My kids go to daycare one time a week over the summer and today was the day this week. I went to school with high hopes of accomplishing a lot more than I actually did. This seems to happen to me a lot! Either I am a really slow worker or I set too high of goals for myself.
Who am I kidding?
I met two friends for lunch and I should have known better because it turned into an almost 3 hour lunch! Hey, but that girlfriend therapy was MUCH needed! :)
Then, I had to lifeguard tonight so it is a good thing that I made my button for my giveaway last night:) Hint, Hint!
First, I am linking up with one of my BBB's, Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday! She will be posting every Wednesday in July but the same linky will be open all month. Keep checking back to stay current with any new entries! The topic is TOOLS FOR WORKSHOPS!
I would like to share a couple tools I developed to use with Daily 5 this year. It was my first year trying Daily 5 (well, Daily 4). My ELA group was only in my room for 80 minutes each day (we switch students for ELA only and group them by ability). Anyway, I LOVE, LOVE the concept of Daily 5 and how it changed the way I organize my instruction. After training all the students in Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read with Someone, and Word Work, they were finally ready after a good six weeks to move into "free choice" and have all four activities occurring simultaneously. Whew!! Training took a long time but it WAS worth it!
My main problem with "free choice" was letting go and not controlling how many of each activity they were completing each day or week. Most days I had time for only two D4 rotations and sometimes only one. I found that there were some students always "avoiding" certain activities. However, I could really see the benefits of free choice and the willingness of students to work hard so I didn't want to take it away. I worked on this problem by creating this tracking chart. My students fill out a chart like this when choosing their centers. Get a modified version of this chart here in an editable format. I couldn't figure out how to get three on a page in google docs.
They write down the date, task, and rate "how they did" at the center at the daily check-in. I use a 3 star rating system where one star=Wasted a lot of Time, two stars=Worked Most of Time (they get two stars if they had to leave their area even once or bothered someone else, etc) and three stars=worked the whole time. I kept a little chart with this visual of the "stars" and what they meant on the wall. I allowed time at check ins after each center to complete the 3 star rating and had students share (not tattle) if someone was off task near them and they noticed they were giving themselves three stars (we show star ratings by a raise of hands). I also kept a simple chart on my board and anytime a student gave themselves two stars or one star (never had one star this year...thank goodness!), I recorded it next to their name on the chart. This is how one student had free choice taken away from him. There were too many 2's on the chart by his name!
I also created this handout (get it here from google docs in an editable format) and students were required to complete certain activities within a quarter. As new activities were added, I had students take out their charts and add to the list (continued on the back). It was inspired from the amazing Tonya at Tonya's Treats for Teachers in her post here. At check ins after a center, students were directed to also update this chart and they could add a note if they needed to go back to that task to finish it.
If you use a Daily 5 approach, I recommend that you try free choice and have something like this to hold them accountable and keep track of their choices. For example, when we did our quick checks before starting a rotation, I would ask, "How many students would like to read to someone?" It never failed that the SAME three or four students would ALWAYS want to read to someone! Of course, I couldn't remember how many times they actually had read to someone recently because many times I told those few students to pick another center. However, if I wanted to check how many times they had completed a certain center recently, I could just look over their shoulder at their tracking chart! It was easy to see if they were avoiding, say, Work on Writing (offered everyday according to my tracking chart!). If they did not keep track on their tracking chart, they could lose the privilege of free choice (this didn't happen last year).
So, those were some quick tips but I would have liked to have them when I started out in the fall! Maybe it is something you can use or keep in your arsenal.:) I might be back later this month to add some more ideas for Tools for Workshop (writing, reading, or math!).
Next...I realized about a month ago that my birthday (it was yesterday...Happy Birthday to me!) and my ONE YEAR Blogiversary are exactly one week apart! My Blogiversary is July 9th! Is it weird that I am much more excited about my Blogiversary than my birthday? Haha!
I knew I wanted to celebrate with a giveaway that was a thank you from me to you!!!
Through this blog, I have met so many amazing teachers!
I am so grateful for all the people who have given me support, offered suggestions, answered questions, and just taken the time to comment on aspects of my professional and personal life!
It really means so much that I know there is a network of amazing teachers that I can turn to for advice at any time.
Thank you for the role that YOU have played on my amazing journey of constant change and growth as a teacher!! I am always "flipping" my classroom and tweaking ideas to what works for me. I couldn't do that without the inspiration provided by all of you!!!
As a small token of my appreciation, I am having a giveaway that will end on July 11th.
One lucky follower will win a $50 Gift Card to either TPT or Amazon (your choice!!). Wahoo!!!
Kudos for the Giveaway Button:
The birthday clipart was made by one of my favorite places to buy clipart, KPM Doodles.
I also am going to try and add some flash freebies to my Facebook page for fans only with some items from my little TPT store:) Stay tuned for that one...it may have to wait until the weekend.
My daughter (6 years old) is in our huge county parade tomorrow (think 3 hours long)! She will be cheerleading for the first time in public and she is super excited! Wish us luck that it doesn't pour (the hardest downpour you can imagine!) like last year:)
Reminder: Tried It Tuesday will be back Tuesday, July 9th for the only link up for July. I will leave the linky open the rest of the month so you can link up any time the rest of the month!
Enter the Giveaway HERE: