Saturday, November 23, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Dangerous Name Tags

Saturday is our time to get MOTIVATED!
This week's motivational idea is short, sweet, and simple!

Post-It Name Badges! (You know anything Post-It I'll buy it!)
*You could also use regular name tags that say "Hello My Name Is" as well.
My mind is always thinking of how I can use things differently in my classroom, so...
When my students do something CRAZY smart in my classroom I call them "Dangerous" (they love that word!) I also have a custom rubber stamp and cape with "Dangerous" on it too! 
These labels can be used again, allowing them to wear them for a few days.
Trust me...they are very proud to wear these name badges! 
This sweet gem is "Seriously Dangerous" because she went up 20 points on her big reading unit test and scored an A!!!! So proud of her hard work! 
This vocabulary whiz was "Dangerous" with his words! This particular day he identified 6 of our vocabulary words during my read aloud and he used lots of vocabulary in his writing.
This super reader finished a chapter book in one night and scored a 10/10 on his Reading Counts test!
This is just a quick way to recognize my students who go above and beyond with their thinking. They really love it when other teachers/students ask them why their name is "Dangerous," it gives them a chance to brag about their accomplishments!
I mean, who doesn't want to be called DANGEROUS??!!
**There will be NO Spark Student Motivation Saturday next week due to the holiday-Happy Thanksgiving and hope to see you December 7th. 

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!

CONGRATULATIONS Alison! You won my Multi-Step Problem Solving Performance Task Notebook! Thank you everyone for pinning!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NEW Multi-Step Problem Solving Product and Pin It to Win It

I'm so excited to have completed my Multi-Step Problem Solving Performance Task Notebook! I have been working on this for over a month! My students always struggle with word problems, but with the rigorous demands of Common Core, I knew my students needed more than my current math curriculum was providing. Our district is very big on the Gradual Release Model, so I made 3 versions of each word problem.
Performance Task 1A-"I do" teacher models
Performance Task 1B-"They do" partner or group work
Performance Task 1C-"You do" student completes independently

Each page requires them to underline/highlight the important information, cross out the extra information, and answer in a complete sentence.
Pages can be run individually or make a notebook for the year.
I collect the "C" version and do a quick check and return it back to the students the following day so we can go over it. I like "quick grading", don't you?
This is how I do it... 3 possible scores-
check plus-completely correct, complete sentence with answer, showed work, highlighted, etc.
check-half correct-steps are correct, but may have made a mathematical error (adding or subtracting)
check minus-steps are incorrect with mathematical errors, missing a step
(I don't like to write zeros, so I check minus doesn't seem as harsh.)
Sometimes I go over the multi-step problem with the entire class, but most of the time I let my check plus students find a student with a check and help them with their missing step or mathematical error. These partnerships in my class are very powerful and I'm fortunate that my students trust each other with their learning. While those two groups are partnering, I will take the check minus students and pull them to a group and give another mini-lesson.
As we know, multi-step problems can be overwhelming and dreaded by students, but I found this method to be non-threatening and my students look forward to completing their own after practicing with me and their group. Plus, the fact that it's only one problem per page makes it "doable" even for my struggling math students. I make a big deal about them paying REAL CLOSE attention to my modeling the problem and then they can be EXPERTS!
I'd love to give one away! Let's play PIN IT TO WIN IT!
Pin either picture above, copy the URL address after you pin it, and paste into the comments.
Winner will be announced Saturday.
If you don't want to wait, it's 40% off for today and tomorrow!!!
Happy Friday Eve!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Motivating Students to Write With Gemstones!

It's time for Workshop Wednesday with my BBB Jivey!
This week's topic is how we get students to write...if you think about our students and what we'd like to see in their writing, we have a really big job! We need to motivate them to plan, to START their paper, to include vocabulary and creativity skills, to remember punctuation and capitalization, to edit, to revise, the list goes on!
Here's when I introduce my GEMS! They'll do anything for one of these jewels! I can't get around the room fast enough when I'm passing these out! They call me left and right!
Here are some samples for a variety of leveled students:
I use gems for grabbers and creativity skills. 
Jewels are awarded for using synonyms. 
 And vocabulary words...
 Strong verbs and descriptive writing gets a sparkle too!
Do you see that sentence??!!
Mmmm...there goes the wafting smell fragrance of delectable cupcakes and apple pie that can belittle the marvelous scent of any fancy perfume.
What??!! That writing blows my mind!
So proud of all these students!
**Sometimes I give gems for anything I like in a paper and other times it's for a specific skill/target I've taught and want to see in their writing.
Get some self adhesive gemstones and see the magic happen right before your eyes!
I'd love to hear your comments after you enter our fabulous giveaway! Read on...

A bunch of bloggers have joined up to say THANK YOU.  Thank you for following us.  Thank you for your support, encouragement, and friendship.  We have learned so much from you.  

So we wanted to say thank you with a Gift Card Giveaway.  

