Sunday, May 24, 2015

Genre Tab Book

I feel like I can semi-breathe now that school is out!  My 6 month old keeps me pretty busy!  I have had this idea swimming in my head for SO LONG now!!  I did my long range plans for next year and since I organize my reading by genre for the year I wanted a product that promoted critical thinking but would be open ended enough to use with any story of that genre and thus the Genre Tab Book was born!  

This would make a great beginning of year or introduction to each genre book, a great end of year review,  an accompaniment to the 40 book challenge or perfect for Interactive notebooks and you could use the pages as the tabs for your notebook!

It includes 9 genres and 13 different skills along with most of the RI and RL  Common Core Strands!!  It doesn't get much better than that!

Each page contains the definition, characteristics of that genre, and open ended questions.  Use the QR code with a read aloud from that genre or use with any story from your reading series or classroom!

I'm so excited this finally got finished and I can put them into practice in our classroom next year - they will be a great tool to assess learning!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Market Day - Economics for Big Kids

My students are absolutely in LOVE with this unit!  To say it was a favorite project of the year would be an understatement! If you study economics then you MUST have a Market Day!  I know some students are familiar with the concept but I really think this takes it a step further and combines many aspects of what we have been learning all year - reading, writing, social studies, and even math!

It all begins with diving into economics vocabulary! We discuss terms and what they mean then I explain the concept of Market Day to my students.  They really wanted to get ahead of themselves but we take it step by step.

We discuss solo vs. partner endeavors and how they work best.  They write about which they would like to do and why.

(these pages are the filled in examples - blank pages are included!)

We then discuss in depth about goods and services.  We brainstorm a list as a class and if they would be feasible or not.

We decide on our good or service.

Students also received a "business license" when their product was approved!  This was super important and had to be displayed on their station on Market Day

We get our budget sheets and rent items from the teacher and pay rent to sell in our location.  We also decided on a class what our price point would be.  I wanted a range so that no one would undersell and we agreed 2-6 for all goods/services in class.  We also decided that each goer to Market Day would get 20$ market money to spend.  They couldn't buy all the goods so they would have to choose.

We discuss advertising, location, and other concepts.  We tied in persuasive techniques we learned about previously and decided which advertising would work best.   I found Secret Millionaire's Club and we use some of these videos along with the great printables which are FREE!  They throw in a lot of math but I found it worked out perfect for my 4th graders!   They have quite a few episodes and I picked out what would work best for our class and our needs.

smc learn and earn program logo
We then practiced and set up and invited 2 other classes via invitation to our Market Day.

After a student spent all their money - they were given a short 3 question survey and that helped decide awards!!

I cannot stress just how much my students enjoyed this activity!!  They really learned quite a bit about businesses! We also read the Lemonade War and made connections to the book - crossing the curriculum.

Reflection sheets are also included which were a large part of their grade!  They did such a fantastic job and I was super impressed by what all they accomplished.  Click any of the pictures to learn more.  This includes everything you need to make a Market Day happen in your own classroom and give your students an incredibly memorable learning experience. I plan on doing this for years to come with the great success we had!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Letter to My Class 2015!

I wrote this post last year and I loved how I got to reflect on my class. As a teacher each class is different and we (the students and I) learn new things throughout the year.  I wanted to give you a chance to write to your class reflecting on your learning.  Just use the button and link up!

Dear amazing students,

You renew my faith in teaching almost daily!  Moving up 4 grades this year, I admit I was a little scared but you have proved just how amazing upper elementary students can be.  What you come to school learning and your commitment to growth is phenomenal.

The first thing and by far the most memorable from our year would have to be how you question everything! Every single one of you wonders and questions the world around you.  Be still my science heart!  You have so many questions and few times I've had to take a deep breath and say we will get to them later and eventually we do, but I truly love how you wonder about so many things - from the names of planets and how they relate to our study on Greek Mythology or how big is our solar system? I want to be able to research and get to every question but it is not always possible.  Thankfully I found Wonderopolis just in time for the end of the year and now we have a designated quession time (a great transition activity)

You taught me that humor and laughing at yourself can be ok. This was ongoing, because my own handwriting is atrocious (I'm working on it) and sometimes I talk to fast and the wrong words would come out.  We had the running joke all year from this story.  We were talking about first civilizations on North America (U.S.A.) and I the two theories in our old book discussed a land bridge or they road boats from another continient.  I said they rode GOATS in class.  You can bet every student got that question right if it came up again.  They all said they laughed studying because they remembered that very line.  Being able to laugh at myself and share my humor with an older grade I found is a much better fit for me.   We rap (Flocabulary), sing our favorite video from the year (Tour the States), and even did some dance breaks all in the name of learning.  We love that aspect and the chance to branch out a little in our learning.

