Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Whole Brain Wednesday - Amping it up!

Anyone else feeling in a bit of a slump this time of the year!? The snow days, delays & early releases have me in a mixed-up teaching slump! I can't wait to have normal schedule, full days and full weeks! I think my dog is one of the only ones who is still enjoying all this New England snow!

So this brings me to the topic of today's Whole Brain Teaching...

Today I'm going to share how I'm "amping' up the WBT in my room during this winter weather slump!

You know the feeling... (or at least you do if you live somewhere where it snows a lot!)
Delays... 2 hours off of instruction time, kids all amped up from extra sleep or play time!
Early Releases... If it's announced early, all day feels like a half day, which we know is out of the normal schedule and crazy! If it's announced part way through the day.... chaos ensues as kiddos go to the office to call home or as it begins to snow and all eyes are out the window.
And then, Snow Days... one fewer day of summer and don't even get me started on the day after when they're still all jacked up about playing in the snow!

So how can WBT help get you through the winter slump?! I'll tell you...

#1 Amp up the Rules!

We practice the rules every day... but what about practicing them multiple times during the day? Before your reading block, after recess, before specials! Help the kiddos remember the super-easy-to-follow rules that make the classroom so successful! If you don't know about the rules... click the picture above to check them out. Or, if you need a set of rules for your classroom, go visit my TPT page here.

Also, encourage your kiddos to help their friends out by holding up a number to represent the rule a friend is breaking. It makes your job easier, and let's be honest kiddos love to boss each other around ;)

#2 Amp up the Super Improvers Wall!

If you don't know about the Super Improver Wall, check it out by clicking the photo above! I am handing out improver stars left and right since the winter slump hit! Even if it only is a burst of motivation, it's enough to get us through a few more minutes! I'm giving them out for even the tiniest improvements... YES! You started your independent work right away, improver star! YES! You came to the rug quietly, improver star!
Check out some of my WBT Super Improver Walls here.

#3 Amp up the scoreboard!

Click the picture above to read about the scoreboard! The scoreboard is SO easy! It doesn't have to be fancy, it can just be a smile & a frown drawn on the white board. So there is NO excuse not to amp it up. Give out those smiles & frownies constantly... every lesson, every transition, every time you use class/yes, etc.
And of course make sure you follow through with a little fun time at the end of the day. We do a lot of games from ABCya on the Promethean board before buses as a reward for more smiles. We also have played Around the World and other fun (& quick) games as rewards. Some teachers in my building do an extra GoNoodle video at the end of the day for their reward. There are lots of other things you could do too that are quick and fun!

Hope you're motivated to Amp It Up with the WBT to help get you through the winter slump!

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Donors Choose

Hey all! I recently had a project funded by donor's choose and now have a teacher-friend who is trying to get her project funded. She doesn't have an iPads in her classroom, and is trying to raise money for an iPad. My project was also for iPads and I am seeing first hand how exciting learning is when an iPad is involved!

Consider helping Mrs. Mainetti by visiting her Donors Choose project! Until Februrary 22nd, donations are doubled with the code SPARK. So even just $10 will help SO much as it is doubled to $20!

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Another Saturday version of 5 for Friday!

Hey all, I'm back with 5 for Friday on a Saturday (again!)

Super excited to share a non-related teaching item! I just became a Jamberry Consultant because I am IN LOVE with the nail wraps & lacquers! It's a great company & I'm getting paid to have pretty nails!

Email me if you'd like a sample! All I need is your # sample selection and address. I also can host a facebook party for you... I do 95% of the work and you get free stuff!

At our school we have a H.E.A.R.T. motto... it stands for Helpful, Effort, Acceptance, Respect, Thoughtful... the kiddos can earn Hearts from teachers when they display Heart qualities. Their hearts go up on the wall and have created these beautiful giant hearts in the hallway! We took Valentine's photos in front of them for our parents and put them into cards! The kiddos thought it was fabulous because they got to stand on a little table we pushed up against the hearts haha!

I just had to share this cute picture... we had to change our "assigned" rug seats this week because we are officially too big to sit around the rug comfortably. It's amazing how much these kiddos have grown. When we were all set up with our new spots they insisted I take a picture of them, so I had to oblige!

We are staring to learn about money in math! I am in love with the math interactive notebook by Blair Turner, I bought and the money activities are probably my favorites so far! We need to buy bigger math notebooks next year because we have had to start making the foldables on paper instead of in our notebooks :(

Last but not least, on this lovely Valentine's Day, I have to share my February classroom door...

