New Year's Resolution Activity for 2019

12/09/2018 / Leave a Comment

Click here to see the updated 2021 post!

When I taught 5th grade, my class and I had a lot of discussions about resolutions and goals for the new year. The biggest areas they needed to focus on was being responsible for their work and cleanliness.

I had a few students who always went above and beyond when it came to cleaning our room each day, and most times it wasn't even their mess they were cleaning! Of course, like all teachers, I had several students who misplaced work or frequently forgot to pass in assignments.

Rather than just having my students brainstorm a goal, I decided to make an organizer that would help them to gather their thoughts and self-assess to see what areas they need improvement in.

There are two checklists in this set - one for school goals and one for home goals. First they read through and check off any goals they have already met.

Next, they choose 1 goal that they did not check off. If they have more than one, they will look closely to see which is the most important to them at this time.

Included are 2 graphic organizers, one with a sentence starter and one without.
Lastly there are 2 writing templates; a template for 1 goal and a template for 2 goals. I always liked to differentiate writing assignments by giving my class the option of completing a graphic organizer, or a writing paper for their final copy.

My class really enjoyed this activity. It was a great way to help them to narrow down the areas of school and home that they needed to improve on. 

If you are interested in purchasing this item you can find it in my shop here, or just click on the pictures above!

Happy 2019!
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Kindergarten Classroom Decor

8/19/2018 / 1 comment
Kindergarten students need to have access to a wide variety of words in their first year. It can be overwhelming, having all those posters displayed in one classroom.
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Character Education - Social and Academic Skills in the Classroom

8/12/2018 / Leave a Comment
In my first year of teaching I taught a 5th grade class that benefited greatly from social and academic support.
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Word of the Day - Adding Vocabulary into Your Daily Routine

8/02/2018 / Leave a Comment
I started using a daily vocabulary word when I worked in pull-out in grades 2-5. I worked with accelerated readers in the computer lab and they struggled when presented with new words in their reading passages.
I wanted to find an easy way to provide them with a new word and definition each day, while also reinforcing the concept of using context clues to solve words independently.
In the beginning, I displayed the word on our reading strategies bulletin board and we would talk about it before they began our workshop.
After awhile, I wanted to make it more impactful, so I added in a notebooking component. I would have only the word written on the board, and during the transition between Writers and Readers Workshop,  they would record it in their notebook and discuss what it meant with their peers.
After that, I would uncover the poster and we would discuss it as a class. They would share out their predictions and then record the definition in their notebook. Some students would copy the context sentence I used, and others would challenge themselves to use it in a new sentence.
The year I taught 5th grade, I decided to go digital with the word of the day. We recently had projectors and Apple TV's donated to us, and I wanted to utilize them to save time - plus it saved me having to print and display the word each day!

When it appears on the screen, the word is covered in the context sentence and the definition is covered as well.
I would give them several minutes to read the context sentence and predict what the word might be. At first I had a lot of random guesses, but with time, they began to predict more accurately. 
Once they were ready to move on, the animation takes away the the word on the center of the slide and from the context sentence. 

It does not fade away until you click, allowing your class to discuss the sentence as long as attention holds.

After they have reread the context sentence, they would then predict what the definition might be. I found they were much more successful at solving the definition when they were only presented with an image and a context sentence.
The last click reveals the entire slide, allowing them with an opportunity to record the word and definition in their notebooks.
If you are interested in seeing more about these resources, please click the pictures below!

Do you incorporate vocabulary into your daily routine? Let me know how below!
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Parent Communication with Digital Newsletters

7/31/2018 / Leave a Comment
For the past few years, I have tried to stay on top of parent communication. One of my teammates used to send a note home weekly - but that never worked out for me!

I decided to do monthly newsletter, and then has worked better. Though I always seem to miss December and June! I wonder why? ๐Ÿ˜†

Even on the months that I would write one, I would have the hardest time getting to the copier. I would have it ready to go, literally in my hand, then our copier would break, or I would have to go to a know the drill!

Plus, I have a confession to make...I absolutely detest having to copy them each month and put them  into mailboxes. I can always think of at least 10 more important things that I need to do instead!

I decided to switch over to digital newsletters for the upcoming school year. I'm hoping that these colorful templates will be a bit more eye-catching too, rather than a black and white paper piled amongst many others!
All of the headers are editable, so they can be changed to suit any schedule. There are text boxes already in set in place, so once you upload it to Google you are ready to go!

It'll just take a few seconds to add in all of the upcoming events and units we have been studying in class. Then I can simply share it with my parents through Google.

I am all about obtainable goals, and I know I can easily send home a newsletter each month this way!

If you are interested in these digital newsletters, click here!
Prefer a printable copy? Click here!
How do you communicate with families in your classroom?
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Assessing with Exit Slips in Kindergarten

7/28/2018 / Leave a Comment
When I first started teaching Kindergarten I used lots of full sized worksheets. I would watch my students struggle through each one, most of the class only completing half of the sheet. It seemed like such a waste of time...and paper!
Between the uncompleted work and the excessive time I was spending copying and prepping papers that did not seem to be helping my students, I decided to rethink what I was doing.
Did I really need to stress my students out just to do a quick check on their understanding?
Should I really be spending one whole prep period each week copying piles worksheets for the next week just to see if they understood what I was teaching? ๐Ÿ˜› I felt like my time was better spent preparing hands-activities that really allow my students to explore and direct their own learning.
This year I switched to using exit slips for all areas of our daily routine. We use them for motor skills, handwriting, phonics and math. I knew it would be helpful for me time-wise, but I had no idea how much it would benefit all of my students as well.
They love the smaller sized papers (1/4 of a sheet.) Even my most reluctant writer or math student is willing to sit down and give these mini activities their best effort. They enjoyed them so much that they were disappointed whenever we didn't have one to do because of assemblies or holidays! ๐Ÿ˜‚
I found that I got the same, if not more information, from these exit slips  than I used to get from a worksheet.

I think it is because they are willing to take the time to solve the less intimidating exit slip. Before many students lost interest when presented with a full sized paper and did not do their best work.

I love how these exit slips only take a few minutes to score and put into my grade book which is another plus!
One of the best parts is how much paper and time exit slips save! I only have to run off 6 sheets to cover my whole class. Even if I run off 5 days worth, I am still only using 30 sheets of paper. It just takes a few seconds to cut them up and I am ready for the week ahead!

After using these all year I found my students were much more relaxed when presented with these exit slips. I still got all the data I needed and the slips allowed them to have time to play and work on hands-on activities, which is much more important! Also, when we did do a full sized sheet from time to time, they worked very hard and seemed to give more effort than I had previously seen.

I had a much easier time managing paperwork and was better about sending work home to their families. I just find correcting a small stack of papers way more motivating and easier to maintain in the long run! ๐Ÿ˜†

If you are interested in checking out any of the exit slips I have available, please click here or on the pictures below!

Do you use exit slips in your class to save time?
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