Summer Updating Project is FINALLY complete!

Follow Me on Pinterest
Not exactly related to teaching, but ...

I’M SO EXCITED … FINALLY … I’M FINISHED! … I have been working on updating my kitchen this summer. I made that one of my main projects of the summer and BOY was it a BIG one! My husband and I will be renting our home in a year, so we didn’t want to upgrade out of the houses value, but wanted something we would enjoy while we are here. This entire remodel / update was completed by my husband and me for $680 in materials. The time spent on the project is over 20 working hours! I’M SO PROUD!!! = )

Student Self Assessment – Networking with Other Students

Follow Me on Pinterest
I have been taking a few trainings this summer and I heard a BRILLIANT idea and I HAD to share it … Very rarely do I get this excited about an upcoming idea for my classroom, so I need to tell you all! Someone mentioned it in training – I don’t know their name, so I can’t give credit to whoever they are! = )  

I have been struggling with a method for my students to self assess their understanding of a concept that would make THEM take the next step in mastering. I have used a student made rubric (students collaborate and design it at the beginning of the year) in the past, which I love and will continue to use, but I wanted something that would also encourage my students to either actively seek more help if need or be willing to provide help if they mastered the concept.

Before I explain more, you must know my class is what I call “safe” - Meaning thoughts, questions, and misunderstandings among students are respected and valued by ALL. From the very beginning of the year students are encouraged (sometimes forced) to express their understanding with concepts (mostly in math) opening with each other without the fear of being judged. This is something I know most teachers encourage their students to do too, so if your class is one of them, this idea will work great!
Traffic Light Poster – Networking for Help
This poster is on a power point slide at my TPT store. You can click on the picture and it will take you there to download for FREE! You can also draw it out a chart paper also!

This poster will help explain! So I plan on first teaching students how to self assess their understanding with a concept or problem. Look at the traffic light poster. Red means a student still need a lot of “practice” and re-teaching. Yellow means a student understands about half of the concept, but there are still some things they are unsure about. Green means the student understands and could teach someone else the concept. I placed the thumb pictures in the colors because my students will identify this common way of self assessment (I believe Kagan). The students will NOT hold their thumbs up because… 

Paint Sample Color Cards
I got these paint sample cards from LOWES – I used paper clips for now, but once I can get back into my classroom I will use metal rings. I was also thinking of punching a large hole in the middle and using the plastic shower curtain rings (these are supper cheap)!

Instead they will hold up a color. Before they select the color, I will give the students think time (about 15 to 30 seconds) to think about where their true understanding falls. After they think about it, I will have them select the color and hold their color (paint sample card – thanks LOWES) at the count of three. At this point the students will find a partner. This is where the name “Networking for Help” comes in. How they select a partner is explained on the poster. When they go to their partner they will be required to talk about their understanding of the concept or problem. This will be when they try to compare/solve/understand the concept or problem together. I will tell the students I will be selecting an anonymous group of partners to explain their results and what they learned. During this time I will also be walking around monitoring their understanding through questioning.
Does anyone else have any ideas on self assessment for students??? I would love your ideas and/or thought!

Anxiously Waiting to Start Organizing my Home Away from Home - My Classroom

Follow Me on Pinterest
I wanted to share some of the areas I organized last year during pre-planning. I wish I had before pictures, but I don't ... so your going to have to imagine ... they were "stuffed" cabinets that would throw things at you when you opened the door! I'm sure you ubderstand ... LOL 

Each year I pick a few areas I want to organize in an effort to make my life a little easier and to to help me save a little time in the long run! Which leaves me wondering if a teacher's life is ever really easy??? Anyway, truly organizing my classroom was the best thing I did for my space. Once it is organized your space easy to keep clean and in order. Below are some pictures of some of the places I have completed.

One of the best things about getting everything in order is that my students are picking up on these behaviors. They know there is a place for everything and they (for the most part) put things where they go. Down time with materials and cleaning have been cut in half with the class being in a functioning order. The students can participate in handing out materials and cleaning up work areas if there is a neat and orderly room.

This is a picture of my classroom materials cabinet. It is organized and everything has a place. I keep ALL the student materials in this cabinet - Including markers, colored pencils, scissors, note cards, highlighters, rulers, sticky notes and all the others things we use. The students can get materials from the cabinet as they need. It eliminates almost everything from the students’ desks - which leaves even more organized areas (don't get me started on messy desks!!!!). I have material managers as part of my classroom jobs, so if materials are needed for a whole group activity the material managers distribute and collect them.
These two pictures show how I store my science materials. Science materials can get messy, but these white buckets and clear containers (from the Dollar Tree) help eliminate all the small clutter. The students can even locate materials with it being this orderly. In the morning when students are arriving I may ask them to help me set up for science class. A simple place a sticky note on their desk with a list of the things I need. The students get NOW locate them and get them for me. Fabulous time saver!

This is my math resource cabinet. I store all my math resources here. My rule is always put it back if I take it out. I NEVER misplace things this way! I have a cabinet like this for science and writing too.

This is where I store students' math centers and math manipulative. It's great for lesson planning because I can go to these drawers when working on a specific concept. These drawers have different types of games and activities the students can get and start working on.

Scalloping Trophy Anyone??

Follow Me on Pinterest
So every year my family and I go scalloping in Homosassa, Florida. Homosassa is about and hour and a half North of Tampa. When I say "my family," I means a ton of people. The last 3 years there have been about 10 people, but this year there are 16 of us going. It has become tradition for us to try to collect the most scallops, then they have bragging rights for being the top collector. This year I decided to create a trophy that we can give to the person with the most scallops at the end of the trip. The trophy will be passed on every year to the person who captures the most scallops!

It got me thinking ... I could create "trophies" like this for my students. Maybe a pencil wrapped trophy for a writing competition. Just a thought ...

I'll be scalloping 'til Monday ... 

Accountable Math Talk Stems for Students

Follow Me on Pinterest

I just finished sprucing up my accountable math talk stems. I print these on cardstock, cut along the border, laminate them, punch holes in the corner and put silver rings through.

These stems are used in the math block when students are explaining, justifying, and critiquing other students’ work. Students use them to help formulate conversation about math concepts. The first few weeks of school maybe only giving students five to choose from would be appropriate, but as the year progresses attached new stems to the rings. In my class they are in the manipulative bins for each group so students can always access them. They go along with the Standards of Mathematical Standards.
Click on the picture to download accountable talk stems.

If you want to print the stems, click on the picture and it will take you to my TpT store where you can downloaded them!

Another place to visit for math talk ideas/stems, visit: GPS Math Coach

The Great Gatsby - High School Relived

Follow Me on Pinterest
Picture I took from the airport
My first non school/education related reading for the summer is ... (drum roll please...) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Classic, and maybe not very exciting I know, but it was required to read in high school for some reason! I wanted to 'really' see what the big deal was because in H.S. I didn't get the big deal. Never did I think I would be reading a book from H.S. (that I actually read Cliff Notes for the majority of)  for leisure or enjoyment, but the movie is coming out soon and I wanted to know the book's version before productions version is released.

I am sitting in Houston's airport heading home to Tampa.  I was visiting my very best friend Blair and her new baby boy Carter (he's AMAZING btw)! I bought the book in the airport to give me some 'quality' reading on my journeys - unlike my usual Health or People magazines. = )

I'm so excited about starting the read ... the first paragraph in the book starts with "whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all people in this world haven't had the advantages that you have had." ... This is a great start! I'll keep you updated!