Thursday, February 26, 2015

Milestone Giveaway!

When I first started selling on Teachers Pay Teachers and blogging, I never could have imagined the support I would receive! I have learned so much along the way, and I know my teaching is so much better because of the blogging and TpT world! 
It has also been financially helpful towards supplementing my classroom spending habit.  I am so lucky to have an understanding hubby that gets why I have to spend so much to make sure that my students have the access to materials they need, but TpT has definitely helped take the burden off our personal budget.  I really thank all of you who read my blog and who have purchased items from my TpT store.  Every time my students are able to grab a book off of my bookshelf, I know they thank you too!
I have recently reached a milestone that is celebrated by Teachers Pay Teachers.
In honor, of this milestone I am having THREE Amazing giveaways thanks to the help from some of my TpT and blogging friends!  Each prize package has a $25 TpT gift card along with numerous product donations.  Enter below:

Giveaway #1 $25 TpT Gift Card & K-2 Resources


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2 $25 TpT Gift Card & 3rd Grade & Up Resources
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #3 $25 TpT Gift Card & Clip Art and Other Resources for Any Grade


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our Morning Meeting

One of my favorite parts of our day is our Morning Meeting.  I have thought about letting it go from time to time (especially with the demands of testing season looming), but when I notice my students using elements of the meeting throughout the day (such as sharing compliments or concerns) I know just how crucial a piece it really is to our routine.

The goals of our Morning Meeting is to:

  • Set the tone for respectful learning
  • Establish a climate of trust
  • Motivate students to feel significant
  • Create empathy and encourage collaboration
  • Support social, emotional, and academic learning

  • At the beginning of the year, I lead the meeting an model the expectations, but I quickly hand over the task to a student.  I pick a new student each day to run the meeting (I just follow my class list alphabetically and then start over when we run through the list).  The components of our meeting are:

    1. The Rules.  I use Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom, so we go over each of the 5 rules using the hand signals.

    2. Our Mission Statement.  After the rules, we read our mission statement.  It is a modified version of our school mission statement, and it really focuses us on our goals for the day ahead.

    During the next portion of the meeting students raise their hands to participate in each section.  The person of the day chooses a student who is raising their hand and throws a soft ball to them.  The students are expected to only talk when they have the ball, and to actively listen to the speaker. I have the student of the day choose three students to speak during each portion.

    3. Compliments.  During this portion of the meeting, students compliment one another.  They might say things such as, " I would like to compliment so and so for being a good friend." or "I would like to compliment ____ for persevering during math yesterday." This year some of my students have taken to complimenting people outside of our classroom (i.e. family members, other staff members) and I have allowed it because they have been well thought out compliments.

    4. Concerns. Students share concerns they may have about our classroom, school, students, etc.  They have included things such as the water fountain not working to me not teaching Spanish (LOL!).

    5. I Am Proud of / I Am Working On. This is a time for students to share the things they are proud of and the things they are working on.  They might say that they are proud of reaching their AR goals, and they would like to work on mastering their math facts. It really keeps them accountable.  I have overheard students asking one another, "Do you want me to quiz you on your math facts since you are working on that?"

    6. I Am Feeling ___ because. This is an idea that I took from a Ms. Noonan video ( you can see one below).  We use it not only to share our feelings, but also to work on synonyms and vocabulary words.  I don't have many English Language Learners in my classroom this year, but even my  native English speakers could use some new vocabulary words.  We call them "Fancy Dancy words".

    7. Academic Content. I try to add Academic Content to each morning meeting.  Sometimes it is a round of skip counting, or some mental math.  Other times I might ask a comprehension question about our read aloud. 


    My morning meeting is really a hodge podge of ideas gleaned from a variety of places, but here are a few of my go to places when I do my planning for this portion of our day:

    I love this book from Responsive Classroom!

     80 Morning Meeting Ideas is another book from Responsive Classroom geared towards 3rd to 6th Grade.

    I have also incorporated ideas from this video from Ms. Noonan.  I *may* have watched every last one of her videos and stolen tidbits from each one, because let me just say she is AMAZING!

    I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated entirely to Morning Meeting Resources that I add to when I find additional resources and ideas.    Follow Kelly's board Morning Meetings on Pinterest.

    Do you have a Morning Meeting with your class?

