Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spark Student Motivation-Read to Win!

Happy Saturday Friends!
Last week I blogged about Reading Counts (here) and I promised another idea this week to motivate them to read even more!
 I got this idea from Bethany from  Fab and Fun in 4th that she linked up to my very first Spark Student Motivation last year!
I call it READ TO WIN!
This week I introduced Read to Win! Very simple (you know I like simple & motivating ideas)! I filled a jar with Gobstoppers and every time they passed a Reading Counts test they earned an entry to make a guess of how many candies were in the jar. For every 2 points they earned they received a slip, so if they read a 10 point book, they got 5 entries. VERY EXCITING! 
They brought home extra books to earn these slips! 
Look at all those entries!
An eye opener for me was their range of estimations! I had guesses from 37 all the way to 2,489! I know next week's guesses will be closer now that they have an idea of what "250" looks like.
89 entries-I think it's pretty good for a 4 day week and just learning about this new contest on Tuesday! They went crazy as I opened each entry and read the numbers aloud.
Here is the winner! He was closest with 240-the actual amount was 250.
He was one happy READER!
Click the image to download these entry forms if you'd like to try this in your classroom.
It could be used with any reading program you use at your school/class.
 I'm not sure if I'll do it every week, but it's definitely a motivator to read and PASS their test, so it builds comprehension and excitement in our classroom!!!
It doesn't have to be just candy, it could be used with stickers, erasers, bouncy balls, etc.

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!

**NEW**Please type the name of your motivator with your blog name when you link up.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Edible Math-Fractions

It's Workshop Wednesday time with my BBB Jivey! And, the yummy part about this week's topic is it's edible math! There are so many ways to incorporate food or candy into math lessons, and of course, these are the ones the kids remember! This topic was perfect timing...because today I introduced fractions with this book:
As soon as I started the book I said, "Oh, this book really isn't going to work without the Hershey Bars," and I walked away from the front of the room like I was going to get a different lesson. Then I shouted, "That' why I brought these today!!!!!!!"
They squealed with those sounds! (I should've incorporated writing using the 5 senses with this lesson-they were very descriptive with the smell and taste!---next year!)
We just went page by page going over basic fractions and terminology. For some this was a refresher, for some BRAND NEW! Like all of us, we have such varying levels of learners in our rooms. But even as a refresher, kids (or the teacher) won't be upset when it involves CHOCOLATE! 
We talked about equivalent fractions and ways to make one whole. 
We are learning about benchmark fractions, so breaking up the Hershey bar into fourths, thirds, and halves was a great introduction. 
And the best get to eat the fractions! 
Seriously, how much do you want to bet the next time they have a Hershey Bar they'll divide it into groups and tell the person they're with all about fractions??!! EXACTLY! They'll never look at a Hershey Bar without thinking of this math lesson again!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Shower Boards

Happy Tuesday! Time to link up with my sweetest friend Holly for her Tried It Tuesday!
This linky is great because it's basically like reviews of what works and what doesn't at your fingertips!
I've always had a class set of dry erase boards, but this last set I've had for about 8 years and they were tired looking! I use my boards or my student desks almost every day, but I didn't want to spend over a $100 on a new set so......I finally TRIED the shower board!
You know my husband works at Lowe's, but I've never tried it! LOL! Honestly, I wasn't sure how well they'd work, so I was hesitant, but then I thought for less than $15, it's worth a try!!!
Here they are:
What do you notice about that beautiful border?? My sweet, favorite childhood teacher (Mrs. Barnette) helped me wrap these babies!
The duct tape isn't necessary, but it definitely gives it a polished look and softens the corners.
Lowe's has a 4'x8' shower board for $13.47. They cut mine into 12"x12" squares, making 32 dry erase boards. I got the gorgeous HIGH HEEL duct tape on clearance for a $1, plus I had two rolls from sweet friends that saw it and immediately thought of me...I wonder why??!!
If you haven't tried the shower board and you want to make the learning in your classroom more exciting, go get one...tonight!
Quick, easy way to assess your students and they're FUN!
***I always give my students 1 minute of doodle time before I begin my lesson so they can get it out of their systems, otherwise they're too tempted to draw! If I catch them "doodling", I take away their board and they have to use BORING will only have to happen ONCE in your classroom-I pinky swear! :)
Have a super week friends!

