Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Buddies}

Hey everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start!
It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 
My Tried It:
Each fourth grade classroom at my school voluntarily participates in a buddy program with a younger grade.  Throughout the year, we meet with our Kindergarten buddies for activities.  We used to meet once a month, but now that we have departmentalized, it will probably be only about five times that we will meet with our buddies during the year.  Our schedule is just so tight with the blocks.

I just love watching the students interact with their buddies!  The biggest surprises are always the  students who are potential behavior problems and how they just SHINE in this environment when they are given the opportunity to be a role model.  It is a great motivator for all students and an excellent way to teach them to be a role model for good behavior. I really see a different side of so many students come out when they are the "big kid".  

We use this Getting to Know you activity that you can download for FREE here as a Facebook Fan Freebie. Just look for the the blue "Fans Only" button.  I copy the two papers in different colors.  
My 4th graders completed the orange paper, answering questions about themselves before we met our buddies last week. Here they are working on their questions:
Then we take a clipboard with the purple paper to meet our buddies. The 4th graders ask their Kindergarten buddies the same questions and record their answers for them on the purple paper. The 4th graders share their answers from the orange paper with their buddies. When they are done, the 4th graders take home the purple paper with information about the Kindergartner and the Kindergartners take home the orange paper with information about their 4th grade buddy.
Here are a couple other pictures from last year with our buddies working on a Valentine's Day card holder and on Dr. Seuss hat day reading with our buddies.

If you have never tried buddies, think about joining a classroom for the rest of this year or put it on your to do list for next year.  You won't regret it and the students will thank you!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Math Meeting}

I am off to a great start on my first full week of school and back to teaching my favorite subject all day...Math!!
It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 
My Tried It:
Math Meeting
You may recall that my team departmentalized for the first time last year and I taught all the ELA. Since then, one of my teammates retired and the teacher who took her place (Emily from Style Closet to Classroom!) loves ELA, so I made the switch to my first love...Math! I already miss parts of ELA but if I had to choose between the two, math wins. Today I am only starting my fifth day of school, but I wanted to share with you how I am starting my three 80 minute math blocks everyday.
This summer I read a lot about the math meeting. We used to have a math meeting everyday with the Saxon program, but now we are using a combination of NYS modules and the Go Math series. I read a post by 4th Grade Frolics here that was inspiring and I love the thought of a quick math meeting everyday to get everyone started on something right away as the class filters in.
I wish I had whiteboard space but two of my walls have chalkboards and bulletin boards and there is not much room for anything else unless there was a whiteboard put over top of the chalkboard or bulletin board.
Here are a couple views of my room when I was getting ready for open house.

Anyway, this is what my math meeting looks like at this point. The categories are "Add It", "Subtract It", "Place Value", "Multiply It", and "Number of the Day".
There are many pieces to the math meeting that I will be switching out throughout the year. I bought the Pink, Turquoise, and Lime theme from 4th Grade Frolics. I love that I can control the type of problems that I think my students need the most practice on each day and start the class with those. It is so valuable to have that ability right at your fingertips without having to look for a worksheet or make one!
 For now, my students are recording their math meetings starting in the back of their math journals and working their way to the middle. Class notes and lesson practice are in the front of the journal. Here are some sample pages of what it looks like. The first day of school we did the math meeting together.
After the first day, students were instructed to get their math box from the bookcase immediately and begin working on the math meeting. They used the example from the first day as a reminder of how to set it up. They have about 5-10 minutes to work on it and then we go to the carpeted area to check out work. Students "star" the answers they get correct and we celebrate with a little cheer. I have students show a quick raise of hands if they answered correctly so I know what skills need worked on the most. Students correct their mistakes in their journals while we are going over the answers.
This is my bookcase with the math boxes for all three blocks but there are about six boxes on top of another shelf that wouldn't fit here. I have had to replace some book boxes with white ones if they were falling apart after last year. However, for the most part, these boxes are on their second year and some are on their third year!
 In each math box is a student composition book, Go Math consumable textbook, Go Math consumable student practice book, and pencil slider case with an extra pencil, eraser, and highlighters.
Do you do a math meeting during your math block? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Sunday Scoop!

I am linking up with Teaching Trio for a fun new Sunday linky. 
Sometimes it is nice to focus and reflect on what you want to accomplish. :)

I have a busy day planned! Have a great week everyone! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tried It Tuesday (Amazon Prime!)

