Where the Magic Happens: June 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Literacy Block Organization

Hi there again sweet readers,
If you have been following the Diggin’ Into series, you know that we have been writing about a different topic each week.  This is the calendar  of topics for the month of July:

July Calendar


Let’s get down to business.

slide1introduction
Literacy Block organization

This is a topic dear to my heart and today I will be discussing how I organize it in terms of time. In a nutshell, this is it:


schedule


I have 120 minutes for literacy instruction each day, and I watch my time closely because I want to give each child the attention he/she deserves in order to meet his/her needs.  My district has jumped into The Daily 5 bandwagon so I am expected to follow it as well.   If you know the structure of The Daily 5 then you will know that The Sisters encourage the following pattern:
focus lesson – 1 round of Daily 5 - focus lesson – 1 round of Daily 5 – focus lesson – 1 round of Daily 5
Even though I deeply value their work and I have learned a lot from The Daily 5 and CAFÉ… I prefer to follow The Jan Richardson structure:
Focus lesson – 2 rounds of Daily 5 (or stations) – focus lesson – 2 rounds of Daily 5 (or stations) – focus lesson
Why?
Because it saves time from transitions and instructional time is non-negotiable!


changesandwhy

Absolutely nothing! I am darn happy with the way I organize my literacy block.


slide6relatedproducts


I just finished these two products and I am so excited to be able to share them with you! My shared research activity packet finally brought sanity to my classroom (lol!) Every single year I could not figure out how to organize shared research among 7 year olds! I took the time to closely look at the standards and expectations and create some frames and clear areas of study.  Let me tell you: this was a lifesaver! AND I am on a learning map kick lately…so I revamped my alphabet posters from my classroom. These posters can be printed and hung on the walls, they could be used during small group instruction, intervention groups, or they can even be projected instead of being printed!

product giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway



An InLinkz Link-up

Until next week!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Behavior Management Post and a FREEBIE!!

Hi  guys!
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The way I do behavior management.


I must confess. I am a radical. I don’t reward with candy or food. I don’t have a classroom economy system. I don’t have a treasure box. I don’t believe in prizes.
Why?
I firmly believe that children should behave and be responsible because  THAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.  I believe in teaching children to be kind and have a purpose in life. I believe in celebrating the little things my little  friends do and say each day. I believe in the power of positive words and teaching each child to love him/herself. I believe in heartfelt hugs and sincere high fives. I believe in teaching them to reflect on their own actions and that with each decision there is a consequence. I TRULY believe!
Like many other teachers I have one of these ones:


chart


But I don’t do stickers, or ‘'”bucks”, or anything like that. Instead I have a classroom bucket…not individual buckets. See, we are still bucket fillers… but we fill the classroom bucket {or jar} because I like to think of my students as valuable members of our classroom community. And I work REALLY hard at the meaning behind the word “valuable.”  Every time we fill our classroom bucket, we celebrate. And my sweet firsties vote for the celebration of their choice, like eating lunch in the classroom while watching a Magic School Bus clip. So easy, so valuable! And they know that together they have earned every single celebration. So precious.
Yes, my students are 7 years old. But they understand that I LOVE them deeply and that I expect nothing but their personal best. Every. Single. Day

changesandwhy

Most {or probably all} of the teachers I work with have some sort of reward system. So it got me thinking…should I change the way I implement behavior management strategies? So, I bought this book:


And I am reading it to see what Mr. Marzano says.  So far he has given me tons of input on “hard cases.”  But nothing on candy or food. He does speak about tangible rewards, but doesn't define the word “tangible.”  I will keep on reading and make changes according to his research.
I really, really want my classroom to be a “7 Habits” classroom. I also believe in empowering friends!

slide6relatedproducts

Click on the picture to get this FREEBIE from my TpT store!!! Recipe for success to start the school year in a yummy way!! This is a great activity to do on the very first day of school!!!


recipe

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mathology

Hi there!!
Welcome to week two of “The Diggin’ Into Series.” I am typing this post as I stay home with my little one who is sick. Boo-Hoo!! I cannot take it when my boys are sick.  So I had to pull my older one out of class and come home to a very happy puppy. Did I tell you that we recently adopted a little Chihuahua?   I left school early one day last week  and drove about 40 miles to the animal shelter. The boys were so excited, they could hardly stand it! Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce: Prancer Graham


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     Honey Graham was not thrilled  fine with this idea… but as soon as they locked eyes, it was love at first sight. My Honey Graham is such a sweetie, I even caught him giving Prancer a kiss last Sunday during Game of Thrones.  Great times!
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Moving On...


