Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Planning for next year

As my bucket list (on the last post stated), part of my summer bucket list is to do summer planning so here I am! I will say that Mr. Kietzman and I will be moving this summer, but I will try to keep up with posts while I am packing and planning :)

Behavior Plans

I found this on pinterest, of course, and it really got me to thinking that maybe I'll try using this form as an alternative think sheet or more than likely, I may use this sheet to fill out with the student when we conference about a certain behavior. Hopefully it will help them and me understand their behavior. I really like that it starts with reasons for behavior, goes to a description of the behavior and then has the students reflect on the consequences (how they feel, how their actions affected others) and then a plan for improvement.

Here is a link to sheet if you'd like to use it: Cause/Effect of Behavior Sheet
I'd certainly like to credit Laura Candler for this freebie! Lots of good stuff!

Center Plans

I'm posting this so I can hold myself to this goal, but I found these ideas online too for reading/math centers that I want to make this week.

The reading one should be pretty simple. I'll need to do some laminating and creating through word, but once I make it I'll be able to use it again and again! I may even end up turning it into an interactive bulletin board, but I am certainly going to get started creating it this week.

This idea can be adapted for a lot of different subjects, but I think I will at least start with the number bottles. The way it works is that students turn the bottles around and add up the numbers as they see them. I would probably either use bigger numbers or change it to multiplication for 4th graders.

There are also a lot of science ideas for discovery bottle centers-- like a magnetic bottle, sink/float, tornado, etc. I would certainly check out the link below. It gave me a ton of ideas that I am going to start on this week!

She also created a recording sheet to go along with the science discovery bottles that you can access here.

There are more ideas and pictures at the Discovery Bottles website.

More later!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Day of School

So today was our last day of school and I thought I'd share some ideas for end of the year items, talks, and activities.

I've had this up on my door for a few weeks, but it said "Meet the future 5th graders." Today, the first thing students saw when they walked into class was it changed to "Meet the new 5th graders."

Just this simple word change already made a few kiddos get teary-- me too!!

The day then began with students signing those memory books (mentioned in an early post) and then we had an award ceremony.

I found blank certificates online and was able to write 2-3 accomplishments the student had achieved this year and then the class would raise their hand if they had more things to add that that student had accomplished.

When presenting the certificate, I also gave them this gift that says "you'll glow far with your smarts." It's a glow-stick bracelet with smarties taped to it.

I told the kids they could wear them during the movie in the dark if they want or take them home and wear them there.

Then we watched a movie and afterward did a writing activity called the Summer Bucket List.  First of all, you'd be amazed how many kids don't know what a bucket list is!

This my bucket list and now that it's posted for the world to see, I can have some people help me make sure I accomplish these things!

These were really simple to make and the kids got very excited to think about their summer activities (many are planning to go to Worlds of Fun and Power Play so heads up parents!).

Later toward the end of the day, we had our final balloon popping (again, that's mentioned in an earlier post).  The students all year have been asking me what my age is so in the final balloon they requested that it just say how old I am.

Then we got ready for the goodbye ceremony.  This was very sad and it built on something we'd done earlier in science.

We planted these marigolds for our plant unit and they've been growing and growing to the point where they have outgrown their cup.

For our goodbye ceremony, I talked about how this plant shows that they've outgrown their 4th grade cup and now they'll need to move on and replant in a new, bigger place-- in 5th grade.

To end my day I got this lovely text from one of my parents that really made my day. I'll share it:

Have a great summer. You have been a great teacher. I hope (student's name)'s next teacher will be just as understanding as you have been. Thank you for everything and good luck to you next year.

With that happy note, I will happily start my summer break!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Classroom Organization

So I was hoping to accomplish more toward my classroom organization for next year, but I've at least got a start and a plan that I'd like to share.

This is a project I've been working on all year-- making my classroom library more accessible for students.  I've managed to label containers for about half of my books so far, but I want to get to a point where I can have all of the books in a sorted container. It makes it a lot easier for students if they know the series, author, or genre that they're looking for. So far I have a Captain Underpants, Junie B. Jones, and Fly Guy series containers, non-fiction animals, and Roald Dahl.

My goal for the summer is to also sort the books by F&P level so that my readers can find books that are just right for them.

I found this website on pinterest of course, but it's helped me to do just that. It is: Booksource's Classroom Organizer. At this FREE website, you can use the ISBN numbers to add books your virtual library where you can add F&P levels AND you can add your students' names to have them actually check out the books from your library! The students have a log in and everything! I am definitely doing this next year because it also is a great way for me to know which of my books have been checked out of my library. I definitely recommend the site and I will keep working on my library through the summer!

