Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why I Do What I Do {Showing Off Student Work}

It's that time again...
I'm changing it up just a smidge and connecting each "Why I Do..." with one of my beliefs about teaching and learning.

I have these posted on my closet door in my room and love having them displayed.  Everything I do ties in to these believes that I have...

Today I want to tell you about my belief that "Hard Work, Done Right, Feels Good"!  I have a "Star Effort" frame in my room.  It's a cheap-y plastic frame from Wal-Mart.  It's magnetic and I decorated it a few years ago with some stars and lettering so it says "Star Effort".  Whenever a student truly goes above and beyond on an assignment or project, their star work is displayed in the frame at the front of the room!

Students love to see their one shining great example displayed at the front of the room.  It stays there for a week or so and everyone can go up and see the hard work completed by a classmate.

How do you celebrate hard work by individual students?  Link up below and share!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three fer Thursday {Important Reading Skills Made Easy!}

It's that time!

Today I'm wrapping up a trip to Dallas with one of my co-workers!  How amazing when your co-workers are also great friends!  Especially ones you can take cross country road trips with!

This week's 3 fer Thursday is all about making reading skills easy.

First up... one of my all-time favorite products that we use ALL THE TIME in my 3rd grade ELA classroom...

100 Days to CCSS Success!

One hundred quick reviews to practice every ELA standard!  I have mine bound into a little booklet and we use them during down-time, transitions, and morning meeting.  Each file also includes a page that allows you to turn individual pages into quick assessments!  These are available for 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd grades!

#2...

Comprehension THOUGHTmarks!  These are bookmarks connected to CCSS reading skills... but the super cool thing is that each bookmark contains two THOUGHTmarks... which are interactive and help students practice the skill on the front of the bookmark!  I run these with one bookmark on the front and one THOUGHTmark on the back and students can interact with strategies as they read!

And the 3rd fer Thursday...

Cause and effect fiction and non-fiction passages with graphic organizers to help students practice this tricky skill every month of the year!  Each month contains a full color passage you can display and then the same passage on a student sheet with a graphic organizer to help students identify cause and effect relationships in fiction and non-fiction texts!

Happy 3 fer Thursday!  Feel free to share the link to one of your products that makes important reading skills a little easier!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekly Homework Sheets {Why I Do What I Do Linky}


Welcome to "Why I Do What I Do" on my ol' blog!  Today I'm sharing about why I (we) use weekly homework sheets in my (our) 3rd grade class(rooms)!

The we/our/classrooms is in reference to the entire 3rd grade at my school.  Because we are departmentalized, it's important that everyone have access to the homework sheet that we send home so that all teachers can add necessary class info.

So... we have an easy solution... our weekly homework sheet is a Google Doc that we can all access, change, and print out for our individual classes!

It looks like this...

We print these off each Monday morning and kids take them home in their FALCON folder.  How we handle them in our own classrooms is our own choice.

I go around each morning to check for parent initials.  If a student doesn't have initials, I circle the box and students move their clips down.  Yes, yes, I know... this might sound harsh and could be a parent issue and not a student issue, which I have addressed with individual students (one student was allowed to initial his own sheet last year after completing homework).  But I also think students need to have some responsibility in showing their homework to their families and asking for their sheet to be signed.  Parents are such important partners in school success and this is one easy way for students to be accountable for involving their parents in classroom happenings.  After I implemented the "clip down" policy, it was extremely rare for a student to come in with their sheet un-signed.  If there are no initials two days in a row, the student writes a note home asking his/her parent to please sign their HW sheet.  I carry a clip board with these editable check-lists to check off who has brought their folder/HW sheet back and who has not.

On Fridays, I check the spelling homework that has been completed on the back while my students take their spelling test on Spelling City.

And, on Monday, they turn in the HW sheet from the previous week while taking one for the new week.

So... why do you do homework communication the way that you do?  And how do you do it?

Link up below to share why you do what you do when it comes to homework communication!




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three fer Thursday {Products to Keep You Organized!}


It's another 3 fer Thursday where you can find items in my TpT store for 20% off!

This week I'm featuring 3 back-to-school MUST HAVES to make staying organized in the classroom super easy!

First up...

"Say it in Style"... 20 editable newsletters to use throughout the year.  These are editable in Powerpoint- just add text into the 5 text boxes to keep communication from home to school quick and easy!  These take me about 5 minutes to do each Friday after school.  Then I print on colored paper and send home on Monday.  SO simple!

Next up...

Editable classroom check-lists!  I would NOT survive without this file.  It is editable, so you can type in student names and then use it to check in assignments, attendance, forms, papers... whatever you need.  This is on my clipboard and I use it EVERY SINGLE DAY!

And the third fer Thursday...

Get organized for Open House night with this file!  Contains loads of parent sign-up forms and classroom sign-up sheets that you can customize for your classroom.  Print now, set out later, and enjoy a night interacting with students and parents... the organization is done for you!

Do you have any great organizational products?  Leave your link in the comments!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Classroom Library Organization {Why I Do What I Do- Linky!}


New "series" coming on the blog for the next few weeks.  As I'm able to get into my room and start setting up, I'll be taking pics of different things in my room and sharing why I do things the way that I do.

Today I'm starting with my classroom library.  There are always debates and questions online about the best way to organize a classroom library and, over the years, I've tried all of them...

