Saturday, April 12, 2014

BRIGHT Ideas for Peer Teaching!

Hi friends! I'm excited to be part of this month's Bright Ideas Link Up! 

Today, I'm sharing some easy tips and tricks to facilitate peer teaching and partner discussion in your classroom. As many of you know, oral language is on my heart this year! Getting my students to communicate effectively with one another through discussions, speaking in complete sentences, and peer to peer teaching has helped my students' writing skills, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and reading comprehension! 

There are specific ways I have designed and set up my classroom in order to promote lots of peer discussion within my room:


When students can reflect, explain, help, and TEACH a friend a piece of content, you know the child has truly mastered this skill and understands the process and thinking behind it! In my room, students teach each other important concepts and model their thinking with one another.  This is a POWERFUL teaching tool for struggling learners!

My classroom is set up in groups of two.  Students know to immediately turn and teach their partner a concept when instructed. They also know who to turn to when we discuss, explain our thinking, and coach each other throughout the day.


Having a Plan =  Maximized Instructional Time!


For each partner group, one student has a RED star on his/her name tag and the other student has a BLUE star on his/her name tag. This detail and management decision eliminates wasted time for peer discussion and allows EVERY child the opportunity to have an equal turn to talk. When I say "Red Friends! Teach your partner the attributes of a square. Teach!"
The red students immediately start to use complete sentences to teach their partners the math concept.  Then, I instruct the Blue Friends to take their turn to talk and teach.  

Specific areas of my classroom are designed for student-to-student coaching. In this area, students can often be found reading to one another, reflecting on writing pieces, coaching each other through math facts, and summarizing a story together during "Choose Your Chit Chat" time! The focus is a designated time of academic discussion among students - without the teacher leading the learning!

There is virtually no downtime in my classroom.  My students have assigned carpet spots and assigned carpet partners. (These switch periodically to ensure students have the opportunity to share ideas with a variety of peers during read alouds.) 

Students must "show" me their partner by linking hands before I begin a mini-lesson. In this way, the stage is set that peer discussion will be taking place and they need to be ready to collaborate, think, and share together! When I tell my students, "Discuss!" they immediately know who to turn to to share their ideas with.  This game plan again eliminates wasted time, makes for immensely smooth transitions, and leads to a seamless and engaging carpet time!

I hope this post gave you some ideas and ways to incorporate oral language, partner teaching, and discussion into your classroom in a smooth, efficient, and effective way! 

Thank you SO much for visiting my blog today! I would love for you to follow me for additional teaching ideas, tips, and tricks! :) 

Follow Me On:
Instagram @missdecarbo

For more bright ideas from 150 bloggers, browse the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you! Have a BRIGHT day!!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Testing That Is FUN And Child-Friendly?!

Hi friends! I would love, love, love for you to click the button below and head over to the Teaching Tribune today.  

I am blogging today on the Teaching Tribune about a very important reminder for teachers - especially at this point in the school year.  I hope you'll join me!

HINT:  It is a follow-up to my Wordless Wednesday picture from yesterday. :) 



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Math Manipulatives





Do you allow your students use math manipulatives during assessments???
(P.S. Check back tomorrow for a follow-up post about this picture.)

Comment below and then link up your picture with us! :)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Who Said That?! Dialogue and Quotation Mark Unit for Readers & Writers!

It's Sunday evening, which means people all over the world are sad because tomorrow is Monday.  Don't get me wrong. I <3 my job, my classroom, and my kids. But I also love having time to enjoy being home and being able to spend extra time with my family.  So let's have a product giveaway to make this Sunday night a little sweeter. :) 

As many of you know, my first graders have turned into crazy writers. As in, they write all.the.time. I had to make a rule last week that they could only choose ONE piece of writing to share with the class each week; otherwise, we would be having Author's Chair for three hours a day. 

I noticed that many of my kiddos have started to include dialogue within their narratives recently. Except, they were not using it correctly - at all. They had quotation marks around every word, and one little girls' entire paragraph was a whole line of dialogue. Time for some mini lessons? I think so! :)



I created this dialogue unit for primary students, specifically, grades 1 and 2.  However, yesterday, I had a third grade teacher tell me it would work perfectly for introducing dialogue to her class, too! My kids had a lot of fun with this unit. 

