Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Best Worst Video -- 7 Continents

Haha -- this video always makes me laugh out loud. Seriously.

I teach with Emalie Lindsey, and she said, "You HAVE to show this video to your class. It's the best worst video ..." I'm glad I listened to her!

So many of Mr. DeMaio's words were repeated in my classroom -- all year long. Plus, the students learned the location of all of the continents. EVERY time my students heard the word Africa, they broke out in song.

Here are some one-liners that are simply forever stuck in my head ...

"Seven, seven, seven on a hot dog seven ..."
"Top bunk, bottom bunk ..."
"You're up ... like you're up..."

Once you watch it, you'll understand. This may be my all-time favorite teaching video. Just remember, you've been warned -- this may just be the best worst video you've ever seen.

You might want to follow Mr. DeMaio on YouTube and Twitter to keep up with his latest work:  https://twitter.com/MDeMaio7. :)


Friday, May 25, 2018

Make Time for Writing Conferences -- It's Worth It!

The Writer's Workshop framework is my favorite way to teach writing, and it's so easy to do! You simply model a mini-lesson (write aloud) for about 10 minutes a day -- allowing one minute per year of age is a good rule to follow for the mini-lesson time. Then, students write. While they're writing, you confer with them. 

I like to pull about six students to my table at a time. I ask each one to share something with me, and I use that writing in our conference. The other students are writing while they're waiting, but they're listening too. 

Below is a 30 second excerpt of a three minute conference. Before you guide a student to fix something, be sure to say something nice about their writing. This is a great time to strengthen relationships with students. 

Try to guide students to fix their own mistakes, and don't correct everything on the page. The only time I correct everything is for a focused piece that I'm assessing for grade-level work. 

Feel free to comment with any questions you have. Some students learn to read by reading. Some students learn to read by writing, and some students learn to read through word work. It's important to include all three components in your English/Language Arts block.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Summer 2018

I'm on Day 2 of Summer Break, and my mind is already spinning with ideas for next year. I just finished my 25th year teaching -- there was a time I thought I would take early retirement and finish out my career presenting full-time. Now that the time has actually arrived where that could be a possibility, I can't imagine leaving a job I love, and I'm nowhere ready (or old enough - ha!) to retire.  I've been blessed to have the opportunity to present in 35 states and two other countries AND to work for a school district that allows me the opportunity to present and teach simultaneously. 

If you're in the New Orleans or Las Vegas area this summer, I hope you can come to one of my sessions. When presenting, my primary goal is to empower teachers to be effective without living at school. We can do our job well and have a life too. 

Presenting is my part-time job, so I spend the summer preparing to present. That also gets me ready for a new school year and helps you too because I'll post everything I do here. I front-load my year so I can leave after the buses on most days. For real -- we can leave at 4:10 each day, and generally, that's when I do, and I rarely take work home. 

I was bound and determined to finish the 2018 year without crying. My class agreed not to talk about the last day of school even though we did an ABC countdown. The countdown gave them something to look forward to every day, and we talked about the happy/sad ending to the year. At morning meetings, students could share a high/low for the day. Many students would say, "I can't share my low..." Three or four students later, someone would say their low was that school was almost over, and the whole class would pretend to cry. 

When the last day finally arrived, we were busy cleaning out desks, playing in water, and just enjoying school. They went to lunch and had just a few minutes to spare before the dismissal ritual began. I told them to enjoy summer, that they would always be my 2nd graders, and that they were always welcome to come back to visit me. Then, they got their normal high fives, fist bumps, or hugs at the end of the day.

As we were walking down the hall to the buses, I noticed one of my girls had her head down where I couldn't see her eyes. What I saw was gigantic tears splashing on her t-shirt. This is the same girl who wrote a "You Rock" note to be read aloud to the entire school just a few days before. The note said something like, "Mrs. Dick rocks because she makes me feel smart." I did my best not to cry, but I wrapped this little girl in  a hug and cried too. 

We spend a year with these littles and fall in love with them a little more each day. Then, we send them on to be loved by someone else knowing that they'll always have a special place in our hearts. 

There's so much more to teaching than teaching. It's about empowering students to feel smart so they can conquer the world. It's about building relationships with the students and among the students. Kids need to play. Kids need to be loved. Kids need to know that they matter. Yes, they need to read and do math too, but it's so much easier to teach when their basic needs are being met. 

We are making a difference in the lives of children. What we do matters. I hope you take time to reflect, renew, and rejuvenate this summer. August will be here before we know it. 

