Five for Friday!


Linking up to Doodle Bugs Five For Friday! I'm also linking up to Freebie Friday for the first time! See Number 5 for my Freebie.

Oh Boy! This week has been a whirlwind! Testing has officially begun and as one of the proctors in the school that meant I spent sizable hours in the computer lab Tuesday through today. Those labs get hot! I can’t wait till the warmer weather when we can put on the AC and I can wear sandals and a skirt without looking like a total weirdo.

Because I am spending 80% of my day in the lab, (along with 2 other paras), I have the most wonderful sub! She is so sweet, smart, and is fantastic with the kiddos. I felt horrible on the first day because everything was all a kerfuffle and her schedule hadn’t been finalized, but by today, we finally have it down. Phew! This also means I get to write sub plans…for 24 days…yes, it’s a lot and I’ve only written four days’ worth so far. I’ve come up with a strategy though: since the majority of time in the lab the students are quietly working (they have honestly impressed me SO much by how focused they are!) I use this time to write my plans for the next day. It makes my life a lot easier.




Our school is VERY lucky because we participate in a program with a local fabric store where they donate gads of products that they are no longer selling to the school. The PTO organized it all in an old classroom and every once in a while they have a sale whose proceeds benefit the school. Win-win! AND the best part is anything you are using for your classroom is free! I picked up two black and white floral drawers when they had the store open on Tuesday. Here is a picture of the beauties. Also notice that since I wanted to put all my papers into them, it was an impetus for organizing and I no longer have stacks of paper everywhere!










This week I reached 1,000 page views! This excited me more than it probably should, but since I started blogging again in January, I only had a couple hundred page views and my Teaching Voracious Readers blog had almost 3,000. This blog is catching up! Thank you for visiting my page and helping me reach 1,000!






And as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I am participating in Freebie Friday! This is a small simple Freebie - I originally had No Judge Zone written on my board, but then I was inspired to make a more "official" sign. Here is the TPT link, where I have it in black and white form. I used the black and white version and printed it on Yellow paper to make it pop.



Happy Friday!


2

Super Sunday! Nearing the Finish Line

I didn’t post last week because I had such a crazy week and I was just looking forward to the weekend!



This weekend I am looking forward to finishing my electronic portfolio for my masters program.

It’s A LOT of work: Creating pages for each class, creating pages for each assignment, linking these pages together, then to top it all off completing a matrix of standards. Here is the link to my portfolio: Go to the Documents > Graduate Experiences page where you can see the classes I took, etc.

It’s slightly overwhelming but I’m in the last stretch. This week I finally completed each of the categories in the Matrix of Standards. Next week, I am going to be revisiting each one and making sure that they really meet the category. I think by the end last week, I was just putting assignments in to fill the matrix.

My portfolio is due on the 30th and then I have my last master’s class starting in May. Then I am DONE!

It’s very, very exciting.

Also for next week is cleaning my math desk! It's a mess of math worksheets, articles, SBAC materials, and books. I'm going to be very excited when I have more than a half a desk to work in.


3

Five for Friday: The Week I "Almost" Met Michelle Obama


Linking up to Doodle Bugs Five For Friday!

Story Number Uno:



During one of my reading groups this week, a student I had earlier in the year literally ran into the room and I looked up surprised. What was wrong?

She ran up next to me and said: “Ms. K! Ms. K! I got an A- on my history essay!”

I had worked with her on skill work, but also on history vocab. She struggled a lot on the quizzes so I made it a goal that each week her focus was just to improve her grade from the week before. We would read the chapter together discussing what exactly the text was saying.


I high fived her and she ran back out the room.

It’s moments like these that I LOVE my job and being a teacher.

Story Number Dos:
Then there was when another 8th grade student told me he had a magic trick. He took the cards, hid behind my desk and prepped the cards. Then he showed four jacks and told this winding story about four robbers who robbed different parts of the house but then the police come and Bam! They’re (the jacks) are all on the roof (the top of the stack)!