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Day in High Heels!

YES, I wear high heels every day and YES, my feet sometimes hurt at the end of the day! :)
(Fashion hurts!)
"Meeting" teachers all over the world makes us all wonder what every teacher's schedule looks like, so my sweet BBB Amelia had a great idea to have a linky to share our daily schedules.
Check out all the schedules on A Day Our Way Linky!

**I did not include any transition or walking time in my schedule.
**Teacher's day-7:30-2:30.

7:50-8:00 Late bell rings at 7:55. Students turn in homework and start morning work (5 math problems) while I take attendance.
8:00-10:00 ELA Block-I've had many people comment on how large this block is, but I could honestly teach reading ALL day!!! I blink and it's over!
8:00-9:00 Whole group instruction: Reading focus skill, mini-lessons, read aloud, written response to reading, reading "projects", think alouds, mentor texts.
     **On Wednesday, our whole group instruction is dedicated to social studies-we use Social Studies Weekly and it's nice to have that solid block of time to really dig deep instead of rushing to squeeze in 15 minutes a day.
9:00-10:00 Small group instruction: Centers and reading groups. I also include science and social studies topics in my small group reading. I have an amazing ESE push-in teacher from 9:00-9:30 working with a small group.
Centers include: independent reading, Reader's Notebook, word work, computers, reading comprehension, and graphic organizers. My rotations are about 20 minutes.
10:00-10:54 Writing: Writing mini-lessons, modeled writing, figurative language, mentor sentences, grammar incorporated through the writing process. We have a large block designated just to writing for 4th grade because we have a big state demand writing test (narrative and expository writing-we don't know what style of writing they will get on their prompt...grrrr!)
10:54-11:24 Lunch
11:24-12:25 Math: Warm up game, multi-step word problems, instruction using gradual release model-big push in our county this year, dry erase boards/desks, quick check/formative, computer games if time allows.
12:25-1:05 Special Area
1:05-1:25 Math Acaletics: (math program used in grades 3-5-math is our school focus this year). We don't have a large intervention block like the rest of our school because of our writing block in 4th grade.
1:25-2:00 Science: We have 1-2 labs/experiments a week, reading informational text, interactive notebooks, video clips.

**Every Wednesday is an Early Release Day, so we get out at 1:05. Teachers have professional development once a month.

I hope that gives you an idea of my day! It goes by VERY quickly! This is a glimpse of our day, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Have a super week!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Spark Student Motivation-Reading Counts

Saturdays are SUPER because we get MOTIVATED together!
I am a HUGE fan of Reading Counts! I think it's such a great incentive to get kids excited about reading and a quick check for teachers to see if their students are comprehending what they're reading. We have a new leader board at our school this year...notice the name on top??!! This is actually very stressful! LOL!


Our media specialist updates these boards every couple weeks and my class waits in anticipation to see if they are still on top of the list...above those 5th grade classes! Some weeks it's so close! Yikes!
This board has increased the level of competition at our school because it's displayed on the front windows of the media center at the entrance of our school for everyone to see!
(You could do the same idea for individual students in your classroom.)
I keep track of my students progress on this Reading Counts Bulletin Board-my favorite's vertical and takes up little space! Different designs available. :)

Every student has made it to the 50 point club and I have six students who have made it past 300! The one at the top had 560 points and is working towards the dinner prize with me! :)
I offer my students incentives for different point clubs (they helped with the list).
I love this quote and couldn't agree more! Although I love rewarding my students for their hard work, I think the biggest reason they love reading so much is because of the literature I share with them. My heart smiles when my students ask me to pick out a book for them! I'm very fortunate and have an extensive library in my classroom, so I've never had a student say, "I don't have anything to read." or "I don't like any of these books."
I try to get them hooked on a series or an author and then they just take off!
My students who didn't like reading end up loving reading and my students who already loved reading, love it even MORE! The prizes are just an added bonus!
What do you or your school do to promote reading?
**I have another incentive for Reading Counts I am introducing to my class this week and I will share with you next week! :)
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!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Favorite Childhood Teacher Scavenger Hunt and Giveaway!