You taught me that you can give responsibility and let go a little. Growing up I always felt teachers needed and were always in control. In a way, they are. They are the final say in what goes on and what decisions on learning should be made, but how they learn can be up to them.  Giving students the option to work around the room, in groups, under desks, with flashlight, with whiteboards, backwards in chairs, on desks (Oh yes!)....and letting them still do work in their best learning position is fine by me.  You showed me that you can handle it and be responsible enough to let loose but still learn.  I mean, I don't go home and grade tests at my desk (I would love if I was that organized) and so I don't feel that desks are always the best learning position.  I also try to get you up and moving and outside as much as possible if I can connect it to what we are learning.  We take SS and Science tests outside if the weather is above 70.  We do work in the outdoor classroom.  We play SCOOT or States and Capitals musical chairs or the spelling version.  I try to make review and learning fun with games.  We do STEM challenges to challenge our teamwork and creative thinking.  You have continually stepped up the plate and accepted and not abused responsibility with grace which made our learning environment even more fun.

You taught me to love reading.  Last year in Kindergarten, I still read but adult books only.  Now I love reading YA lit and what you guys are into.  I loved getting the boys hooked on Percy Jackson especially one of my reluctant readers and I smile every time he updates me about his book.  I love how I can recommend books to you knowing each of your reading styles and how I influenced you to pick books not based on points (AR :( but by interest and what you love.  I love how I consider my homework reading - so I can be more involved and have better discussions with you. 

You are a class that goes above and beyond! You question the world and work extremely hard! I was (am) so blessed to teach you even just for one short year!  Never, never stop learning Class of 2023! I cannot wait to watch you grow!

I would love it if you would link up and take the time to reflect on your class this year.  I'll leave it open till mid June.  I'm excited to read how other teachers have grown and all your own amazing students.  Feel free to use the template below if you want to include it but not necessary!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Firework Card REwork! April Fools FREEbie as well!

I'm back from my hiatus and wanted to share a few things I've been working on !  I have so much more on Instagram (SSSTeaching) and my FB page if you have been seeing what I've been on, but with the 4month old little else is being kept up with.  Teaching has been going SO WELL!  Now getting into testing season, everything is getting crazy busy!!

First is a April Fools Reading Passage and FREEBIE.  I even learned a few things researching this and I really do enjoy this holiday - as long as jokes are completely harmless.

Click on the picture if you want to check it out.  Not exactly the prettiest but it's what I've got time for.  We need a little test prep break and I tried to get some critical thinking in there.

Next up I finally fixed some Fireworks cards I did a couple years ago.  I tried and couldn't replicate MY OWN DIRECTIONS! Seriously ;( Major fail.  Something was missing. I spent a couple days thinking and I believe figured it out!  check out this 3 easy ingredient fun project!!

all you need: dishsoap, oil and food coloring 

some sturdy paper to put the coloring on as well. 

Drop the food coloring in, then use a toothpick dipped in a little soap to make pretty designs in the oil.  (I put just a little oil in a pan) lay the paper on top then let paper dry on some paper towels to create these beautiful designs.  I have a video prepped for summer school on why this works but for right now I'm happy I figured out how to make them!

They look so intricate and fun! The kids LOVE these! Hope you get a chance to try them out! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guest Blogging!

I'm Guest blogging over at Minds in Bloom today sharing other ways to use Decide Now in your classroom!  Click the button to go to check it out! 

Grab button for Minds in Bloom

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Status of Class Exit Slip FREEBIE

If you love the technology exit slips in my store! Then I have a FREEBIE right up your alley!

This was so fun to do with class and has so many uses.  It is Facebook themed and students get to create a status!  There are literally 100s of ways you could use this in your classroom.

We just started traditional literature this week. I had the students activate their prior knowledge by filling out a slip for a character from traditional literature.  I did give the subgenres (myth, legend, tall tale, fable, and fairytale) so they had some idea!

I loved how creative they were!  Some of our lit groups just read Percy Jackson and Ella Enchanted so this fit in really well!

This FREEBIE is tech themed just like my other slips in my store! Be sure to check them out!   Leave comments here if you like it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Moby Max Tablet

Moby Max sent us a tablet to use in our classroom!  If you have never heard about Moby Max you can read my post - here - about why I love it!

I was so excited to come home to this package! My students use and LOVE MobyMax for various reasons but being older one of my favorite uses is for test prep!
I knew as soon as I got my hands on this tablet what I would do with it. 
My students were SO grateful and excited to get their hands on more technology as well! We have 1 iPad, 1 barely working computer and my teacher computer - so any techology is greatly appreciated! 

We use MobyMax for 1/2 of our computer time because I can track what they do and I like the limited use of rewards time for practice - it works for us. 
This tablet stays in our room for Title 1/RTI time.  It rotates through students everyday and they focus solely on test prep for this time.  They can choose either language arts or math but it has to be test prep.  Sadly, they need mulitple choice practice and I don't feel like they get enough in class.  At least, it is on the computer and they earn game time for test practice, plus I can start this early in the year and get more students ready faster without piling on a bunch of test prep.
Did I mention the tablet is also able to support a browser and has apps?! I'm always encouraging students to research quetsions and find their own answers well with another tablet that is possible.  The calculator has also come in handy quite a bit!
The tablet does take a little getting use to at first since I'm only used to iPads but the students and I figured it out very quickly (them more so than me and I'm only 23!)  It really fits in well in our class and the tablet aspect has really helped me differentiate my teaching during small group time with focused test prep for students!