Did you hear that?!
It's the world's tiniest violin playing a sad tune for everyone that is finally starting back to school now that Labor Day has come and gone! Ah well...by Friday it will seem like we all never left. I'm looking forward to a routine as cliche as that sounds. But really, I'm more productive when I have that structure.

It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 
My Tried It:
Amazon Prime Membership
I haven't started back at school yet, so I don't have any action shots but I thought I would share my thoughts on my Amazon Prime Membership that I have carried for about two years now. I live in a small town and the nearest WalMart is about 30 miles away. Even in that town, there still aren't many choices for shopping. Therefore, I have to rely on online shopping quite a bit. My favorite place to shop is Amazon!!
I think Amazon has just about ANYTHING I might need!

If you don't know what Amazon Prime is, here is a brief description:
Receive all the benefits of Amazon Prime including FREE Two-Day Shipping for eligible purchases, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video, and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library for $99 a year.
 Here are the main benefits of Amazon Prime:
My favorite benefit is the FREE Two-Day shipping! Most items I buy have this option and who doesn't love FREE Two-Day shipping!?! This benefit easily makes the membership ship fee each year worth it. I save much more than $99 in a year. Today I just ordered some pet stain removal for my area rugs (darn little Porter!) and I just click FREE Two-Day shipping! Love!!
I just recently started using the Prime Movie benefits too and this is awesome!
Here is a screenshot of "popular" Amazon Prime movies:
 If I click on a Prime movie, I see this and can click "watch now" for free. If you have internet on your TV, you can watch it on your TV too.
My kids both have Kindle fires and they watch cartoons all the time on Amazon Prime. They also like to listen to music for free on Amazon Prime. Here is a screenshot of the music page:
I haven't borrowed a book for my Kindle yet but that is also a benefit!
There are also Amazon Prime Mom Memberships with these additional benefits:
Just look at the diaper discounts:
I know there is a free trial period. Sign up using my referral link and I will get credit! :)

Disclaimer: Amazon did not contact me to write this blog post. I am not being compensated for writing this post. I just really love my membership and wanted to share with you what I love! If you order on Amazon as much as I do, it might be worth it to become a member. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday Made It {New/Old Math Bins, Spray Paint, Schedule Cards}

I have been working like crazy trying to get things ready for next week when students start back at school. I am embarrassed to admit that this is my first Monday Made It all summer! The summer has just flown by and I didn't get nearly what I wanted accomplished but having two kids of my own and trying to make the most of vacation will do that to ya!

So, I am linking up (late!) with my friend Tara at 4th Grade Frolics
I "inherited" this awesome storage unit for bins from a retired teacher. It is filled with math manipulatives and I am teaching three blocks of math this year! I cleaned it out, put some new dollar tree bins in it and added labels. This will add to my organization and help students access the tools they need easily at centers.
These School Supply Labels are by 3rd Grade Thoughts. Find them on TpT HERE. The last page is an editable file and I made these labels based on my needs for the math bins.
Here are some close ups:

I finally updated my boring BLAH plastic file holders with spray paint. It was so easy and quick!
I used this spray paint:
I also updated this dates but very useful metal organizer. I painted the middle pink and the sides purple.
I updated my class schedule cards since our schedule was tweaked slightly. I print the strips in color from my power point file, cut it out, place it on colored paper and laminate. 
Here I am using a class schedule card from last year to cut the same size paper for this year.
 I use my Creative Memories corner rounder for rounded edges.
 Here are some laminated cards (I rotated the picture but it imported wrong).
 This is the updated schedule that is hanging on my board.
I have these editable class schedule cards for $2.00 in my TpT store here if you are interested in checking them out. I used the font A Truer Blue by Kevin and Amanda fonts

I have so much more to do but I know I will get what I absolutely need to get done for the first week somehow. However, it will be a push between now and Tuesday! Have a great weekend friends!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Don't Miss This Second Chance!

Did you hear that TpT is having another Back To School Sale for ONE day only? The big day is August 20th! I was excited about this because here in NY, we start school after Labor Day. At the beginning of August for the first sale, I wasn't quite ready to purchase everything I knew I might need because I was in the middle of summer mode! Do you know when I checked my cart out? About two minutes before the sale ended! Haha!! So, some bloggers are sharing what they purchased last time and what is in their cart for the upcoming sale. I will be adding thing I missed for sure!

