But I didn't want just a plain boring sheet of paper divider in my binders. I needed it to be cute. So came my Third Grade Common Core RLA Organization Set.

Included are options for labeling file folders or dividing binders. I put both because I know people have different preferences. Or if you are anything like me you try one method then change your mind. This way you get the best of both worlds, ya know, in case you want to do both, change your mind, or have other ideas.

I color coded each strand so everything matches by strand. For each strand I have included:

A cover page- you can use these as dividers or binder covers if you plan to use small binders for each strand.

Small labels with the standard and I can statements (separate). These can be used to label file folders or dividers as seen in the photos below.

And large size standard and I can statements combined. I am using these for my section dividers in my binders. I realized that they could also be used to display in your class what you are teaching.

 It is over 120 pages of organization. I have it priced at $8.00 but for now it is going to be on sale for $6.00. I will probably take the sale off in a couple days so if you think this is something you can use grab it up now. I plan to make third grade math as well as making them for other grades as well.

Clicking any of the pictures will take you to the listing. Be sure to check out my Facebook page in the next couple days for a pin it to win it for this item.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Skittles Game with Latoya! and a Giveaway from Pinkadots

I am linking up again with Latoya for her Let's Get Acquainted linky! I know I missed last week's and I was super sad about it but I have just been nonstop busy!
This week is the skittles game.

Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)

Red- my favorite ice cream flavor is a twist with rainbow sprinkles. But I have been having HORRIBLE luck getting this because all of our DQs don't have chocolate anymore! Seriously?! But if I were back home I would have to say my ultimate favorite is cinnamon or banana from Andersons. YUMMM!

Orange- my favorite memory from college... hmm that is a tough one. My first two years I was in a dorm and I loved it. Our group of friends was always together. Then my second two years I met one of my bestest friends Jackie while suffering through some math classes together. Thank heavens for her because she got me through a lot...not just those classes with Teacher Joe or the other guy (do you remember his name Jackie??)

Yellow- my favorite sports team... what sport? NFL- Buffalo Bills, NHL- Buffalo Sabres, MLB- Atlanta Braves, NBA- Memphis Grizzlies, College football- Florida State. Yes we are a sports household. I have the girliest tomboy of a daughter ever. She loves all things girly and will play sports in a dress. Love it!

Green- my favorite fast food place... Mighty Taco. Something else I don't have living here. Best tacos ever. Living here I suppose I could say Chick Fil A is my favorite for now.

Purple- wild card... I used to say I wanted 2 or 3 kids but right now I am very content with just one. I don't even have the desire to even think about having another any time soon. I told my husband I would start pondering it after we take our daughter to Disney for the first time...which isn't until next year either in June or Oct. So plenty of time.

If you aren't linking up with Latoya I suggest you head to it. It is so fun getting to know each other. And I promise I am planning on getting caught up on my blog reading ASAP (as soon as I catch up on my posting) so you will see me back to commenting again!

And the giveaway! The mazing girls over at Pinkadots Elementary have reached (and surpassed) 100 followers. They are having a giveaway with 15 prizes, including winner's choice from me. Click the image below to get over there and enter!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Holy Guacamole! 3 sale items as promised!

I have been so busy this past week that I did not even notice I surpassed 300 followers! As promised, I have 3 items on sale for $1.00 each for 3 days. I will turn the sale off Tuesday night so grab them up now! The top three choices on the poll were:
Victor and Vicky Verb (this one was a big hit with my kiddos)

Comparing and Contrasting nonfiction articles (they loved these stories too)
Sentence Sleuths- Sentence types (this would be GREAT to pull out for end of the year review)

Welcome to all my new followers and thank you to ALL 308 of you that are following along with me on this journey! I will hopefully be back to posting more regularly in the next week or two. Test prep is kicking my butt more than it is kicking my students' tushes!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What's Working Wednesday...on Thursday

Sorry I am a day late with this one. It has been a crazy couple weeks here and I haven't had much time to get anything done. This week I want to share something that my students LOVE. It is our ten minute fluency time. I got this idea from Lisa over at Fourth and Ten, so I can't take credit, but I can tell you that the kids do enjoy it. In fact, they are upset when we don't do it. Four days a week we spend ten minutes a day working on fluency.

