Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christmas in July {Management}

Welcome Back!  It's my fifth Christmas in July post!  I selected two products I use daily for management. 

Today, we know more about teaching than we ever have before. Research has shown us that teachers' actions in their classrooms have twice the impact on student achievement (Marzano, 2003a). We also know that one of the classroom teacher's most important jobs is managing the classroom effectively.
My number one goal when starting a new school year is establishing a positive, proactive environment through effective management practices.  The secret to effective discipline is proactively building relationships, not reacting punitively to student misbehavior. I truly believe engaging students actively in the process of determining class rules and expectations can create a positive climate from the start.
Providing clarity about the content and expectations for instruction will guide students to understanding the rights and wrongs. To ensure I'm establishing and communicating learning goals, I manage my classroom with CHAMPs.  Developed by Randy Sprick of Safe and Civil Schools, CHAMPs is widely used program that proactively promotes positive interactions. 
In 2011, I wrote an article as a monthly guest columnist for Really Good Stuff about CHAMPs Management Program.  In the spring of 2012, I received an email from Randy Sprick asking to feature the article in his spring newsletter of Safe and Civil Schools.  Please link here to read my featured post.
My CHAMPs aligned behavior charts are the largest component to my day.  I break down each component of the workshop using the CHAMPs framework. 
Establishing the lesson or work time with specific conversation levels, will guide the students to understanding if talking is allowed and what level it may be maintained.


There is nothing worse than explaining a task or working in small groups and having a little lovely interrupted repeatedly.  Defining ways in which they may receive help eliminates lots of stress.

For this section, I kept the activity as a reminder of the content focus. I verbally ensure that kids are aware of the specific activity within the content focus. 

Bathroom, water, and pencils can be another LARGE distraction.  Expectations can be very different when learning in a whole group setting versus working independently.  To ensure my
students understand the expectations, I clarify during transitions.

I've defined the levels of conversation, how to get help, the activity in which the kids are working, and what kind of movement may take place.  Now I want to clarify what it means to participate by specifying work time as small groups, with a partner, alone.

Having CHAMPs to define classroom expectations sets students up for success.  This file is available for the next 48 hours at half off the original price.  Click the preview graphic for a link to this specific file.
The fun doesn't stop with a positive approach to behavior.  I'm also featuring my Center Management Cards.  Organization is key to successfully implementing effective centers.
A sharp, well-maintained classroom sends so many wonderful and powerful messages to students.  Combing different aspects of the classroom from room arrangement to d├ęcor or supplies to curriculum support, you create an environment that reflects best teaching practices. Setting the stage for children to learn and ensure all is comfortable contributes to an effective working environment. 

My center cards are designed to ensure that students are able to transition between two centers effectively.  I designed my cards with warm and cool colors.  Within this file, I have 40 different literacy center options and 10 math cards.  I provided all options with a warm background and a cool background.  Each week, I select 10 centers.  To prevent myself from creating a lot of work, I keep many centers the same and rotate out one component.  Example: Listening center receives a new book.  Poetry center receives a new poem.  Reading center has a new book bin.  To add variety, I change out other centers.  Example: One week we might work on the overhead.  The following week I might use playdoh.

My students are aware of where to complete their center because I provided matching posters.  Organization is key for the kids to understand when and where they must move to complete their centers. 

Newly added to this file are teacher cards and posters.  If you previously purchased, please redownload your update! 

My favorite part of this file is providing my kiddos with the student cards so that they can personalize themselves for the pocket chart.

This post is going live VERY late tonight or early this morning.  I suppose it depends upon your view.  I haven't gone to bed and it's 4am.  YIKES.  I'm going to apologize now for any errors.  I come to see double and have no doubt the words shouldn't look likes waves on the ocean. 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Watermelon Seed

I'm thrilled to be linking up again with Deanna Jump for Book Talk Tuesday and couldn't be more excited to share another fabulous find from the exhibitor hall in Vegas.

When I stumbled across The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli, a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winning Book, I was captivated.  The whimsical illustrations show an adorable lime green crocodile with a passion for watermelon.  This story has a simple text with fabulous features perfect for a close reading in grades K-2!

I can remember hot summer gatherings at the community pool with my friends and family.  My mom slicing the watermelon wedges for all to enjoy.  Biting into the fruit and laughing as the juices dribbled down my chin.  And then the sudden fear that I swallowed a seed.  Oh dear, the stories my friends would tell...  We were certain that a watermelon vine would grow a patch in our bellies. Can you relate?  
Certainly the main character, a watermelon-loving crocodile can!  After becoming distraught because of swallowing a seed, the crocodile believes it will grow inside of him.  The story is told straight-forward with accessible vocabulary and takes a peek at a childhood fear.

