Friday, August 31, 2012

Not Quite So Grown Up

I have been an elementary teacher for 10 years so what I know is all about the elementary.  I’ve moved up to the big time now.  I have grown up and become a sixth grade middle school teacher.  Having never taught in a middle school, my first instinct was that I needed to change how I taught.  Truly, that meant I was changing myself.  After a short couple of weeks, I came to the realization, with the help of my new colleagues that changing what I know how to do best is not beneficial to me or my students.

In my mind the sixth graders would be all grown up, compared to the 4th grade that is.  After reflection and proof of going back to my true self as a teacher, I have realized they are still kids.  Yes, it may sound funny that I thought they should be all grown up, but until you make a significant change it’s hard to know what things will be like.  It was for me anyway.  

At the beginning of this week, I returned to school determined to be the teacher that I have always been, and the truth of it is, I think I have come further with my students in four days than I had in two weeks!  For starters, I introduced them to the classroom economy.  If you think for one second they are too old for that, well you may want to reconsider :).  Every one of my students is excited about our new found economy.  They love the idea!  Allowing them to contribute ideas on ways to spend their hard earned cash and what they feel is a fair price has allowed them to feel ownership.  It has been a great experience for me as well as for them.  

This one is a hard one to admit, but here it is.  I felt myself falling victim to seat work, take notes on this, copy that.  Yes, I did and I’m not happy in what I was thinking.  I am a cooperative learning teacher, as you all know by now.  All this sitting and writing was not working for me, and my students were b-o-r-e-d.  Looking back on it, I don’t know who was more bored; me or my students.  Yikes!!

Yesterday was another big change for us.  We began rotating to different stations, as we like to call them.  This is a work in progress and something I plan on reflecting on over the weekend.  I’m not completely convinced that this is the route I want to stick to, but I will figure it out.  That is what I do!  I don’t give up.  I try and try again until I can find a way to fix it.  

To sum up my ramblings, my sixth graders reaction to something I thought was too elementary has proven me wrong.  These kids are just that.  They are kids, and these kids want to interact with me and each other just as much as they did when they were in elementary.

Here is to new beginnings but not the changing of myself as a teacher!

This is the classroom money that I created for my students.  I thought I would share it with you.  You can download it HERE.  Also, if you are interested in starting your own classroom economy, Laura Candler has a free Classroom Money Pack you may be interested in.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Common Core Assessments

New school year, new district, and new grade level.  School is back in full force.  Today was day eight, and I could not have asked for a better start!  Pictures of the new homestead are coming soon!

In addition to beginning the year and my daughter's 5th birthday, I have been working hard to finish the ELA Common Core Assessment Pack for 4th grade.  Math has been completed for about a month now, and I really don't think it was as tedious as Language Arts.  I have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into compiling this resource.  Well, I may not have literally bled, sweated, or cried but you get the point.  It took a lot of time and brain power, but I'm happy to announce it's finished and ready to be put into action!

Below you will find a preview of what is included.  For Math, each standard has a one-page printable assessment.  The English Language Arts Standards are the same except for the standards within Writing and Speaking/Listening.  These standards are better assessed locally through students' writing and teacher observation.  You will not find a printable assessment for these. 

The English Language Arts contain answer keys for each printable assessment.  Unfortunately, I have not included answer keys for Math quite yet, but they are in the making and will be added very soon.  If you purchase them beforehand, you will be notified through TpT when they become available.


When compiling these assessment packs I envisioned using them for common formative assessments.  Please keep in mind that these assessments are simply one type of assessment.  You as the teacher are the best judge of the assessment that should be used in your classroom. 

If you are a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade teacher you can find assessment packs aligned to your grade level by following the links below.  Thanks to The Lesson Plan Diva for starting the 1st grade assessments and allowing me to compile the 4th grade!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School Cyber Search

The Back to School Cyber Search is over, but feel free to continue searching all the products and blogs that contributed to this successful event!

Cyber Search Logo 

I am excited to announce a Back to School event that you will not want to miss!  Mark your calendars, it takes place for one day and one day only.  On Saturday August 11, myself along with 10 other bloggers will be giving away one paid product for free!  Yes, free!  Items are normally priced anywhere from $3.00 to $8.00 and will be yours with a simple click of a mouse.

For this event, I am sharing with you a product that I think will be beneficial to 3rd-5th grade teachers that are or are getting ready to implement the Common Core.  On Saturday August 11, you will be able to download my Place Value-4th Grade Packet, valued at $7.00 for free. 

While this is a 4th grade packet, it is also beneficial to 3rd and 5th grade teachers that are differentiating their lessons and/or centers.  In this packet you will find the following:

  • 3 posters with standards 4.NBT.2 broken down into manageable chunks.
  • 4 vocabulary posters containing essential vocabulary  
  • Fix It Card Pack-Number Forms
  •  I have...Who has...Place Value
  • 2 Partners check practice sheets that allows partners to work side by side to complete a problem
  • 2 Find a Buddy Who practice sheets that will get your students up and interacting with other classmates. 
  • Premade exit slips that address the standard being addressed. 
  • Blank exit slips to provide you with flexibility.
I hope to see you back here on Saturday August 11, for this exciting Back to School Cyber Search!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Winner for the ETA Giveaway!

A big thanks to all of you that took the time to enter this contest.  Also, thank you ETA hand2mind for sponsoring the giveaway!  Congratulations to Angela A., you are the proud winner of a Home Team Advantage Summer Goal Achievement Pack.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's a Back to School Product Swap!


Are you looking for a great product to get you started for the new year or something to carry you through the year?  Jessica Stanford from Mrs. Stanford's Class is hosting a product swap.  Bloggers across the World Wide Web have partnered up to review products and share their thoughts.  Be prepared to see top notch products from some top notch teachers!

I would like to begin by introducing Melissa Dalton from The Dalton Gang.  Melissa has a lot of fantastic ideas to share and I encourage you to head to her blog to see all her amazing ideas!

The Dalton Gang

We are all thinking about activities to start off our school year, and I was excited to have the chance to use Melissa's back to school Turtle Writing Craftivity.
 This is a perfect writing activity to "scoot" into the new school year! 
 This activity is PERFECT for back to school and is made for grades 2-5, but if needed she can change it to meet your needs.  

The activity comes with everything you need as seen above.

 I chose to color the turtle, but copying on green paper would work just as well.

Here are all the pieces cut out.

The turtle assembled with all its body parts.

The finished product!  How cute is that?

My daughter thought it was quite cute too!  She added a flower for an extra special touch.

I am so excited to have had the opportunity to participate in the product swap with Melissa!  Make sure to stop by The Dalton Gang and Melissa's TpT store to see all of her fantastic ideas!