Each student is assigned a group based on their fluency rate. You can see the picture below that shows my schedule. Each group does one activity a day.
Fluency tub 1 contains Lisa's Fry Phrase games. My kids LOVE this game. I mean, not just during fluency time. If they ever have free time they are rushing to get this game out to play. I try to get a seasonal bag or container for the different monthly games. In February you can see, we had a pink cloth bag with X's and O's on it. In March I used a St. Patrick's day hat. The kids loved it.
Fluency tub 2 has Christina Bainbridge's Roll Read Repeat games. Again, kid tested and kid approved. They enjoy this one! I keep just one set in the tub at a time and students just pick a board to play with a partner or group of three.
Fluency tub 3 has partner poems in it. At first my kids were not a fan of this one. (The book the poems are from is shown in the image below.) But then I told them to get into it and plan a performance. And now they are enjoying it. They work on memorizing it and really getting into their acting. They LOVE to put on a performance for the class when fluency time is over.
The last thing is to meet with me. Students come with me and we do Cloze reading passages. We do these in different ways based on ability. Usually my advanced group I really let them go for it together without my help so that I can take a few minutes to monitor the other groups and make sure they are actually reading what is on the activity they are doing. Other groups that need more support we read together. Usually we look at the word choices first and discuss what they mean. Then we read. Sometimes I read and then they repeat and then I let them do it alone. It just depends on the group and story. My kids enjoy this because they get to use the elusive dry erase markers. OOOOH (The book these passages come from is in the picture above with the poetry book.)

Overall my kids really enjoy this. We have only been doing it since mid February but I really think that if done from the start of the year, it would truly help kids with their fluency. And it is only 10 minutes a day. We do it after lunch and it helps to get them back into classroom mode and out of cafeteria chaos mode.
So what is working for you? Link up with a post or a tip for other teachers. And if you do, don't forget to enter the rafflecopter below!

PS I am 2 followers away from 300! Make sure to vote in the poll on the right because as soon as I hit 300 I am putting 3 products on sale for $1 each for 3 days only!!
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

An awesome giveaway

I have family in from out of town so I will be back later to do my let's get acquainted post, but I wanted to share with you an amazing giveaway that Marie at The Hands on Teacher in First is having. Just click the image below to go directly to her blog and enter to win amazing prizes! Including $100 gift card to amazon, $20 to TpT, and a bundle of products, including one from me.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pass the Torch

Get Ready for Bloggy Olympics!!!

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Join The 3AM Teacher, the Reading Olympians, and over 80 SUPREME education bloggers as we take you through a tour of the Reading Olympians Root Study Program!!

Have you heard of this program? I was so excited to be able to test out a couple things in my class with my kids especially because we have state testing coming up. I thought this would be something fun to do to help prepare a little. I decided to start with the Nike set just to see what I liked/ would want to change for next time.

First, I made copies of the cards. First mistake- copied them in black and white on white paper. I realized I wanted them color coded. Next time, I decided, I will copy them onto orange (or the appropriate color) paper. So we had to spend time tracing them in orange before cutting them out. Once we did that, I stapled them together because I didn't have enough binder rings. We learned the raps two at a time and then cut them and glued them onto the back of the word cards.

One thing I LOVE is how Julie and Krista include the graphic organizers for each word. What I decided to do is print them front to back and staple them into a book. I loved that the students had their own little packet that they could work on in their free time. Once we did a couple examples together, I let them keep it in their classwork folder to work on at their own pace. I also stapled the activity page into the back so that students could work on that too.
As I was working through this with my kids, I realized that this isn't something that my students could really work on at their own pace. The program is meant for students to be able to work at their own pace but that isn't something that would work for my kids. So I came up with a plan to implement it in the future, in a way that works for my class. And here is what I came up with:
Each monday students will cut out their cards, glue the raps on the back, and staple them together instead of doing morning work. Then, we will work on two roots a day. Together. I will teach the root and then the rap. We will practice the rap together and I will let the students come up with their own motions to help remind them of the words. They are going to then teach their partner the words with their gestures (WBT). After students have the meaning mastered, we will begin working on the graphic organizers together. I will have these stapled into little books for them because I do love how that worked out. (Once we have done this for a couple weeks I think I will let my higher group go work together on their graphic organizers.) At this rate, students will learn all 10 roots in a week. I will assign the activity for a classwork grade on that Friday and then they will test. If they make an 80 or above they will get their certificate and their name on the wall. If not, they will have to take home another copy of the practice activity over the weekend and retest on Monday.
I will be honest and say that at first I was nervous about how my kids would respond to this. But they LOVED it. They asked me every day "are we going to learn any roots today?!" I think the hardest part for my kids was trying to come up with words that have the root in them. That part I think will come with time.

Overall I think it is a great program and am planning to continue using it!

And here is a video of my kids doing the first 4 raps. It is just really sound with the cover of their journals because I didn't want their faces in the video.

Discover the program IN ACTION in more K-6th grade classrooms as you Pass the Torch!! Get ideas, discover the progression of the program, and enter the Raffle for a chance to win ONE of the three prizes listed below!!

First Place Winner : Gold Medal

Prizes: Complete Reading Olympians Program
$50.00 Amazon Gift Card
50% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher's Etsy store!

Second Place Winner: Silver Medal

Prizes: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
40% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher's Etsy store!

Third Place Winner: Bronze Medal

Prizes: 30% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher's Etsy store!

Pass the Torch!!!
Click the image below to visit the next blog


Grade 1 & 2

Grade 3 & 4

Grade 5 & 6

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