Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Made It 7*24*17

This week I'm keeping it simple and sharing how I adapted my Erin Condren Teacher Planner for next school year. They come out with a new design every May but I purchased mine back in April when last year's design was on sale. 
My Planner
I purchased the Create 365 Teacher Planner Stickers to use with my planner. You can find them at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. 
I decided to take the Absentee Log and turn it into an Inspiration List like I saw over at 3rd Grade Thoughts. I used planner stickers to replace Name with Idea and to replace Note with an apple and checkmark. I also used the tabs to replace Absent with Inspiration.
Since I've already created my Long Range Plans I really didn't need this page for plans but I do intend to use this page to list monthly 7 Habits of Happy Kids, Leadership Skills and Growth Mindset lessons and ideas. 
This is one of my calendar spreads. I'll use this to record important school dates and holidays.
I opted for 2 sheet protectors, it comes with 1 but you can add 2 more if you like. I use one sleeve for my long range lesson plans and one sleeve for our district calendar. 
I've already written all the dates in my planner. Then I used the tabs from the sticker book to section the lesson plan pages into months. 
I'm looking forward to using an actual planner again. I've done planbook.com for the last two years and I loved it but there's nothing like a pretty planner to get you excited about writing lesson plans!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Character Education


For as long as I can remember, I've focused on character education in my classroom. I'm passionate about cultivating leaders and all around good citizens. I enjoy integrating character education into my morning meetings, writing block and shared reading block. 

My favorite books that focus on life/leadership skills are by Julia Cook and Maria Dismondy. For the first couple of weeks in school I read a different book (see this post) during morning meeting and we discuss the theme and message. I also spotlight one life/leadership skill each month. We discuss the skill in depth during morning meeting. As I see students demonstrating the skill, I reward the with the correlating SMART(Brag)Tag.
  • September-Initiative 
  • October- Organization
  • November/December- Responsibility
  • January- Cooperation
  • February- Problem Solving
  • March- Integrity
  • April- Effort
  • May-Perseverance
  • June- Caring
While browsing Pinterest one evening I saw this Character Education Booklet. Rebecca, over at CreateTeachShare, created this wonderful resource and you can download it for FREE! I plan on using this booklet in September as we build our classroom community. Each page focuses on what the trait means and ways to show the it. I've included possible read alouds to teach each character trait below. 

Kindness-
Empathy-
Courage-
Integrity and Honesty-
Tolerance-
Compassion-

Monday, July 17, 2017

Made it Monday 7*17*17

For as long as I can remember I've only had two classroom jobs, the Line Leader and Caboose. They coupled as the helpers for the week as well. If I needed more than those two for a task, then they were able to choose additional classmates to help them. 

This summer I wanted to do something different and scoured Pinterest looking for ideas. I decided to implement Team Jobs next year. 

I'll spend the first two weeks discussing the leadership responsibilities of each team during morning meeting. Starting the 3rd week, I will divide the students into eight membership teams. The membership teams will stay the same all year and each team will do a two week rotation on each Leadership Team/Crew.
The Maintenance Crew is responsible for keeping our classroom clean. Not only will they clean up at the end of the day, but they'll remind their classmates throughout the day if their work space is in need of tidying up. 
The Technology Team will get the classroom laptops out for the day and make sure they're secure at the end of the day. They also will help classmates throughout the day if they need it.  
The Transition Team helps when we leave the classroom for resource, lunch and dismissal. 


The Library Team will collect the books on our library day and return them in the morning. They  are also responsible for making sure classroom picture books are placed in the correct basket and that our chapter books are on the bookshelf with their correlating color. 
The Kindness Crew is my favorite! These are the students who will escort classmates to the nurse, compliment classmates and greet visitors to our classroom. They will be trained to to say "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon" to any adult that comes in the room. 
The Teacher Assistant Team will pass out papers and run errands. They will also be in charge of reading our Learning Objective before and after each lesson. 


The Cafeteria Crew will remind students of our "SMART Cafeteria Expectations." They will also make sure the table is clean and if any items (lunch boxes, water bottles) are left behind, they grab them and ensure it gets back to the owner. 
The Vacation Crew is the crew that is on "vacation." The only leadership responsibilities they have is encouraging their classmates to do their best on their teams. 

That sums up my team jobs, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Monday Made It ideas!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Self Check Posters


A couple of years ago my county started moving towards Learning Objectives/I Can Statements and having students self check their learning. I have a self check poster posted in my 3rd grade classroom near my front white board where I keep the Learning Objectives and on the white board in my guided reading area. I created two different versions and a couple different themes. Click the photo above or below to download them from the Resource folder on the Teaching Oasis drive, and print out the version you need!

Kindergarten/First Grade Version
Second Grade-Fifth Grade Version

Monday, July 10, 2017

Made It Monday 7*10*17

Now that I've finished my Google Certification I can go back to creating things for my classroom. This week I'm focusing on Open House. After seeing various Open House Stations on Pinterest I decided to do them next school year as well. But then I decided that I needed a theme. Krista Wallden of Creative Clips came out with Smart Cookie Graphics and they were too cute not to use! So my Open House/Meet the Teacher will have a Smart Cookie theme. In my school SMART is a school wide acronym and Coal Miners are SMART is our motto. I also call my Brag Tags SMART Tags instead.
In my  last blog post I talked about using Google Forms to have parents sign in at Open House. This is my welcome sign. 
The 1st day of school can be very hectic, knowing how each child will go home can save time and energy on an already busy and exciting day. 
Our school requires that parents fill out their child's student information card at Open House so we can have parent contact information on the 1st day of school. 
On each student's desk will be a packet of forms parents will take home and fill out. I also place a Parent Flipbook with information about our classroom that they can take home as well. 
I collect items like glue sticks, pencils and paper. Students keep their scissors, coloring instruments and notebooks in their desk. 
I'm ditching my weekly newsletters and switching to monthly newsletters. I've decided to use a text notification app to fill in the gaps when I need to alert parents to classroom happenings. 
Pictures of items I'm putting in student treat bags are shown below. I also intend to have a variety a cookies for families to snack on. I even saw some Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free cookies at Food Lion. 

