Saturday, December 15, 2012

Favorite Sites

I bookmarked some of my favorite websites. You're welcome to use them too. Just click the picture below to access the links. *The students can only use the red links during indoor recess. 

New Class Schedule

Recently, 12 computers were added to the classroom. The challenge has been arranging time for students to work independently so everything is not partner work. I think this new schedule may accommodate that -- at least I hope so. My other challenge is sticking to my Four-Blocks roots while keeping my district happy with small-group reading. I may have found a way to do both. :)

Seating Chart
Group 4
Group 3
Group 2
Group 1

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Baton Rouge Conference

Thank you for attending the 2012 Louisiana Conference for Middle and High School Educators. I will upload all information by tomorrow evening. If you need something sooner, please email me:

Thank you!

Integrating Technology Into Plans

Technology in the Classroom

Monday, December 3, 2012

Little Rock Kindergarten Conference

Thank you for making my day energetic and lively. If you have any questions or have trouble finding resources on the blog, please post or email ( Thanks for a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Edmodo Apps

I was excited to sign into today because I received $50 in FREE app credit for simply participating in a survey. I'm busy spending my money now. :) The link to the left of the search bar will get you to the app store, and that's where I found the survey. It just popped up on the screen.

Project-Based Learning - Louisiana Conference

Are you interested in incorporating project-based learning ideas in your classroom? Check out these links, and join me at SDE's Differentiated Instruction Conference for Middle and High School Educators in Louisiana on December 4, 2012.

Link to sites shown in photo:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cinderella Play

Our fourth graders had the opportunity to see the high school production of Cinderella this morning. It was amazing -- and not just because my son was in it. :)

We wrote 20 word summaries when we returned.

Cinderella's family wouldn't let her go to the ball, but the godmother got her there where she  kissed Prince Charming.

Cinderella's stepfamily treats her horribly until her fairy godmother makes her pretty to go to the ball and fall in love.

Cinderella was raised by an evil family and she snuck to the ball and got happily married to the prince.

Cinderella's stepfamily hated her. Then, she got a fairy godmother and got a pretty dress to marry a lovely prince.

Cinderella got raised by an evil stepmother and stepsisters, but she met a fairy godmother and married a handsome prince.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Project Based Learning

Track Behavior of Students

Check out this site if you want to easily track student behavior. There's an app for it too.

Symbaloo Links for 4th Grade

Technology in the Classroom Links:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kids Love Technology

Students set up,, and accounts today. Check out the time on this post on one of the student's blogs.  --- 5:13 PM! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rigor in the Classroom

We watched this video at a collaboration a few weeks ago; it's sure to make you smile. A couple of my friends and I imitate the teacher when we need a little stress release.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Growing Pumpkins and Studying Compost

We are trying to grow pumpkins, beans, and corn to duplicate how Native Americans grew "Three Sisters." Worms were added to the soil along with paper, and the pumpkin was placed in a clear plastic container. Once the pumpkin starts decomposing, we'll add soil around the outside of it. We're hoping to see compost in action. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get Ahead of State Testing

I'm uploading a Word document instead of a PDF because I'm hopeful the links will work better this way. I wasn't able to open the PDF hyperlinks at school today. Please excuse the formatting. MAP Readiness

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Multiplication Practice - with Number Bonds

Students practiced multiplication with number bonds. The SMART Board has an example along with the anchor chart hanging from the board. Students had their own flashcards in their hands. :)

Link to flashcards:

Link to PowerPoint:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wacky Wednesday Quiz

Link to download file:

Students read letters that are written CORRECTLY on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays each week. On those days, we talk about correct capitalization, punctuation, format, etc. They only correct on Wednesdays.

Standard Form -- Numbers Just Standing Around

Leslie Sallee, Math specialist at High Pointe Elementary in Nixa, MO, teaches standard form by saying numbers are just STANDING around. Check out these standard form examples. :)

Standard form example:

Standard form example:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Place Value Lesson

Link to download SMART Board Lesson:

*After teaching this lesson today, I will definitely revise for next year to remove word form as this lessons lends itself to standard form and expanded form during the introductory lesson.

Place Value Chart to 100,000sPlace Value Squares

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nixa's Test Scores Made the Paper

It's amazing what students can do with support from community, school board, administrators, teachers,  and parents. I'm so proud of the students in our community for giving their best on the test.

The M.A.P. is one measure of achievement, but it's THE measure that makes the paper. In fact, some areas publish individual teacher scores -- which is only fair if they document growth -- proficiency at the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year. 

Last year, I was proud of my students' scores. What made the difference? Was it small-group teaching, whole-group teaching, this program, or that program? 

The difference was made because students had the FOUNDATION necessary to build upon from their parents and former teachers  -- whether they scored proficient or advanced the year before or not. Using research-based best practices such as giving descriptive feedback helped too along with teaching and assessing the written curriculum. 

