Friday, February 28, 2014

Rebuses as an Engaging Brain Break During Testing

Oh, the testing season is almost upon us…funny, I am not quite as excited for this season as I am for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Just call me the Grinch of Testing, I guess. I thought about writing about an instructional strategy or project, but, with testing creeping up on us, I would imagine many of us are entering review and prep mode. So I thought I would write a post about something you could use during the dreaded "T" word.

I get just as bored as my students with testing, and I know my brain doesn't hurt nearly as much as theirs do after a couple of hours of non-stop testing. I am sure you are like me in that after the test is done, you give the kiddos a little bit of time to relax before diving into a review of material that will be on the following day's test. I don't want to spend a lot of time planning these brain breaks, nor do I want to spend my limited amount of copies copying pages for them to do (even if they are fun pages because they just spent hours using paper and pencil), but I also want my students to be engaged enough where they are quiet because you know if the classroom next door isn't finished, you.can't.make.a.peep.

I let my kiddos read books, bring their devices in so they can play games, or take them out for extra recess. Then, one day, and I don't really know how or why, the idea of having my students solve and make rebuses popped into my head. Maybe it was because I was thinking about how older game shows such as "Name That Tune" and "Concentration" are just more entertaining than game shows today (except for "The Amazing Race"....which isn't really a game show….….I really loved "Concentration"!)

What is a rebus, you ask? A rebus is a puzzle that uses representations for a word, parts of a word, or sounds within a word. Then you put together all the representations for the complete word, phrase, or sentence. Some rebuses are purely words. I like the ones that use pictures.
Here is an example of a rebus that uses pictorial representations. The top row is a more simple rebus. The bottom row is a little harder.



Can you figure these out? Both are book characters :) **Answers are at the bottom of this post**

My kids LOVED them! I found harder ones and easier ones on-line, and I just printed them out, or I displayed them on our smart board for students to solve. When I felt creative and wanted to use all the CUTE clip art I buy from the talented clip artists on Teachers Pay Teachers, I made my own like the above examples! After they had solved several of them, I then gave my students magazines and had them create their own. They would cut out pictures from the magazine and glue them down, drawing arrows, plus or minus symbols, or whatever else they needed to add. If you had clip art that was accessible to students, you could also let them use that. I also gave my kids a theme such as their favorite book characters (which is why I made the examples above), favorite sports teams, or favorite movie to help them with getting started, and to make it easier when they swapped and solved each others, but you could totally have make whatever they want, too. You can put as much or as little time into preparing these. If you have time, make them for students to solve. If you don't, have them make their own instead :) I also use rebuses as part of a review center sometimes, too, and sometimes as an activator for a lesson. The possibilities are endless!

I love rebuses. In fact I love them so much, I actually used them in a training I did a few years ago to keep the adults engaged. Every few slides I had a rebus that was related to the topic, and the person who answered it correctly got some candy, soda (OK, not the healthiest, but it's what they wanted), or some other door prize.

Have you used rebuses before? Think you might give them a try? Leave a comment with how you might give them a try or how you have used them in the past. I'd love to hear from you! :)

Until next time!
Heather
2 Brainy Apples
**Answers to the rebuses
top row- Rainbow Fish
bottom row- Harry Potter (the arrow is pointing to the girls' HAIR, then add BEE minus the B to get EE which makes HAIREE = HARRY; Then add POT to FUR since the arrow is pointing to the koala's fur minus the F to get UR which makes POTUR = Potter; Viola! Harry Potter!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Easy Decimal Game: This Means War!

Right before our February vacation, my fourth graders started decimals.  To start out, I always find it's easiest to equate decimals with money.  .50 is 5 tenths just as it's 5 dimes, and .05 is 5 hundredths just as it's 5 pennies.  They understand that; it's those pesky zeroes that throw them for a loop!  So to practice seeing decimals concretely (and relating them to fractions) we played Decimal War!