I added my wish list items to cookie graphics.

Treat Bag: Smart Cookie Stickers from Oriental Trading.
Treat Bag: Smart Cookie Pencils from Oriental Trading.
Treat Bag: Smart Cookie Notepads from Oriental Trading.
That pretty much sums up my Open House Stations, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Monday Made It ideas!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Google Certified Educator

Every summer I challenge myself in some way. Last year I focused on creating and implementing Brag Tags in  my classroom. This summer I wanted to read Mindsets in the Classroom (wanted to do more with growth mindset next school year), the Writing Strategies Book (I love the Reading Strategies Book and knew this would be a great addition to my teaching as well) and to become a Level 1 Google Certified Educator. Well I can officially mark that last item off of my list! 

Was it hard... yes, was it worth it... yes! I was already familiar with Microsoft Office so those skills transfer over to the comparable Google Application. For example, Microsoft PowerPoint= Google Slides and Microsoft Excel= Google Sheets. I also use Gmail (including the chat and task features), Google Drive and Goggle Docs almost daily.  I use Google Calendar and I even created a Google Site for my class website that houses all of our study guides for every subject as well as all the important information about our class. I felt pretty confident going into to the modules but let me just tell you... there are 13 of them and they are intense! It look me about a week to work through all of them. I registered to take the exam as soon as I finished (it costs $10) and actually took it later on that night. You have 3 hours to take it and it took me 2 and 1/2 hours to complete it. As soon as you submit it validates your exam, I found out right then that I had passed and then overnight I was emailed my certificate and badge (see below). So what now... how do I intend to implement the knowledge I gained from this experience?

I'm going to start small because I can quickly get overwhelmed. I will say that devices are limited. I only have 2 laptops in my classroom and we do have a set of Chromebooks that we share among 10 teachers (yes, 3rd grade at my school has 10 teachers). Plus they got rid of our two computer labs when they hired the 9th section of Kindergarten and First Grade last year. 
  • Google Forms are about to be my best friend! Its a way to collect data. Here's how I plan to use them...
    • Open House- parents are going to sign in on computers with their child's name, their names and email addresses. They'll also have to answer a question of whether or not they are interested in being our Room Parent. Google forms will create a spreadsheet with all that data, that way I don't have to try and read handwriting and keep up with three extra sheets that I can easily misplace.
    • Pretests- this year I'm pretesting each math unit. I can snip pictures of math problems and put them into a google form as a multiple choice quiz. I can even have it score the quiz for me and again create a spreadsheet with all the data. 
    • Back to School Forms- I usually sit down with a spreadsheet and check off which student returned which form and then I'm bound to misplace that paper. I intend to make a form where type in the child's name and then click each form they returned, press submit and viola... spreadsheet created and it'll be stored in my Google Drive so I won't lose it!
  • Google Classroom- Here is where I will post some (not all) assignments there. Some of those assignments will be to watch a YouTube video clip (you can embed videos) and respond to it. I want to have options available for my students who will finish their learning contracts early, most of the time I just have them read when they finish an assignment, I need to do better in that area.
I'm sure I'll find other ways throughout the school year to implement Google Apps for Education and one day I'll venture into the creative side and start creating and sharing interactive lessons students can complete on the computer.

So... how do you use Google Applications in your classroom?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Made It Monday 7*3*17

Wow, my blog turns 6 years old today! This anniversary always seems to sneak up on me and I never have a chance to plan anything special. Maybe I'll get it together by the end of the summer and do a giveaway. I've been out of school for two full weeks now. One week was spent resting and the other week was spent teaching Camp Invention at a local elementary school. Now that that's over I'm back to relaxing and creating until August when I'm signed up for Professional Development. 

My long range plans are complete, the very first thing I do every June is to map out the next school while the previous school year is fresh in my thoughts. 

Math- Our math block was increased from 60 to 75 minutes next school year. My math block will consist of these components:
  • Check for Understanding
  • Learning Target
  • Whole Group Instructional Unit
  • Guided Math
  • Independent Practice
Content~Science and Social Studies- Last year our team tried teaching Science and Social Studies by alternating days. Then quickly moved back to alternating units instead. Not sure what next year holds but I'm hoping our county will allow us to still alternate by units. But I will say our content block has been increased from 45 minutes to 60 minutes.  

Shared Reading- I'll start off the year with a Fiction vs. Nonfiction Unit and then a Reading Strategies and Skills mini unit. I'll spend two weeks taking a day to review specific strategies (visualizing, summarizing, main idea, sequencing). I'm using the Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo and Time for Kids to plan my lessons next school year.

Word Study- Instead of daily word study groups like I did last year, I'm switching back to 2 or 3 groups. I'll introduce the sort on Monday and asses on Friday. 

Writing- I'll spend one day a week focusing on a grammar concept and the other days will be a writing workshop format. I used my county's expectations along with our standards to choose what kind of writing we'd be doing that week. I'm also using the Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo and No More I'm Done by Jennifer Jacobson

If you like the template I used, you can download it from Ginger Snaps, I've used it for years now and I love it!

Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Made It Monday ideas!