Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Data Board

Happy Holiday Break everyone!  I am prepared for 2 weeks of sleeping in, catching up on books, working on some TPT products, and family time.  But I also want to spend time planning for my students using data I have collected on them for Reading and Math.  The way I communicate the kids' data to them in a way they can get motivated about is my class data bulletin board.  We have a jungle theme, so I titled the board "Swinging to Success!"  Each student has their name written on a little monkey, and I pin their monkey on their reading level and on their Mad Minute level for Math.  After my mid-year reading benchmarks, every child got to see their monkey swing up the chart.  It is very rewarding for them to see their growth, and they are very supportive of helping their friends who are struggling during Read to Someone time.  Here is what my board looks like:

As you can see, we have a lot of work to do on our Mad Minute levels, and according to DRA, more than half my class is still behind on their reading level.  I teach at a charter school that accepts only low-income families, and most are Hispanic, so Reading is a major area of concern.  But I have already had some students make 2 years of growth, and I can't wait to see how high my little monkeys swing next time I DRA them!  What about you?  How do you share your data with your students?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gingerbread and...Gum?

This week, we have been doing some really fun and cute, yet educational, gingerbread activities.  I purchased Linda Kamp's Catch Me If You Can {Activities for Favorite Versions of the Gingerbread Man}, which you can find {here}.  Due to late planning, I realized a few days before the unit that I needed to get the books that go with the unit!  So I ended up paying outlandish shipping fees to get them shipped in one day, but it's been worth it this week!  On Monday, we read The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and the kids made these cute craftivities:

I like how the one on the top made the peppermint hat to go with the gingerbread man, even though that wasn't originally part of the craft. :)  They thought the gingerbread men were so cute, they started making extras on plain paper.  Today, I saw one of my sweet boys give his gingerbread man to his little brother in kindergarten.  

After this craft, the kids made missing posters like the one in the book:

I love the message on the top one:  "If you find him, you get to see his gingerbread house."  So creative!  

Yesterday, we read The Gingerbread Girl, and the kids loved how she ended up tricking the fox.  Tomorrow, we will read The Matzah Ball Boy and there will be a fun craftivity to post pics of for that one!  

On another note, I had two girls chewing gum AGAIN in class yesterday.  Normally I don't treat it as a big deal, but these girls just keep breaking the rule and don't seem to care.  I made them miss out on all the fun gingerbread activities and write sentences instead.  One of them was upset that I was disappointed in her, and she came to drop this note in front of me:

The little boxes to check "yes" or "no" if I forgave her made me smile inside remembering the days of "Will you be my girlfriend?  Check yes or no."  Haha!  Thought this might make some of you chuckle too.  Well, tomorrow we basically have a half day because all afternoon is for rehearsing for the Christmas Program and watching the middle schoolers perform "A Nutty Nutcracker."  Then, Friday we get out at noon!  Almost there!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rudolph, Santa, and Winter

Yay!  I'm so excited that while unpacking, I found my camera battery charger.  So I charged up my camera and took it to school today to take some pictures of my students' adorable Christmas craftivities. Last week, we were working on "The Cutest Reindeer Ever" and Letters from Santa.  Here is how those turned out:

I just love them!  They really brighten up my classroom, and I've gotten some compliments on how cute  my door looks.  The kindergarteners thought the reindeer were watching them :)  As I mentioned in a previous post, I got these ideas from Lesson Plan SOS Teachers and their Crazy for Christmas Unit.

I also had to take a picture of my hallway bulletin board.  It makes me proud every time I walk past it!  I purchased Amy Lemon's Winter Writing Craftivity (only $2!)  and used it to create the bulletin board.  Here is what it looks like:

The kids did such a good job brainstorming winter words and writing really descriptive paragraphs about what winter is to them.  

Well, pics will be coming soon of our gingerbread activities this week.  I can't wait to see the finished products of what we started working on today!  They are so cute!  Happy last Monday before winter break. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gingerbread Week!

It has been a rough week in terms of behavior, so I am definitely looking forward to next week with the fun of gingerbread activities.  I purchased Linda Kamp's "Catch Me if You Can {Activities for Favorite Versions of The Gingerbread Man}.

We will be reading three versions of the gingerbread man, including The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, The Gingerbread Girl, and The Matzo Ball Boy.

I wish we had time to read more versions of the story because there are SO MANY, but with the activities that go along with these books, that should be all I can squeeze in this week around rehearsals for the Christmas Program, the class party, and early dismissal at noon on Friday!  

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Cutest Reindeer Ever!

I am loving an activity I purchased from Lesson Plan SOS Teachers from their Crazy for Christmas: A December Unit.  Find the unit here:

The activity is called "The Cutest Reindeer Ever."  Students get to use both math and writing skills.  They get measuring practice to create an adorable reindeer head, then they need to write "How to Make the Cutest Reindeer Ever."  We just learned about time-order transition words, so this writing project is perfect!  One of my students was so creative with his how to paragraph.  His introductory line was, "Welcome crafters!  Today I am going to demonstrate how to make the cutest reindeer ever!"  So clever!  Where did a 3rd grader learn the word "crafters?" :)  I would love to post pictures of some of their projects, but I am in the process of moving and have misplaced my camera battery.  As soon as I find it, I am definitely posting some pics!  I love this time of year in school!

I will be moving this weekend, so it will not be very restful, but I wish all of you a relaxing weekend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Christmas Tree for Pyn

We read a really cute story today as part of our Christmas read aloud countdown that I just have to share!  It is called A Christmas Tree for Pyn.  Right away, there is a great opportunity for the kids to make predictions because on the cover there is a Christmas tree, but it is decorated with unusual items.  So the kids tried to guess why and what the story could be about.  Once I started reading, they loved the sweet pictures and descriptions of the little girl and her dad.  There was the opportunity for them to infer where the mother is, because we are not told directly.  One of my little girls also predicted the exact ending of the story, which I won't give away, but it is such a heartwarming story!  All my students went, "awwwww!" at the end :)  Give it a try if you happen to find it in your library and let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Math Coach's Corner Giveaway!

I am excited to let you know about Math Coach's Corner Giveaway, going on right now here:

She has a variety of prize bundles available, separated by grades K-2 and 3-5.  Included in one of the 3-5 bundles is my Main Idea Pack, which you can view here:

It is normally $5, but you have the chance to win it, plus many other useful products, for free!  Head on over to Math Coach's Corner and enter for your chance to win :) Good Luck!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

TPT Holiday E-Book Is Out!

I'm excited to announce that the TPT Grades 3-5 Holiday E-Book is out.  It is completely free, with over 50 pages of holiday tips and free activities.  I checked it out last night and this morning, and there are some AMAZING freebies in there!  My The Best Christmas Pageant Ever freebie is a part of it, which I am soooo excited about!  It has phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension activities to go with the picture book version of the popular chapter book.  Check out the E-Book and snag some great holiday ideas!