One item on my wish list is this 4th Grade Common Core Spiral Math Review by I {Heart} Recess! I will be teaching math next year and have been looking for items to use throughout the year that are aligned to the CCSS. These are perfect one page spiral review worksheets for homework, quizzes, or morning work!
One item I bought with the last sale is Fun In Room 4B's Math Moves! There are 4 questions of Daily work each day and an assessment for each that covers all the CCSS. This will be a great supplement to my curriculum as well!
One must have item from my store is my Fables Text Dependent Questions with Claims and Project Writing Guide. I won't be teaching ELA next year but this is the type of resource I created to help my students with the "big" test and claims supported by text details.
I included multiple choice practice questions modeled after the questions being asked on the state test aligned to the CCSS. There are also short response questions and an extended response question (all complete with answer keys). The short response questions have a graphic organizer to set up the claim and two supporting text details.
There are also resources in this pack to guide your students in writing their own fable with a moral. Student outline and rubrics are included as well as sample pictures of fables my students wrote and their illustrations. Check it out here! It will be a steal with the sale at 28% off!
I am working on more products like this one as well and also have this nonfiction piece about snow with claims and text details and this Christmas freebie!

Check out what these other bloggers are buying or have bought with the back to school sales!

An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five for Fraturday...Guess Who I Met?!

Happy weekend!! I am in crunch time for school starting in two weeks!
Linking up Five for Fraturday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.
Here are some random "summer" happenings from my week!

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to meet one of my BBB's, Jessica, from I {Heart} Recess!! Wahoo!
We met at Bob Evans for lunch and talked for almost three hours and probably could have talked another three! It's crazy how she grew up right by my college town (which is only 40 minutes from where I grew up!). We also both worked at McDonald's in my college town at the same time...what a coincidence! I felt like I had known her forever and we were two old friends meeting for lunch. LOVE! :)

We had our family reunion two weeks ago but I wanted to share some fun pictures with games (you might be able to use in your classroom!).
This is the sawdust hunt (probably not great for the classroom) but we've been doing this for years. Throw candy and coins in the sawdust and let them go to town! I remember being about 17 and my cousins and I still loved this game! Our reunion has about 70 family members in attendance and there are so many kids that they have to do the hunt in "shifts". There were four girls and one boy born the year of my daughter's birth and four boys and one girl born the year of my son's birth! Fun!
 Cookie in mouth using only facial muscles minute to win it! Start with the cookie on your forehead. This is hysterical to watch and he got it in his mouth on the last second!
 This was a slinky on a headband that they had to try and get sitting on top of their head stacked neatly. The boy closest in the picture got this one at the last second too and it was hysterical to watch them bob their heads all around! Haha!
 This is using a straw to move Smarties from one plate to the other. Suck through the straw.
This is a potato where they put straws in the potato and balance skittles on the end of the straws.
This is using chopsticks to move beans into the container.
 Here is a cute salamander found in the creek!
 Hanging out in the pond at the reunion!

I did the Color Run last Saturday with some of my kickboxing friends. It was a blast!

The teacher that retired on my team gave me this awesome organizer with bins. My room is clean and the floors are waxed so I can get in next week to start organizing! I am going to give this a makeover with bins and nice labels. I can't wait! 
It is filled with math manipulatives and I am teaching MATH next year instead of ELA! We are still departmentalizing with three 80 minute blocks but our new team member, Emily from Style Closet to Classroom, will teach ELA because she loves it and has a strong background in ELA. Math is really my first love but I will miss ELA. I've already met with Emily and given her anything from my files that she wanted. As much as I will miss my old teammate, I LOVE Emily already. She was special ed before in our district and now will be general education on the 4th grade team...Yay!
Summer activities are drawing to a close for my kids. 
Here is Lilly at her end of the season swim show doing the back stroke (middle of the picture). 
She takes after me and loves the water!
 The kids also had their second week of karate camp this past week. My four year old will still nap, so karate camp from 10-3 everyday cut into nap time. Here are two pictures of what he would do after camp each day. He's my baby! He will start PreK in two weeks and had to be in the afternoon PreK from 12-3 because he is going to my school just for PreK and we live out of the district. I am SO nervous about him missing his nap everyday and how tired he will be. :( My daughter went to morning PreK when she was four and was able to take a nap in the afternoon but since then they have cut morning PreK to one section. Long story short, it is not ideal for my early risers to do afternoon PreK. Hopefully, I can get him up in the morning! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!! 

This Custom Blog Design uses I Can Fix It by Misty Cato

Pin It button on image hover