After having my own giveaway, I know how appreciative I am of my friends who helped me celebrate my milestone! So...I'm excited to share in Erin and Susan's celebration!
The theme for this giveaway is Favorite Childhood Teacher!
This was so easy for me, even though I had so many wonderful teachers throughout my schooling! HANDS DOWN, Mrs. Barnette (yes, I still call her that!), WAS and STILL is my favorite teacher! She was my 5th grade teacher and made learning so fun and memorable. She marked my heart at a young age, inspiring me to be a teacher.

While in college, we reunited, and she helped with some of my classes. I was then placed at her school for my internship where we became very close again. I was offered a job, so then we were at the same school. Yay! At that time she taught ESE Resource and she pushed in to my class (I volunteered to take extra students so we could implement this model...see, we did push in before there was push in!!!) She was my mentor teacher and my go-to person my first year teaching...always there for me!

After I had my first son, she had moved back to the classroom and taught him for 1st grade. I was so happy my own child could experience her teaching! Then, I convinced her that it would be such a great opportunity to loop with that class to 2nd grade...and you probably already guessed it-she did it for me! (See why I love her??!!)
Then came my second son, he had her for first grade and again, she looped to 2nd grade again! (May as well have some consistency here!)

Did I mention she also mentored me for my National Board Certification too?? Oh yea, like I said, she has ALWAYS been there for me!

The best part is coming...last year she retired, but we got to teach 4th grade side by side for one year! This had always been my dream since I started teaching! I loved working so closely with her each day! (Secret: I think she liked the younger ones a little better! LOL) It's so wonderful when you teach with someone who share the same philosophy and passion as you do!
(We still meet for breakfast a few times a month to catch up...she can't get rid of me!)

I can't say enough about this woman who has had such a great impact on my life and my family's life. She's truly one of a kind and holds a special place in my heart!
I love you Mrs. Barnette and I hope every child gets a Mrs. Barnette in their life!

Yes, this is the Favorite Teacher Scavenger Hunt Giveaway where EVERYONE'S A WINNER! The prize pack includes more than 12 fabulous products from all the amazing teachers you see below!
I've donated my Promote Great Thinking Light Bulb Cards to the Scavenger Hunt!
My favorite teacher: Mrs. Barnette!

I've also donated my Scan to Win Reward Tickets to the grand prize giveaway-great way to incorporate technology and motivate your students!

Stop by Erin from Miss Lifesaver and Susan from Middle School OCD's blogs to enter this awesome giveaway!  
Button Graphics and Fonts by:
 Confetti Graphics, The Learning Site, I'm Lovin Lit, and Sheila Melton

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Seasonal Writing

A quick post to link up with my girl Jessica for her Workshop Wednesday! This week's focus is seasonal writing.
When we came back from winter break last week we wrote personal resolutions and class resolutions to make ourselves and our class better. A perfect time to reflect and promote growth and change.

 I first modeled my resolution (time management) and then let them brainstorm ideas in their groups. My students didn't have too much trouble figuring out things to improve or change, but they did have some difficulty coming up a plan to implement it. Here are some samples of personal resolutions:
She wants to earn money so she can give to charity-she will do extra chores. (So sweet!)

She wants to maintain her grades-she will study for tests.

She wants to earn 600 Reading Counts points and she plans to do that by reading 80 pages a day.
After our personal resolutions, we made class resolutions. These were more difficult because many of my students were choosing things that are already expected (keeping our classroom clean, completing homework, keep our lead for Reading Counts, etc.) I explained to them that I wanted them to "push themselves" and go above and beyond what they already do or are supposed to do. Then their wheels started turning...

I love that this young man wants to be a "complimenter". He wants to compliment his friends when they have good ideas.
 This resolution impressed me because she's taking responsibility for the learning of others. She also wants to be more of a leader-some of my class leads by example, not verbally leading others, so I'm excited that she wants to take on a more active role in our class!
We made a book with our class resolutions to send home to share with our families.
(These activities came from my Happy New Year Resolutions Pack)
What seasonal writing activities has your class been working on? Link them up with Ideas By Jivey!
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