Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back-to-School Blog Hop (Tips and Tricks)

I am so excited to join my PA blogger buddies in hosting Tips and Tools for Back-to-School. 

If you are anything like me, you're probably feeling just a little anxious that summer is ending and school is just around the corner.  It seems like August just ticks away so quickly.  To help you with your back to school preparations, we each have a tip to share and a tool for you to use when you return to your classroom.

Keep Things Simple (and Keep your Sanity)! 

 We've all been there...keeping and maintaining the dreaded (at least IMHO) classroom job chart. I'm busy with 3 kids of my own, and I have a life outside my classroom. So, I'm constantly refining my teaching methods and classroom decisions to make sure things are kept simple, yet very effective. And, simple my friend, does NOT include keeping and maintaining a classroom job chart. Instead, use a Kid of the Week!

Yes, the Kid of the Week is the answer!

Tear down those job charts because you will NEVER need one again! I've been using a Kid of the Week for the past 10 years, and I am NEVER going back to job charts. Here's how it works (so simple)!

The first week of school, I do all the jobs (Pledge Leader, Calendar Helper, Morning Message, Trash Collector, Line Leader, etc.). As I do each job, I tell the students everyone will get 2 chances to be Kid of the Week during the school year. I explain that it is a very big responsibility, that the Kid of Week helps me with EVERYTHING all week long! When the 2nd week of school rolls around, I assign the first Kid of the Week (I use number order-so the student who is assigned #1). The following week, the previous Kid of the Week becomes "Second in Command" (helping when needed-for example, walking with the current Kid of the Week to the office). The student who is assigned #2 becomes the next Kid of the Week. Each week, there will be a new Kid of the Week (and the previous Kid of the Week becomes "Second in Command".

Pretty soon, your students will catch on to the predictability of the order (and the jobs they will do). As the year progresses, you will notice the Kid of Week preparing the calendar for the next day and doing many of the jobs without reminders. It is so awesome to see the students take ownership of their jobs and their classroom. Students look SO forward to being Kid of the Week. 

See? Simple, yet very effective! 

All About Me & Show and Tell

My tool for you is a set of two Kid of the Week bonus projects. My students (and their families) absolutely LOVED these, and I did too (and they are great for building both oral/written language skills and listening skills)! These activities are also another great way to build community within your classroom. Every Monday (or beginning of week), I sent home the "All About Me" project with the Kid of the Week. In addition to the "All About Me" paper, I sent home a blank piece of construction paper for the scrapbook page mentioned in the parent letter (construction paper=FREE). I used to buy a variety of actual scrap paper until I ran out and forgot to get more. I then started to use construction paper because #1-it's free and #2-it's simple (and believe it or not, I got some of the most decorated pieces of construction paper returned with photos, decorations, etc.).
Once all students had an opportunity to be Kid of the Week (and complete their "All About Me" project), the project changed to "Show and Tell" (also included in the freebie below). Toward the end of the year, you may find you have to double up (i.e. assign two kids for Kid((s)) of the Week) to make sure all students had two opportunities to be Kid of the Week. 
Click on the image below to grab this product for FREE!

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoy the freebie.  If you would like to be the first to know about new posts, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below.

 Don't stop reading here!  We have more tips and tools for you.  

Just follow the link below and visit my blogging buddy Catherine at ABC 123 is 4me!

Have fun hopping!

Graphics and fonts used in this post were courtesy of I'm Lovin' Lit, Melonheadz, and KG Fonts.  Check them out!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Daily 5 Online Book Club-Chapter 8-The Math Daily 3 Plus a Bonus Flash Freebie!

I'm back! I really, really enjoyed my summer! I took a break from blogging and TPT making to enjoy every minute with my 3 boys. 

The Math Daily 3 is the last chapter to discuss in this book club, so let's get on with it, shall we? 

If you are impatient and want to see the freebie now, look no further! 

** There is a great Flash Freebie perfect for Math Daily 3 in my TPT store. You can snag for a very limited time by clicking here: FLASH FREEBIE
Please leave only positive feedback or no feedback-it's free for crying out loud :)!

One great new feature about this edition of The Daily 5 is Chapter 8, "The Math Daily 3". Like Boushy and Moser, by using the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence, I noticed they worked so well in areas outside of the literacy block. The steps worked well with teaching classroom routines, with learning how to use our science get the picture. I knew they could somehow be applied to math, but I was not sure how...until NOW! 

A few years ago, my district adopted the Everyday Math program. The first year we implemented it, we had to do basically everything. It was such a struggle!!! As a person who does not LOVE math (I like it, but am not in love with it like I am with literacy), I began to dread teaching it. I knew there had to be some way to make it a bit less "whole group" (or the "spray and pray" method as Boushey and Moser like to call it-LOVE this) and more small group/independent work with "math conferences" weaved in (sort of like reading workshop). 

A few years ago, I noticed information on thedailycafe site about Math Daily 5. I read it, thought about it, tried some of it, and with EDM, I put it on the back burner so to speak. Math Daily 5 evolved to become Math Daily 3, and it is described and discussed in great length in Chapter 8. 

Math Daily 3 is NOT used to teach specific content (your district/school mandates what it to be taught). This structure, however, provides your students with math tasks and activities that help them learn the math content they need to learn while you work with small groups and individuals, providing them with the practice or enrichment they need. 

The Math Daily 3 includes:

Math by Myself
Math Writing
Math with Someone 

The structure of Math Daily 3 is very similar to the structure of the Daily 5. When I started Math Daily 3 later in the year, it was so easy because my students already had the basic expectations and structure in their background knowledge from learning and participating in the Daily 5. I love the consistency of the structure for both! 

It is suggested that, in the primary grades, there should be 3-4 math focus lessons with 20-30 minutes of students independently working and the teacher leading small groups/conferencing. I only had one hour each day to teach math, so I had to tweak it so it would work best for my students and me. This is what I did, and it worked VERY well:

5 minutes whole group lesson-active review-EDM
10-15 minutes whole group lesson-EDM
20-30 minutes students working independently/I held small groups/math conferences
*My students used the EDM games for Math with Someone and Math by Myself. They also used the EDM games on the computer.
5 minutes-Math Daily 3 debriefing, lesson review

The best part of Math Daily 3 is you can easily incorporate what you already do into each of the 3 math dailies (as mentioned above). 

So, have you tried Math Daily 3? Did you have to tweak it like I did?  What are your thoughts? 

For Math with Writing, I used monthly Math Writing Prompt Menus (much like my Monthly Writing Prompt Menus I created and use for Independent Writing in the Daily 5). I am offering the set of Math Writing Prompt menus for FREE for a very limited time. They come with a blank set as well so you can make them how you would like. They are geared for first grade, but like I said, you can create your own set on the blank ones. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for participating in my book club! Whether you participated silently or replied, I hope you got something out of it that can help you in some way this school year.