The best part was how when another student and I were watching him, and he would say “No! You can’t look!” because he was clearly messing with the cards. At the end, he asked if I wanted to know how he did it. Sure, I said. “I use my telekinesis”.

I literally had tears in my eyes and my stomach hurt from laughing.





Before I Die….


This sounds morbid, right? But it’s totally not!


The concept is based off a project started by Cindy Chang. I recently read through her book and was inspired to create my own wall in my classroom. Since I have a chalkboard, making it wasn't the issue, but I was worried about the student’s reactions. Would they think it’s too depressing?

I dove in and made one anyway. My lunch kiddos were the first to write on it and they “got” it. My reading group after I saw them was a little confused as they started talking about how they would rather die (i.e. jumping off a cliff or in a fire). Jeepers!

I redirected them by telling them, “It’s not about death, it’s about living.”

They seem to get it and by the end of the day they had filled one of the columns. Horray! Kids love writing on it and on Tuesday they filled up the second column.

I like the board already because I get to know another side of my students.

One of my students really thought about it. He had done many things other students wrote (Skydive, for example) but he couldn't think of anything to write himself. Finally he wrote: Join the army.




Here are some of the other things they wrote:

Get a beagle and live in a cheez-it house

Laugh

Go to Cali

Be a star

Jump off a cliff into the ocean.

Be famous.

Cure Cancer.

 
I was working with one of my students on character this week. We defined the different parts of character (trait, point of view, relationships), looked at examples then made our own. She had some creative answers that she thought were HILARIOUS (She was laughing so hard she had a hard time sharing them with me):


Traits: Ms. K has brown eyes and gray hair. She has a loud laugh…

Why thank you!

 

On Tuesday, we had a delegation of people from China who were visiting to learn about the American education system.


Some of the students made a sign welcoming them to the school, and the visitors gave these students gifts:

 




How cool are they?

On a similar note, mid-way through Tuesday my students told me that Michelle Obama was visiting their classroom at the end of the day. WHAT?

It turns out, the students were participating in some sort of video conference which Michelle would be a part of. I was very disappointed (and gullible).

 

I love easy clothing buys! My sister recently bought some clothes: she texted me that she wasn’t a fan of all of them. Did I want them? Um! Yes! I did have to pay for them, but I didn’t have to search for them! It’s like having a personal shopper!


I am now the happy owner of two new pairs of sandals and a black maxi dress. Hello Spring! I am ready for you!




  And yes, I have BIG feet.



Happy Friday!




0

Spring Cleaning!

Do you ever look around your classroom and think…how did it get this messy? Why is there chalk dust all over my stacks of papers? Why do I even have random stacks of papers everywhere?

This was me on Monday. I had eaten lunch with a couple students and during this rare quiet time I happened to notice…the mess.

I luckily had a free period after so I went into a total cleaning frenzy. Here’s a before and after photo of my horseshoe table:




One of favorite additions is “Rudy”, my sticky note holder. Yes, I know Rudy is totally out of season but it was so cute (and convenient!) that I couldn’t pass it up. I previously had my sticky notes all over my table and it was ANNOYING! Every time I reached for something, there was a sticky note pad instead.




I also create a chalk container. I had previously had the chalk in the boxes, which then migrated to the chalkboard rail which then migrated to the desks I have in front of my chalkboard…and don’t even mention the chalk dust!



I used to have my clothes pins for my charts in this container, but I moved my clothes pins all into one container then put my chalk in the smaller, appropriately themed container.


I also moved my behavior chart from the chalkboard, where it was VERY messy to a whiteboard which is easier to clean. It also made use of the tape on the whiteboard that I cannot, for the life of me, get off. (Related to this: I realized that I had been using an Expo eraser to erase my chalkboard! No wonder erasing my chalkboard was so ineffective! Whoops!)

The last thing I have to do is organize all the random papers I have floating around. Onward!