The game is easy if you have decimal cards.  Notice that in fourth grade we use units that are divided into tenths and hundredths (there are also thousandths in this set which are great for kids who like a challenge).

The basic directions for Decimal War are:
  1. Shuffle the cards. 
  2. Deal the cards so that each person has the same number of cards.  Note:  the number of red and green cards each person has does not matter.
  3. Players should NOT look at their cards.  
  4. Both players flip over their top card at the same time.
  5. Determine who has the most shaded area.  That person wins both cards.
  6. In the event of a tie, both players will place their next 3 cards face down, and choose 1 of those to simultaneously flip over.  The winner takes all 8 cards.
  7. The object of the game is to finish with the most cards.
In this regard, the game is just like the traditional card game of War.  But now comes the math part!

Each player needs to create a T chart with their names at the top.  They write the card they flipped over in decimal form.  Finally, they need to write < > or = in the center to compare who had the greater amount.

This type of War Card Game is easily adapted to fractions, negative numbers, numbers of varying place values, coins, or anywhere that comparing or ordering numbers enters into your curriculum.  I love when I can reuse a format and save time teaching new directions (if the particular class loves it).

[Update: 3/16, I had a request through TPT's Q&A to make this a product.  If you would like a version that includes the cards and is ready to print, I have it for $4 here:  Decimal War Card Game]


If you're looking for more fun math games (or other resources) for your kiddos, you should know that Teachers Pay Teachers is having one of their HUGE sales this Thursday and Friday (2/27-2/28).  You can save up to 28% in most stores with promo code TPT3.  To help celebrate right here at All Things Upper Elementary, we're giving away TWO $25 gift certificates for TPT.  Just click the graphic below so you can enter.  That $25 will go a lot further this week, so don't miss out!   










Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Did Someone Say Sale....and a Giveaway?!

Hello friends! Teacherspayteachers is having another one of its annual (and amazing sales). In the spirit of the sale, we at ATUE wanted to do a easy giveaway as an opportunity to give you some extra cash to shop in the form of a TPT gift certificate.



Before we get to the giveaway, lets check out some of the favorite products from our bloggers at ATUE. (Hint...you will need to comment about one of them as part of the giveaway!)


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Quick-Checks-3rd-Grade-Common-Core-Math-1099710
Blogger: Blair Turner

I created this resource as a quick and easy way to help keep track of of my students’ progress. There is an assessment for each Common Core math standard, as well as all the resources you need to track class data and individual student progress







http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chain-of-Circles-Bundle-3-tier-Finding-Area-Circumference-of-a-Circle-1116741
Blogger: MissMathDork

Pi day is just around the corner! This differentiated bundle includes both Area and Circumference of a circle with an embedded craftivity! There are 14 problems for each Tier (3 tiers Area and 3 tiers for Circumference). This activity is ideal for stations, independent or partner practice, or formative assessment. On the answer sheet students should write the heart number, show their work, and give their answer.



http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Interactive-Edits-for-March-Looking-at-Grammar-and-Mechanics-the-Right-Way-1036377
Blogger: Jen Bengel

Teach grammar and mechanics for the month of March with these daily printables! Instead of correcting poorly written sentences, invite students to notice what works in well written sentences! These sentences are so much fun and your kids will love them! 






http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Literature-Response-Mobile-Project-Optional-Interactive-Notebook-Use-1130957
Blogger: CreatedbyMr.Hughes

There are literature response projects, and then there are literature response projects like this!
With TWENTY-FIVE, yes, 25 informative components that are both 3D and flat, your are sure to have a show stopping and informational display that will make you the envy of the school!
And, because the mobile pieces can also be used in an interactive reading journal, this purchase will give you a LOT of options for use in your classroom!
 




http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Digging-Deeper-into-Problem-Solving-A-Resource-to-Teach-Perseverance-997255Blogger: Fourth Grade Studio