Simply fill in the rafflecopter below and you have a chance to win one of 3 prizes. 
(You can fill in the rafflecopter on any of our blogs, it's all the same one.) 

3 lucky winners will win a $25 gift card to TPT.  

Good luck and have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Author's Point of View

It's time to link up with my sweet friend Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her informative Tried It Tuesday linky party! It's so great to read about what's worked and what hasn't from other professionals...such a time saver! :)
If you're a follower of my blog, you know I have a small problem with Post-Its and love to incorporate them in my lessons as often as possible! My students love using them and they become such an interactive tool in our classroom!
Author's purpose is one of our focus skills, but I wanted to stretch my students' thinking by using author's point of view/perspective during reading groups. Understanding the author's purpose helps us to understand the author's perspective. Although the article we read was a non-fiction article (Scholastic News), it was definitely written with a positive tone and opinion words were sprinkled throughout the text. After we read the article we decided the author was definitely on the side of Malala, or was in support of her. My students then had to practice their close reading skills by finding evidence in the text that supported the author's view point.
 For this reading group, I assisted them with the author's view point, which made finding the evidence to support much easier.
This template is perfect (pointed out by my teammate) for the gradual release model: the first piece of evidence (post-it note) can be modeled by the teacher, the second is the "we do" as a group, and the last one can be done independently. At first, a few students were selecting "good" things about Malala from the article, but they were just facts: ("she won the International Children's Peace Prize" and "they bombed hundreds of schools for girls"). Once we really started critiquing the article by looking for adjectives and opinion words they got the hang of it!
Here are some examples:

*Underlined words/phrases that supported their thinking.
For my more advanced readers, I gave them very little guidance-I wanted to extend their thinking by allowing them to determine the author's perspective on their own and give them time to have "friendly" arguments with their group members to justify their thinking. One student picked up on the front cover title: "Meet the World's Bravest Girl", which helped support his argument that the author definitely liked Malala and thought highly of her.
Tomorrow we will complete the reflection piece by explaining if we agree or disagree with the author's view point.
If you're interested in this Post-it template, you can pick it up in my Reading With Post-Its II pack.
Thanks for reading and stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments! Don't forget to check out all the great ideas at Holly's blog!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Sidewalk Chalk

Happy Saturday! Let's share our motivating ideas!
Don't all kids like sidewalk chalk??!! 
Let students show their creativity while learning at the same time!
 On such a beautiful day, it seemed the perfect idea to review our vocabulary words!
They were working on their weekly vocabulary: the above photo portrays perish.
This young man wanted to be part of his chalk artwork!
Here we see waft floating upward.
Very quick and easy way to assess students' knowledge!
Sidewalk chalk can in so many ways!
Spelling words, math, timelines, number lines, setting, visualization, review lessons, so many possibilities!
They loved showing off their creativity with chalk!
Engaging, inexpensive, fun, and MOTIVATING!

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited! I hope you link up!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Timesaver Tab Tip

Have you "tried" anything that you think could benefit others? Even if it didn't work, it benefits others! I'm linking up with my sweet friend Holly for her Tried It Tuesday linky. I love to learn what works and what doesn't from others!
I've shown you my student portfolio crates before, but I wanted to share my timesaver tab tip with you! As you can see, I have 3 different crates: writing portfolios, student portfolios, and graded papers which equals A LOT of tabs!

For several years I used to take the white paper tab out of the plastic tab and write the new student's name on it every year. Then I got smart and used labels on the white tabs and put them back in the plastic tab so they'd look nice and neat, plus it saved time instead of writing them all out.
THEN, my friend Melissa made me really smart by simply placing the label directly on top of the plastic tab! 

Here is a sample tab with a pre-existing label.

Simply put the new label directly over top of the old label.

Voila! All done! You don't even have to take them out of the crate-I just took them out to show you up close. So three crates of tabs only take a few minutes!
One of the best time savers ever!
I hope this saves someone some time (we need all the time saving tips we can get right??!!)
I use Avery #8167 labels (80 count).
***I have about 9 labels stacked high on my tabs! LOL!
Have a great rest of the week!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Spark Student Motivation: Laser Pointers

Saturdays are SUPER because we get MOTIVATED!
 To motivate my students I like to break out my LASER POINTERS!
They "ooh and aah" when I pull these out!
*I always let them have a minute to point at the ceiling and around the room so they won't be tempted during my lesson. (Gets it out of their system!) 
Anyone who doesn't follow the procedures, loses their laser (only has to happen once!).
Use them as a review or intro to a lesson. Pictured above and below are text structures.
Also great for vocabulary!
My students love them and they're very engaging!
I like to change things up and keep them guessing each day, so I don't use them everyday. They never know when I will I break the laser pointers out! They're also great for a review on a word wall.
 I scored a class set of these at Dollar Tree a few years back. (They're not the best quality, but definitely affordable!)
Just another way I try to keep my students motivated in my classroom!
Students aren't allowed to bring lasers to school, but under teacher supervision, it's a unique learning experience!
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!

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