Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tired Words

I'm so excited about my new creation!  It took me way longer to do this than I anticipated, but it's FINALLY done!  With some inspiration from my Daily 6 Traits book and Pinterest, I give you....TIRED WORDS!  I loved the idea of Dead Words, but I felt that was more "halloweenish" and wanted something that fit in a little better throughout the whole year.  So I put together a little boy in his bed (I'm not very artsy, so I apologize it's not very cute :P) and then I typed up overused words into "dream clouds".  I put the title on paper and cut it into pillows.  Then I hot glued everything to the wall!

Now, I know the first thing my students will ask is, "Mrs. Kirby, what can I use instead?"  I got the idea from Pinterest (quite the obsession) and put other options on popsicle sticks.  I ordered the pockets from Oriental Trading.  :)

Click HERE to download the "Dream Clouds."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Writing Rubric

I despise grading writing.  I feel like it's so hard to grade sometimes!  I couldn't take it anymore.  I HAD to come up with a rubric for extended response questions.  One of our grade-level goals is to achieve 3 points on a 4-point rubric for extended response questions in preparation for the Ohio Achievement Assessment.  Even though my 2nd graders don't take the OAA, we start preparing them in KINDERGARTEN for this goal!  Every grade level has an extended response goal and a math goal.  SO....all that to say, I needed a quick, concrete, black-and-white (as black and white as you can get with writing) way to grade extended response questions.  I had been using a general writing rubric that could be used with ANY writing, but I felt it didn't measure the information I needed.  Here is the rubric in case you'd like to use it!  I graded some papers with it today and so far it has made the grading process MUCH less painful and a whole lot more valid, in my opinion.  :)

Click HERE to download the file.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Yes, it is 10:40 on a Saturday night and I am working in my classroom.  I didn't have much to do today, so I figured I'd come out and get some things done.  My 4-month old son and I got here about 5:00 and have been busy, busy, busy!  He has finally passed out and is sleeping.  :)  We're getting ready to close up shop and head out, but I thought I'd blog real quick!

Parent-teacher conferences are coming up in a week!  I don't know about you, but it's always a stressful time of year.  You want to make sure your room is looking its best, your data is all up to date, and that you're ready to tell parents how their child is progressing.  We have data folders for each student in our district, but I wanted something concrete to give the parents to take home.  Sooooo....I typed up a conference form tonight and started filling them in!

We use Reading Street in our district (I'm a huge fan!).  If you happen to use it, too, then hopefully you're using the online piece.  Every week I put their scores in for their Selection Tests and we also take our Unit tests online.  The greatest part?  It spits out EXACTLY what concepts they're struggling with!  It gives you they're average test score as well.

So I typed up a form and pulled data from Pearson Success Net.  Basically, I made a Fall and Spring box for grades.  I also included a spot for fluency (I check fluency every week, so I just averaged their scores).  Then I made a box and split it in two (one half for fall, the other for spring) to show how they're doing with different reading concepts.  I colored it green if they have mastered the concept and red if they have not mastered it.  I went ahead and made 2 copies for each child.  One copy will go home with the parents next week and the other will go in their folder.  Then when conferences come up again in a few months, I will pull the forms out and fill in the 2nd part!  It's that easy!  I'm REALLY hoping this will be appreciated by parents and be of benefit.

Here is a picture of what one looks like filled out:

Click HERE to download it!  (I FINALLY figured it out, haha!)

Happy conferencing!  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Leaf Animals

This is the CUTEST project!!!  We were studying sequence in writing a couple weeks ago and I felt we just needed to get out of the classroom and go outside for a few minutes because it was SO beautiful!  Guys, these ideas just POP into my head and I  have to do it right then!  It's quite annoying, because I can be on a roll and I just have to STOP and go with whatever comes into my brain...uggg...this is one of the times that it ended up being a GREAT thing!

So we went outside and I told them to each collect 6 leaves.  No more, no less.  I wanted them to get different shapes, colors, and sizes.  Then we came inside and I turned on our "thinking music" (just classical music).  They played around with forming their leaves into an animal.  Then they had to write about what they made and how they made it.  They turned out SO darling!

Ok, I'm just starting to figure out how to attach files for you all to download, so hang in there with me.  I can't figure out how to attach a Word Document (which is where I create everything).  If anyone knows how to upload files, PLEASE TELL ME!  I would love to share tons of stuff with you all...if I can figure out how to do it.  Maybe I will do some research with my day off tomorrow!  :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Pumpkins!

Ok, I'm getting SOOOOO excited to start sharing things with you!  This is the first of many coming your way.  Get excited!  :P

I don't know about you, but I despise bulletin boards.  If I'm going to put something out there, I want it to be good and I want it to be worth our time.  So after searching around and wracking my brain, I came up with scary pumpkins!  Here's what we did:

I took pictures of all the kids making scary faces.  Then I printed them small enough to fit on the pumpkin cutout.  I gave each student their picture and a pumpkin copied onto orange construction paper.

They cut out the pumpkin (remind them not to cut across the middle of the stem!) and folded it at the stem.

Then they flipped it open and wrote a sentence about what they are scared of.  Of course, we practiced drilling things like capital letters and periods.  We also discussed how to answer a question.  I asked them, "What are you scared of?"  Then we answered that by writing a sentence starter on the board: "I am scared of _______ because ______."  We don't just start sentences with a predicate, you know!  ;)

Then they glued their picture on the front of their pumpkin, decorated it, and voila!  Pumpkins for the bulletin board!

Monday, October 3, 2011

After discovering the amazing world of teacher blogs, I decided to embark on the adventure. Who knows how this will go, but I'm excited to give it a whirl.

When I first started teaching, every teacher said, "Don't reinvent the wheel!" That is the best advice I've ever been given. I have used the Internet, teacher sites, and teacher blogs to help make my teaching more effective and my life a little easier.

But, as teachers, you know that sometimes you have to create your own wheel for your particular students and/or needs. Since others have been so gracious to share their ideas, I believe it is time to return the favor. I plan to post as often as I can to share my ideas and resources. As I have stated before, I have been blessed by the work of others. I will give credit where credit is due. :) I wish I could claim all the things I use and do in my room on my own brain, but I can't.

I hope you find something helpful and useful through the days ahead on this site. May your teaching be more effective and your life a little easier! :)