Happy Almost-Spring!


0

The Morning Meeting: Middle School Style

Do you ever add things to your cart online, to never buy them? I do this all the time! My Amazon cart has 40 (yes, 40) items in it that I have interest in buying but haven’t yet bought. The other day, I went to buy some wide tab dividers when I saw my educational books, among other things in my cart. I decided that each time I buy something on Amazon.com, I am also going to buy one of my educational books to help clear my cart and build my teacher library. The lucky winner this week (although Georgia Heard’s poetry books were a close runner up) was The Morning Meeting by Roxann Kriete.

I had first heard about The Morning Meeting book when I was student teaching. I was introduced to the world of Responsive Classroom and this was a part of it. I always thought of the morning meeting as being a mainly elementary concept, so when I tore open my package today after work I was pretty excited to see “now includes middle school”.

At the middle school level, I think there is a step away from Morning Meetings. Unfortunately, with that, at least I feel, there is loss of that sense of community that elementary grade classrooms often have. The school does have homeroom every morning but it serves more as a time to make announcements, sell tickets to dances, and collect any forms.

Each month, our school has Mentors, where each staff member meets with 8-10 students and discusses various topics such as bullying, conflict resolution, and preparing for the next academic year. Using the four basic parts of a morning meeting here’s how I would adapt it to a middle school level:

1. Greeting Students and teachers greet one other by name and practice offering hospitality. In a mentor setting, I think this is a valuable piece. This would be something that I would have them do during the first couple of meetings, spending about 5 minutes each time discussing different greetings. After the first two meetings, we would have a list of greetings to choose from and a different student for each meeting could “lead” the greeting. The tough part about mentors is that it only meets once every month which makes building a comfortable, trusting environment not impossible but there is definitely a cohesiveness missing that I wish we had. I think the greetings would help break the ice at the beginning of the year and it would break the ice each meeting. Since the groups rotate in a three year cycle (I have 8th graders this year and next year I would have 6th graders for a three year cycle), the greetings can be built upon each year.

2. Sharing Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions. I think this is key in mentors (and in a regular morning meeting). As teachers and adults we often set our agenda for what needs to be talked about during the meeting, whether it is bullying or conflict resolution. This time allows the students to open up and share about their lives. I definitely expect students at first to be more reticent but hopefully over time they would feel more comfortable opening up. I recently read the book Period.8 by Chris Chrutcer in which what is said in the room stays in the room. The same rule would apply here. I know students would have a hard time feeling this is true though. I also think part of this time could be devoted to outlining expectations and having students create mentor rules for the year. Setting the guidelines and expectations from the get-go will allow the creation of a trusting community.

3. Group Activity Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills (for example, reciting a poem, dancing, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social or academic skills). This is where the pre-set activity for the month would come in whether it was about heroes or digital footprint. The activities are often discussion and text based, with students reading an article and discussing it with peers, or completing a graphic organizer and then partner talking about how they filled it out. The last mentor group, the students met in small groups and prepared a skit on a specific attribute in relationships (such as trust, communication, or honesty), then presented the skit to the rest of the group. The observers then shared what parts of their skits demonstrated “good” relationship traits and which parts demonstrated “bad” relationship traits and why. I think this activity would actually be even better if done at the beginning of the year because it would help to illustrate expectations for the meeting times as well as lead to a larger discussion on what makes a healthy relationship.

4. Morning Message Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they'll do in school that day. Instead of a morning message where students have to fix capitalization, or correct grammar errors, I think in a middle school mentor setting (where the focus is less on the academic), I would use a short quote related to the topic for students to read and debate; or just as food for thought at the end of the period, thinking about how the quote connects with what we had been working on and discussing during the mentor period.

I also think incorporated to all these pieces are the opportunities for student leadership. A selected student can choose and lead the greeting each meeting, another can monitor sharing (perhaps choosing a theme or concept that sharing can relate to), another can be the time keeper during the activity and other can lead the discussion on the quote, perhaps giving their gut reaction the quote to start off the discussion and to get students comfortable sharing.