This resource has been an idea in the back of my brain for a long time. Teaching mathematical behaviors is as important a part of what I do with my students as teaching them the math content. One thing I have noticed is that students coming to me often are lacking the "perseverance" needed to successfully tackle new and challenging problems. Over time, I have refined my own definition of what "perseverance" means and have worked hard to teach my students how to be energized, thoughtful mathematicians. I am hoping that you find this resource helpful for you and your grade 4-6 students as well! The unit has a ton of stuff--but the heart of the unit is the 24 high level problems that will really test your students' ability to apply these new problem solving skills. Some of the problems have many solutions. Others are tricky to read and interpret. Others require them to simply "dig in" and start guessing and checking!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rock-the-Test-Common-Core-Test-Prep-Math-Centers-for-4th-Grade-1092965Blogger: Jennifer Findley

This resource (available for 4th and 5th grade) contains 9 Common Core Aligned Math Centers directly aligned to the standards for that grade level. Take a break from the usual stressful test prep, and let the students have some fun with these centers. They will be preparing for the big test without even realizing it.


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/March-Craftivity-BUNDLE-St-Patricks-Day-March-Madness-Spring-1116018
Blogger: Deb Hanson

Are you looking for some engaging ELA activities to keep your students focused on standards as spring fever sets in? This craftivity bundle contains three separate resources: Idiom Craftivity for Saint Patrick's Day, Fact and Opinion Craftivity for March Madness, and a Parts of Speech Craftivity to mark the beginning of spring! An added bonus: these (and all!) craftivities create eye-catching bulletin boards and hallway displays!


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Geo-Journeys-Womens-History-Close-Reads-Interactive-Notebook-1100232
Blogger: Two Brainy Apples

Easily integrate reading and geography with my interactive notebook Geo Journeys! This edition focuses on significant women in history. Perfect for Women's History Month coming up in March. Students will read informational text about 8 women, complete an interactive organizer for each one, answer Close Read questions, geographical questions, and can complete one of the 3 included writing prompts: narrative, informational, opinion. Activities can be completed either whole group, small group, or independently. Made for grades 4-6.


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/January-June-Writing-Bundles-1044329Blogger: Right Down the Middle with Andrea

Writing is made simple by incorporating this engaging topics into your writing time. You will receive 120 journal prompts in this January-June Writing Bundle. The journal prompts come in two formats. One way is to create a mini-journal with all of the prompts for each month. The other way is a cut-and-paste method where you simply copy the number of topic strips you need for your students, cut the strips, and then tape or paste the topic strips into your students' journals. Your students will love the topics! In addition to the journal prompts, there are 18 essay topics complete with topic sheet/pre-writing organizer, drafting sheets, and a scoring rubric.   

 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Dividing-with-Whole-Numbers-Flippables-for-Interactive-Notebooks-1111275
Blogger: 4mulafun

Dividing with Whole Numbers seems to continue to be a struggle for students in upper elementary and even into middle school for some. This flippable works students through the process of setting up a division problem, identifying the quotient, dividend and divisor and working through the steps to solve for the correct answer with or without remainders. Added into this packet is also practice for dividing within word problems with three and four digit dividend for more real-world practice.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/12-Different-Genre-Focused-Book-Reports-467917
Blogger: 2 Peas and a Dog Blog

This product will add spice your reading program. No more boring book reports! Students will have a choice of what to read and guidance on how to choose the right book in a specific genre.




http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Poetry-Mini-Unit-Fourth-Grade-Test-Prep-229925

Blogger: Amber Thomas

Poetry Month is coming, but with Common Core, who has time for a whole month? In developing this unit I thought about what I learned about "Power Standards" this year in the ELA curriculum committee I serve on for my district. I asked myself, "What do my students need in order to access poetry for the test, and for later on in life?" I wouldn't be able to turn all my kiddos into amazing poets in two weeks, but this mini unit everything they need to know about poetry in fourth grade.

