Friday, December 6, 2013

Five for SNOW DAY: Our Week in Review

We studied soil samples to determine what it is made out of.

Aaaannnnd I unknowingly wore two different earrings all day! :D

Also did our first word sort!!

We have been using and reading poetry since week 2 of school; we started a study on some poetry elements this week, including rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration.

A die, a mirror, counters, and a pencil can only mean DOUBLES! I will share our doubles activities next week.

We spent the week studying magic e, specifically i consonant e. We did word sorts, made words, spelled words, read stories, read poetry--here we are using the pattern to spell some i consonant e words!

And this is just b-a-n-a-n-a-s, right???!

I got a Grumpy Cat book in the mail from a friend in Germany--wahhhooo!!!!

And Thursday was quite the day, so this turned out to be my lunch: peanut butter sandwich, graham crackers and frosting. Yum! ;)

And this is TODAY:
NO SCHOOL!!!!! :D :D :D

Don't forget to enter my brag tag giveaway! The giveaway ends Saturday night!! Click below for more details and to enter:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Brag Tags Review and GIVEAWAY!

A few months ago, Denise from Boost Promotions contacted me about doing a Brag Tag review/giveaway. I happily agreed, because not only did I get 100 brag tags for free BUT I also get to give one of YOU 100 free tags!!

I knew right away that I wanted to use these tags for homework/academic achievements (biggie at my school), behavior, and AR (another biggie at my school). Here are the ones I choose:

Denise gave me 25 of each, for a total of 100 tags, along with little chains to put the tags on. So here is how I set it up for my classroom:

Remember this AR chart?
When a student earns 10 points, he/she receives the AR brag tag. I had one reach that a few weeks ago and MANNNN was he excited about his brag tag! I have a few more kids that are about halfway there and will receive their tags very soon!

I set up a little homework chart in my classroom to keep track of those who are doing their homework each night. I used a cookie sheet and put a magnet with each kids' name on it:

I check homework folders each morning. Students can stay in the Homework Club if their homework is complete each day--if not, then they remove their name from the HC board and put it in the multi-colored box. At the end of each week, I make a HC note in each students' folder (so I can remember who is in the HC each week) and give the Clubbers a little prize (extra tickets, pencil, eraser, snack, etc.). The prize is always random to keep interest high. At the end of the six-weeks grading period, those students who had been in the Homework Club at least 5 of the 6 weeks received the Homework Star brag tag! More excitement there!

This is pretty self-explanatory, haha. Those students with A and A/B Honor Roll received a tag.

My school is a PBIS school, so that helped me select the "Toad"ally Awesome kids really easily. Every six-weeks grading period, we plan a school-wide incentive trip for all students to earn. The trip may be to a park, museum, or could even be a movie and popcorn at school. Each grade level has criteria that must be met by students in order to participate. In my grade level, students had to have fewer than 4 absences or tardies (teacher discretion, of course), have no referrals, and have earned 10 or more purples, pinks, or "off-the-chart" on our clip chart:

At the end of the six-weeks, those students who earned the trip earned a "Toad"ally Awesome brag tag!

I LOVE the idea of giving brag tags to my students! Certificates are great to pass out, but students can really show off and be proud of their achievements when they get to WEAR their accomplishments. As previously stated, my students were thrilled about earning them. The tags themselves are very durable and well-made. I love all of the design options--tons of choices--and you can even customize them. I plan on ordering some more tags to use in my classroom for the remainder of the school year.

So how would YOU use brag tags in your classroom?? You may get a chance to use some super brag tags from Boost Promotions by entering my Rafflecopter giveaway!

What do you have to do?

The giveaway runs from today until Saturday night!!
Good luck to you! :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Listen to Reading

For all of you Daily 5ers out there:
How do you manage Listen to Reading?

I have 4 iPods and 1 iPad that we use for LtR. Last year's group managed it well on their own and I had to interfere very little. They were able to share the 5 devices among everyone without conflict. THIS YEAR'S GROUP--we have tears. And tears. And tears. And tears. And tantrums. Lord, have mercy, my bunch this year is very emotional. :/

SO, this is what I came up with to manage who gets access to the iPods and iPad each day to avoid the tears and tantrums about them.