I used to have my library complexly organized by AR level.  This was in the pre-blog days, so I wasn't in the habit of taking billions of classroom photos.  My first year teaching, I had a small library.  I had baskets with labels on the front and all yellow and green dot books went in one basket.  All blue and red in another.  Orange and black and pink were together in one basket.  That year I collected so many books so, my 2nd year, I changed it up!  I spray painted baskets according to AR colors (yellow, green, red, blue, orange, black, pink) and books were just in their baskets by color.  I had this system for another year or so.

And then I had an epiphany.

When my library was organized by AR color, I was teaching my students that the very first thing we have to consider when choosing a book is the "color" or level we are at.  I wasn't teaching kids to be voracious readers because of things they liked or were interested in.  Instead, I was teaching them that enjoying a book is second to selecting one at your level.

So, then everything changed.

For years now I have organized my classroom library (which is now HUGE) by topic or theme.


Each topic or theme has its own basket, which is numbered.  Currently, I have 34 numbers... but some have more than 1 basket... for example, I have a TON of non-fiction animal books (#17), so there are 2 baskets with that label.  The 19s are all about historical figures.  So, 19A is historical men.  19B is historical women.  19C is historical events (Titanic, wars, etc...).  Within each basket are all of the books about that topic or theme.  Each book has a sticker with the matching basket number to make putting things away a breeze.  Books are also color coded for AR.

So now my students can first find baskets about things they are interested in reading.  Then they can easily find things at their own levels by looking at AR colors.

This has become a very "soap box" issue for me.  As someone who has a definite love/hate relationship with AR at times, I HATE when students ask "how many points" a book is before I even read it to them.  Or they are afraid to read a book because it isn't AR.  Or they'll read any book in their color, so long as they can take the quiz on it... not even caring whether they enjoy the read or not!  I have seen that, having my library organized like this, helps to take the emphasis off of colors and levels and really turn kids on to things they are interested in.

So, there are my two cents.  And that's why I do what I do!  Feel free to grab the button up at the top, post about why you do what you do in your classroom library, and link up below!  I hope you'll join in and share your rationale behind your organization!




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Three Fer Thursday {Snapshots, Show What You Know, and Interactive Writer's Notebooks!}

Three fer Thursday is back!

This is where three of my favorite products are on sale for 20% off... Thursday only!

This week I'm going to do three product "types" which is actually a few different products.

What you can find for 20% off today are...

Ultimate Snapshots for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades.  These products include over 120 "snapshots" to quickly quickly quickly assess how students are doing on math, grammar, and reading standards.  The snapshots are all CCSS aligned and are quick to give and even quicker to grade!

 
You can also find my Interactive Writer's Notebooks for 1st-2nd and 3rd-5th grades.  Over 100 pages to teach and guide students to become better writers using interactive notebooks.

And... Show What You Know CCSS grammar review packs for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades AND math for 3rd!  36 weeks of daily review of CCSS standards... perfect for homework, morning work, or independent weekly work!

Check them out!  Don't forget to leave feedback so you can cash in your feedback credits for free stuff later!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Random Monday Meetup

Thanks for the fun linky, Teaching Tribune!

I can't wait to check out the random facts about my favorite bloggy friends!!!  Here's me...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Flash Sale!

Happy 4th!  Getting Fit Friday will be back next week... for today, it's a FLASH SALE!

20% off at TpT until tomorrow!  Click the pic to grab goodies like "Show What You Know" grammar and math packs, Snapshots quick assessment kits, Interactive Writer's Notebooks for 1-2 and 3-5, and lots more!

Quick links to the goodies listed above...





Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting Fit Friday- Healthy Teachers Linky Party!

Well, I have made it through almost my whole first week of eating clean and doing The 21-Day Fix.  I love them both!

Eating clean is SO filling... it's crazy!  I haven't noticed any major changes in my sleep or energy, but it's only been a few days, so I'm hoping those things are coming.


Here are some of the foods I've eaten this week...

This one is my favorite... using the containers for 21-Day Fix, I can make this HUGE burrito and it tastes amazing!  It is the veggie container with peppers and pico, the red of ground turkey (which I added seasonings too), the blue of avocado, and a whole wheat tortilla (yellow).  I did sneak on 1 teaspoon of shredded cheese and a tiny smear of sour cream.  It's so tasty and insanely filling!


I loved this one too... chicken, mashed potato, and broccoli.  I cooked the broccoli with a splash of chicken stock, garlic, and pepper.  The potato is just half of a potato mashed up with a tiny tiny drop of butter and a splash of low-fat milk.  And the chicken has garlic and pepper on it as well.  This meal was so yummy!


Here's this week's menu:

This week I know I'll be having lunch out a few times, so I'll be on "eating as clean as possible" mode on those days!

And the exercising... the 21-Day Fix is a beast!  The workouts are only 30-minutes but it is a packed workout that goes by so quickly!  You start, you work your tail off, and then it's over!  I love them!

I hope you'll link up below and share your healthy plan for the coming week!



Thursday, June 26, 2014

New 3rd Grade Math "Show What You Know" Pack!

This week I finished another "Show What You Know" review pack... this one is for 3rd grade math!

It's $1 off until I get a new one listed.


Click the pic to check it out on TpT.  I'm very excited about it... it reviews a TON of 3rd grade CCSS standards in an easy format that won't take a ton of time for students to complete.  Every 3rd week incorporates writing... by having students explain a math error, tell more about their own thinking, explain or describe processes, etc...

The preview file contains the first three weeks for free too!!!


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