Now that you have let us share some of our favorite resources with you, let's get to the giveaway! Two lucky winners will each win a $25 TpT gift certificate to shop! To enter, all you need to do is:
  1.   "Like " ATUE on Facebook.
  2. Comment below on one of the featured products. You can comment one that you have and how you are using it, one that is on your wishlist, or one that you would like to add to your wishlist.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 21, 2014

Reflections of a Writing Teacher!


     I have spent the past two weeks agonizing over what I could say in this post that would make it worth your time. I am not sure I ever came up with anything awe inspiring, or earth shattering. It seems that there are already so many fantastic ideas being tweeted and pinned that I am not sure there IS much left to post or tell about! Oh, I know that in our rooms we tweak and alter old ideas putting our own little "kiss" of uniqueness on it and present it as new. This is one of the best parts of being a teacher- taking ideas and making them our own.
     I have been a nervous wreck with the end of the year looming and state testing starting soon. The great state of Utah has decided to test each grade 3-11 with TWO different writing assessments this year. These scores will be a key component in our school grade, along with our newly redesigned state CORE test, which is called SAGE.
     Why the stress you ask? I am the writing teacher for the 4th-6th graders in our building- ALL 64 of them! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! To top THAT off, my 5th graders are required to take a third writing test this year as well during the transition to the new SAGE Writing tests.
    We (the 5th graders and I) have been working night and day to be ready for this test. The students will be given a prompt along with two articles about it (one pro, one con). They must then form an opinion, write a 5 paragraph essay, and quote text from the article to support it. Phew...
     Like most of you, I have many low readers and writers, many of whom are ELL and are still working on making a complete thought in a sentence.
     During all this practice, I had the students write to a prompt that I made up. The prompt was whether the students would rather have a 3 day- 10 hours of school day, or a regular 8am-3pm school day (with our current 1/2 day Fridays still in place). Here was the resulting 4 Square (more on that some other time, if you aren't familiar with 4 Square writing check it out- it is amazing!) from one of my students.


     I typed this student's work up with no name so we could analyze it with out fear or being made fun of. The students were really good about not asking whose it was, and the owner never once let on it was his/hers. PERFECT!
     We discussed it and then students worked in pairs to write out the paragraphs. I was feeling really good about where we were heading with all this.
     Next, I brought in the Scholastic Story Works Debates. They WORK PERFECTLY! They present an issue and then share the pros and cons. The students make notes about both sides, and then choose one. I have been extending that to have the students create a 4 square and write a 5 paragraph essay.
     Is it working? I  honestly don't know. I have been pushing them so hard that I am not sure what will happen on Tuesday.
     BUT...
     The last two days we have just stopped the stressing and have been having a blast doing OTHER types of writing. The students have been more excited about writing and it has been a great break. Monday we will head back for one last practice session, and then on to the big test.
     I have come to realize that I can only love them and guide them- the rest really is up to them. I have been in denial for many years thinking if I just care more or do the activity in 10 different ways they will want to learn. The reality is that I only can do my best to meet them where they are and then they have to pick up torch and run with it.
     Thanks for listening to my thoughts, worries, and hopes! I LOVE teaching and HATE it at the same time. But, I have great hopes for this class on this test. They are excited for it, they have worked hard for it, and they are going to ROCK IT!
    Here is to a very happy Friday and a Relaxing weekend-

~Mr. Hughes


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Types of Nouns - Interactive Notebook Freebie!

Hey, friends! It's Blair from One Lesson at a Time, here to bring you a freebie for your ELA interactive notebooks! 

I get a lot of questions from teachers about whether I am planning on making any ELA interactive notebooks to accompany my math INBs. While I am not quite ready to tackle any full sets, I have been dipping my toes into the waters with a few little flippy-flappies here and there. :) 

Here's a quick and easy little flap book that you can use to help students remember the different types of nouns. 

Cut out each flapbook around the perimeter. Glue down the bottom page (with the definitions) fully into your notebook. Then, glue the top page (types of nouns) on top along the center strip. Cut apart the flaps and voila! You're done.  

Here's are some pics of the finished flapbook...

To grab this freebie, just click {HERE} to download it from Google Drive!

