Sunday, February 24, 2013

Teeny, Tiny Baby Steps, Study Skills, TpT

Well I just did my first TpT product that is not free!  Last week after my fourth graders did their test on weathering and I decided I wanted them to fill out some type of self reflection on their test performance.  I went to my fav place, TpT, and searched for, "Student Reflection, Test Reflection, Student Self-Evaluation" but I found nothing.  Ugh! 

So what is a teacher to do?????  I could not pass up a teachable moment because I could not find what I needed so I quickly made up my own form.   Plus it supports the common core of student self-reflection that we have started at our school.  Hmmmm  I may have something here. 

So I passed out their tests and then we discussed ways that the students that did well did to study.  Some answers I heard were;  flashcards for vocabulary or write the study guide questions on one side and the answers on the other, make up a mini test using the study guide, use online tools, review the study guide or have a parent quiz them. The students then filled out the reflection form I created and I had them bring it home for a parent to sign and then return it the next day.  I did give points for completing and turning in the reflection form.  Believe it or not I got all the forms returned the next day.

So here is the link to take a peek.  Student Test Reflection Form

Tell me what you think.  I am so nervous.  Also how do you feel about cover pages?  I personally do not print them out even though they are very cute.  I just do not have the money to pay for all the ink for my printer to print out all those colorful cover pages.  So I did not make a cover page. Should I?  What are your thoughts on cover pages.

Have a great week,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our First Author Visit - WOW!

We had our very first author visit today.  Mr. Brian P. Cleary came to talk about his inspiration, poetry, word play, puns, and being a children's book author.  I actually was a little pessimistic about the visit since our librarian introduced them to my class during our library time last week and they sounded like only language arts type books.  (Big pouty lip) You know puns, idioms, antonyms, synonyms and on and on.  I love books and I mean all books but in my subject areas I teach I feel I am limited to nonfiction books.    But...... I was pleasantly surprised to find out Mr. Cleary wrote more than just language arts type books. (I am jumping up and down.)    Here are some samples of just a few of the awesome books Mr. Cleary wrote that I could use being the math, science and social studies teacher. 



Fractions - I love fractions!

A book on studying for science!

A book on studying for social studies!

I am now dying to get a few of these super cool books to use with my classes.  I hear a big Amazon buy happening very soon. 

We also had a small poetry workshop that Mr. Cleary conducted with our fourth and fifth graders.  The kids had to write sensory poems using the five senses to describe an abstract noun such as; peace, love, determination, happiness, fear...  Wow what a great job they did! 

Here is an example of one of the fifth grader's sensory poems. 

Happiness sounds like rustling leaves on a summer day.
Happiness smells like the warm Kentucky air.
Happiness tastes like the cool watermelon grown from our garden.
Happiness feels like my old blanket knitted by my grandmother.
Happiness looks like smiles all around our dinner table.

Mr. Cleary even signed the ones that were read before the class.  Too cool!

There is even a website, The World of Brian P Cleary that has tons of games (not just language arts), word of the week, poem of the week, interactive books, and even how to get Mr. Cleary to visit your school.  Now I just need to get my hands on a few of his books.  Hope everyone is having a great evening.


P.S.  Brian P. Cleary is not related to Beverly Cleary but his books are just as amazing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nervous, 1st TPT Items & Freebies

I did it, I did it!  I opened a TpT store!  Yahoooooooooo!  I am so nervous about my TpT store.  Ugh I feel like the new kid at school.

I linked a few simple newsletters for February and March and they are free.  Click on the link if you would like a copy.

TpT February Newsletter Freebie and TpT February Newsletter Freebie

 I wonder if I can track if anyone downloads them or only if someone buys them?  I guess I need to look at the seller form on TpT. 

I am also working on a science fair packet to sell on TpT but it is still in the works.  I know science fairs are just about done but maybe someone will need one for next year. 

Now I need to go run and pick up my son and his buddy from snowboarding.  What a day off!  What did you do today if you had the day off?  I would love to hear.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Differentiated Instruction??

What is differentiated instruction?  I think this is instruction that is tailored to meet the individual learning styles, passions and needs of my students.  This could be done by changing the mode of instruction to meet the visual, auditory or kinetic learners.  This can also mean alternative assessment and assignments which may or may not include flexible grouping, partners, and individual work. This should be offered to all students not just the struggling or advance students but to all students.

But my question is can we as educators modify tests such as eliminating one of the four answer choices but the student has no I.E.P. goals for that subject or accommodations or modifications listed?  So that student then receives a higher grade then the best student in the class.  Is that differentiating instruction or an unfair advantage?  I thought that differentiating instruction is suppose to level the playing field not boost them so high that an untrue picture of that student's abilities are being portrayed. 

Then I question how do we make sure the child's parents and other schools that they may move on to have an accurate picture of that student.   If a child receives those types of modification and accommodations that are listed on their I.E.P. then I feel that their parents and any other school would have a true picture of their abilities.  I am talking about a student that does not have an I.E.P.  I am obviously really struggling with this concept of differentiating instruction. I do not want to not meet the needs of any of my students.  I think in my classroom I do a pretty good job at meeting the many needs of my students but still reflecting every students ability. I wonder if any of my followers have any ideas, advice, or have faced the same dilemma in their classrooms.  How do you differentiate?  What is or is not differentiated instruction to you?   I would love to hear your thoughts.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Farley's February Currently

Ok I just have to link up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.  This is going to be a quickie post since this felt like the longest week ever.  
Most of my February Currently is self explanatory so I will just explain just a few. 
 First I am so wanting to go to bed because this was Catholic Schools Week at our school and boy what a week!  Then of course half the Greater Cleveland area but us had a snow day today which canceled our assembly because the presentors were the "Trash Talkers" from St. Ed's High school.  Here is a quick video of these trash can beating high school musicians.  So I had to quickly figure out what we were going to do all afternoon.  I LOVE my partner teacher and our first grade buddies.  LIFE SAVERS!

We were so disappointed that we did not get to see them live:( 
My pet peeve is when students think they can pull a fast one over on me which one of them tried to do with me today and I was already in a bad mood.  So it was not a good choice no way! I let her have it and then some.   Did she think I was born yesterday?  Uhhhh NO!  By the way Farley's microphones and cameras ploy works every time for me too.   I am not sure what I will do when I get that student who wants to see or hear it and you know it will happen.  Ugh!
 Then my other pet peeve is GERMS just like Farley.  Ugh all that sneezing, coughing and boogers  that is in full force in my classroom. Yuck, Yucky, Yuck!   If I could spray each kid with a shot of Lysol as they walking into the room I would.  lol

Have a peaceful weekend,