I have managed to start doing some serious organizing of my resources. I bought some storage containers and labeled them for the school months and have started to move things from out of my filing cabinet and into this much more accessible storage system. I'm very happy with it so far. I know it may take up a little more room than a filing cabinet, but to me it's worth it because I can also store items that don't fit easily into a filing cabinet--AND I can store books! It's great!

I got this list from Mrs. Freshwater's Class, but if you want actually go to the link, she has little cards she made up for you to label the containers if you are interested. I am using her theme ideas as a template for my containers as well.

August/September: back to school, apples
October: Halloween, Open House, Scarecrows, Monster, etc.
November: Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, 50th Day
December: Gingerbread, Holidays, Winter, Snowman
January: New Year’s, Polar Bear, MLK, Penguins, Chinese New Year
February: Dental Health, Groundhog’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Black History
March: Dr. Seuss, St. Patrick’s Day
April: Easter, Earth Day
May: Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day, Butterflies
The little black and green container I am using to store different kinds of paper-- copy, construction, pastels, teacher paper, AND I have one drawer with emergency sub plans.

I also started using this idea to store in some of my bigger plastic storage containers that I wasn't using at my house. I'm not done with that yet, but I've really enjoyed organizing so far!

I hope this gives you some ideas. I'm just getting more and more excited for next year already! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

End of the Year

So in case you were wondering, there are 8 days of school left!

Here's an idea that I got from pinterest-- when there are about 10-15 days left of school you hang up that number of balloons.  I changed it a bit to work with my classroom. In each balloon, I have a slip of paper with an activity or privilege that the students will get to do the next day.  For my kiddos who are a bit of a handful now that the end of the year is upon us, I've worked it into my classroom management. I have my students sitting in "teams" (with a few islands) that have cups on their desks for beads. After each instructional time (math, math groups, reading, reading groups, and science/social studies), they can earn beads for their team. Usually the class is working toward having lunch outside for the entire class, but now we're working towards popping those balloons at the end of the day.

And the balloons are filled with really simple ideas like: 5 extra minutes of recess time, Mrs. Kietzman brings a snack, dance party time, 10 minutes of free time on computers, reading lesson outside, etc. If you need ideas you can comment and I'll send you my full list.

Another thing we're working on now that it's the end of the year is our memory books. Not all of my students will be getting yearbooks and even for those who are, this is a fun way for them to record their favorite parts about 4th grade, their best friend, their favorite school event, etc.

It's a really cute booklet and it has a chance for students to do a lot of writing and drawing about their favorites for the year.

Here's a link to the website:  School Memories Book

All you need to do is sign up for the website, but it's free and this packet is free as well as a lot of other resources on the site.

One more thing I'd like to share is a good search engine for kids to use called Kid Rex What I like about it is that it's created by Google, but makes searching Google sites appropriate for kids. Right now I have students researching countries for our upcoming cultural fair and this site helps take away the worry that comes with having students use the computer for research.

That's all for now! I'm hoping the next post will be a lot about my upcoming plans for classroom organization. I am very inspired right now and will probably be working on creating some of those things this week! Get ready for more pictures and info!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Math, Reading, and Science Goodies

As promised, I took some more pictures of my classroom and the things I've been working on so that parents could see what we've been working on, teachers could get some ideas for their classrooms, and my family and friends could see the work that I've been doing! So let's jump right to it-- these are mainly foldables, lapbooks, and bulletin boards.


So these are lapbooks. They are all the rage now at my school. The way I've described them before it 3-D scrap books filled with information students are learning.

These are lapbooks our class made about angles.  The right side is a simple note-taking form that we filled out as a class where students filled in the blanks with the definition of the 3 types of angles as well as practiced drawing angles.

The left side was what I used as my formative assessment. Students had to come up to me putting the popsicles sticks together to form the correct angles- for blue they had to show a right angle, yellow an obtuse angle and red an acute angle. Then I hot glued them together after I checked their understanding and hot glued them to their lapbooks (where they then had to label the angles one more time).

One of the other teachers told me that she's thinking about creating a lapbook for next year that has something on the inside so that students could practice moving around the angles to make different shapes. That may even be my summer project this year so that students could practice that when they finish an activity early or something. I may even turn that into a learning center activity (since the file folders aren't the most durable!

Another lapbook that we made that does allow students to review and practice was for transformations.

