Saturday, April 12, 2014

Drama (the Good Kind) in the Classroom

Hello, Friends!

Today, I am sharing another bright idea and joining some fabulous bloggers in the Bright Ideas Blog Hop. 

Today I want to quickly share how I integrate drama into my classroom.  Even though we use Reader's Theaters and sing all sorts of songs to help us learn, acting through tableaus is one of our favorite ways to learn. 

During my first year of teaching,  I was introduced to a word called 'tableau'. During one of our faculty meetings, we had to work together and decide how we wanted to act out a word we were given. Then we decided how to show our word thr
ough a pose. We had to become statues of our word.  I immediately went and implemented this into my room. I've been having my students create tableaus for 5 years.  Every year, they love it. 

When students create a tableau (hello higher order thinking) they have to first decide how they want their statue to look (hello Speaking and Listening Standards). Then they get to act it out. I also have my students create individual tableaus as well. I give them time to think and then we start creating. 

My students absolutely love creating their  tableaus. I love how quick and easy it is to scan the room and immediately see who understands and who needs a little more assistance.

So, here's how it looks in my room.  And...ACTION! 

Here we were creating landforms. 

In the picture above and below, my students individually created goods and services.  I spy a computer, a dog walker, hairdresser, and a taxi driver. ;-) I walked around the room and when I tapped each person on their shoulder, they had to let me know what good or service they had created. 

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook or Instagram for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up 
below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting! 

Lots of love,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How I Manage Math Centers

Happy Saturday, Friends!

Today, I wanted to share how I teach math in my classroom. I've read different blogs, attended different workshops, and read more blogs until I was able to put the pieces together on how I wanted to teach math.

This year I finally found a routine that has worked for me. Math Centers are a wonderful way for students to learn and review math concepts while being engaged. However, I felt like I needed more than 50 minutes. I just couldn't get everything done that I wanted to in only 50 minutes. I decided to separate math throughout the day. 

From 9:20 to 9:50, I teach my math mini lesson. This has given me PLENTY of time to introduce and review concepts before breaking off into centers later in the day. My mini lessons look different depending on the day and concept. Here's what we did this week to learn about 2D and 3D shapes.

We studied shapes and their attributes using geoboards. Then, my students wrote down their findings in their little 2D and 3D Shape Booklets. If you are interested in this little booklet click here.  It's a little FREEBIE. 

We did this all while jamming to some geometry music. They LOVED listening to these songs and singing along.

I pick up with my math centers from 12:10 to 1:00. My centers last 15 minutes each and my students travel to 3 centers a day. I have this adorable little PowerPoint to help them rotate.

I have 6 centers up and running every day in my classroom.

I am a center. Students work with me every other day. This is the best way to differentiate. This week, we played Guess My Shape which comes from my Geometry packet. I differentiated by having by higher students dig deeper with the questions they had to ask. They absolutely LOVED this. 

Teachers have to have a little fun, too. Right?!?!

My other centers include a computer center, a review center, interactive math journals, and 2 centers to reinforce what I've been teaching in my mini lessons. Sometimes I use centers that I have made and sometimes I use centers that I have found from other lovely bloggers on Teachers Pay Teachers.  This week, they came from my Springing Into Math Centers packet. 

Here's what they looked like this week:

Computer Center: I always use IXL. My students LOVE it and I can go back and see how they are doing. 

Review Center: We were working on money. We spiral this skill all the time. Money is such a hard concept for little learners. 

Math Journals: Two words. Reagan Tunstall. Go look her up now if you don't know her. Love her stuff!

Geometry Themed Centers: I found a geoboard app. AMAZING! I gave them little cards telling them what shape(s) to make. The other center was a true or are shape sort. They said this was EASY. 

6 centers. Students Learning. Students Engaged. 
Happy Teacher

Thanks for stopping by!

Lots of love,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Must Read Linky-Tall Tales Anyone?

Hello, Friends!

Today I am linking up with the talented Amanda Madden from Teaching Maddeness for her Must-Read Monday linky.  Yes, I'm linking up on a Tuesday. Don't judge... ;-)

For the last three weeks, my students have been diving in to tall tales.  They have LOVED learning all about these wild and crazy characters.  Today, I want to share a few of my favorites with you.

