Tuesday, July 15, 2014

NGSS Anyone?

So California has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Last year, my school created a two year transition plan from our current state standards to the NGSS.  I'm curious if anyone else is starting to experiment with them...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Long time no see!

It's been FOREVER since I posted!  Yikes!  I feel like the year flew by so fast that I didn't have time to blink.  Next year I'm going to have my hands full, so this summer is all about PLANNING.  I decided that I needed to have a reliable planning tool, so I splurged and purchased an Erin Condren planner.  (https://www.erincondren.com/teachers)
I was so excited when the package came!!!!!

I've already geeked out and filled out the entire planner with the school year dates! 
More to come!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Common Core Quandries

Some many growing pains and changes this year! I'm so looking forward to the CCSS, but this limbo year is killing me! California has passed a bill through the Assembly that would essentially stop our state testing this year, and would have each school take EITHER the ELA or math pilot Smarter Balanced assessment. The Governor won't sign or veto until 10/13. That means that I won't know until mid-October which standards I'm going to be tested on, which means that right now, I'm trying to cover BOTH! Our school has decided, for now, not to purchase bridge or new CCSS aligned materials. The Primary teachers are using our basals, but from 2nd on up, we are all doing Daily 5 and CAFE. I don't have time this year in my schedule to read aloud as much as in years passed. I don't know when/where I'm going to do explicit teaching on things like citing from the text. I'm considering moving back to lit circles for one round of books so I can get in some of those ELA standards. 
Daily 5ers: How are YOU handling this in your room?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Made It, Finally!

Yay! It's finally time for...
I am so glad I get to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It! 

Tomorrow I'm rolling out Word Work... I've pushed it to the very last!  I use Words Their Way for spelling, so I am actually starting both tomorrow. I've been super stressed about starting Word Work this year.  In other years, I've been able to glue a spelling work "menu" into my kid's Word Study Journals.  This way, they can just do the written activities as homework or in class. When I started Daily 5 last year, I decided to have this be their Word Work.  Some liked it, but most found it boring after a while.  I really wanted to add some of the fun activities I kept seeing on Pinterest, but I didn't have the infrastructure set up in my room.

So all summer I've been ransacking Target and Dollar Tree to get my hands on Word Work activities.  I really lucked into some great values. Bananagrams (Espanol) and Scrabble (Espanol) were on sale at Target for $5 each!  Funny story, my 11 year old daughter saw the Bananagrams and grabbed them for me.  They stayed in the Target bag for a month until I was ready to put them in my room. I had told a friend of mine that she should go to Target and snag them too.  She told me that the only ones that were on sale were Spanish.  I looked in the bag, and sure enough, 3 sets of Bananagram en Espanol!  Oh well, I just need to take out the Spanish characters and the set works perfectly...

In order to have my kiddos know what to do for each activity, I've created these fun activity cards. I've made them in full size and in mini-card sizes.  You can snag them for free here...

I've also made a real world rounding activity using population data.  It was great for my kids.  I'd share it here, but I need to create a key first.  Does anyone else find that rounding is particularly difficult for kids to "get"?  I use "5 or more, let it soar.  4 or less, let it rest."  What do you use?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Missing Monday Made It!

Well, it's that time again alas, it's NOT that time again... boo!  I was SO looking forward to this week's Monday Made it.  I only made one thing, since school has been sucking up every last minute of my life, but I'm pretty proud of it and wanted to show it off!

Here it is anyway!!!
This packet comes with game boards with 9 digits (millions place), 6 digits (100 thousands place), and 4 digits (thousands place) to meet 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade place value standards.  Also included are number tiles, directions, and a follow-up worksheet asking students to write their opponent's number in standard, word, and expanded form.

So I saw this awesome pin yesterday and was totally inspired to make my own version of it for my kids!  Place Value Battleship!  Here's the original post (from 2012). I saw that so many people had asked for the template, I thought it'd be easy to make one that was a little snazzier.  = )

That's it!  You can snag it here!

I'm having a parent laminate and cut mine tomorrow.  I can't wait to use it!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Common Core

Okay... Common Core... Thoughts? Feelings? I just spent many posts on a Facebook thread defending the teaching profession in general, and common core specifically from someone who clearly had no idea what they were talking about.
My school has been preparing to switch to Common Core for the past 2 years. We have had many trainings and opportunities to plan and incorporate them into our science and social studies units.
One training that I attended recently (on writing) talked about common core peripherally. I was surprised to hear a few teachers who continuously talked about the test and how they needed to change their centers in order to prep for the test. 

My take on the Common Core is that it encourages higher order thinking skills. We shouldn't worry about the test! If we are teaching using best practices, then the kids will do fine on THE TEST...

Just my two cents.... What do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Community Service Projects

Yesterday (our 4th day of school) I assigned out first project, a community service project. In the next two weeks, my students will need to perform a service and then write about it. We brainstormed a list of needs in our community and where/how we could help out. My kids were very excited about it. 
One of the places that I mentioned was our local homeless shelter/soup kitchen. Now, as is usual, this is not in the best or most affluent area. I simply added it to the list. Apparently one of my students was deeply moved at the idea of helping the homeless and told his/her parents that s/he really wanted to serve food at the soup kitchen.  The parent was very upset that I included a place that wasn't "safe" on our class brainstorm.
How would you react to this? I simply said that as the parent, it was up to them to guide their child to participate in activities that meet their family's comfort level and values.  I don't know what else to say. Would YOU have included the only homeless shelter in your area or not?