Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Building Words and Rounding Numbers

Wow... I don't know about you guys but I'm pooped! I've been so busy these last couple of weeks that I have been going to bed at the same time as my 3 year old! The first trimester nausea and sleepiness is definitely not working in my favor either. Oh that's right... I'm preggers with my second child! Yipeee!!!

I was chatting away about the Daily 5 today with a colleague and our discussion reminded me about how much I struggled with Work with Words during my first year (I had a hard time coming up with different ways to make this part of the Daily 5 challenging and fun). I decided to share with you one of my students' favorite Work with Words activities. It's called 'Building Words'. I'm sure most of you already do this in your classrooms but I hope it will come in handy for someone out there in the bloggy world!

This activity is very simple. I like to start by asking my students to choose a long word (the longer the better). We then write the word at the bottom of the sheet by putting one letter in each box. The letters are then cut out and used to make new words with only the letters that are available to them. Students are allowed to use dictionaries, of course! I know this activity is super simple but kids LOVE it, especially if you turn it into a contest (whoever finds the most words can choose the next Brain Break, or whatever other reward you see fit). *Another way of doing it is by making longer words worth more points. Students can then tally their points and the one with the highest number of points is the winner.

The other resource I would like to share with you today is a 'cheat sheet' for learning to round numbers. I use this when I am introducing the skill. I keep a few copies around the classroom so students can refer to them if they get stuck. Once students grasp the concept, they rarely need this helper anymore and they become fully independent! It's a great scaffolding tool for those students who often need to refer back to their notes.

I hope this was helpful to someone out there!
Have a great day :o)

Great idea!

I was at a Fan-ta-bulous workshop the other and the speaker mentioned something about 20% time. Has anyone heard about this before? She explained to us that at Google, the employees get 20% of their time to work on personal projects. This means that one day a week, employees can work on whatever project they want! She also told us that amazing things came out of this 20% time, including Gmail and GoogleMaps. These are programs that were created by Google employees but were worked on during their personal 20% time! How amazing is that?

This idea can easily be brought to our classrooms. Teachers can give this 20% time to students in order to give them the chance to work on projects that are important to them. Ok, maybe not a whole 20% but maybe an afternoon or an hour per week (depending on how much gets done or how productive this becomes). In order to make sure students are using this time wisely, the FedEx slogan can be used: We Deliver. Isn't this clever???

It's funny the ideas we take away from workshops... I'm sure it was not this teacher's intention for any of us to leave her workshop and be so excited about something so simple... but I definitely was ;o)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Pinterest Linky Party!!

Hi everyone,

If you have a Pinterest page, you might want to check out this fun Linky Party at Michelle's Math in the Middle!

What a great way to share ideas for our classrooms :o)

Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, September 03, 2011

My Classroom

Wow! What a busy week!

From decorating my class to meetings and reading IEPs, I have not had much time to breath. My first week as a resource teacher has been a very strange one... It's a weird feeling to be working on everything but being in my classroom with my little gang. I'm very much looking forward to actually working with students!

I am finally getting around to sharing some pictures of my classroom with you! Honestly, I had a difficult time getting this classroom ready. I wasn't sure what I would need to put in my room since I do not have a regular group in there. I plan on adding things as we go in order to make sure I have the right visuals for my little learners!

Alright, on with the pictures! Here are a few of my 'before shots':

And here is what it looks like now:

This is a view from the back of the room. The bulletin boards are empty, for now. I plan on using them for high-frequency word walls and synonym word walls.
This is the view from my desk. I LOVE my tissue pompoms :o)
This is the view from the door
This is the front of the room. I have puzzle pieces for my carpet with a nice comfy chair for story telling. My old calendar is there, for now. I am still waiting for my Scholastic order. I had 2 desks in my classroom so I decided to stick one under my calendar until I can convince my custodian to remove it from my class.

Here is my listening center. This classroom was already equipped with an entire set of books on tape. They are from Scholastic so I plan on calling them to get the CDs to replace the tapes. The tree on the wall is a loan from my generous friend Jessica - Thanks Jess!

Here are my Smarty Pants!

This is my reading corner. The words 'Reading Corner' are cut-out letters on plastic plates. The idea is from Jennifer Jones' Pinterest page but it actually comes from the blog Quench your First.

This is my Writing Center. It is equipped with a bunch of writing essentials such as pencils, crayons, erasers, lined and colored paper, etc. As you can see, my fish tank is not set up yet. I plan on naming my fish 'Pencil'. I thought it was most appropriate for the writing corner!

Here is my Tattling Tiger. This is a clever way to avoid kids' love of tattle telling. If you have to tattle, tell it to the tiger, not to me! (The kids know that if someone is hurt or in danger, it is an exception and they need to come speak to a teacher). The basket has paper and pens for students to write down their problem too!

My lovely crayon monogram!

My desk
It says: Welcome, let me help you put all the pieces together! (I thought this was appropriate for the resource room)
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my classroom.

Have a great weekend everyone :o)