#1: We do Daily 5 in 2 separate groups.

I split my class in half by ability; during round 1, group 1 works with me for phonics/spelling while group 2 does Daily 5. After 15 minutes, we switch groups. Round 2 is the same except we work on reading in small group instead of phonics/spelling.

#2: You may not have a second turn at LtR until everyone in the group has used the devices once (or at least has had the opportunity to use the devices).

This is our LtR management board:

The colored magnets near the bottom of the board have the kids' names on them, placed in their respective group. Right below the title, "Listen to Reading," you see a sign that looks like this:

This is where the students sign up to use a device. To sign up, they just move their magnet to cover one of the devices on the sign, like so:

Ideally, the magnets for each group would all be the same color. I will do that next year. This year, it was a last-minute idea so the magnets aren't the same because I had to use what I had! Initially, I actually had everyone in one big group so color wasn't a big deal until I decided to split them into 2. Oh, well. It still works. The kids do a great job of paying attention to who is in what group (mostly because they are ALWAYS all up in each other's business) so it works for us. No confusion thus far.

After Daily 5 is over, we simply move the magnets into the pail that sits between the groups of magnets. (If we do run into confusion with colors as described in the previous paragraph, I will just use two different pails to house the used magnets.) 

After majority of the magnets in a group are in the pail, we put them back on the board to sign up again. I say majority because if less than 5 students' magnets are left on the board, then there will be extra free spots for others to sign up.

If a student chooses not to do LtR at all, then he/she moves his/her name into the bucket at the beginning of round 1 so we know that he/she is choosing not to participate. This avoids the problem of waiting for someone to take a turn when he/she does not even want a turn.

So far, this has worked VERY well. The kids even take ownership and move the magnets in and out of the bucket for me! No tears over that yet. :)

#3: You must follow the rules in order to continue to use the devices.

Period. Dot. This will not be a problem to a lot of them at all, so I feel that revoking the privilege is fine for those who are deserving. As a reminder of the rules we came up with together, this mini poster is taped to the management board and to the area where the LtR books and devices are kept:

Click on the above picture if you would like a copy of this mini poster!

LtR is easily a popular choice during Daily 5, so this management system has really helped us keep potential problems under control.

What do you think? How do you manage your devices?


Friday, November 29, 2013

Awesome Apps Post #5

Awesome Apps is BACK!!! And I have some GREAT ones for you!!

 10 Frame Fill
Price: Free

Understanding how numbers relate to 10 is critical for fluent computations and is part of many state and common core standards. This simple app is exactly what the title suggests--students will fill in a ten-frame using a given number. We always start off the year doing this very activity in my classroom with counters and ten-frame mats; at that point, my students begin making statements such as "5 and 5 more is ten" or "8 and 2 more is 10". Later on when we discuss addition and subtraction, my kids have a better understanding and begin to make and use number sentences to go with the ten-frames.

You can customize the app to fit the needs of your students:

I like the option to add a number sentence to the ten-frames to practice missing addends:

Writing Wizard
Price: $2.99

This is THE BEST app EVER!!!!!! EVER!!!! I know, I've said that before, but I really mean it! This incredibly engaging app helps with proper letter formation, an essential in my first grade classroom. You can also spell words and even customize a list of words. Gotta love all of the options.

Every letter has a brief tutorial that shows the proper direction to go to form the letter.

Students then form the letter under the guidance of the arrows and dots.

The animations are fantastic. After the letter is formed, you are allowed a little play time with the objects used to form the letter/word. Each time is a different object!

 The app comes with this list of words that students can spell and write.

Add your own list of words! You can even record your voice to say the words so students can work independently. 

I love this app and so do my kids (including my 3-year-old at home!). Definitely worth the investment.

And now for the babies at home!

Hungry Hungry Hippos
Price: Free

Remember this game?? Yeah, there's an app for it! I love this game and so does my 3-year-old! We play it quite frequently! It's the same as the original game, but with no clean-up or game box storage problems. :)

Now go and download some awesome apps! :)