I found online the overview of Morning Meetings that is actually taken right from the book itself. It provides a great preview of what the book is like and what Morning Meetings are.

Happy Meeting!

0

Hurray! Sunshine Blogger Awards!

Thank you so much to Ash from The Rolly Chair for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! This past Friday I was having a bit of a stressful day and when I read her comment saying she had nominated me, my face lit up and I felt so excited! Hurray!


There are four parts to the Sunshine Blogger Award:


1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
3. Nominate 11 bloggers you think bring sunshine to the world.
4. Make up 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

   


To start, here are my 11 random facts about me:
1. I love RUNNING! My goal is run a marathon before I die. I always give up on my training and have only gotten up to running 18 miles (well, that was about 4 years ago now) and then start freaking out about how far 26 miles seems!

2. I am a nickname magnet. As a kid my family had a million nicknames for me, my friends always call me something other than my real name, and now that I’m working in a school, oh boy! It’s totally gotten worse! Ms. KitKat, Ms. KK, Ms. Cee lo Green, Special K, Super K, K Squared…honestly at first I was all “My name’s Ms. K or Ms. Kehoegreen” but now I’ve just given up.

3. I never watch TV. Although, that’s not to say I never go on YouTube or Hulu! But I never sit down in front of a TV and just watch…and watch. Just not my style.

4. I hate beans, except garbanzo beans and soybeans. All other beans I think are really, really gross.

5. I have really long hair and always have and always will. Someone the other day asked me if it would be more professional to have short hair. I tried not to be offended and said “Nope! My long hair is me!” I also happen to be 5’ 10”. Yes I stand out a bit.

6. In all my life I have missed a total of 10 days of school: five in first grade when I had chicken pox and five in seventh grade when I had the flu. I actually got a Perfect Attendance Award in high school, nerd that I was. This carried to college where I never missed one of my classes, even the 8 am ones or the ones that went till 10 at night. Now at work, I’m still the same way! I see no reason to not be there if I can’t. It helps that I usually don’t get that sick (and I don’t have any kids!).

7. Every Sunday for the past month or so my sister and I have been playing soccer and doing drills. Since we more or less have NO clue what we are doing, it’s a lot of fun! 

8. Some my heroes/role models include: Kara Goucher (runner), Karlie Kloss (model), Katie Davis (Started a charity and mother of 13 by 23!), Taylor Swift (singer), and Sarah Dessen (amazing writer whose books I devour the second I can get my hands on them!)

9. I almost never wear matching socks. In fact right now, they don’t match AND they’re inside out!

10. I work in the same middle school where I went to middle school. Yes it can be awkward at times, but it’s actually pretty amazing to get to know teachers I had on a more personal level and just see how everyone is human. Plus being able to go back and work with teachers I loved? It’s the best.

11. I almost never drink coffee but when I do, I drink it black and have to drink it before 11 am or else I’m up till 2 in the morning! It seriously affects my system that much.

Ash's 11 questions for me to answer:
1. What's the last good book that you've read?
This is a HARD one since I read a lot. I’m going to have to say…Hope Solo’s memoir, My Story? Parts of it made me cry, parts made me smile, and parts made me laugh.

2. What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? I LOVE ice cream! Weird fact #1: I only eat vegan ice cream. I would have to say my go to is Cookie Dough although my ultimate is Turtle Trails but my grocery store sadly doesn’t carry vegan Turtle Trails anymore.

3. Dogs or cats?

Dogs! Although kittens are cute, dogs are more companions. I do have to clarify though: I prefer big dogs such as golden retrievers, Labradors and St. Bernard’s. I do NOT like yappy dogs. Weird fact #2: I’m actually slightly scared of dogs! When I was a kid, I was TERRIFIED of them. Now running through neighborhoods, it’s inevitable I have to deal them and I’ve worked to overcome my fear.

