Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Post at All Things Upper Elementary

Head on over to All Things Upper Elementary for my guest post appearance on their blog.  I even included a FREEBIE just for ATUP readers!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Love Tattoo

A place I swore I'd never go again...
But for this, it was worth it.
Love cannot be erased, it cannot be's inscribed on a wrist heart that will remain forever :)
I am so in love with our love tattoos. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jamestown 1607

Have I mentioned how much I am LOVING teaching US History?!? My two Social Studies classes are my favorite part of the day. I think half of it is just that is something new but the other half is that I am having SO much fun learning all this too. {yes, I'm a victim of coaches SS teachers} I wanted to share what we've been doing...

We've been learning all about Jamestown this week. My number one goal was to make history so exciting to my kids... and I knew the only way to achieve that is to teach it with so much passion they didn't have any choice but to be hooked. This isn't too hard because I am so into it myself! :)  

After learning all about John Smith, John Rolfe, Pocahontas, Powhatan and all the events that took place, I let my little journalists go and create a newspaper, entitled "Jamestown 1607 News" They had to take everything we'd learned and put it into four articles: Breaking News, What's New, Someone You Should Know and Classifieds. 

I let them research facts and questions around the room. I am so thankful we have access to classroom computers, iPads and NOW....

A set of Chrome books!!! We just got a whole cart of them! The cart is the perfect height for my kids so I just set four of them up as a research station. I had kids researching the day John Rolfe and Pocahontas got married, details of the Spanish tobacco seeds, The House of Burgesses, etc.

I measure the success of a lesson by how engaged my kids are and how much they can tell me about what we've learned...and I would say {minus the one girl who spent her class time searching for Justin Bieber pictures} this was successful!

And I'll leave you with one last thing. Our Student Council came up with a Thankful Tree this year. We've had the whole school write what they were thankful for on a hand and cut it out...I think it's turned out pretty cute! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tracking Student Data: Reflection

Students tracking their own data is AWESOME!!! In this post, I went into detail on how my students graphed their data from our first district Curriculum Assessment. I want to say that these Data Binders aren't particular to this certain assessment. They can be used with any test or assessment, in any subject or in any state. (Doesn't have to be CCCS, but will work with it too) In case you missed my last, late breaking news, announcement....I placed a smaller {generic grade/subject} bundle in my store with everything you need to start the Data Binders in your classroom. Those can be found here

You will see the one below is customized to the TEKS and is also apart of my 5th Grade Math Tracking Student Data Bundle

Ok. Let's get started! After we have graphed all of our data, we went back and had a time of reflection. We talked about this first and then went to the paper. I had to go into detail with good examples and bad examples of what I wanted. I wanted them to think more about a mathematical reflection...something they weren't understand and need to work on, not just "I rushed" or "I didn't read the question."
I wanted them to see when they came back to this a reflection on a certain objective...not just a testing mistake. Some of them we're very proud of their work (and didn't miss many) and wanted to tell me everything they were good at. :) 

They had to flip back through their graphing to come up with these reflections and even went back through some test questions to get a better understanding.

This part was the hardest of the three for my kids. It really forces them to stop and think WHY did I miss this...what was I not understanding. I had to model, model, model and give tons of "Is this a good example or a bad example" examples....but we finally got it!

After the graphing...and then the reflecting, comes the GOALS. Check back for my next post about creating specific, measurable and attainable goals for your students.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tracking Student Data: Graphing

UPDATE!!! I have just added a generic Tracking Student Data Binder in my TpT store. This is just the graphing, reflecting, goal making and Marzano's posters. This can be used in any grade, any subject and the any state! It's not specific to CCCS or any other state standards! Please head over to my store and check it out!! 

Now, for more on how to use these in the classroom...

So... I am a Texas teacher and for those of you who don't know we apparently do our own thing around here. :) The rest of the world (ESPECIALLY the TpT world!!!) is into this Common Core stuff and just we refuse to join the fun. As you can imagine, a frequent TpT shopper like myself, finds it VERY difficult to find exactly what I need and it seems like all the good stuff is a pdf document and I can't change anything into Texas TEKS. Major bummer a lot of the time. :/

I've always been intrigued by the student data tracking stuff, but honestly with 100+ students I never knew if I'd be able to implement it in the way I wanted for it to be successful. Well folks...I've been working hard. I've researched what works in classroom around the country and like any great teacher, taken bits and pieces from tons of great teachers and added some of my own ideas as well to make it exactly what I needed. This is for YOU 5th grade TEXAS Math Teachers!!! Introducing....Tracking Student Data!!! (current 2013-2014 TEKS) 

I just started this in my classroom this year and it is a huge hit in room 207! We have been data tracking machines. Last week we took our first Curriculum Assessment in Math and we've started tracking our data. In my district, our CA's are our practice tests getting ready for STAAR. I wanted to show this example of the graphing because these items can be used with any form of assessment. Classroom objectives, district assessments, etc. 