We had already talked about the definitions so we filled out the left side as a class with the definitions for a translation, rotation and reflection.

Then we glued or taped graph paper to the other side of the folder.

Then the students were to cut out specific shapes out of construction paper. The pentagon was for a rotation (or turn), diamond was for reflection (or flip) and rectangle was for translation (or slide). To practice a rotation, I had the students poke a brad through the shape so they can practice turning it and seeing how the shape looks. To practice a flip, students taped one side of the diamond to the graph paper so they could flip it over and see how the shape looks. To practice a slide, the rectangle is paper clipped to the top of the folder so they can take off the rectangle and practice sliding it around the graph paper. Very easy and cool lapbook.


This was an Easter left over of a bulletin board I had in my room. For fourth grade, students have to know the prefixes: ex-, non-, anti-, dis-, and under-. They also have to know the suffixes: -less, -ness, -ment, -en, and -ful.

To help the students review the meaning of the different prefixes/suffixes, I created an interactive bulletin board and turned it into one of the the kids' learning centers.

There are notecards in the pocket below the big egg and to either side I have string set up for students to hang their "EGGxamples" (and yes, the kids do appreciate my corniness!).

So here are some samples of what the kids made. They also had to write the meaning of what their word meant (using the definition of that prefix or suffix in their definition).

This also gave me a good chance to see which prefixes/suffixes my students are comfortable with (-ful, -less, non-, anti-) and which ones they shy away from (-ment, -en, ex-, dis-).


Here is an example of a foldable we just made in class. I used this same concept in 1st grade (I just had the definitions already typed up for the kids to cut out and paste) so for all you teachers out there, this can work for intermediate or primary.

The stem of the plant is a foldable about plant parts and includes a description of the job and a drawing for what that part looks like.

The top part of the plant is about plant needs. I used the acronym PLANTS. Place to grow, Light, Air, Nutrients, Temperature, and Soil.

Sorry this got to be so long! I just had so much to share! I'll be sure to add more next week :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photo Reflections- First Post

As I am reaching a close to my first year of teaching in the intercity, I've learned a lot about classroom management while using my artistic background to the classroom. I wanted a chance to share the things I've been learning as well as providing an outlet for parents to see what I do in the classroom--past and present. Thanks for joining me on the adventure!

Here are just a few pictures to reflect on this first year: I'll post more resources, plans, and other materials for parents to use at home and otherwise for parents, teachers and students.

I did this at the beginning of the year and tried to update their goals after every grade card went home. I wasn't always able to, but I want to have a conference with students individually about what they wrote after each 9 weeks--even setting some goals with the students.

These were posted in the room and as a class we were able to hold each other accountable since the reminder was always there.

This will definitely be something I will do next year.

This was a descriptive writing project we did about different types of food.  The assignment was to have 3 hamburger paragraphs about a food that they liked.  The first paragraph had to be about the ingredients of the food taste like, the second paragraph was about what the food looks like and the third paragraph was about why they like that food.

Each of the toppings on the hamburger are supporting details. I had the students break their food into different parts when giving their details.  So an example would be:

Pizza is a wonderful food. The cheese is melty gooey goodness of flavor. The crust is crunchy and soft at the same time.  The pepperoni is spicy, chewy, and smooth. I think pizza is a very tasty food.

The main thing I'd be sure to remember for next year is have the kids pick a food that has multiple ingredients!

My differentiation for my special needs students was to have them work as a team with a para to complete one paragraph.  I didn't have any ELL students in class at this time, but had I, I would've had some prompts to go along with the food. (Like: Pizza is______________. The cheese tastes ________. The pepperoni tastes _____________. etc)

This was a following directions lesson we did around Thanksgiving! I wrote up a direction sheet for how to construct the turkey and they had to follow directions for their turkey to look right!

Some students had to restart a few times, but it was a messy, fun, tasty time :)

I realize this one is a little fuzzy, but I couldn't show the ones with the kids so this is one that the kids took of me.------------>

To prepare for our field trip to go see The Lorax. I did a read aloud of the Lorax (with my mustache) and the students liked the mustache so much that they each wanted to make their own! So I ended up make a bulletin board with all of their pictures and a talking bubble with them giving reasons why we should take care of the environment (persuasive writing link). I would've taken a picture, but not all of the students had the okay. Very cute though!

Oh! What was even cuter was that all of the students took their mustaches to the movie!

These were all the pictures I had so far, but I'll take some more pictures of my classroom to post to maybe give some ideas to people to do at home or at school! Hope you've enjoyed my first post!