My favorite tall tale that you HAVE to read to your class is the amazing Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett. First, I love the illustrations in Stephen Kellogg's books.  Such an amazing author and my kids love his version of the tall tales.  Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett is the wife of Davy Crockett.  When she was a baby, she could "out-talk, out-grin, out-scream, out-swim, and out-fun any baby in Kentucky".  As she grew up, she lived in the wilderness, cuddled with grizzlies, and finally saved her future husband. My students and I just love to read about her.  She has some amazing adventures.

Thunder Rose is an ADORABLE tall tale.  The author of this book, Jerdine Nolen, wanted to create a tall tale set in the Old West and create an African American character who would become the heroine of the story.  Let me tell you that my students LOVED reading about Miss Rose.  Rose was born just a talking and told her parents that she was mighty partial to the name Rose and since it was thundering outside her name came to be Thunder Rose.  She drinks milk straight from the cow, builds buildings tall enough to scrape the sky, and created barb wire.  She can even calm storms just by singing up song.  Like I said, we LOVE reading all about Thunder Rose.

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter is the cutest little tall tale.  It is about how a brave pioneer father brings apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, and children across the plains.  This story explains the process of traveling west.  The daddy in the story is mighty partial to his fruits and when a big rush of wind comes he makes everyone help to cover his little darlings.  This means their petticoats, trousers, and even daddy's drawers.  My students LAUGH and LAUGH at this page. One of our favorite parts is when the little girl fights Jack Frost.  We love this story!  Super cute and has such a a great meaning.

I love teaching tall tales!  Any other tall tales my students and I should check out?

I hope you are having a GREAT week so far. Tomorrow is HUMP DAY! (Did you read that like the camel in the commercials?)    ;-)

Lots of love,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Classroom Motivators

Hello, Friends!

I am so excited to be part of this amazing blog hop. No advertisements, no products, just bright ideas. Get your notebooks out as you learn some tips and tricks from over 180 fabulous bloggers!

I wanted to share today a way that I keep students quiet in the hallway. Two words: Mystery Walkers.

First, sorry for the look of the container. We've used this sense August and the adorable paper I had surrounding the container finally broke. Still works regardless of how it looks. 

All you need is a container with a lid, I used a Crystal Light container, and Popsicle sticks. 

Here's how it looks in my classroom.

My line leader for the week gets to pick who the mystery walkers are every time we leave the classroom. If they are quiet and showing correct hallway behavior, my line leader awards them with a treasure token. (Our school gives out Treasure Tokens for following expectations)

I don't have my students decorate their own sticks because the people chosen has to be a secret. ;-) Just blank sticks with their names on it.

This works every time. Such a simple motivator to keep them quiet in the hallway. :-) Easy, peasy and the kids LOVE it.  

Lastly, the sweet Blair from One Lesson at a Time has an AWESOME idea to help you collect homework.  Click below to for another bright idea.

One Lesson at a Time

An InLinkz Link-up

Lots of love,

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Long Time No Blog

Hello, Friends!

I can't believe March is already here. February flew by and I didn't blog at all. Sorry! It was quite a busy month. 

Here's a few things you missed.

It snowed AGAIN! I have lived in the South my whole life and have never experienced this much snow. Ready for Spring!

We were out for Valentine's Day due to the snow so I spent Valentine's day stuck in the house with my munchkin'. My husband brought home pizza, so at least I didn't have to cook. ;-)

Here are the Valentine treats I made my class and Brayden's daycare class. The minions were a huge hit. 

Brayden's teachers got a mug with some hot chocolate. 

At school, the only thing I snapped pictures of  was practicing for our tall tale puppet shows (thanks to Teaching Maddenness for the great idea). They turned out so cute and my kids loved it. Definitely made teaching fables more fun. ;-)

Yesterday, my class took the reading portion of the MAP test. One of my precious students wrote notes to me and her classmates to do their best of the test. Love her!! Such a sweet thing for her to do. 

Finally, check back tomorrow for another great blog hop! 

Lots of love,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Students Are 100 Days Smarter

Hello, Friends!

Today marked our 100th day of school. I snapped this picture Monday and shared it on my Instagram page yesterday. 