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The way I do math in my little classroom!

Let me begin by saying that I place a big value on instructional time. Every minute counts. So I really work hard at differentiating my instruction and placing meaningful activities for my firsties to do independently.   This is how the boards and bins look like. You can get the BUILD labels in this TpT store. So basically the kids are in one station per day.
board


If they finish their assignments for the day, they can either do a different station, read math stories, or do any of the activities in the math dessert tubs. The activities in these dessert tubs are usually stations that my firsties have completed previously and they can do independently as well. Some of the Common Core concepts need to be presented in different ways, so many times for them to stick for life!

dessert tubs

I have an hour a day for math, this is how I currently structure it:
mathblock

 I have one intervention group that I see every day, two on-level groups that I see three times a week, and a beyond-level group that I see twice a week. I determine how to group my students based on data from mCLASS math and county based assessments. I learned about BUILD  math stations in the holy grail of teaching ideas: Pinterest.  This organizational system allows me to differentiate, extend, reinforce, assess, and engage my students. You can learn more about BUILD stations here!!!

B Station:

Or Buddy Games. I place differentiated activities for kids to play in groups of 4 max. Any game counts: place value, geometry, addition, measurement… you name it!! They are differentiated as well.
P1010489

U Station:

Or using manipulatives. In this bin I place activities that require students to use manipulatives in order to solve mathematical situations. In this picture, for example, they are measuring ocean animals using connecting cubes {non-standard units of measure}
u station

I Station:

Or independent work. Well, the kids actually work in groups of 4 {6 max.} at my instructional assistant’s table. I make these packets full of printables, and the kids totally dig them!!  I put about 20 pages in each packet, so the station is automatically differentiated because the kids go through different packets at a time according to their mastery and conceptual understanding.  The printables come from The Mailbox { I have an online account with them, completely worth it BTW!}  and TpT.  Check out this packetthis packet,  and this packet. They are made by teachers and they rock!!

i station
Don’t mind the mess on the back! Ha!

L Station:

Or learning about numbers. These activities allow the kids to develop number sense, numerical knowledge, addition and subtraction fluency as well as conceptual development. In most cases, I use iPads here. In this particular photo, I gave my students a cut and paste activity for better understanding of the equal sign. 
L station

D Station:

Or doing math. This is one of my favorites because my firsties are challenged by word problems!  I wrote about word problems in this post. Make sure to go check it out especially if you are in a Common Core state.

d station

Computer:

Or computer games. Some of my favorite websites are:

What other helpful sites do you know??

computer


My bottom  line: I aim to provide my firsties with a wide range of mathematical experiences.
What kind of structure do you use in your math block?


slide2changesandwhy


I really want to add a calendar section too!!! So I am thinking that maybe I can replace my last station with a whole group closure activity that involves calendar time. What do you think? How do you do calendar in your classroom??? Do you have a different “problem of the day” every day?? 
I also want to make my math block more “experiential”, yes! I want to add more real life situations to my BUILD stations and waaaay more cooperative learning games and activities.



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Just in case you are interested I have these math products in my  little store:
Publication1

I use these scoot games to assess some important concepts, they are great not only because you can clearly see  weaknesses and strengths, but also because they are so much fun and the kids don’t even know they are taking a test. #winwinsituation Click on the picture to check them out in my TpT store!

wordproblems1

I am so proud of my word problem packets. I did a lot of research and translated them into Spanish for those dual language classrooms.  I tell you, it took me about two months to develop each grade level in both languages. Leave me a comment below telling me something about your math block and you might get one of these for free!!


stationspic
And I also have seasonal math stations, I have translated some of them too!!  Click on the picture to check them out!

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