Sunday, January 26, 2014

Data Binders, Boards and More!

Hey everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe, warm and cozy from all that severe weather in the states (we call it CONUS)!  As for us, we had a dusting of snow but trying to stay warm and cozy myself as I sit by my fireplace in my unsunny (don’t get a lot of sun) winter room! Assessments are done and now I’m finishing up report cards and updating my data binder.  Tracking data to show evidence of growth is something we are all asked to do no matter where you teach.  It’s not any different here.  It’s up to us to document and show growth in a way that is meaningful to our students but will also drive further instruction.  Here’s what I do:

I have an Assessment Wall of data boards that show growth in several areas.  For example – a student will add a coconut to add to their coconut tree when they’ve learned to recognize, write and learn the sound of a letter or a bubble gumball to add to their bubble gum machine when they can identify and write a number.  They can also drop a word card into their “There Once Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Word” bag when they identify and write a word.

Also, the students can track their learning by coloring, writing their learning on their data sheets of the data binders.

For part of our hibernation day, we read the story Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming.  The forest animals prolong settling down for their winter nap who must tell each other that it’s time to sleep.  Great story for sequencing...and click for a freebie!

Check out the art work that our talented art teacher does with our students!


Kindness Book of the week:  The Kindness Quilt by  Nancy Elizabeth Wallace is a story about a kindness project and Minna can’t decide which one is right for her.  But as she starts to write and draw, a paper quilt picturing acts of kindness begins to take shape.  Check out my kids' quilts and click here for the freebie if you’d like.

Pictures from our hibernation activity:

What's a post without a pin from pinterest!

A peek at next week:

Would love to hear how you share data with parents, students and principal!  Stay warm and have a great week!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review, Assess, and Rest Week!

We come to an end of another 9 week period and it’s time to assess, assess, and assess.  Think about it – if you’ve been teaching 30 plus years with 4 nine week quarterly assessments in a year times an average of 24 kids well that results in an amazing 2,880 assessments and that’s not counting the additional daily screenings, observations……Wow! 

As we continue into the 21st century many of our assessment tools are changing.  There are several online tools such as ESGI (which I simply love).  But this past week I simply used Voki to help me review skills with the kids while I used Educreations to do my one on one screenings!  Here’s a brief recap of tools and how I use them!


I use Lucy Moosey to give instructions to the class as they write rhyming words on their white lap boards. Voki allows you to create and animate an avatar.  The kids absolutely love the characters and seem to focus so much better!  You can also add your voice or type in a text and choose an accent of your choice. I'll be using these ANY week!

Educreation is a recordable interactive whiteboard that can record your voice as well as your students’ voices and their handwriting to help assess or teach a lesson.  Check it out!
I use Tagxedo as a review word splash.  The kids are so into it!
ESGI is an online assessment process that helps guide instruction in the classroom.  Click to head over their site. Would love to hear what you use for your end of quarter screenings!  Now off to add to ClassDojo!
Did I mention I share a birthday with Martin Luther King, Jr?  Parents (and former parents), and coworkers surprised me with lots of goodies.  I even got my own personal minion! (Thanks Ms. D)

Centers and activities of the week:


These activities come from my MLK product.
Peek at this Week’s activities:

Now that winter is upon us and we happen to be the animal class we will be hibernating and transforming our classroom into lots of caves and will be doing quiet activities such as reading in our caves for part of the morning.  Just as bears have to use their sense of smell to find food when they wake up, we will crawl around the room sniffing for our food, which will be eaten in their caves. The kids will wear their warm pajamas to school on that day. Some of the activities will include having a snowball fight (wrinkled up paper with words they have to sound out), graphing their favorite bedtime stories, and playing hibernation rhyming games.

We’ll also read books about animals that hibernate such as  Bear Snores On. 

This story is about a bear that snores on while the other animals stop by to have tea and popcorn with him.  The party goes on without him as he sleeps.  Nothing wakes him up!
Since I absolutely love Karma Wilson books on the Bear series - I thought I 'd read Bear Says Thanks.

I hope to share hibernation pictures next week!
Happy Hibernating and keep warm in your caves!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Let It Snow (at least in Germany)!

How do you help children understand the season of winter without any snow?  You fake it!

While many states have been hit hard with snow and freezing temperatures, in our part of the world we have had lots and lots of rain.  L  During this time of the year we usually have snow so it works well to talk about the season of winter.  Fortunately we did have some snow in November, so there is something to relate to.  But since we have had no snow since coming back to school, we found some activities that will bring winter to our classroom and help children understand the concept of the season.
Paper snowflakes:  We hung paper snowflakes the children made from the ceiling in the classroom to give the feel of snow falling. 

Snow:  We found the best stuff ever through Amazon.  It is called Insta-Snow Powder.  You just add water to the powder and it fluffs up like real snow.  It even feels cool and wet.  We sat as a group and each child had their own cup of powder and snow.  We talked about not having any snow outside, so we were going to make our own snow.  We said the magic words, abracadabra, and they all added water to their cup of snow.  They were amazed and excited about the magic snow!  We then took all the “snow” and put into the sensory center.
Throwing snowballs:  Styrofoam balls are a great substitute for the real thing!
Ice skating:  The children skated around the carpet using wax paper “skates”.
Ice painting: This is a great activity using a different type of medium to paint with.  It also is a great way for children to feel the cold.  We used dry tempera paint and then gave the child a piece of ice to paint over the dry tempera paint.
Hopefully most of you have some snow and real winter weather to talk about but if not faking it isn’t too bad!
Other activities:
Graphing names and determining who has the longest name, shortest, less than 5 letters....
      Writing: Class book “Snowman, Snowman”
                          Art snowmen
For more winter activities - check out the link.

Along with reading fiction and nonfictions books to the class, we try to make sure there's always a book on "kindness".  For this week's choice I read The Mitten Tree.  This is a beautiful story about kindness and is a must have for any classroom.
Ok, one more item and then I'm off!
A freebie to add to your collection!
Keep safe and warm!