Saturday, June 30, 2012

Math Notebooks/ Calendar Journal

Hey everyone! I wanted to share a few things before I go on vacation! :)

First, I just finished my classroom rules chart based on Whole Brain Teaching. I have the rules for a freebie if you'd like them click here.( I left these as a Powerpoint file so you could edit them but my font won't be there. If you want the ones I created with the font, just leave your email in the comments.)
This was totally pinterest inspired from The Polka Dot Patch. I just love it!                                                                                              
  Next, I wanted to share my math notebooks which include my calendar journals. They have been # 6 on TPT for the last two weeks! I was so excited to get such great feedback. I use these notebooks in conjunction with my SMART Board Calendar.





I started to put my notebooks together last week. I still need to make a cute label for the front but the insides are done. Here are some pics.

                                                                I start with a three prong folder.

Next, I put my math tools page in the front pocket ( click here for the math tools page freebie) and a page protector for the calendar journal of the month. I used a page protector so I wouldn't have to waste paper on these everyday. The students will use fine tip dry erase markers to compete the pages. For the first 6 weeks, I help the students with these and then gradually let the students take over. I think it helps to write the months and days of the week so students see the spelling and practice daily.  Every month, I will just copy the next month's calendar journal and slip it into the page protector. Easy Peezy!



After the calendar journal, I added a few of the pages from Mrs. Meacham's website. I love her website. Before I knew about blogs, I just spent hours stealing her ideas!  If you've never been to her site, I suggest you check it out!

This is a days in school chart from Mrs. Meacham that the students add to everyday.





I don't do much for lost teeth so a few years ago I figured the least I could do was graph their lost teeth on the calendar. They love to add their initials to the month when they lose a tooth!






The last insert is a ready made calendar for each month. ( also from Mrs. Meacham) I copied all the months already and added them to the notebook so it will be one less thing to worry about at the start of the new month. Isn't getting ready for a new month stressful!


After all the calendar inserts, I added wide ruled loose leaf paper for problem solving.Since implementing CCSS last year, I have focused so much more on word problems the various types of word problems as well as strategies to solve them. Next post I will tell all about the labels and how they made problem solving so powerful! Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Turn up the Music Linky!

  So I wanted to join this Linky because I know music aids with retention of content but also makes learning fun! I teach at an arts school so music and movement is very much encouraged!

I love to use music with transitions. In the morning, as students come in and get settled, I play " It's a Beautiful Morning" by The Rascals.

It just makes me happy to start the day with that song!
At the end of the day, I play Celebration by Kool and the Gang. You know, to celebrate our learning that day and because it's time to go home!Nothing like ending the day with a dance party!



During clean up, I use the Dora Clean Up song. I like this one the best. It's the most up beat clean up song I could find!

 I have a CD helper who turns these songs on for me. Here's the playlist poster I made to help the students remember the tracks.


During the day, I love to play videos from Harry's Kindergarten on You Tube. He has so many educational songs I just love. Check out his videos! I especially love the doubles songs and subtract with a pirate!

I also love songs by Have Fun Teaching. My students love the Counting by 5's song. They dance and don't even realize they're learning!
Link up to share music from your classroom!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Using Vocabulary to develop Young Writers! A system with minilessons to use all year!

I am so excited! I finally finished a project I've been working on for a long time. I have always seen the connections between the vocabulary built in 1st grade through arts integration, science and writing and have wanted a way to show the connections to the students as an anchor chart to keep coming back to for writing. For example, at the beginning of the year we work so much on sensory words  during our senses unit in science but by the time we add those in writing, the students seem to have forgotton the learning. Another example are shape words as we teach students how to draw at the very beginning of the year.
I've tried to make and keep multiple anchor charts but it was too much and looked too messy. So for awhile I've wanted to make a bulletin board that could be built all year as an anchor when sensory vocabulary or words great for writing were introduced. I decided to call them Sparkle Words for writing and this is the bulletin board I created. I have windows behind the board so I can never get a good picture. It just doesn't do the board justice... It really does look nice! lol! I don't know how to get a picture that's not grainy!

Now I can make vocabulary learning more permanent through the year and accessible for sudents to use when writing.
I uploaded this to TPT along with over 30 minilessons to teach this vocabulary. Many of the lessons even have the printables that students will need during the lesson. This is also aligned to the ELA common core standards.
The new common core standards ask that students use language to explain their thinking and justify their reasoning. They ask that students see the nuances in the meanings of words and that they are able to identify/ use sensory language. When looking at the standards, there is an emphasis for vocabulary development in 1st grade. Unfortunately, students are coming to school with a smaller vocabulary but expected to use a greater variety of adjectives and sensory language in their speech and writing with the new common core standards. As teachers, we need to ensure our students are exposed to language in order to expand their basic vocabulary before they will be able to use that language in writing. Through explicit vocabulary we can close gaps in our neediest students and expand the vocabulary of our strongest students while building writing skills at the same time.
 Here are a few pics of my preview. The download Vocabulary Mini lessons for Young Writers is 124 pages long!






Even if you don't have the space for the bulletin board, you can put the pages in page protectors in a binder for students to use. I really hope others can use this. I truly believe it is a great system to make all the vocabulary development in our classrooms cohesive. It can help students see the connections between subjects and the importance of building language to become better readers and writers. Not to mention the 30 ready mini lessons! If you're interested, check it out on TPT. Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Math freebies!!

