Five for Friday - Feb. 28

Two weeks in a row!!

There's a sale going on. Maybe you already heard?!

I have a lot of things sitting in my cart waiting for me to pull the trigger :)

This week we worked on name sampler is social studies. This is one of my favorite activities, but it takes a lot of patience in helping the kids. Turns out that many have never cross-stitched before. Shocking, I know. All you need is graph paper and thin markers!

Here are some of the results:

Love the handlebar mustaches :)

We also did an activity relating to the name samplers where students ask parents how their names were chosen. I love this assignment because I get to read all of these great stories on how they got their names. It can be very enlightening! This activity is included with the name sampler activity (and a few more activities) in this product:

However, the story of my name is a freebie in my store.

I had a bad day at school, so I'm not sure what my #4 and #5 are at the moment. I might come back later and share something more...


If You Lived in Colonial Times {Plus a "Duh" Moment or Two!}

Friday was my official observation that is required in my district every three years for tenured staff. I decided to throw caution to the wind and have my administrator observe the organized chaos of my newest centers that go with the book If You Lived in Colonial Times.

As I was preparing the materials ahead of time (as opposed to the quick print outs, let the kids cut out the pieces, and toss in the trash when done type of prep that I normally do), I decided to laminate everything and keep them for next year. I don't have a lot of time for centers in ELA, but I do in social studies, so I knew that this would be a keeper.

I am sure that I am late to the party on this one, but as I was trying to figure out the best way to organize things for this dog and pony show, I had a revelation. File folders! I attached the laminated title pages on the front of the folder with sticky dots.

On the inside, I used the sticky dots to attach the pockets for the sorting activities...

For the task card centers, I punched a hole a few inches from the top of the folder and fed a paper clip through to hold the cards. I don't have a picture of that for some reason, but it's pretty snazzy.

Now I'm not sure how you do centers, but I do them all at the same time and rotate the kids every 15 minutes. That way I can walk around and answer questions instead of being stuck with a small group like some people do during ELA. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that. This is just the way I prefer to do them.

And here is another a-ha moment. Instead of making the five centers and having groups of five to six kids at each one (which never worked for me because the three kids that can't see just tune out and talk with each other), I made three copies of each center so the kids could work on them in pairs!!! They still rotated in a group, but since I also have a class set of books, there were enough copies of everything so that each pair could have their own set of materials. Genius!!! I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure that out!

These kids are working on sorting what colonists did and did not eat.

This pair is answering some multiple-choice questions with QR codes.

These ladies are sorting the features of colonial houses.

I just walked around while they were working and answered questions as I went. When the timer went off after 15 minutes, they rotated and started the new center. I told them that I would be grading them on three things - staying on task (SOOO hard for this group of kids), working together (I have some kids that take the lead and the others just sit there), and doing your best. If they didn't finish the center in 15 minutes, no big deal (unless I had already marked them down for not staying on task). While a few were concerned that they would get a bad grade if they didn't finish, I assured them that I was just grading them on the three things that I mentioned. So if they were working the whole time, they were fine. This also solved the problem of the slacking group members. I just walked around with my clipboard and made tallies after the kids' names who were off task when I went by them (which really wasn't an issue for most students). These centers took me two days to complete with checking and a little bit of discussion on the second day.

I think that the centers were a nice break from the textbook, and I will definitely be making more for the other sets of these books that I have. Each of my three social studies classes really enjoyed them, and the discussions that they were having as I circled were really much more involved than our typical class discussions with the same five or six kids that always participate.

If you are interested in these centers, click on the picture below.

13 Colonies

Oh, and my observation went well :)


Sparking Student Motivation - Colonial Crafts

I love teaching about the American colonies. There are so many fun activities and things that you can do with it to create connections and memorable experiences.

Early in the week, we completed two colonial crafts that I've done for years and years. I actually put these two together with a few other activities (two more of which we will do next week) in my {Colonial Craftivities and Activities} product.

