Friday, July 31, 2015

So many learning targets... so little room

I can't believe that students will be arriving in my classroom in just ten short days!!!  As we are all busy preparing, planning, and decorating, I am running into the very common problem of limited wall space.

Last year, I was able to post all of my learning targets.  I kept many up for the whole year because they were always applicable.  However, this year, our team is going back to being self-contained, so I am trying to make the most out of my wall space.  In an effort to conserve space, I decided not to post all of the speaking and listening learning targets.   Instead, I place them on this form.

I am going to have students place the form in their data binders to refer to as a means of self-assessment.  My goal is to make separate checklists specific for different group projects and presentations.  However, I would like students to have one complete set of all the speaking and listening learning targets.

If you would like to download this set of Fourth Grade Speaking and Listening Learning Targets, you can do so by clicking here.

Speaking of posting learning targets, I now have learning targets for fourth grade math available in my TPT store.  You can see them by clicking here or on the picture below.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
Thank you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Writing Goals

I made it back safely from vacation in North Carolina.  There was one shark sighting while we were at the beach, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves regardless!

Image result for animated shark
One of the first projects I tackled when I returned was making a display for students to post their writing goals.  During a conference I attended this summer, we reviewed the importance setting writing goals.  We talked about ways to display the goals in our classrooms.
Image result for goals 
Our presenters also shared the idea of having an "Expert Board".   Students could use this area to write down their areas of expertise.  When a student is struggling with a particular writing skill, they can refer to the expert board to find a helpful peer.

While I would love to have two separate displays in my room, space is definitely an issue.  I decided to come up with a way to combine the two displays.  Here is what I came up with.

My plan is for students to write their goals on (super sticky) Post-it Notes.  They will post their goals underneath the "We are working on..." side next to the appropriate category.  For example, a student might write, "I will write leads that grab my readers' attention."  They would place that goal to the left of the Structure poster.

After we complete our first writing project, I am going to have students reflect on their goals and change them if needed.  I am also going to have students identify their areas of expertise.  Students will post these in a similar manner.  For example, a student might write, "I can use similes to make my writing more interesting."  They would place that Post-it Note to the right of the Development poster.

If you are interested in downloading these posters, they are free in my TPT store, and you can get them here.

Thank you!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Vacation Sale!

I am getting ready to head down to the beautiful beaches of North Carolina.  I have my sunscreen, beach towel, and shark repellent all packed up and ready to go.

To share the vacation joy, I have everything in my store marked 10% off from today until Sunday.  Here are a few items you may find helpful as you prepare to go back to school.

Editable Seasonal Binder Covers and Side Labels

Getting to Know You: Task Cards, Surveys, BINGO & More!

36 Student Reward Cards & and 4 Editable Cards

Writing Prompts for August and September

I also have a wide variety of classroom decor items.  You can check those out here.

I am looking forward to sharing all the craziness that is involved with getting ready to go back to school.  I will be back in about 10 days, and it will definitely be that time!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Organizing Writing Groups

One of my goals for this year is to get better organized with my writing groups.  I feel like my reading groups go well, and my individual writing conferences go well (usually).  However, I want to improve my writing groups.

I am linking up with The Primary Peach for their Organizational Tricks and Tools linky to share my plan for organizing my groups this year.

During the first week of school, we are required to get an "on demand" writing sample to assess where students are at with their writing skills.  My plan is to evaluate this writing and immediately record the area where each student would most benefit from additional instruction.  I created this form so I can write students' names in as I check their writing.

I plan to use this form for all three required types of "on demand" writing (narrative, opinion & informational) as well as any time I feel it is necessary.

Once I have my students organized into groups, I will need a better way to organize my plans.  Last year, I created a guided reading planning sheet (free here) that worked out very well.  I made a few adjustments to the form, and I am going to try it out for writing groups.

Next comes the fun part - designing the lessons.  I will be sure to share a few with you during the school year.

If you would like to use either or both of these forms, you can download them here.

Thank you, The Primary Peach for hosting this very helpful linky!
Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Energy Sticks

For the past two years, the fourth grade has departmentalized in our school.  I taught two sections of ELA and social studies, and my partner teacher taught math and science.  This year, we are down to three teachers, and we are going back to self-contained.

One thing that I am super excited about is that I get to teach science again.  Since the curriculum changed, the energy unit was moved from fifth grade to fourth grade.  When I taught fifth grade, that was my favorite unit.

Earlier this summer, I attended some professional development to learn the fourth grade standards, and I left with a bag of goodies.  I am most looking forward to using the five Energy Sticks.

These sticks have a super sensitive circuit that can be completed with the very small amount of energy that travels through your skin.  When the circuit is complete, the stick lights up and makes a sound.  During the seminar, we all stood in a circle to represent a circuit.  When any two people released hands, the circuit was broken, and the stick no longer lit up.

Here is a quick video demonstration of the energy stick in action.

I can't wait to use the Energy Sticks for activities like creating circuits and testing materials to see if they are conductors or insulators.  I will make sure to update you when we give it a try.

The Energy Sticks are available on Amazon for $7.99 ($7.69 on Prime).

I'd love to hear if you've tried these in your classroom.  Let me know if you have any advice or ideas.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Technology Thursday - Math App

This year I will go back to teaching math after teaching departmentalizing for the past two years.  Although I am excited about teaching math again, I know a lot has changed since the Common Core was implemented.

One of our first units covers prime and composite numbers.  I would love to incorporate some math rotations, including use of the iPads, so I went searching for an app to use for this unit.  I am linking of with the Teaching Trio for their Technology Thursday linky to share an app I found.

The app I plan on using is called Ninja Chicken. 

Image result for prime and composite game app ipad

A variety of numbers come passing through the screen, and student slice the spikes with composite numbers.  The game moves pretty quickly, and it is great practice for automaticity. 

Although I found several apps that practiced this skill, this one was definitely my favorite.  I hope my students will have as much fun playing this game as I did.

I am headed over to read all of the other great technology link ups.  Thank you, Teaching Trio for hosting this great linky!