Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mentor Sentence Set 02 is up!!

I finally got off my tukis and started looking through some old projects. I couldn't believe it when I saw that I had four of the ten lesson sets done for my second Mentor Sentence pack. Why haven't I finished this already?

So I cracked down and got all the materials together. I listed several lessons I am currently trying to get my kiddos to comprehend. Then I pulled my current favorite books down off the shelf and figured out which ones fit which topics. It took me a couple of hours to seal up the final six, and it felt awesome! Too long I left it stagnant.

Here's a list of materials I used:

Week 11: Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson articles
Week 12: Miss Rhumphius by Barbara Cooney prepositions
Week 13: Sweetest Fig by Chris van Allsburg clauses
Week 14: Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown poetry – repetition
Week 15: Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg proper nouns
Week 16: My Brother Dan’s Delicious by Steven L. Layne compound subjects
Week 17: Trevor’s Wiggly Wobbly Tooth by Lester Laminack compound predicates
Week 18: Encounter by Jane Yolen figurative language
Week 19: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson Quotation Interrupters
Week 20: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt Comparative Adj/Adv

One of my favorites that I was introduced to last year and can't wait to use again is



 
 
It's a clever little story giving those very erratic coloring utensils separate voices. And they have no qualms about using them either. I like these kind of cheeky stories that make me laugh. The kids love them and get so creative when I ask them to write their own letters as writing tools. Hilarious stuff indeed.
 
For this book I included the usual lesson plan - that you can read more about here - that is broken down into five day sessions. Here's a couple of screen shots of those plans.
 


 
I just posted Mentor Sentence Set 02 in my store which was in dire need of some fresh stuff. This made a total of 51 items in my store. There's always room for more though!


My brain is already thinking of some great stuff to work on next. If you want to see a sneak peek go check out my TDQ Reading Log homework.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I taught teachers!

Our AP (assistant principal) sent out a request for anyone willing to teach a staff development session. Choice was ours. I immediately thought of that awesome session I attended over the summer. You can read more about it here: Comprehension and Technology

It's a lot harder to plan for teaching teachers than I thought. I had to do a lot of research and testing things out to get ready for the big day. I made some mistakes and spent too much money on stuff before figuring out that there was a free way of doing the same thing. I had some thoughts on what to do, but I needed an overall theme for it to actually work.

That moment came on September 19 when Patricia Polacco announced on her Facebook page that her brother Ritchie had let go of the grass. I love her stories, and her older brother figures into many of them. I felt like I knew him and was saddened to hear of the loss.

But it got me thinking about how social media is enveloping our children on a daily basis. They need to be prepared for acceptable use. Some teachers are creating bulletin boards and using sticky notes to introduce their kids to the idea of posting and replying.

That got me thinking of how to approach such an idea and remembered using Kidblog in the past. It's a closed system that allows the teacher to control all of the postings. The teacher must release posts before they appear on the website so rude comments, or inappropriate responses can be filtered out. Through my research I found edmodo and that led me to Backchannel, a paid app to use through my account. This program will allow students to have a running commentary open for instant response to the teacher's lesson. I later learned that Todaysmeet.com does exactly the same thing, but for FREE!

So I put these things together in a prezi and was ready for the day. I was so technologically prepared, I was gonna knock their socks off!

My confidence wasn't solid though. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't have enough material to make it through the entire hour. But that fear proved baseless once we got into it. There was a bit of a struggle getting everyone onto Backchannel so they could see the last picture of Ritchie before he died. I didn't tell them anything about it and asked them simply to respond to what they see.

Then I put up a picture of one of Patricia's illustrations of her and her brother and most of them got that right away. Finally, I posted up Patricia's Facebook status to connect it all. All the while they were typing thoughts and connections and responding to each other's posts. It was great.




I read them My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother from Patricia so I could use it later in my piece on how to use KidBlog to increase literacy. Everything went very well and I had many smiling and nodding their heads. It is such a great feeling!

I wonder if they need any other staff development taught??

Monday, October 06, 2014

Sunday Scoop - Only it's Monday

I just found a fun new Linky Party over at the Teaching Trio. It's a short and sweet kinda way to get ready for the week ahead.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oh Snap! Rounding Card set

At our last grade level meeting we were trying to brainstorm some great ideas to help our students with rounding. We were trying to figure out a way to have the students play a card game that might include some rounding. It wasn't working out exactly how we wanted.

I went home with Rounding on the brain and started googling some fun kid card games and found one that might work called Snap. It was pretty basic having the players turn over a card from a draw pile until a match was made. Whoever yelled, "Snap!" first won the hand. It got me thinking.

The idea for Oh Snap! Rounding version was born.

I brought the card set with four different colors and levels into the classroom the next day and let the kids play around with it. They immediately took to it and wanted to put in each of the higher, and harder, levels.

I videotaped them playing a round here if you are interested:







The card set is up for grabs at my store here.

The red card set is the first level where the numbers are written to the hundreds place. The students have to round to the nearest tens for each card. The second level is up to the thousands and rounding to the hundreds. There are two more levels that add more place values as you go.