We were doing a lot of reading last week about colonial jobs in New England. I had the students choose a profession and then make a shop sign for it. There were three criteria - the student's name, the name of the shop, and a large picture. We discussed how it was important to include a large picture so that those who couldn't read would be able to identify what kind of shop it was.

Many of my students this year are very talented artists, so it was difficult to just choose a few to share here. We spent about two class periods on the shop signs, as I made them do a complete rough draft first. I find that they always make their first pictures way too small.

On Wednesday, I gave them a blank quilt block. They were to look for some sort of pattern to color. I love how so many different variations come from the same blank page. I will take each square and assemble them into a class quilt. I think that the bottom left is one of my favorites of all time. I have never had a student color it anywhere near that pattern.

Look for more great ideas to spark student motivation by clicking the picture below!

You can also find more ideas for teaching the thirteen colonies by clicking this picture!

13 Colonies


Five for Friday - February 21

It's been a while since I've done one of these. Let's see if I can remember how :)

Saturday was the beginning of a math bundle that some of my BBBs and I put together. You can read about my two previous posts about it {here} and {here}.

For a limited time, this bundle of ten products is $10.99 from {Educents}, which is about 70% off! And if you have never purchased from {Educents} before, your first purchase is 20% off… so it can be even cheaper! Click {here} to sign up for an Educents account. Click on the above picture to take you to the product if you already have an account!

My husband was out of the country for Valentine's Day, but he made up for it when he got home!
(Yes, that second picture is TEN boxes of Royce chocolate!)

Another snow day on Monday.

Got my second {Stitch Fix}. I wanted to model them all for you, but time got away from me. Maybe next time! It seems that I'm a sucker for black striped tops and skinny pants, since that's what I kept {last time}, too!

Did another painting class. This one is View of Mt. Fuji. I had a great Groupon for a local paint and drink studio, so some friends and I finally used it Wednesday night. I opted to omit the pagoda and do clouds instead. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I'm not sure why there are all of those horizontal stripes in the picture. On a side note, anyone have any tips on how to remove tempera paint from skin? :)

I'm not sure that I ever shared last month's with you. They started out as poppies, but I couldn't get them quite right, so I went with something more tulip-y. It looks better in person.

When I finally get some pictures taken, I'll have some fun things to share for the 13 colonies. Stay tuned!


Mathematical Monday - Decimal Task Cards

Today I am linking up with {Jess for her Mathematical Monday linky}. I am reviewing {Michele's} Decimal Task Cards or Scoot Game for all operations.

Even though I don't teach math on a daily basis, I helped the math teacher with some division RTI groups. In my high group of 33 students(!), we dove into multiplication and division with decimals, while other groups did more basic division.

About two weeks later, I was curious to see what the kids in my homeroom who were in my RTI group retained. Since these task cards cover all operations, I was able to divide my homeroom kids into four groups and not overwhelm anyone. Which reminds me, all of the operations have the same recording sheet! It made prep so easy!! It's also very ink-friendly.

The three lowest groups worked on addition and subtraction after a quick tutorial on lining up decimal points, and my highest group worked on multiplication and division. I let them move groups after they got a look at the problems so they could either challenge themselves or find something a little more on their level.

There was a great mix of story problems and straight-forward problems, and all operations had a variety of difficulty. Students were totally engaged the entire time, and they even knew that I wasn't taking a grade for this! We spent about 20 minutes on this, but we could have easily gone longer. For the early finishers, I checked their work and had them fix their mistakes. Then they became the official "checkers" for that operation.

For a limited time, this product is in a bundle of ten products priced at $10.99 from {Educents}, which is about 70% off! If you get it today, it's $9.99 with the code PRES10. And if you have never purchased from {Educents} before, your first purchase is 20% off… so it can be even cheaper! Click {here} to sign up for an Educents account. Click on the picture below to take you to the product if you already have an account!

In case you were wondering about the black bands that the students are wearing in the pictures, they are part of a grant that our PE department received. They are similar to FitBits in that they track number of steps taken and other types of behavioral data. All students in our building (600+) wear them for a week, then the data is downloaded, compiled, and sent to the state. Pretty cool!

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