Here are some pics of a few activities that we did last week:

We learned this cute little poem that I saw on Pinterest. We also brainstormed some signal words that would be more interesting than using "said" all.the.time in our writing. 


We learned all about speech bubbles and created dialogue for some fun imaginary characters! Then, we learned how to correctly write the dialogue with quotation marks and commas in the appropriate places. 


As a culminating activity, we had a Punctuation Pasta Party!! We used macaroni noodles to add quotation marks and commas to sentences in order to show dialogue.

My kids are getting really good at using dialogue correctly within their narratives now.  
Here are some preview pics of what else is included in the unit, so you can see some of the other things we did to practice this reading and writing skill:




 We also learned more about dialogue within the text and books we read. We used these passages to practice identify who was speaking within the story at various times. The passages require students to look back into the text and find the character who was speaking.  The pack also includes pages you can use with your interactive notebooks. 

This pack is available in my TpT store.  You can find it by clicking HERE

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of two free copies of this unit! The giveaway will end Tuesday at 12:00am EST.

---Addition--- Here are the winners of my little Dialogue giveaway!! Congratulations. :) 
All of your comments were GREAT and very clever!!!! :)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekend App Attack: Smart Cookie!

I'm back with a Weekend App Attack for you!

Today I am sharing an app by a fabulous teacher blogger! That's right, one of our very own wonderful bloggers created this app for her students and it is now available to YOU on iTunes! How cool is that?!

This weekend's featured app is brought to you by:

Molly from Lucky to Be in First!
Lucky to Be in First

Molly created the app, Smart Cookie, to help her students master their basic math facts. She has also extended this app to include a version for multiplication and division. The app is super kid-friendly and FUN! Check out some of these preview pictures:


First of all, how cute is this logo? :)


Students progress through a series of timed math tests that are progressively more difficult.  


In Molly's new update, your entire class can participate in Smart Cookie when they use the app. This app is awesome to use as a math center!


When students pass a level, a cookie is added to their cookie jar. They love seeing their cookie jar filled up with cookies! The app provides great positive reinforcement to students, encouraging them to keep practicing and working hard on their math facts!

Molly's app is $1.99 and WELL WORTH the price! Your kids will love this math app!
You can find Molly's Smart Cookie app in the iTunes store by clicking HERE or clicking on the image below. :) 


Thanks for stopping in for this week's Weekend App Attack! :) 
Check back tomorrow for a little giveaway of my newest product: Who Said That? A Dialogue and Quotation Mark Unit for Readers and Writers! :)

I'm off to the salon to get my hair done. If you googled "split ends" right now, a picture of my hair would probably pop up on your screen. It's a hot mess. Then, we are headed out to go to dinner and bowling with our bible group.  Wish me luck. When I bowl, the ball goes about .0003 miles per hour down the lane.  You could probably complete your lesson plans for next week by the time it reaches the pins. 

:) Happy Saturday and of course - 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Linky Party: A Picture Can Say It All!


Today will be the only Wednesday that I type more than one sentence for you. That is because today is the first day of my Wordless Wednesday Weekly Linky Party!  Every Wednesdsay, teacher bloggers will post a picture.  The picture can be funny, inspirational, cute, informative - anything you want! (Please, no pictures of product covers. Keep this fun and filled with ideas, not advertising.)  We LOVE looking at classroom pictures online! So let's have a Wordless Wednesday every week filled with fun pictures from teachers! :) You could post pics of your classroom, an activity, a great book, etc. The possibilities are many!

You can also type ONE question underneath the picture, if you choose.  The question's purpose is to get people sharing thoughts and talking about the picture by leaving comments on your blog! (Don't forget to spread some comment-bloggy-love yourself, too!) :)  If you want to link up with us today, the rules to the weekly linky party are EASY! Your blog post will take you 3 minutes flat - post a picture and write a question about it! That's it!


Feel free to grab the Linky image at the top of my blog for your Wordless Wednesday post! :) Link up below anytime after 6:00am EST on Wednesdays.