Be sure to check back to my blog. I'll be updating the posts below this one over the next few weeks. If you need information sooner, email me or comment below. 


The First 30 Days of 2nd Grade

Monday, June 12, 2017

First 30 Days in 2nd Grade

If you want help setting up a classroom blog, I'll be happy to help! Be sure to check with your school before posting pictures of students. Most schools have policies that you must follow. We can do this during lunch or right after the session on Friday. 

Differentiate Instruction without Centers

Link to handout:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EI6_ELwIVvJgG37azZZ8neEqgwEIk_h5/view?usp=sharing.

Mini "Math"terpieces - Measurement & Geometry Activities

Link to handout:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Az25TcC1Ye8aOaHPVlxcit86AJlHIeud/view?usp=sharing

Link to bottle-flipping data sheet (shared with permission from Heather Michel):  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FIG215nf4fb-7ysznmw3Pn9hFSv7thgXGBKFvxNNYII/edit?usp=sharing.

Pinterest Board:  https://www.pinterest.com/1970cld/measurement-and-geometry/

20 Strategies to Help Your Students with Complex Text

This is a preview of what we'll talk about. I will upload more information on Friday night or Saturday. Email if you need something sooner:  1970cld@gmail.com. Thanks! :)

Let's Have a T.E.A. Party - Teaching, Engaging, Assessing

Link to handout: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ynbLs6dk46YX3J1Njh86CN1ADG1FbsJy/view?usp=sharing

The 2nd Grade Make-and-Take to Differentiate

Link to free download:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Multiplication-Center-Idea-Multiple-Sort-or-Whats-the-Missing-Multiple-3591016

Making the Most of Math Centers

With this small-group math framework (above), students are placed into math groups by the teacher and rotate through stations at the same time with students that have similar learning needs. Each group meets with the teacher each day, and the teacher differentiates based on learning needs.

*This framework inspired by Laureen Reynolds Creating Classroom Centers online class:  https://www.ed2go.com/sde/online-courses/creating-classroom-centers?tab=detail.

With this small-group math framework(above),  students are placed into random math groups. Since they work independently on most items, they don't need to be placed in homogeneous groups. They also work at their own pace. The center choices are differentiated as some students may be doing addition/subtraction number bonds while others are doing multiplication/division ones.

The teacher pulls flexible groups based on data while the rest of the class works through their designated stations for the day. The students' station choices change each day, and on Fridays, they either work on unfinished station work or they have free choice from any of the items on the board.

If starting with 16 centers adds stress to your day, start with less and build up to 16. ThatQuiz, FrontRow, and SumDog are free sites. My school pays for Study Island. Be sure to model each center before expecting students to work independently at them. 

Whatever framework you choose, be sure students have computation practice, problem-solving practice, and a chance to review previously taught items each day in your math lesson.

It's easier to pull flexible groups based on data in the 2nd example because you simply call students to your table based on learning needs. You may pull some students from the green group, some from the blue, and some from the orange for subtraction practice. They stay with you as long as they need to, so they may not get a chance to work through their stations. That's okay -- we're looking for mastery. The extra time spent with you may give them the time needed for mastery. 

Number Bonds
Free Downloads of self-checking multiplication/division and addition/subtraction at PD sessions. :)

Math Talk:  What math problems could be written for the pictures shown below? (FYI -- The young man throwing the oars out of the boat was the last one to fall out. You'll see his feet in the 2nd photo. He's also my oldest son, JT.)

The young man in the top hammock is my youngest son, Kyle. My boys sure didn't get their adventurous spirit from their momma. :) 

Making 10s Card Game Directions: http://www.cherylsclassroomtips.com/2015/11/making-10s-card-game.html.  Remember to remove the face cards and 10s if you're using cards. You can also split the deck in half. You'll end up with two of each card instead of 4. 

This works if you remove all the 10s and face cards so students are always covering two cards that equal 10. You can also split the deck in half leaving 2 of each card. It still works! Model Drawing Directions

Differentiate Reading in a Whole-Group Setting

Reading Response Ideas:  https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/genia-connell/five-minute-reading-responses/

It's a Plan! Integrating Technology into Your Lesson Plans

Squeezing in More Reading with Social Studies and Science

Link to Handout: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VioD1-lPlKPcAKsnYW84uwhDs7DmFONL/view?usp=sharing

Vocab in Motion -- Learning Chants
How Government Works - Matthews Elementary 2nd graders from City Of Nixa on Vimeo.