Robert Marzano's research indicates schools can make gains even without parental support, but we all know it's much easier with it. 

The Director of Elementary Education stopped by to observe a lesson in my classroom this week and said something like this upon leaving, "You may not know you do this, but you set the expectation that ALL students will be able to do the task by the end of the year."

Eric Jensen, brain-based author and expert, says giving kids HOPE is important for achievement -- that they NEED someone to believe in them.  I thought back to Dr. Kopp's words. 

I had told the students that it's not important that they can do this task now. It's important they improve each time they take this assessment and that by the end of the year, they will all be able to complete the task proficiently.

What will my scores be next year? I don't know, and I'm not going to worry about it. 

I will continue to teach and assess the written curriculum with current best practices focusing on power standards -- ones the state department deems most important like R2C, R3C, R1H, and Goal Process Standard 2.2 in Communication Arts. I'll look at my data to see if there are areas students scored low in and reflect upon my teaching and assessment practices in those areas. I'll also look at data they scored high in and do the same. I'll continue to communicate with parents and give students hope that they will learn. 

I won't talk about the assessment much until the few weeks before the test, and I won't teach to the test. If I'm teaching the written curriculum, students should score well on the test. If they don't, I will be able to look in the mirror and know that I did my best. 

I truly hope that Missouri doesn't go to merit pay. I would be ok on pay this year, but who knows about next year. It's simply not fair to teachers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Revising Common Core Checklists to Add Coding

I'm in the process of revising all common core checklists to add coding. If you purchased the files from TPT, you should be able to re-download them for free. I'm sending messages to buyers as I revise. It'll probably take a couple of weeks to finish because I'm proofing as I go. :)

8/18/12 -- I've revised K-6 ELA and K-6 Math so far. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Differentiate Partners with Appointments

Download this file, and all you have to do is add appointments (partners). 

You'll see a key in the bottom left-hand corner of the first page. Students don't need to know how they're paired. They simply need to know who their partners are. 
  • Yellow dot:  Pair the advanced readiness (high) students together and pair readiness (on-grade level) with early readiness (struggling)
  • Purple dot:  Homogeneous math partners (advanced readiness with advanced readiness, readiness with readiness, and early readiness with early readiness)
  • Blue dot:  Peer tutors for math (advanced readiness with readiness and readiness with early readiness)
  • Green dot:  Homogeneous reading partners   (advanced readiness with advanced readiness, readiness with readiness, and early readiness with early readiness)
  • Red dot:  Peer tutors for reading (advanced readiness with readiness and readiness with early readiness)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Classroom Handbook


Mini-Lesson Ideas for Writing

I LOVE to teach writing and thought I'd share the mini-lesson order I'm hoping to follow. This may change based on the needs of my class, but I've had good luck with this order before.

I model writing for about 10 minutes each day, and sometimes students copy a sentence or two from my mini-lesson into their writing notebooks. Their writing notebooks look just like mine. :)

Generally, they take notes a couple of times of week -- not every day.

I plan to upload examples of mini-lessons as the year progresses.

Writing Mini-Lesson Ideas

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Parts of Speech Bulletin Board

Link to the post that explains the question/answer flow on how I teach this:

Thanks, Jill, for saving me from an embarrassing spelling mistake! I appreciate it more than you know. :)

Setting Up the Classroom



The word wall goes above the cursive strip, and I still have a few book baskets to label. :)

Do you see the TV in the corner? It needs to GO, but I remember when it was new, and I was thrilled to have it.

The material on the filing cabinet is crooked. I'll fix that Monday morning. I also need to add a little brown behind the flower on the green curtain and dress up my desk a little more. In reality, those'll probably stay on my to-do list until next year. :-/

I've added a few more plants since I took this picture. Research suggests plants increase productivity --- one plant for every 100 square feet of space is a good rule of thumb to consider. They also help add negative ionization to the air which may improve behavior. Spider plants are hard to kill; palms are too.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beginning of Makeover

I'm excited to be back to school and hope to have my classroom ready for students by Monday -- that'll give me about a week to plan lessons before they show up. I'll post pics of the classroom after I finish the 'makeover.' I'm sticking with the same color scheme -- just buying brighter material. After all, I spend more time in my classroom than I do at home. :)

Since I'm not 'officially' back to work, I was able to have lunch with a friend -- complete with delicious cupcakes at Lola's in Nixa.  I have to ease back into working ... 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Google Docs -- Parent Questionnaire

My friend, Tammy Myers, posted a Parent Questionnaire on her blog, so I "borrowed" this idea from her. :)

Click here to view fullscreen. 


