Thursday, April 28, 2011

Classroom Management?

Mrs. Randall over at Mrs. Randalls Learning Library is having a linky party for classroom management. I have linked up with others on her blog.... but mine is a little different.  I am in desperate need of help with this one.  I teach over 75 different kids each day.  I have two classes of math and two classes of science.  Currently, we use a behavior check system where students receive a check for bad behavior.  Then, they must walk the 'trail of tears' as we call it at recess.  I am looking for something else for my fourthies.  Fourth graders are still a little baby-ish and like cute things but want to be treated as if they were in 5th grade.  During my first year teaching, I used a table points system where I would give points to the table that was quiet, quick, & efficient.  This worked well for me because I only had my homeroom students all day. For the past three years, I have been departmentalized.  It's difficult to find something I can use with ALL my students.  PLEASE HELP with any ideas :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thank Ya'll

Call me crazy, but I am SUPER excited about my 10 followers!  I just think it's awesome that 10 people care about what I have to say and enjoy seeing my activities.  As I was walking around monitoring the CRCT this morning, I was trying to figure out what in the world I'm going to do different next year.  One thing that I'm SUPER excited about is a pocket chart station.  I know... many believe fourthies are too old for pocket charts.  Well, they aren't.  In fact, they love working with pocket charts.  Maybe they feel like they are being 'teacher'.... I'm not sure.  But, whatever works! 

Right now I am working on a set of equation cards that I will use with the pocket chart.  I'm not going to give away too much information now because I want to post about it later with pictures and a complete explanation of how the station will work.  Best of all, these will be free on my TpT store!

Check back soon!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spelling Contract

Okay, okay.... I told you I would get my spelling contract finished and I DID!!! Right now it is on my TpT store for FREE! Hurry over and download it because after Sunday, April 24th it will be listed for $1.00. Don't forget to tell your friends about it, leave me feedback, and check out my other items. Like I said before.... I don't currently teach spelling, but my students loved this when I did. Here's a preview! Just click it to be directed to my TpT store.  Enjoy!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coming Soon....

I am NOT a reading/language arts teacher... BUT I was one a few years back to fifth grade students. I will soon be uploading my spelling contract on my TpT store. It's a fantastic way to get students excited about studying for their spelling test. It has over thirty activities for students to do to practice their spelling.

For the first five days it is listed, my spelling contract will be on sale... FOR FREE!! After that you can buy it for just $1.00. While you are there, check out my other products, some free, some for $3.00 or less. Don't forget to leave me feedback so others can hear of how you enjoyed using my products! Keep watching.... it's coming!

Standards Checklist: Math

In math, my class has a standards checklist for each unit.  Basically, this is a list of the standards where students show they have mastered the standard.  These are all kept in a file folder for the entire school year.  At the end of the year, the students have a portfolio they can be proud of :)  This past year, I used file folders and just stapled the pages for each unit on the right side of the folder.  After students complete a unit, I staple the new one on top of the old one.  This year, I am using 2-hole clasps that go at the top of the folder, similar to those seen in doctor office records.  I searched for these for a while, but they were all sooo expensive!  In Quill, I found where they actually sold the clasps by themselves.  These ended up only costing about $10.00 for 100.  I also bought a 2-hole punch that was less than $15.00.  I am really looking forward to implementing this improving idea this year!
When students complete their checklist, and before they turn it in for a grade (after each unit), they work with their station partner.  The students trade folders and evaluate each others work.  They are to offer feedback.  Through my master's course work, I learned about 2+2 feedback.  2 positive comments, and 2 comments of improvement needed.  I am going to try and implement that this year with the students.  They actually do a really good job with correcting.  I tell them to pretend they are the teacher.  They seem to like that idea :)

This is the front cover of the standards checklist.  I write their name on the tab.
This is what it looks like open.  You can put things on the left, but I like to keep it all on the right.
This is what a finished page looks like.
This is a close-up of what the checklist looks like.  It's a simple table with the standards on the left and the students' work on the right.  Under the standard, you can see how the students offer feedback to one another.
This was after much revisiting!

Below are pictures of what my NEW standards checklist folders look like.  I do not have the papers in them yet, but I wanted to show you the prongs I will be using this year.

Math Blog Hop!