4. What subject are you least comfortable teaching? Why?
If this had been three years ago, I would have said math, but with student teaching and my current job, I’ve learned a lot, and learned to love math. I guess I would have to say... FCS (Family Consumer Science). Although I love sewing, baking, and cooking, I’m horrible at them all and would never be able to model it for the students.

5. What will always put a smile on your face?
A great song, finding out happy news, a really good joke.

6. How often do you cook?
Not that often! I should do it more but like I said in 4, that’s not my strong suit.

7. Do you watch the Olympics?
I didn’t! This might seem weird since I consider myself athletic, but up in my random facts, I mentioned how I don’t watch TV. This holds true even if it’s something like the Olympics. I’d rather look something specifically up or read about the athletes.

8. Do you type or hand-write your lesson plans?
Type! Then make annotations all over them once they’re printed!

9. Have you ever used a sick day to do something fun? What did you do?
No! I never have. Although, since I quite a few stored up…you’ve given me an idea…hmm. ;)

10. How do you de-stress?
Running. Reading. Writing. The three R (sounds).

11. If you weren't in education and money didn't matter, what "job" would you want?
I would love to do something SUPER adventurous, like surf all day and make clothing at night. I think I would just be a wanderer and some days write, some days surf, some days travel. It would definitely be a creative pursuit, probably a bunch at once so I didn't get bored.

And here are the 11 bloggers I am nominating who I think are AWESOME! and bring sunshine to our blogging community! In no particular order:

1. Teacher Will Run for Books
2. In My Classroom: The Forest and the Trees
3. A Rocky Top Teacher
4. My Carolina Classroom
5. Kristen Dembroski 
6. The Tatooed Teacher
7. Albuquerque Amy and Academics
8. Surfin' Through Second
9. Adventures in Multigrade
10. Schroeder’s Stars
11. Second Grade Math Maniac

My 11 questions for the nominees to answer are:
1. If it was your birthday and you could do ANYTHING you want, what would it be?
2. What’s your #1 favorite book?
3. If you could play any sport, what could it be?
4. Could you not watch TV for one month?
5. Who is your biggest role model in life?
6. What are your nicknames?
7. What did you want to do with your life when you were 7?
8. If you could have ANY superpower, what would it be?
9. If you had to wear pants or a dress for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
10. Why do you think there are SO many women teacher bloggers but not a lot of men?
11. What or who made you want to teach or work with children?

Thank you again Ash for the nomination! It made my day! :)

7

Five For Friday!


Linking up again to Doodle Bugs Five For Friday (I’ve been linking up A LOT lately. I think the structure helps me focus and gives me a goal for posting).


Happy Pi day! Here’s my lovely t-shirt I bought on Amazon! How cute is it?





I admit I have a love of holidays. When I student taught I would have a holiday a week. I would research and find some holiday, sometimes obscure and sometimes not, then make up a clue sheet. I would post the clue sheet on the day of the holiday and give them one day to figure out/guess what the holiday was. The winner received a school related (fancy pencil, eraser) prize. The kids would get so excited and gave some of the most interesting answers!

 


Last Sunday was Day Light Saving Time and boy did I feel it Monday! Sunday I was fine but Monday I thought I was going to fall over and go to sleep! Every time someone asked me how I was I would say “Tired!”. I could see it in other teachers and students faces too, with the bags under their eyes and just general lethargic-ness so I wasn’t the only one!


And I also came to the realization: Not all countries have Daylight Saving Time! And if other countries do have DST, they don’t necessarily have it on the same day! And to make it even more confusing not all states in the US observe DST. And I thought trying to figure out the whole spring ahead concept was tricky!


I created another TPT product for a vocabulary conversation activity called Connect-The-Word which I blogged about earlier this week. Here’s the vocabulary activity at my TPT store.