The simple script captivates readers through humor!  It's text and storyline couldn't be more perfect for props, puppets, or retelling skits. 
Integrate onomatopoeia with words such as chomp, slurp, gulp, grumble, and burp.
This is a wonderful book to discuss emotions such as love, like, fear, anxiety, despair, and relief. 
 Top off your lessons with a bit of science and learn about the life cycle of a watermelon seed.

Finally, draw students in with an outstandingly clever end using a watermelon seed to bring the story to life! 
Will the crocodile grow his own patch?  Will he have a love or fear of watermelon?  I encourage you to pick up this enchanting tale and explore the words and pictures through close reading with your students. 
 Here's a trailer preview...
I can't express how much I love Artfelt. I purchased this adorable book and coordinating felt pieces so that I could animate the words and actions of this charming story.  I love that my students will have the ability to reenact the words during literacy centers with high engagement.  I sure hope you find this collection as loveable as I do!

Have you visited Artfelt on Youtube?  One of my favorite videos from their channel is "Make a Rainbow".  Check it out! 

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July {Sub Tubs and Birthday}

It's a MEGA huge Christmas in July post because it's my BIRTHDAY!!!!!  Not sure I'm overjoyed about 36.  It's the downward slide to 40.  I suppose the view depends upon what side of the fence you stand on.  My father says, "I'm like fine wine, aged to perfection".  My great-aunt says, "Life is like a roll of toilet paper, closer to the end, the faster it goes".  Hmmmm!

Today I'm featuring my Monthly Sub Tubs!
Click Image to Link
Are you prepared for those unexpected absences?  With a little advance planning, you can ensure that your substitute and your students have a productive, smooth-flowing day. 
To ensure my students have a fun, successful day of learning with content that meets common core standard, I created thematic units for each month.  Thematic instruction is the organization of curriculum around "themes".  The instruction integrates basic disciplines like reading, math, and science with the exploration of a broad subject.  I use the Swallowed Series to guide my monthly lessons. 
When I began to plan my monthly tubs, I took each book and placed them all on the dining table.  Using sticky notes, I pulled ideas for each content area.  I played on words, pictures, and swallowed items to guide my focus.  For instance, planning writing...
August {Swallowed Some Books}- Response to Literature
September {Swallowed Some Leaves}-Poetry
October {Swallowed a Bat}- Narrative
November {Swallowed a Pie}- Procedural
December {Swallowed a Bell}-Persuasive
January {Swallowed Some Snow}-Procedural
February {Swallowed a Rose}-Friendly Letter
March {Swallowed a Clover}-Procedural
April {Swallowed a Chick}-Informational
May {Swallowed a Shell}-Procedural

October comes with great imagination as we are deep into narrative writing and inspired by Halloween costumes, decorations, and parties.  Persuasive couldn't come at a better time with all the desires of a holiday wishlist.  Friendly letters are common when creating Valentine's Day cards. 
My goal was to teach each genre by allowing the book to drive the content.  The year I created the file, my students were challenged with procedural writing. I decided to use fun topics to draw on their schema from life experiences or books.  My topics included:  How to build a snowman, How to catch a leprechaun, How to make a sandcastle.  Some papers were specific while others allowed for their imagination to run wild.
Once I had the writing lessons, I planned science, social studies, or health.  December is a great time to discuss needs and wants.  April is a great time to discuss life cycles.  For March, I planned skills lessons with compound words so why not learn about insects that have compound eyes.  Integrating the disciplines drives students engagement.
I prepped my tubs two years ago.  Because I love the Swallowed series so very much, I decided that if a sub wasn't needed, I would complete the assignments with my students on the Friday before the specified holiday.  Once you prep the tub, the consumables are the only parts of the file that will need to be reprinted.  I keep the lessons and artifacts for teaching laminated and set for the following year.
Here's a preview of each month...










My files are available as a separate monthly purchased at $5 or bundled for a discount BUT for 24 hours, I reduced the bundle 50% off.  You are getting month sub tubs, 585 pages of goodies, planned lessons with standard, objectives, materials, lessons, and reproducibles for $25. 

This birthday party isn't over...

I have a delicious little file used to track our monthly birthdays with a pictograph using cupcakes! YUM, YUM!  The kids are GREAT about monitoring our board! I also discounted this file for 50% off.

Click the preview graphics for both units for direct links.  The holiday graphic includes all monthly sub tubs both individual and bundled.  :)

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