And make sure to head over to my blog, One Lesson at a Time, to pick up this Author's Purpose freebie for interactive notebooks as well! Click the picture below to go grab it:
Thanks so much for stopping by today!! 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Growing Confidence--Helping Students Succeed with Math Facts

If you are like me, you have a number of students in your class that still don't know their math facts.  They didn't know them last year.  They didn't know them the year before.  They think they are "bad at math" because of their inability to quickly retrieve these basic facts.

Don't get me wrong--fact "fluency" is important...and it sure makes "big math" an awful lot easier!  The key is that students maintain perspective on the role math facts play in the big picture--and once THEY know that YOU know that there is a lot more to them as mathematicians than their score on a time test, you have started the process of improving their math esteem.

The simple fact is, we need a way to make some headway with these strugglers while investing only a small amount of time--after all, there are way bigger mathematical fish to fry!

Here's what I do.

First of all, we need to identify which students are our target audience.  Whether you wish to screen students with a traditional time test, an untimed paper and pencil assessment, or a one-on-one interview, you need to find a way to identify which students you wish to work with.  For me, I give students a 50 fact paper and pencil test where I ask the students to work the problems in order, draw a line at 2 minutes (this lets me see how many facts they can do per minute), and then they finish at their own pace (this lets me see what problems they don't know).  Often people give timed fact tests which raise the level of anxiety in many students--and then those students who don't know their facts never get the chance to put down more than a few problems.  How will you ever know which facts they know and don't know?

I use the following paper and pencil screener.  It has all the key facts once (not the turn around facts and not all the 0's and 1's) and I like that it's 50 problems.  I like that students can see how far they get in 2 minutes but also need to finish the rest so I can see which problems they miss.  I like students to be able to set both speed goals (Can you get more done in 2 minutes next time?) and accuracy goals (Let's see if we can get 48 right next time instead of 42).



This is just the first step...it's my "screening tool".  Once I find out my most at risk students, I take the diagnostics one level deeper.  I run each student through a screening where I flash each fact card at them for 3 seconds.  I put them in two piles--"fluent", and "not yet".  The cards in the "fluent" pile go home for practice.  Students drill them for speed for 2 minutes per day.  TWO MINUTES.  Why are they practicing what they already know?  To build automaticity!  I sit with each of these students and highlight a fact grid to show them how many facts they already know.  It's also a great chance to review the concept of turn around facts (commutative property) and the organization of the tables.  This is also the time to personally promise your students that you know this has been hard--but that YOU have a plan and they WILL make progress.  These students need you to build their confidence--they are desperate for someone to believe in them and to help them.
Look what we learned!  This student knows all the 0 and 1 facts and can easily make 10's.  There are a few doubles that need some work--and then counting up 2, working with one more and one less than 10, and doubles plus or minus one are great starting strategies!
The "not yet" pile requires a little more work.  I look to see patterns in facts they don't know.  Do they understanding doubling?  Do they know how to "make tens" so that they can do 9 + 3 by turning it into 10 + 2?  Can they do "double doubles" for their multiply by four facts?  I then start small by teaching one new strategy at a time.  I want to make sure that students don't regress to old, inefficient strategies like counting all fingers and so on.  There are tons of resources available online that can help you recognize all the different strategies that can help students...just remember that they need to be explicitly taught!  If they don't know 6 x 8, they need a way to derive it efficiently. Once a student has really mastered a strategy, the flash cards that are now "instant" get added into the home practice bag-and don't forget to update the highlighted chart!


So…students have two baggies—one that goes back and forth between home and school daily.  The “not yet” baggie stays with me so I can plan intervention activities to teach the strategies until they are fluent enough to move into the other baggie!



Make sense?