I participated in the Math Blog Hop at .  What an awesome way to get math teachers linked together.  I'm thinking about doing my own linky party.  What do you think it should be about?  Any ideas???  I'm thinking something related to math centers or math vocabulary.... just maybe :)  leave a comment with ideas or suggestions.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Room.... Take 2

Here are some more pictures around my classroom and some activities my students did.

This is how I keep my stations organized.  The stations we are currently working on are kept in the baskets on the shelves with each basket labeld with what skill the stations addresses.  The tubs above are labeled with the skills and contain stations that we are not currently working on.  When we are ready for a new set of stations, I simply rotate the folders from above.... to below :)

I just thought I'd share.... the kiddos did such a great job!

During Thanksgiving, we created turkey glyphs to represent our favorite foods, our traditions, and our plans.  We then took those glyphs and created graphs.  Thus, a Glyphs & Graphs were born!!  Here are more pictures of our Turkey Glyphs & Graphs.  I am looking forward to making this unit during the fall to sell on my TpT store along with all templates for the glyph.

This is one of the graphs the kiddos made!  Cute title!

A closer look at our little gobblers.

Our class bar graph.  We came up with the title and the kiddos created and colored in the bars.

How Cute!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

YAY for my new design!

The awesome thing about it.... I made it all by myself!!  And it was FREE!!!  Don't get me wrong, I have been working on it for about an hour and half now.... but, that's okay because I paid nothing for it :)  I'm still working on it so excuse my mess while I work!

Well, our CRCT begins tomorrow.  As I was covering things and taking things down {as I was told to do}, I couldn't help but wonder about a few things.  And the more I wondered, the more frustrated I became.  As I was cutting paper and getting tape stuck to everything, I was thinking that in school {and in research} they stress about how the most productive environment for children are those that are inviting, kid-friendly, and conducive to learning.... here I was with either 1) stark walls, or if they weren't stark they were 2) covered with black or brown butcher paper.  How is this healthy for my students?  How can we expect them to be successful when everthing they have known for an entire school year is changed?  It was a time of severe frustration for me.  If I hear the word C-R-C-T one more time.... I'm gonna lose it!

Here's to happy testing.... and the beat goes on.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Welcome to My Room!

Here a few pictures of my classroom.  I am one of the lucky ones.... I have one of the largest classrooms in the school!  I teach math and science to 4th grade students so I am privileged to have tons of counter space!

I made these to label my tables in my classroom... How adorable!!!

These are my state standards I have posted on the wall.  My county uses "I can" statements in kid-friendly terms.  When we work on a standard, we highlight it with highlighting tape and put a 'W' beside it.  When we are finished, our standard is highlighted and we move on to the next ones.  At the end of the school year, all standards are highlighted.

Here is my math word wall.  I didn't have the wall room for it so I put it on my closet door.  Word walls are important---- don't just have them for the looks of it.  Actually use them!  My kids use these all the time in their math talk and working through problems.

There's more to come.... I'm just getting started :)

Contest for Free Products!!

Don't forget to follow my blog.  On April 24th one lucky follower will win all my items that are available in my TpT store!  Check them out here!  Don't forget to tell your friends and have them follow too!!

Good Luck!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Math Calendar

Math calendar is a week-long process.  Here is our schedule we follow each week.

Monday- review calendar from previous week
Tuesday- write down all information for current week
Wednesday-work to complete
Thursday- work to complete
Friday- no calendar work

I use math calendar as a rotation for our guided math.  Each student has their very own math calendar book that I create.  It addresses a variety of skills that can be customized to fit your personal students.  Some examples of problems are: multiplication, division, telling time, a problem from the past, present, and future, fractions, and so much more!  You can buy a full download of my math journal from my TpT store!

Here's a preview!

Math Journal

This is something new I hope to add to my math class for the 2011-2012 school year.  So many times I've had parents tell me that their child does not bring home their math book so they are left with not knowing how to help them.  For the 2011-2012 school year, I want to have students keep a math journal.  This will be a composition notebook they will keep notes in, reflect on their math day, and all other things math! 
I hope to end each day with a short 1-2 sentence reflection about what we did that day in math class.  This way, when parents ask them, "what did you do at school today?" they can have a response other than "nothing."  You can use this as your summarizing strategy and have 1-2 studens share each day. 