Please take a few minutes to fill out the parent questionnaire form below to help me get to know your child. You can type directly into this form -- just click submit when you're finished. Thanks for partnering with me to make this a successful year for your child.

~Cheryl Dick

You can create one too. This is just a form in Google Docs. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Google Earth the Olympics


PD - Thoughts on SMART Board Training

I don't know about you, but we're back-to-work in Nixa, MO. As much as I love summer, and I LOVE summer, I also love returning to school. I had the opportunity to spend the day with about a dozen educators, and we talked technology.  

If you have a SMART Board in your classroom, the best advice I can give is to Google Smart Exchange and set up an account -- it's FREE. Once your account is set up, look around and download pre-made lessons you'd like to use on your computer. Once you download and save the files on your computer, you can modify them and make them your own -- be sure to give credit to the original authors if you share your modified files with others. 

I linked some of my favorite SMART lessons created by others on my Pinterest page. There's a link to the right of my blog that says, "Follow Me on Pinterest." If you click the link, you can look at the files I linked even if you don't have a Pinterest account. Click on the SMART Exchange board once you're there.

If you teach in a school that has a SMART Board, you can download the software on your home computer for FREE -- just ask your school for the product key -- you might be able to find the product key code on your board. If you're not at a school with a SMART Board, you can download the software for a free, 30-day trial. Practice makes progress, so the best way to get more proficient with the software is to practice. 

Sharing a smile:  Today, my colleague and friend, Heather Pearce, showed me a QUICK way to create the backgrounds I've been making in my SMART Notebook files. Who knew the image-fill button would create the backgrounds I've previously spent hours cloning and grouping??? That tip alone has made my life so much easier so the time spent in PD today will save me hours in the long run. 


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thoughts on State Testing

Well, it's almost August, and soon, my principal will walk down the hall to hand me my test scores. This one piece of paper will tell if I'm an effective educator or not. Someday soon, my paycheck may even be correlated with the results. I'm actually a fan of testing -- just not with all the hoopla that accompanies it.

I don't believe one measure of learning should determine my pay or my status as an educator. I do believe my job is to teach and assess the written curriculum. I also believe it's my job to adjust instruction based on assessment data - that's called differentiated instruction. The classroom should be a place students are free to explore and make mistakes. It should be a safe place where students want to learn. 

Last year was my first year back in the classroom after spending six years as a "Teacher on Special Assignment."  My primary job title was to increase test scores. Well, I'm back in the classroom and that title now belongs to someone else. I got a chance to put into practice what I'd been sharing in professional development trainings -- to put my money where my mouth was.

It was very much like being a first year teacher all over again. At the beginning of the year, I reviewed my students' state test scores from the previous year. Let's just say, on paper, it looked like they had a long way to go. 

I didn't say much about the M.A.P. test to my students, but it was in the back of mind each week as I planned and adjusted lessons. I also made sure my supervisors knew my starting data. 

I say "on paper" because I had a wonderful class of motivated learners. I believe willpower is half the battle, and my students were definitely strong-willed children. I told them how smart they were and showed them data on weekly assessments and benchmarks to prove it. About six weeks before the test, I joined in my school's M.A.P. kick-off/celebration. 

The first thing I asked my students was, "How many times have you heard me mention the M.A.P. test?" The responses were, "Hardly ever." 

That's when I took the time to remind them of the expectations on our weekly assessments. I correlated those expectations to the M.A.P. and told them I had been preparing them for this test since the first day of school -- the test would merely assess 4th grade curriculum and most of them were much higher so they had nothing to worry about. 

I realize I'll be compared with other 4th grade teachers in the district and in the state -- regardless of where my students started. I also know I did the best I could. Sure, I'll make adjustments to my instruction based on the data, but regardless of scores, I formed relationships with my 4th graders that will last a lifetime.

Last year was one of my all-time favorite years. It will always be one of my favorite classes - regardless of the end result.

I'm ready for my principal to hand me my test scores -- I just hope a pink slip doesn't accompany it. ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Teach 1st in Chicago

I had a fabulous time at SDE's I Teach 1st conference in Chicago and even had some time to see the city with friends. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Teambuilding Idea

These are three of my favorite back-to-school read alouds. They're wonderful for classbuilding.

Voki Example

For about $30 a year, teachers can use the ad-free version of Voki. With this upgrade, students can create a Voki without logging in. I plan to use Voki a lot this year for summarizing and sharing facts/opinions. 

Lesson Ideas for Big Al

Teambuilding Activity

Each student had his/her own color of construction paper to allow for individual accountability. They worked together to create a scene from the book, Big Al. Besides paper, the only supply available was glue. 

I got this idea at a cooperative learning workshop I attended years ago and have been using it ever since. 

Big Al is a big, mean, scary-looking fish.

Big Al disguised himself in seaweed so the little fish would talk to him.