So...can students be given the tools to improve their math facts?  YES!  Do all students need to go through this intensive process?  Of course not...this is an intervention for those students who struggle and who have lost hope.  Once the screening is done, this is something I spend 5 minutes per day on--tops.  I pull students needing similar strategies together, teach the strategy, practice the strategy, and then keep reviewing it daily until they seem to be instant.  Slowly--and meaningfully--students can add to their collection of known facts.  As a side note...I do this only with addition and multiplication...and then I teach students how to use addition and multiplication strategies to help with subtraction and division.

Most important to me, however, is that we send the message to students that they CAN tackle math if they get help, use strategies, and remember that math facts are just a tiny part of who they are as mathematicians.

Want to try my screening assessments for free?  CLICK HERE

Want this blog post, addition and multiplication cards, 3 versions of each screening test, and math fact grid all bundled together in a nice neat package?  Check out the resource at my TpT store by clicking HERE!



or find me on Twitter at @FourthGrStudio 
or Instagram @Fourthgradestudio

Friday, February 14, 2014

Have Some Fun with Sundae Summaries! {FREEBIE!}

Hi there!  It's Deb from Crafting Connections with you again today!

A few years ago, during my first year working with fifth graders, I was informed that writing summaries was the next standard we would be focusing on.  Actually, the fifth grade teacher asked (in a dry, monotone voice), "What do you have for teaching summarizing that's fun and exciting?"  I stared back at her blankly.  We both felt the same... there was nothing fun and exciting about teaching students the art of summarizing.  "I'll think of something," I told her (in a dry, monotone voice of my own).

My research for something fun and engaging first took me online.  If you've done this same search, you know that my Google search yielded lots of "Somebody Wanted But So" examples.  I checked it out, but I have to say - I just couldn't latch onto this strategy.  I know that some teachers swear by this method, but I just couldn't quite grasp it.  While it works very well for certain fiction stories, I kept finding stories where I just couldn't make it work.  And if it didn't always work for me, how would I effectively teach it?

So, I came up with my own method to teach students to summarize fiction.  As you might imagine, fifth grade students were surprised one morning when I got out the play doh!  While they may have been skeptical, they were also intrigued.  I then proceeded to use the play doh to make a banana split sundae in front of them!  As I formed each component from the play doh, I compared it to the steps involved in writing an effective fiction summary.  I compared the banana halves to the characters and setting, the three scoops of ice cream to the beginning (problem), middle (events related to the problem), and end (resolution), and the cherry on top to the theme.  I also placed toppings onto each ice cream scoop, explaining that these were important details revealed at the beginning, middle, and end of the story...but cautioned students from overloading their summaries with too many unimportant details!  I said that just as too many toppings on a banana split sundae would get all mixed together and the individual flavors would be lost, a summary loaded with too many unimportant details would result in a confusing, overwhelming, and essentially ineffective summary.

Mrs. Thompson (my co-teacher) and I were thrilled with how well this method worked for our fifth graders!  In fact, when the concept of summarizing rolled around last year and again this year (usually October), we got out the play-doh again and repeated the analogy with the next batch of fifth graders!

Last year, I decided that I should take the time to create a PowerPoint and matching craftivity.  Well, it took me more than a year to actually follow through on this, but I finally did it!  (I'll admit, special requests from three different teachers on TpT for such a resource gave me the kick-in-the-pants to finally put a priority on this!  I figured that if three teachers were specifically asking me for it, there were likely many teachers looking for an effective strategy and opportunity to work on this skill with their students.)

I finished the Summarizing Fiction PowerPoint last week!    It includes 45 slides.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summarizing-Powerpoint-focusing-on-summarizing-fiction-1088810
Ice cream sundae graphics by Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs.

Then I finished the Sundae Summary Craftivity.  This resource includes an original short story for students to summarize.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summarizing-Craftivity-A-Sundae-Summary-1097769
Ice cream sundae graphics by Aim Less Daze.
Finally, I followed that up by creating an interactive notebook entry to match the PowerPoint and craftivity, and I'm giving it away as a FREEBIE

Ice cream sundae graphics by Aim Less Daze.

I'll also briefly mention that Amy from Eclectic Educating recently blogged about this important topic, as well.  I liked her checklist strategy, so you may want to hop over to check out her comments on summarizing fiction, too.