If you want to know more about classroom doors, go visit my post about it here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

5 for Friday... Saturday Edition

Hey all, I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for another Five for Friday, on Saturday!

If you live in CT or MA you know that this week was all sorts of wacky with the "blizzard"... we had an early dismissal, 2 snow days and 2 delays... crazy, crazy! The pup enjoyed the snow!

 About 2 weeks ago my Donor's Choose project was funded to get 2 iPads for my classroom, we were SUPER excited and since they came in and FINALLY have apps on them, we've been using them during Daily 5 for word work! Can't wait to use them for other fun projects in the classroom.

If you're looking for a few fun and FREE apps for word work, I downloaded:
Sand Draw, Art of Glow, Kidsdoodle and Draw Stars

I've had this game (I don't even know the name of it) that someone gave me and it has these awesome buzzers that all make really silly sounds. I've been dying to use them and haven't been able to come up with a great way to use 4 buzzers... Then one of my grade-level partners bought buzzers just like mine (without the game) and I decided I needed to find a way to use them...

We learned how to check our subtraction problems using addition. So I paired my kiddos and put 2 pairs and a buzzer at each table. One partner solved a subtraction problem that I put on the board. When that partner solved the problem, the second partner checked the answer using addition. When they were done and their answers matched, the partnership rang in with the buzzer at their table. I would stop the class and we'd decide if the pair was correct. If the pair was correct, I put a new problem up and the partners switched roles. It was a lot of fun and everyone at least got to finish the subtraction problem each round (I very purposely paired my kiddos in hopes that this would happen). I'm pretty sure using the buzzers is a new favorite activity for my kiddos!

One of the other things we managed to squeeze in during this very bizarre-no full days of school- week was Topic & Detail cups! Unfortunately, I only have a picture of my example, but what the kiddos did was read a nonfiction article with a partner, highlighting important words. Using what they read and highlighted, the kiddos decided what the topic was and at least 3 details. The topic went on the outside of the cup and the details went inside the cup.

I mentioned the last time I liked up here that as a second grade team we are partnering up with one of our reading consultants and one of the special education teachers to do fluency groups. Unfortunately this weather has been a disaster for our fluency schedule, but we have been able to meet a few times over the past couple weeks.

The kiddos seem to be enjoying being with students from the other 2 classes and hopefully I wil be reporting back soon that we are seeing improved fluency!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whole Brain Wednesday: More Super Improvers

Hey everyone, I'm finally back with a WBT Wednesday... it's been WAY too long! Today is a quick tip for you Whole Brainers out there...

I want to share a really great idea one of my co-workers is doing with her WBT Super Improver Wall. If you don't know about WBT's Super Improver Wall, please click the pictures below to check out my posts about it. It is a FABULOUS motivation for students in my room and in many other WBT rooms!

So back to my co-worker... she turned her classroom over the WBT after I did a few informal PD sessions for my district early in the year. She was seeing a lot of success but wanted the super improver wall to be even better. So, she attached an individualized improver goal to each students' pencil box to remind them what they can do to improve in the classroom. The students wrote out their goals on their own to help them really take ownership over their goal.

SUCH a great idea, I especially love it for those tough kiddos because it gives them a focus throughout the day and they are reminded of it every time they open their pencil box! And super easy... just taped into the front cover of the pencil box.

I'm thinking I might need to put some individualized goals on my kiddos book boxes! How do you keep your super improver wall goals on your students' minds?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Solve the Room

I'm sitting here on this snowy afternoon adding to some of my TPT products, and thought it would be fun to talk about Solve the Room in my classroom.

You might call it Scoot or Read the Room or Write the Room or Roam the Room... in my room we call it Solve the Room.

I have created and downloaded lots of these activities and my kiddos LOVE them! I am all about learning while moving and motor breaks and brain breaks and lots of transitions to keep them up and moving. I usually make Solve the Room a rotation during math Workshop. It is usually the favorite rotation.

Right now I only use Solve the Room for math, but I'd love for any thoughts you wonderful readers have about using these types of activities in reading or writing!

I want to share some of the products I've created and are tried, true and tested in my room and my grade level partners' rooms!

Solve the Room Addition...
Solve the Room Subtraction...

Solve the Room Money...

Solve the Room Time...

 Solve the Room Place Value...

Check these products out! My kiddos love them and they align with CCSS standards in our math units that I use them in. I hope you either like these products or are motivated to create your own to get your kiddos moving around the room and doing math at the same time!

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