Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winner Winner!

It's finally time to announce the winner of my Winter Solve & Color Worksheets.

Drum roll please . . . . .
Congratulations Rachel 'Defassio' Bowerman!

Check your email.  You should be receiving your copy shortly.

As a little thank you to all who entered, my Winter Solve & Color Worksheets will be discounted 50% for the next two days, or until I remember to finally change it back to the original price.

Grab it now before it's too late!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Morning Meeting - A Responsive Classroom Approach

Morning meeting is an intricate part of our day!

Morning meetings help develop classroom community by fulfilling each student's need to belong, to feel significant, and to have fun.  They teach the skills of friendliness and social interest through participation, sharing, and listening.  Morning meetings merge social, emotional, and intellectual learning while we model skills such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.

Each morning we follow the same format for morning meeting:

1.  Greeting - Each morning students begin by greeting each other by name.  I select greetings that are structured and include aspects such as shaking hands, clapping, singing, and other various activities.

2.  Sharing - After our greeting I select a few students to share.  We follow a weekly rotation so that students know when their share time will be.  They are welcome to share any appropriate news of interest.  Afterwards, they select 2-3 students to respond to what they've shared with a thoughtful question.

3.  Group Activity - The third component of our morning meeting is a group activity.  I select fun activities that integrate other subject areas and build class cohesion through active participation.

4.  Morning Message - Each morning we end our meeting by reading our morning message and going over our class schedule for the day. You can read more about Interactive Morning Messages here.

Here are some tips to help your morning meeting run smoothly:

Post rules and procedures within or near the meeting area.  Refer to them often.

Require that students come to the circle empty-handed.  I do not allow students to bring in objects to share.  They only share information.  However, I do make an exception on days that we bring our morning work to the carpet to use as part of our activity.  The work stays behind students, out of sight, out of mind, until we are ready to use it.

Organize students in a circle.  Encourage them to sit next to someone new, rather than next to the same friends.

Join your students by sitting in the circle with them and participating in all components.

Keep your morning meeting short and sweet.  I try to keep it between 15-20 minutes.

Use a classroom management signal, such as a chime or raised hand, to quiet students and gain their attention.  Practice this signal often so that your morning meeting will run quickly and smoothly.

Check out the Responsive Classroom website for more information about morning meeting and examples of greetings and activities that you can use to spice it up!

How many of you have a daily morning meeting?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Enter to Win a Pack of My NEW Winter Solve & Check Math Worksheets

Check out my NEW Winter Solve & Check Math Worksheets for 4th grade.  This pack contains 33 math worksheets aligned to the 4th grade CCLS for math.

Students solve each problem and then color the answer below.  This self-checking feature works out great for homework, independent or partner practice, morning work, or centers.  Students immediately know if their answer is correct.  If they are not able to color in the answer below they know to try the problem again.

I like to bundle a couple of the worksheets together and send them home for extra credit over February break.  That way students stay fresh with their math skills as they review previously learned concepts.

Download the preview on Teachers Pay Teachers for 2 FREE Color & Solve fraction worksheets.


Enter to win a FREE pack of my Winter Math Solve & Check Math Worksheets below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How will you use these worksheets in your classroom?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Day Our Way - My Daily Schedule

Today I'm linking up with Amelia from Where the Wild Things Learn for her A Day Our Way - A Schedule Linky!

Here is a copy of what our daily schedule usually looks like in fourth grade.

Here is the break down:

8:40 - Arrival
Students go to breakfast, stop at their lockers to drop off their backpacks, and arrive in our room.  The first thing they see upon entering is our interactive morning message.  They read the message, respond at the bottom with a post-it note, and proceed to their desk.  Once they sit down they copy their homework into their planner, place the planner on the table to be checked, and begin their morning work.  Our morning work usually consists of a math word problem.  You can check out my math word problems here.  Once their morning work is complete they bring it to the carpet, along with a marker/pen and clipboard and sit in a circle while they wait for announcements to begin.

9:00 - Morning Meeting
Around 9:00 our morning announcements show on our Smart Board.  Our school is lucky enough to have the technology available to produce morning announcements that can be viewed on our Smart Board or on the TV.  Once announcements are over we begin our morning meeting.  We follow a responsive classroom approach.  Morning meeting consists of a greeting, a quick activity (and we go over our morning work), sharing, and discussing our morning message.