If you haven’t read these two posts, I highly suggest you head over and check these out:


The first is Second Grade Sparkle’s post on Close Reading, where she gave a super informative background view on what close reading is. The second is Rocky Top Teacher whose close reading bookmark I have fallen in love with and started to use with my own students.

The bookmark is a checklist for a close reader, including reading the title, reading the passage, rereading the passage, reading the questions and using evidence from the text to support your answers to questions. I have taught these skills to my kiddos but sometimes it can be frustrating guiding them through the process again and again or reminding them when they skim and give shallow answers. By giving them this checklist bookmark when they start reading a passage they can check off each step as the go, making them more independent and providing a visual reminder of each step.

I started to use this bookmark this week with them and I love it! They take so much more responsibility for reading when they have the checklist to check off. At the side of the checklist, I added a space where they can write the passages title, any unknown vocabulary, and any questions they have after the first cold read.

One of my students, I saw on Tuesday where she started to use the checklist. On Wednesday when she came in she looked in folder, looked at the checklist and said “I already checked off that I read it again so now I’m going to read the questions.” I love that besides guiding her through close reading, it also led to the student monitoring her own progress.

 

To cap off my close reading/conversation theme, I would like to highly recommend Fisher & Frey;s resources on both Close Reading and Collaborative Conversations, as well as on Annotation. The PowerPoint’s include lists of what is expected for the close reader at each grade band, including examples of student work and text for the classroom. The conversation PowerPoint also includes grade band expectations from K-12.It’s interesting looking at how the skills are built over time. For example at the K-2 level, there are certain expectations, and at each grade band, the student maintains the previous expectations and adds more. It’s a very visual buildup of skills that helps me see how the skills gained at the K-2 level are so vital in intermediate school, middle school and so on. These are seriously great resources which are easy to read through.
Happy FridayJ


3

Building Conversation Skills While Building Vocabulary



Before my fellow teacher and I lead our Academic conversations Book Club (post-phoned a week due to a baby-shower) we decided to implement a few of the strategies in our own classrooms.

One of the activities we are implementing in the Connect The Word Activity. The Connect-the-Word is a vocabulary strategy and conversation starter taken from Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford’s book Academic Conversations: Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk that Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings.

This vocabulary activity works like this:

The teacher chooses a key concept (democracy, photosynthesis, theme) for the center circle and then chooses four key words that relate to this concept which go in the rectangular boxes. The teacher then connects the key words using connecting phrases written on diamonds. The teacher could also leave these diamond cards blank and have the student fill these out themselves.



After the graphic organizer is complete, students explain to their partner why they placed the cards in the places they did and if their partner disagrees, defend how they connected key words and diamond phrases.


The point of this activity is to build students understanding of how words connect though conversation. I had some silly examples (celebrities, Olympics) and some more serious examples (SBAC, photosynthesis) for the teachers to use to practice the activity. One of the implementations happened pretty naturally for me – I happened to have the supplies for the Connect the Word Card activity on the table. She saw the name Taylor Swift and asked what it was.

She completed the celebrities activity fairly quickly then asked for another. I gave her the Olympics one and she wasn’t sure who everyone was (Lolo Jones, Usain Bolt) but after I gave her a pretty simple explanation (Runner and Bobsledder, Bobsledder) she was able to put the cards all in the right places.

She then wanted to make her own. I did have blank cards for teachers to use so I let her use them because I was curious to see how she would create her own set of cards. I can’t lie – it took me a couple tries to make one set of cards! She chose animals, which she loves, then choose her four favorite animals: lambs, dolphins, horses, and beagles.




Now I was wondering how she would connect a dolphin with the other three! She did it though and quickly (horses and dolphins both have tails, and dolphins and lambs are both mammals).

The example in the Academic Conversations text was more complex, using democracy as the central term and having words like equality and freedom as key terms. My next step in this project is to create word cards for all core subject areas in a variety of grades.

I think my “fun” card sets about celebrities and the Olympics help familiarize the students with the structure and process of the activity and when used in an actual larger lesson would be key to warming the students up and seeing the activity as a fun puzzle.

