Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sequence of Events and Grab-Bag Math

My kiddos are really struggling with identifying numbers that are larger than another. Therefore, I took a math workbook page that has a game chart and the curriculum's math number cards and made  my own mini version of "War." The number cards have the dots that represent the number on the backside and my kiddos were figuring out that they could cheat and pick the number they wanted to play. Therefore, I added the popcorn bag. They have to pick a number card out of the bag and whoever gets the larger number gets to move one space on the game board. Whoever makes it to 10 first wins! The kids love it, and I love it because they are learning quickly numbers and their order.

Our focus in Language Arts is Sequence of Events. One activity I had the kids do is make of their own sequence. Such as Student 1 FIRST, had M&Ms; Next, sorted them; Last, she ate them.  Student two chose to use the orange in my lunch sack. First, she grabbed the orange. Next,  she cut the orange (she didn't really, I did). Last, she ate the orange. The kids had fun thinking up their own Sequence of Events.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I get it!!!

Unfortunately, there is a 17:1 ratio in my class. It is impossible to sit one-on-one with every student. Therefore, our school picks two "focus students" who we give the extra push throughout the year. I began meeting with one of my focus students this week after school and we worked on patterns. Something that seems so simple to you and I; however, to this little one, patterns are difficult. After about 20 minutes of practicing, he looks up at me and says, "I get it, I get it!" The words every teacher cherishes forever!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Little Bit of Fall...

Our Fall Trees. They turned out beautiful!

The month of November, our class family really focuses on being thankful for the many things we have in our life. This week we will be making our Fall Corn with what we are thankful for.

This activity has nothing to do with Fall. However, I began implementing this activity in class and the kids love it. I use it as a center station. I provide dice and table place mats. I am fortunate enough to have carpet in my room this year, so I do allow the kids to find a "comfy" spot on the carpet where they  can work quietly.

I create worksheets with the high frequency words of the week. If they roll a one, they write the high frequency word that is for #1. If they roll  a four next, they write whatever high frequency word I have chosen, etc. The kids love it. They are having fun and I know they are learning their words. Everyone is happy! Yay!

A Sneak Peak

I have decided that I am going to start a classroom blog! I am doing this for numerous reasons. First, I want to remember what I do from year-to-year. I am switching grades all the time and I want to keep record what I did for each grade. Secondly, I want to be able to collaborate with fellow teachers and want to post some of my ideas on my new addiction: PINTEREST! Thirdly, friends and family are always asking what I am doing with my chickadees in my class. Therefore, this is a way for them to see what we are doing.

A little bit of management in my class is a blurt chart and a behavior rubric. I believe you have to have a controlled classroom before learning can take place. In fact, I was once told, "Procedures are the railroad tracks and content is the train." I completely agree!

Blurt Chart: When a student impulsively shouts out an answer or comment, it is considered a "blurt." With my experience, this is common amongst the little ones. They are just so excited when they have an answer that it just "pops" out of their mouth. It can be cute sometimes, but not when you have 17 blurters. Ha! In my class, you get three strikes (blurts) before you have to move your clothespin on the behavior rubric. Once they have three blurts, they start back at the top. If they get another three blurts, another clothespin on the behavior rubric is moved, etc, etc.

Behavioral Rubric: Each student has a clothespin with their name on it. Everyone starts on "Great Day." As you can see, there are consequences every time you move your pin. Our class family came up with the consequences together. "The Chill Zone" is a designated place in class where a student will sit for approximately 5 minutes to "chill out" and think about their actions. I believe that every student has a choice. They can either follow school/class rules or CHOOSE to break them. "It is their choice!"

Some ways I display students' work is with clothespins. In fact, clothespins are my best friend. I didn't have a bulletin board; therefore, I hung butcher paper and my awesome hubs attached fishing wire. Clothespins are awesome. No staples and easy to switch out students' work.

Schools today are big on "Universal Access." It is just a fancy work for differentiated instruction within the classroom. We all learn in different ways, at different paces, at different levels. In addition, there is only one of me and 17 little ones. Consequently, while I am doing reading groups. the students have a variety of options to work on independently. They have "Must Dos", the things that they "HAVE" to do; they have "May Dos", the things that they choose to do once their "Must Do" is done; finally, they have "Ketchup Work," things they need to catch up on or didn't complete from the day prior.

I love rubrics. They are a great visual for students (and teachers) to rate/grade work. We are really practicing our writing this year and I made the following rubric. It is fabulous. The students love to "rate" their own work and know I will not accept anything below a "4!" High expectations = awesome students!