I have to admit, I'm looking forward to next October when I can show the PowerPoint to my fifth graders!  I think they will love the craftivity, too!  Perhaps YOU would like to try the Sundae Summary the next time you teach students to summarize fiction!

Before I sign off...unrelated to the topic of Summarizing Fiction, but perhaps of interest to YOU - hop on over to my blog today to find about a flash freebie craftivity!  It's available through midnight tonight (Friday, 2/14).

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weekly Goal Setting


Hello ATUE Readers,

It's Kristy from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog. It has been a while since I last posted due to report card writing and moving. I do not recommend combining these two major events together as they are both stressful and time consuming.

While I am writing the learning skills part of my report card - I report on the student's ability to set, monitor and follow through on their goals. This can be difficult to monitor without a formal goal setting tracking program. Where does the time come from? How can this be managed? These are all questions I asked myself when I started teaching.

I have tried different systems: goal setting duotangs, writing in their agendas, handing in loose papers. IT WAS ALL TOO MUCH TO MANAGE on top of our required teaching duties. Then I saw a Grade 5 teacher at my school use cue cards on student desks as a visual reminder to each student of their goals. This was a brilliant idea so I asked her if I could borrow it and make it rotary applicable.

How Does This Work?

  1. Hand out a cue card to each student once a week, once a month, once a term - what suits your schedule.
  2. Have them write one academic goal and one life goal. Depending the length of time the goals will need to be adjusted. "Getting an A in French won't happen until the end of the term." but "Reading 20 pages a night" can happen on a weekly basis.
  3. Use packing tape to tape the cue card to the desk as a constant visual reminder for your students of what they need to be working on. 
  4. Walk around once a week to have an informal chat with each student on how they are doing with their goals and offer them ideas on how they can keep up their goals. Use a class list and create columns that say: Goals Met, Still Working, Starting Over or something similar that meets your classes needs. 

Got Rotary?

Clearly this taping system will not work if you have more than one class visiting the classroom on a daily or weekly basis. 

Some other ideas include: 
  • having students store them in their agendas, binders or notebooks and put them out on their desks when they arrive in your class
  • creating a goal setting bulletin board and use smaller cue cards so all your classes can fit on it
  • buy one of those 3 panel stand up display boards and adhere the goal cue cards to the board - this can be easily folded up and taken out as needed. Plus it uses less space than a traditional bulletin board
  • collect them for the students and hand them out on an as needed bases
I hope this goal setting tip helps reduce your stress level come report card time as you will have great anecdotal notes to work from.

Thanks for reading,
Kristy @ 2 Peas and a Dog

2 Peas and a Blog

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Math Valentines for your kiddos!

Hey all!  It's Jamie from MissMathDork here! Valentine's day is RIGHT around the corner and in case you hadn't heard ....


...consider yourself warned!

Anyhoo, I was looking for some cute nerdy, math Valentines for my kiddos and couldn't find any... so I made some! AND... I want to share them with you!!

You can find these super cute, super nerdy math Valentines HERE for FREE!!!

and here's a cute preview of what you are getting:


Adorable, right?

What are you waiting for? You have less than 3 days!  Print those bad boys out!!  And... enjoy your Valentine's day and potential 3-day weekend!









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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Solar System Research

My science focus in my classroom right now is learning about the solar system.
My class used the picture dictionary tool on Enchanted Learning to practice research skills.

The picture dictionary is set up in alphabetical order and for larger categories of letters , like "S", have subheadings similar to guide words to narrow ones search options.

My students had search questions to research like you see below:



 Here's a sample screen for looking up the answer to Question 1, which is the solar system.
First, students would click on the letter S and then on the subcategory So to search for the answer of solar system.



Each heading is also clickable to read and research further about a topic

This is the expanded information for solar system



This tool hit science, technology, research skills and dictionary practice all in one.

Hope you might find it useful too!

~Denise



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