Like so many of you, I have been busy making lots for the new school year. I have had a math problem solving journal for a few years but I wanted to incorporate my calendar pages into the math journal as well, so everything will be together. I am thinking of using a folder with the calendar pages in page protectors so students can use dry erase markers. These are the calendar pages from my TPT store.


I am going to put wide ruled paper in the back for the problem solving journal and this math tool page in the folder as well for students to use as a resource. You can download the math tool page by clicking on the picture.


These don't have anything to do with the Problem Solving journal but...
I also made some Make Ten Playing cards and they are available as a freebie on TPT!


You can pick up the Make Ten Playing Cards here. Leave me comment if you can use any of these math freebies! Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Daily 5 Management ideas and freebie!

I know so many of you out there have implemented Daily 5 in your own classroom. I have used this structure faithfully for three years now and love the independence it has created for my students. However, I have had to do some major rethinking about Word Work recently to fit with my expectations for my students.

How many of you have had to tweak the structure a little?

Here's my thinking and rationale as well as the new chart I made. I have freebies included in the post if you're interested in making the chart for yourself.


See, I have always struggled with making sure my students were changing activities within word work. They are usually very on-task but I noticed the same students were always using watercolors or another group always chose whiteboard practice, etc... Then, whenever I put out a word work game, that's all they would choose. For example, sight word Jenga was a huge hit but that was all a few would do during word work. On top of all that, I have my students on differentiated sight word lists and want them to be able to practice reading and spelling those words during word work as well. I tried a word work menu in March but watched and noticed that only my rule followers actually used the menu correctly. Many others just continued to go where they pleased.

I began to think about how I could break word work down into different choices so that the students could be as independent with these as they were with read to self,  read to someone and work on writing.

So this is what I think will work for me and I wanted to share in case any of you had noticed these same issues in your own classroom.

I broke word work into these 3 choices: Sight word work, Weekly Word Work and Games. Sight word work is where they will practice their individual lists. Weekly word work will be word family words and games will be the many literacy games I put out to play to reinforce skills. I will still give choice within these rotations but now students will be more focused on their task. I also added a Teacher's Choice for various seasonal activities/ literacy centers I make.

Here's the new chart I made to reflect these changes. Oh, by the way, I threw in poetry as well! Why not?

P.S. The right side is crooked. That will be fixed! :)


Half the class will use the right side and half the class will use the left side. They will move straight down and retrun back to the top when at the bottom. I use clothespins with names to keep track of students.  Let me know what you think! If you want to make this chart, click here.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Have a 5 Star Day! Management Update and freebie!



****(See here for updated post 6-28-13)*****


 I have been thinking and thinking as we all do over the summer about how to change things up in my classroom for next year. I really struggled with behavior this year so I'm determined to get back to Whole Brain Teaching (check YouTube for more info) and making sure I'm very consistent with discipline. This is my weakness. I need to make sure I always enforce the rules and keep the students accountable.
Here is a freebie of the rules I made. Feel free to edit if you want because I changed the last rule to "Keep everyone happy" because this includes me as well! Click on pic to download!






I started the "5 Star" day at the end of the year to keep students motivated to follow the rules and they seemed to really enjoy it. This was developed to also help lessen my load during pack-up time... See I always stamped the calendar of students who had a "good" day and then write on the calendars of those who broke rules. It took me forever and then the students just started talking and goofing around rather than stand by their desk as they were supposed to do when they pack up. I tried to have a student stamp while I wrote but the wrong day would  get stamped or a student who shouldn't have received a stamp did and I felt like it was making me look unorganized to parents.

This new system held students accountable, helped me with recording problem behavior, saved time at the end of the day and made those wonderful, rule-followers shine!

I added this star behavior calendar to our STAR take home folders.


I love this because students can color in the number of stars they earn at the end of the day to save me time. I just check on the ones " who struggle" with behavior and write the rule(s) they need to work on. This helps students have a goal for each day. It also helps me distinguish those with great behavior from those with good behavior rather than just focusing on those with poor behavior.

Here's how it works:

Students are given a star chart for their desk.I have pink, green and blue. Their goal is 5 stars a day. The students keep track of their own behavior throughout the day with a clothespin on the star chart. I could have done a class star chart but I didn't want behavior displayed and if it is taped to their desk it will be a constant reminder.
 If a students needs a individual consequence, I will quietly motion or whisper that they need to move to 4 stars on their chart. I also write the rule number he or she broke on my class clipboard recording sheet  by his or her name. This method also helps me with behavior documentation. Saves so much time!!! I then have students color in the number of stars they earned at the end of the day. This saves me time as I used to stamp everyone’s folder at the end of the day. Now I just check those students who had less than a 5 star day and write which rule they struggled with. I really like this because I can reward those with great behavior at the end of each week or month and keep track of those struggling! I also like that the behavior recording chart is not posted for everyone to see, it is portable and permanent. Parents like that they know exactly how their child is behaving every day.

I made the 5 star behavior calendars for each month with 2 or 3 different options to fit any school calendar as well as included blank templates in case other teachers'  rules are different than mine. I tried to think of every possibility! There are 33 pages! If you like this idea and want to try it next year, check it out (here) on TPT for $1!!!. I'd love some feedback if anyone downloads. :)

I just added the student star charts as well.