Summarizing at the end of each lesson is something I need to get better at.  Most of the time we are in such a hurry to clean up and go that it's often left out.   It's such an important piece of any lesson and should NEVER be forgotten.

Guided Math

I have always heard of and even used guided reading, but I had never heard of guided math.  Then, I went to the GCTM math conference in Fall of 2010 and met the wonderful Kathy Spruiell who was a presenter that year.  She was wonderful!  She had been using guided math for over seven years!!

So..... with the motivation in hand and struggling students in tow, I created a guided math model for my own classroom.  The great thing about guided math is you can modify and change to what works best for you and your students.  In my two math classes, we have 50 minutes of core time and 50 minutes of more time for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes.  During the more time we solve exemplars, work on spiral review, practice vocabulary, etc.  The core time is where we use the guided math model.

Generally, we follow the following schedule:
Exemplar, Mini-Lesson, and review math calendar from week prior (no guided math)

Mountain Math- 5 minutes
Mini-Lesson- 15 minutes
Guided Math Rotations (15 minutes each): three or four groups rotate between small group, stations, math calendar, or independent work.  If I only have three groups then I do away with the independent work.

Mini-Lesson, some type of assessment

Math Stations

During guided math, my students work in rotations.  One of my rotations consists of ten math stations that correlate to the standards for fourth grade.  I change the stations every   3-4 weeks.  The items I sell on Teachers Pay Teachers and many I put here are items I use for my stations.  If you would like more information about how I used stations and guided math in my classroom, message me. 
Here are the elements each station consists of:

Station 1: Vocabulary (vocabulary match game where students match definition to word, check their answer, then record words they need to work on.  Words are added before each new unit)

Station 2: Fluency (this is usually some type of card game that focus' on addition, subtraction, multiplication, or subtraction fluency)

Station 3: Number Sense (I use a lot of activities from the Singapore Math Series such as Ten-Frame cards and arrangements)

Station 4: Geometry (different activities related to geometry, solid figures)

Station 5: Measurement

Station 6: Decimals

Station 7: Data Analysis (students REALLY struggle with range, median and mode.  They always forget to put them in order FIRST!  We also use this station to work and practive coordinate planes)

Station 8: Problem Solving 

Station 9: Computation
Station 10: 99/100 Chart

Station 11: Fractions

Teachers Pay Teachers

So, a friend got me hooked on Teachers Pay Teachers.  So far, I have 6 items listed and I've only been active for a week.  I mostly have math activities (some FREE and some for $1-$3 each) for 3rd-5th grade, but I do have some spelling & reading activities I'm working on.  This is sooo addicting!  I just love making things I create into things you love!  You can view my TpT store here!


Here's a good freebie just for you!  A vocabulary matching game for geometry... get yours now! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


As a first year teacher here were some goals I had for myself.....
  1. Obtain my Ed.S.
  2. Be Teacher of the Year {I know... kinda corny}
  3. Be in some type of teacher leader position
Now, as a fourth year teacher, here are some of my goals.... oh how they've changed!!
  1. Complete my Ed.S. {currently in my 2nd semester @ UGA}
  2. Publish something in a teaching journal --> I'm thinking maybe my current action research project
  3. Learn more about being a mentor teacher
  4. Get some work {any kind} published in an educational book
As I was SUPER excited about making my first earnings on TPT, I began thinking about where I was when I first started teaching, what my goals were, and how I've changed and grown as an educator these past four years.  I've come a long way and I want to go even farther.  I am currently working on an action research project, which I plan to publish here on my blog when it's complete.  I would like to eventually find a teaching journal that would publish it.  How great would that be!!


Well, I was trying to get my blog all pretty and colorful before I began writing and storing my ideas here..... but who knows when that day will be??  Anyways, the next couple of days {hopefully} will consist of several posts where I will begin transfering my information from my old site to here.

Just tonight I sold my first items on Teachers Pay Teachers.  You can view my items by clicking here...  It's so exciting to actually get paid to publish items you are already using in your classroom.  And how awesome is it that people you don't even know are using YOUR stuff that you created??  It's pretty awesome and I'm super excited to venture on this journey.. together with you.  So stay tuned, I have a lot of things to share and say!