Saturday, October 19, 2013

Five for Fraturday

I was SO excited to link up for my first ever Five for Friday and then....I had too much fun Friday night at a Lia Sophia jewelry party that I didn't make it home until it had turned into Saturday. Oops. I needed that though. Yesterday marked the end of the 1st quarter and it was time to woooosah!

So I'm joining in with Doodle Bugs Teaching even if it's a day late. 



This week we were learning about plants. We used clay, chenille sticks, and tissue paper to make models of flowers.


We also did an activity where we made some observations of different flowers and recorded similarities and differences. We also noted what characteristics would make a pollinator more or less attracted to a particular flower. 



We used Thinking Maps (a brace and flow map) to work on problem solving in math. The brace map helped us separate our word problem into the important parts. The flow map helped us think about the steps we'd have to go through to solve. 


We used flow maps again, but this time for writing. We wrote paragraphs on how to settle a colony. Kiddos needed to reflect on the experiences of the colonists at Jamestown and Plymouth to decide what steps would be helpful in settling a successful colony. 


Guess who had a ridiculous amount of fun at the Lia Sophia party and decided to become a Lia Sophia Advisor? Yep! It was me!! Can't wait to get my starter kit and all the jewelry. So fun.

Here are the pieces I'm most excited to get. I love them! 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mega Management: Bathroom Policy

Pre school starting I left my Mega Management series lingering with a promise of a bathroom policy post. Here it is's potty time.
I don't know about you, but our day is jam packed with all kinds of fabulous learning {wink!}...when kiddos walk out the door to use the restroom they can be assured that they are missing something important. Our school has a buddy policy which means now two students are missing something important. Ugh!

So here's how I help minimize bathroom class:

First, each student is given 4 bathroom passes. They're little slips of paper with their class numbers on them. These must be surrendered each time a student leaves the class to use the restroom. 

Students are not allowed to use the restroom for 20 minutes after a recess/break. This is not up for discussion unless I see that glimmer of panic in their eye. You teachers know what I'm talking about. It's the "I REALLY gotta go" face. 

When students leave, they log themselves out in a little notebook by the door and put one of these cuties on their desk.

If students use all of their passes they can still go to the restroom, but they owe me time on the bench at recess. This usually deters their "need" to go. 

At the end of the week students are given a Jag Buck (our K-3 school wide economy system) for each pass that is not used. They even get a bonus buck if they still have all 4! 

And that's a wrap. 

Its' a simple system, but it has worked well for me.

If you've missed any posts you can check them out here:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Newsela...Bringing current events to your classroom!

NewselaAt the beginning of October we had a professional development day where our technology teacher (who did a fab post for me that you can read here) shared some great resources for teachers. One of my favorites that he shared was Newsela. It's a website that is currently in the beta phase, but it looks like it will be amazing. 

So what is it? It's a website where you can create a class for your students to login to. You can assign newspaper articles that have been rewritten for various Lexiles, some as low as 3rd grade. You have the ability to bring current events to your class at an appropriate reading level. Many articles also have quizzes that students can take to monitor comprehension. It's a great way to easily incorporate differentiation. Your students can all read the same article, but at their own reading level. 

Newsela is excited about bringing articles down to the 2nd grade level in the near future. I'm thrilled about that, because the 4th grade level (which I find is most often the lowest lexile band) is just a tad out of reach for several of my students. I'm excited to use it as a whole group reading activity until the Lexiles are lower. 

When you sign up during the beta phase you're able to place 10 votes on suggestions that you'd want to make to the site. Of course, the one getting the most votes is "Keep it free!" It looks as though this site plans to be fee-based in the future, which might keep this amazing resource out of many classrooms. Go sign up, check it out, and vote to keep it free. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bubble Maps and Word Clouds

The bubble map seems to be the hardest map for my kiddos to grasp because the bubbles have to contain ONLY adjectives or adjective phrases. Students tend to want to put any phrase in the bubbles (and you'll see a lot of "bubble maps" like this floating around the web).

As excited as I was to have students making bubble maps I was equally excited to use this Word Cloud generator from 

We took our bubble maps to the computer lab and came out with a neat little piece of art for our classroom. Below are some screenshots that show just how easy this program is to use. This is a word cloud I made about my pup Lily.

Don't they come out darling!!