80 days left and so much left to teach.  This is the time of year I start to stress the most.  Testing is around the corner and another year is almost over.  But, that means that summer is getting close. I am ready for that! ;-)

So, here is how our day went today.  
My instructional coach had her mom make some of us some t-shirts.  I LOVED my shirt and couldn't wait to wear it today.  It says my students are 100 days smarter.  They sure are! :-)

My students thought my homemade streamers was the coolest thing ever.  They loved walking through this all day.  

Shhhh...don't tell my students but we had fun and reviewed our math skills today.  We used my 100th day packet and worked on place value, addition, and probability.  Flipping heads and tails was the post popular activity. 

Our favorite part of the day was writing.  I choose to have them write about what they will do when they are 100.  Their writing was HILARIOUS.  I loved that so many of my boys said they would play golf.  I had one who wrote that he would have restaurants all over the universe.  One of my smarties said that he would go eat at McDonald's every day and eat all of their cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets.  Such creative answers! 

I took their pictures this morning and while they were playing Heads Up 7 Up (the rainy and cold weather needs to go away) I made them into "old people" using the Aging Booth app.  It was well worth the 99 cents.  Here a few of my favorites.  They all turned out so cute!

I was productive after school and put them all up in the hallway.  Everyone that walked by made a comment on how cute they were.  

Last,  my munchkins begged for me to turn into an "old person" too.  So, I did.  I decided that I need to start saving my money now.  I see a need for botox in my future.  By this picture, it looks like I may not age very well.  Yikes.  They loved it though!

I hope that y'all had a wonderful day!

Lots of love,

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Technology in the Classroom

Hello, Friends!

Technology is everywhere!  Each grade level at my school just received 5 ipads to share.  I am ecstatic, and so are my students.  For the last two years, my students have been using my iPad and my iPhone for centers.  I had to start somewhere and I knew that I needed to incorporate technology when I could.  

If you are lucky enough to be a 1:1 iPad classroom, I am jealous. ;-)  I hope to be one soon.  If you only have access to one iPad, you still should check out these websites/apps below.

I wanted to share with y'all today 5 ways that I use technology in my classroom.  

Number 1: Class Dojo
If you haven't heard about this FREE website, go check it out now.  This is the classroom motivator in my room.  All you have to do is sign up, add your students, and customize your behaviors.  You can give points for correct and incorrect behavior. What I love about this website is the sounds that it  makes when you give or take away points.  The sound is an automatic reminder for my students to keep working and stay focused.  I also love that you can print out parent reports each week for parents to see their child's behavior.  My students also LOVE the little monsters. 

Number 2: iMovie
Right now, we are currently working on making a "movie" to teach the class about severe weather.  Below is a clip that some of my students did last year to share why you should live in Greenville.  From this video, I learned what my students know about communities.  More specifically, their community.  You can make an iMovie for about ANYTHING.  Students get to import pictures (that I've already saved on the camera roll for them), talk about their pictures (hello Common Core), and add music.  Student engagement...CHECK!  

Number 3: Evernote
I just recently learned about Evernote at one of our faculty meetings.  This has changed the way that I take anecdotal notes in my classroom.  This is a free app.  I have a post it note for each student in my class.  As they are reading, doing math, or doing something that I need to make a note of, I click on their post it note and type away.  I also have added in pictures of different things that we are doing.  Super easy and such an easy way to show parents what is going on with their child academically and behaviorally in the classroom.

Number 4: QR Codes
I could go on an on about QR codes.  We use QR codes all the time in my room.  Anytime my students see that I have put QR codes in their math or literacy centers, it is always a hit.  They are super easy to make.  Student engagement will be amazing once they scan they little cards with a QR reader.

Number 5: Popplet
Last, is another free app that I just recently found out about.  Popplet is so neat because students make their own graphic organizers.  The first time I used them, my students created a graphic organizer to show me what they learned about the person from their book.  They loved creating the little circles and typing away.  You can also add pictures to your camera roll for them to import.  Below is a graphic organizer that one of my groups created to show me what they learned about winter.  

I hope that you can use these websites or apps in your classroom.  Your students will love them and be engaged the whole time.  Student engagement makes for one happy teacher.  

If you are looking for more bright ideas, check out the sweet Melissa from Common Core and So Much More.  She has a terrific blog post about tips for new teachers here.

Lots of love,