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Five for Friday - February 13, 2015

    Time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching! It has been an absolute whirlwind of a week, and I have found myself awake at 3:30 in the morning thinking about all the things I haven't gotten done yet that need to get done today!  Add that to the fact that today is an early start for me (we have faculty meetings every Friday morning before school) and that today is Valentines Day (can you say sugar rush kiddos?), AND Friday the 13th!!!  Yikes! I can do this, I can do this, right?  LOL!

    Well, here is a peek at some of the craziness of the week!

    We have a ton of February birthdays in our classroom, so we have been enjoying the sugar rush of cupcakes on almost a daily basis!  This is the first year that I have taught the same grade that one of my own children was in, and he is actually in my class.  It has been a unique experience having my students also be my son's friend!  We have been at many a birthday party this year!

    I hit my first milestone for my TpT store, which is kind of a big deal, and a personal goal I have had for awhile.  My hubby surprised me the moment that I hit it with a small bag of treats and a card signed by him and the younger three boys.  Swoon!

    I will of course be having a big giveaway to celebrate next week!  Don't forget to stop by and check it out! 

    And speaking of giveaways, if you haven't already entered this month's giveaway for the $25 TpT gift card, be sure to enter here. 

    We have been working on making this amazing Valentines Day themed door decoration from Art With Jenny K.
    Valentine's Day!

    And the final product:

    It was a surprise for my students when they saw the final creation and they LOVED it!  Jenny also has a variety of these for other holidays, so be sure to check them out.

    We have been continuing our non-fiction unit for reading and we have gotten so much use out of this book! 

    My students have even been grabbing it as their book of choice during read to self time.  Love it!

    Our read aloud right now is The One and Only Ivan.  I Love this book!

    For our graphing lesson this week I asked them this question to go along with the book:

    I was not ready for the spontaneous spirited debate that happened as they casted their votes!

    I had to snap a few pictures!  I loved hearing them use accountable talk on their own, and they even justified their answers and gave reasons why they felt the way they did.  A few of them were able to persuade people to change their votes!  I am super excited for our opinion writing unit now!

    How was your week?  Did you survive the Valentine sugar high?

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    Writing Introductions to Non-Fiction Pieces

    Our school district has adopted the Lucy Calkins units of study for our writing instruction.

    We are currently working on a non-fiction writing unit, and the students are loving it! We have been working on our introductions for our President Research Reports using one of the lessons in the unit.

    Presidents Research Writing Project

    We started with a mini-lesson where we explored various non-fiction mentor texts looking for ways authors wrote their introductions.  Then we made an anchor chart which I modified from the book.

    The students were then tasked with the challenge of writing three different introductions based on the strategies on our anchor chart. 

    Here are a few of their examples:

    Asking questions seems to be the popular method in our class right now.  I can't wait to see their final products!

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    Delegate Your Grading to Your Students!

    I know this idea is far from new since I graded my own papers way back when I was in school, but it was one I had not really used myself, so I thought I would share how it is going.

    We were at a grade level collaboration when we were given yet another assessment that we had to administer to our students.  Of course we groaned and complained about one more thing to do when our plates were already overflowing.  One of my team members suggested having the students grade them so that it would take a little off our plates.  Brilliant!  Some of the best ideas are so simple!

    I started having my students grade EVERYTHING!  They get instant feedback, and I get a small break!  Win, win.

    Here is how it works in my class:

    When students finish an assignment, they come to the carpet with the assignment ONLY!  No pencils or pens allowed.  Then I hand out markers to each student to grade with.  Each student keeps their own papers to allow privacy, and for them to focus better on the feedback rather than gloating over how many times they get to mark another student wrong.

    Students then mark their papers with just an X on the incorrect answers (to make it easier for me when I double check as I enter scores).  We go over the answers together, which seems to keep the students more engaged as you can see below.

    We have been able to get extra practice with fractions as they learn how to come up with the fraction of correct answers over the total problems or points available.

    They even leave themselves encouraging messages!  I love that!  Scores actually seem to be improving as they self-monitor their own learning and that makes me even happier!

    Do you have your students grade their own work?

    Third Grade Daily Math Review - Spiral Math Review for Thi

    And just in case you were wondering, the pages they were using came from my 3rd Grade Daily Math Review product.

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