Each student has a Student Data Binder. We went through our first math test and sorted each question by objective (boxes at the bottom) I did a TON of modeling while doing this. Before hand, I figured out which questions went with each objective so I had question numbers to give the kids. To my kids I would say..."Let's look at objective 5.1A (Place Value of Whole Numbers through 999,999,999,999) numbers 5 and 11 both tested this objective. If you got both of them right, what did you score? If you missed 1 of the 2 what would that be? What about if you missed both?" {This is also a perfect intro into Fractions we're starting next week.} At the top of the graph I would have them write their success as a fraction. This was so great for them to quickly and easily see where their strengths and weaknesses were. The conversation I heard around my room while doing this was unreal. Made me proud that they were visually seeing their strengths and weakness...and having mathematical conversations about it! 

Like I said...this whole process does take a lot of patience and tons of modeling but it works and they pick up on it easily. I had a lot of my kids spread out on the floor in front of my Promethean Board so we could spread out and stay focused. :)

This go around we had 11 TEKS tested on our test. I would say by about the 6th objective, my kids were confident in what they were doing and I just had to assist a few kids on questions.

I am a BIG color girl. I love crayons, colored pencils and markers! I made my kids use color but didn't give any kind of criteria or pattern of what they did. I saw lots of great colorful graphs

After we went through each of the TEKS and graphed them we went into the next phase of this....Reflecting!

I've just posted my entire bundle in my TpT store. Please take a second to check it out here. Click the preview to get a sneak peek what you'll receive.

Next post...Tracking Student Data: Reflection

Monday, October 21, 2013

States & Regions

I am LOVING teaching 2 classes of Social Studies this year!! In 5th grade, we learn about American History...but we start the year with States & Regions. I wasn't too impressed with the material I had to pick from so I decided to make my own. We just completed a 5 (almost 6 week) unit about the 5 different regions and finished with a big research project about a state. I can honestly say, from start to finish...this was SO MUCH FUN! 

I just uploaded my unit to my TpT store for you to check out, but I wanted to explain how I used all this in my classroom. I started off by contacting each states tourism department and requested a free travel brochure for each state. I have a crate in my room that I store all of these in. (Except Connecticut who is the only state to go paperless) Then I checked out all of our State Books from the Library and stored them on a cart in the back of the room. Finally, I found maps and a few websites that I made available to my kids. I kept all these on hand throughout the duration of the unit. 

Week by week we went through a region of the US. Each region had their own journal pages my kids added to their SS Journals. I decided to set up my room in stations and my kids used the resources I listed above and moved around my classroom to find information. It took about 2 class periods for them to get through the stations and find the information. As they finished, I gave them the Region Word Search for that week...and they loved those! 

At the beginning of the week, we talked about the states in a particular region, and we labeled them on our Study Guides. These are not mine, but I wanted to link them as a resource if you'd like to use them too.  They come from Teacher Vision are are free! Just do a search for each of the 5 regions and you'll find them all! I also used this same page as weekly quiz. 

Finally, to culminate this unit, we did a big State Float Project. I knew I didn't want to do a research paper. Let's face it...I always hated writing them myself, so I wanted to make this fun. I created an A-Z State Floats Notes packet for my kids to turn in as their research. For each letter of the alphabet, I came up with something I wanted them to research. {Examples: C=Capital, H=Historical Event, L=Landforms} My kids really seemed to enjoy this type of research and I enjoyed grading it! The other part of the unit was to construct a State Float (like a parade float) I had seen these projects floating around on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try it out. They turned out so cute!!! We set them up on display in our Science Lab for a few days and let other grades walk through and check out our floats.

I've just had so much fun teaching this over the last 5-6 weeks and wanted to share what we've done! :)

If you are interested in implementing a States and Regions Unit in your classroom, head on over to my store and get your very own! :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Open House

Open House is the week we return from Spring Break. We had a weird week with testing, programs, I decided we would just work on our Math Projects for Open House this week. :) I did a different project with each class and was very please with the final product. Now lets just hope it still looks like this when the parents come. :)

*I apologize for the pictures being blurry...They're from my phone :/

My Block 1 did a Symmetry Project. I took their school pictures and blew them up. Each kid had to find the center and draw a vertical line (line of symmetry) Then they had to measure to accurately draw their other half. They had so much fun and I loved seeing what great artists I had. :)

Block 2 did a Clock Project. This clock was my inspiration. 
I had the kids create a clock using examples of math. The only requirement was that the answer had to equal the correct number (and placement) on the clock. I think they turned out soooo cute!

My Block 3 did a fraction activity. I gave them a story about a rock band. Throughout the story were descriptions of the band mates using fractions. They had to create their band using these descriptions. Again, I was so impressed at some of their artistic abilities.