9:15 - Math
For math we use Engage NY's math modules.  The modules take forever to get through so you really have to be strategic as to which parts of it you want to teach.  Our school requires us to meet all the components of each lesson.  However, I pick and choose which examples I think are most important for students.  I often move part of the fluency to be practiced in-between specials and lunch since we have an awkward 10 minutes to kill then.  After completion of the daily module lesson we record what we've learned in our interactive math notebooks. 

You can purchase a copy of our interactive math notebooks here in my TPT store. 

Then students begin math centers.  This provides me the opportunity to meet with a needs group or two.  I use a center wheel for both math and reading centers.  More to come on reading if you scroll further down.

10:35 - Specials
Around this time our specials usually begin.  Our specials (P.E., Music, Art, Library, and Computer Lab) change daily which impacts our schedule.  However, we have a similar schedule day to day.

11:25 - Lunch

12:00 - Science / Social Studies
I alternate science (3 days a week) and social studies (2 days a week).  Our district has created our own curriculum for most subjects.  However, I am slowly starting to create new lessons and activities for each subject, like my pack for the Iroquois.

12:45 - Writing
We use writer's notebooks in class to record knowledge learned during lessons, to create topic lists of ideas, and to free write.  Our district also has certain genres that they'd like us to focus on (such as slice of life, narratives, research reports, poetry, etc...)  as well as WAR (Writing About Reading) pieces that are collected and assessed each marking period.

1:30 - Reading
Our reading block starts with a read aloud and mini-lesson.  Occasionally we work on our interactive notebooks for reading.  Afterwards students reading independently, work on WAR responses, and then move on to their center for the day using our center wheel.  We often meet back together at the end of our reading block to share our independent reading books and/or our writing with each other.

2:50 - Quiet Time
The last 20 minutes of the day are spent catching up on unfinished work, beginning homework assignments, practicing spelling words, or playing a quiet game.  This time is vital for me.  I can pull students 1:1 or in small groups to work on various skills that I have trouble reaching throughout the day.

3:10 - Prepare for Dismissal
At the end of the day students get their mail, stack their chairs, go to their lockers, and complete their weekly jobs.

What does your daily schedule look like?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Mom, New Workspace!

I love being a new mom.  The cuddles, smiles, and experiencing something new each day.  However, being a mom is time consuming.  When is there time to fit in blogging, creating, and prepping to teach again soon?

I have a cute office set up in one of the spare rooms of our house.  However, I can't see Natalie when I'm hiding in the room.  And she is fussy, very fussy.  (Hmmm...I wonder where she gets that from.)  She either wants to be held, in her swing or rocked in her rock n' play.

So, I've moved part of my office to the family room.

We have an amazing coffee table that lifts up to a full table height.  It has little storage slots underneath where I can hide pens and notebooks away from my dogs.  (Yes, they still try to steal...and eat my nice stuff).
On top I've placed my new Toshiba laptop, flowers from my hubby, my notepad of ideas and my sharpie pen, and...most importantly....Coca-Cola Cherry Zero.  Now that I'm no longer pregnant bring on the caffeine.  This sleep deprived mama sure needs it.

Now, I can keep an eye on sweet baby Natalie while I catch up with all of my blogging buddies.  How does your home office look?  Any tips for a new mom?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Interactive Notebook for Geometry and Angle Measurement Finally Posted

It's been a little while but I finally completed and posted my Common Core Aligned Math Detective Notebook for Geometry & Angle Measurement.  It lines up with Engage NY's Module 4 for fourth grade and contains all the printables and foldables you'll need to meet the geometry & angle measurement common core standards.  It also includes photographs of finished notebook pages to use as a teacher's guide and a quick print version to save on paper and time.

Here are a few quick pictures showing some of the pages you can create with the resources in this pack.

I've combined all my Common Core Aligned Math Detective Notebook packs together so that you can purchase them for a discounted rate....20% off.  You can purchase them here in my TPT store.

Plus, as I create new notebook files for math I will continue to add them to this file.  That way if you own this file you can download it again to receive the new notebook file for free.  I've been creating these as Engage NY posts their modules.  My best guess is that fractions will be next!