The higher the levels go the more closer some of the numbers round to. So you really have to be paying attention in order to win the hand.

Fun times!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Place Value Stations Check Up

Hi y'all,
I told you I would be back once I had used all of the Math Place Value Stations in my room.

The kids seemed to take well to the idea of playing 'games' while learning math. I had introduced a few to them and then showed them the rest.



Each group go to pick one and play it until Math Workshop was over. A lot of them asked for the 'Go Fish' style game, Rustle Up Some Vittles. I did have to explain what Rustle and Vittles meant, but they got it. You should have seen how large their eyes got when I said that the Red Level card set had numbers in the Millions Place. You'd think they'd never seen a number that high before. I'm afraid to share what the National Debt is with them.



All of them are now in a separate bucket and many want to take stuff out when they've finished their work. Snake Bite is a huge hit for some reason.



They caught on quickly to the concepts and are enjoying them. That's what I wanted most when I set out to create this pack, so color me happy. I like that I can pull these games out further down the road, but on the higher levels once they master the concepts. Or not. We'll see.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Made it Monday - Donorschoose Project 2

I was so thrilled and honored that my Donorschoose project from last year got funded. The children loved using our new cameras and many would 'forget' to bring their regular one to class so they could have a chance to play with the really cool features.

Well, I'm at it again. This year though I want to go Tech Heavy in my classroom and get kids thinking on a much more interactive level. I went to a staff development over the summer that showcased how to incorporate tablets into your classroom. The speaker, Kristin Ziemke, spoke about having her first graders using it to conduct web cam reviews of material they were studying. It was mind-blowing. You can read my earlier post here.

When my principal announced that our school was going BYOD (Bring your Own Device) status, I was doing a jig. But when school started and not one of the 26 students brought a device, I was worried that all my ideas would fizzle out.

So back to Donorschoose I go. I put up a new project just in time because Bill Gates and his wife are doing a special offer where they will fund HALF of the project if we can get the other half funded. Wow! A free tablet for my classroom? Yes, please!

The project link went live early Sunday morning and I've already raised $250! That leaves me with only about $300 more to go. If you could find it in your heart to donate, even a little bit, to our classroom my students will have access to top notch applications and no one will have to fight for who gets to use the tablet next.

Here's a great letter that Donorschoose puts out to give you all the details:

Hi Friends,

I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed, so I just created a request for my classroom at DonorsChoose.org:

iDonate for the Future

Give to my classroom by August 31, 2014 and your donation will be doubled thanks to DonorsChoose.org. Just enter the code INSPIRE on the payment page and you'll be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100).

If you chip in to help my students, you'll get awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.

Thanks so much,
Gary

P.S. If you know anyone who may want to help my classroom, please pass this along!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Place Value Stations and a TpT Second Chance Sale

How sad were you to see the annual TpT Back to School Sale come and go? That meant that school was starting and life was about to descend again. If you're like me summer came and went way too quickly. I was mired in a home remodel that took up way too much of  my time. I really wanted to spend some idle time creating some killer stuff for my TpT store.

Yeah, that didn't happen. It was too frenetic so I didn't get much anything done. But the workers are gone and the house has been officially released back into our hands. With that pressure being released my mind could get back into the groove of things and start creating again.

It felt so great coming up with ideas for my Place Value Stations pack. One of the areas I struggled with our new Math Workshop model last year was not having fun and engaging activities to help my students extend their knowledge. I wanted this kit to be something I would really use.

I created six Math games that deal with Place Value - reading, comparing, and rounding larger numbers. This is usually our first skill of the year and I wanted to crank it out to test run them in my own room. I have a broad spectrum of abilities in my room so I definitely needed to differentiate these stations. Each of the 6 games has three different versions, so essentially there are 18 games in all.

And I have them all done! Whoo HOO.

I am thankful that I have a test group to run these games through. They found that ONE mistake that I know y'all appreciate me fixing before sending your way. They had a lot of fun running around the room to play the Round Up Them Doggies. I posted ten posters around the room that have a rounded number at the top and a question at the bottom. Students are given an answer sheet and their small group was given a card to start with. They were to solve the problem on each card, record it on their sheet and then find the card in the room that has there answer on it. Then solve the next question and so forth until they had answered all ten cards.



The next station is called Around the Corral. Students play against one other person. They roll dice and each move that number of spaces around their game board. Both compare their numbers written in standard, word, or expanded. Whoever has the larger number gets to pick up a counter. The person with the  most counters at the end wins the game.

My group is having difficulty reading numbers that are larger than thousands place. They really do have the basics for reading numbers and I know they will easily pick up larger values. These games hopefully will give them added practice in a fun engaging way.




I'll be posting how they respond to the other four games, so be on the lookout.

For now the games are already up at TpT and you can get them here:

Place Value Stations


OooOoOOh, but hey, if you wait until Wednesday, August 20th, TpT is having a Second Chance Back to School Sale for ONE MORE DAY!!

You can grab this pack for 20% less, or not and I can finally afford those extra Oreos for my class and our Moon Unit.

Leave  me some comments below to let me know how you plan on using this pack.