I made a TPT product for this activity which includes a description of the activity, the graphic organizer, and blank cards for you to use.

Happy Conversing!















2

Five For Friday!

Freebies, Grammar, SBAC, Skating and a Question for You! Oh my!

I must be linking up to Doodle Bugs Five for Friday!




First my question for you…


Next week, I will be facilitating an Academic Conversations Book Club meeting with another teacher. We are focusing on Chapter 6, which is about Grammar and Vocabulary. My first impression was: Grammar? Vocabulary? This seems kind of dry.




But then I started reading and it began to jog some issues I have with grammar and vocabulary, specifically students’ improper use of grammar or misusing vocabulary (one recent incident that comes to mind is when a student told me suffrage meant a series of prayers).


When it comes to improper grammar, I tend to use the repeat correction method. I repeat what they said but I use the proper grammar. Sometimes they get what I’m doing and they’ll repeat what they’ve said; sometimes they look at me like I’m weird and don’t understand why I’m interrupting them, or other times they’ll just ignore me and keep talking.

Can you think of a better way to address this? How do you handle it? Has it ever required a full out lesson type intervention? (My encounters tend to be minor incidents with one or two random students).

 
Last Sunday, I blogged about tips I’m giving my students in relation to taking the SBAC test. Tip 3 was to use all resources available to you. I listed some examples, but I recently found on the SBAC site this gem which lists all the SBAC supports available for student use.

 
The tools are divided into Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations, and each category is further divided into embedded and non-embedded.



Keep in mind, that just because something is available, it’s not always available for all students at all times. For example, just because it says highlighter or English dictionary under Universal Tools, doesn’t mean that students have access to a highlighter or to an English dictionary, say during a math test to look up the definition of a prime number. It’s only available for ELA-performance task full writes.




Another universal tool is breaks. But there are limits to breaks. Although there are unlimited breaks overall, if a student takes a break of more than 20 minutes this prevents the student from returning to items

already attempted - which means if a student wants to continue testing the next day, that’s fine. But they can’t revisit questions they already answered.



I also came to the realization (along with another para’s help) that there are two SBAC sites. One is http://sbac.portal.airast.org/ and the other is http://www.smarterbalanced.org/. They have similar formatting but offer slightly different resources. For example the second one has videos you can watch while the first one seems more test content based, such as sample test materials, rubrics that would be used to grade written work.

 

I made my first “pretty” TPT product for text structure. I’ve put some other items up there but they were NOT pretty or very creative. This product is a step in the right direction!




My students are struggling with identifying which text structure was which. Last year I had creating a matching activity that they would do after we discussed and looked at examples for different text structure, and it overall, for the most part, worked.


This year though, it isn’t cutting it for them. I found a great graphic organizer that has a set of passages along with it. I added this and students benefitted from breaking down the passages more specifically. But some students STILL struggled figuring out what passages were what even with the graphic organizer.

In the reading specialist office about two weeks ago I mentioned how my kiddos were struggling with text structure and she whipped out a great poster that had types of text structure, an example book for the structure, and key words for them under that. I took the key word section and that’s what formed the basis for this TPT product.

 

I also prettied up my Algebraic Expressions worksheet my sixth grade math students have been working on to support classroom instruction. I also made a poster for the TTQA: Turn the Question Around strategy for written response questions, that includes an example.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Algebraic-Expressions-1148382



And all of these are freebies! I also have a TTQA and Close Reading activity in the works.

I mentioned last week that I had gone running a bit. This week I did less running (it was cold!!) but I did play some soccer AND I ice skated for the first time in a REALLY long time.


I should correct that statement: I never really ice skated. I boot skated. I have issues with balance. Or so I thought.

Here I am:




Lacing up my skates!


 


 


 

I'm doing it!!







Super proud that I fell and survived! lol



Happy Friday!

 

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