What did YOU do for April Fool's Day yesterday?! 
;)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What I Do For Teaching...aka The Coffee Crisis

Tonight I'm going to share a story with you of my afternoon.  It's the story I like to call..That.Just.Happened.  It goes like this:

Four times a year, I have to drive 50 minutes to get to a county teacher meeting that I am a Lead Literacy Teacher for.  This means that four days out of the year  I get my kids to help me clean up our classroom and we walk fast fast fast down the hall to the busses.  So naturally there is a lot of "Let's go let's go let's go. Grab your backpack. No, not that backpack YOUR backpack. Did you get your mail? So and so forgot their mail. No, I don't have time to teach you how to tie your shoes right now, you'll just have to be careful."

Fast fast fast we walk. Fast fast fast I drive the 50 minutes to get to the meeting.

Today, I was there 5 minutes before starting time. FIVE minutes, people. I sat for a few minutes in my car, sipping the large cup of piping hot coffee I was able to grab on the way. Mmm...a few minutes of peace and quiet. 

I opened the car door and set my large, piping hot cup of coffee on the roof of my car while I searched my bag for my notebook. Just as I stood up...

WHOOOOOSH.

There went a huge gust of wind. 
There went my coffee.
All.Over.Me.

I'm not just talking about some coffee spilling on me. I'm talking...ALL the coffee spraying all over me.

That.Just.Happened.



My dress was soaked. I could literally ring out the bottom of it. The right side of my hair was dripping wet. Well, at least the left side of my head looked normal.  But I smelled like a rotting Keurig machine. 

I played the "What Would You Do" game with my co-teacher on the phone. She said to go home.  But the OCD teacher in me told myself I did not just drive 50 minutes for nothing. I went to a super close Kohls and bought a dress in 4.3 minutes. 


I know because I timed myself. 
Here is my 4.3 minute dress that I grabbed off of the first rack I could find. 

I DID manage to race back to the meeting with over an hour left to spare.  By that time I was mentally exhausted and the espresso in my hair was starting to smell sour, even though I air-dried it with the window down the whole way back to the meeting.

:)

The End.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

April Math Centers & Games, My Weekend, and a Spring Sale!

TpT and blogging have brought so many blessings into my life, but the best blessing is by far the new friendships I have formed! I have these wonderful women all over the world who I connect with daily through social media and once in awhile - in real life! 

This weekend, I met up with my sweet friends Sarah from Permanently Primary and Lisa from Fourth and Ten for a lunch and a little shopping! These two girls are so wonderful! They are sweet, kind, funny, and inspiring! We had a wonderful day talking about school, ideas, our classrooms, TpT, family, and friends! 


 After a full day of blogging fun, I headed to my hotel to work on some products until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.  My kids have been asking me when our new April math centers would be ready, so this was my little office spot last night. :)

Here is a little peek at what they look like printed out! They turned out so cute!


I was able to get the pack posted late last night.  This pack contains 6 low-prep, write on/wipe off math games that can be reused over and over again in your classroom! Literally NO cutting is needed for my monthly math games. Just print the page, slip it into a sheet protector, and add a dry erase marker and eraser. That's it! You can use the games with playing cards, dice, or the cute cards I've included in the pack. They are perfect for independent games, partner work, or small groups. I use them during my Guided Math block. 

Click HERE 
to check this pack out in my store or click on the pictures below!


This pack is on sale for the first week of April. Don't forget, a bunch of your favorite sellers are having a Spring Cleaning sale that ends tomorrow! :) It's a great time to stock up on bundle packs that you've been wanting. 

Click the picture below to jump to my store and stock up on things you need for spring!  I'll be doing my shopping tonight. :)


Friday, March 28, 2014

Five for Friday: Our Week in Pictures!!


Ahh I finally felt like I could breathe this week! My formal observation was over with and I did not have any big presentations or meetings. My only job was to teach - and I had so much fun! Here is our week in pictures! :)



Ohhhh Target One Spot. You get me every.single.time. 
I didn't really need any of this. Actually, I went into Target to buy 2 things: cups and food coloring for an experiment. But the One Spot aisle had chalkboard label stuff...so...can you really blame me?! Does it count that I've made a "craft drawer" in my office for it? 


P.S. I don't do crafts.


I did remember to buy the food coloring in Target, so we got to do this fun weather experiment from my Weather Unit for Kids pack on Wednesday! We made it rain!!  

I kicked off the experiment with a question that I wrote on the board:  Why does it start to rain?  I think introducing your science experiments with a simple question is critical in the primary grades. We want our students to understand that scientists discover the world around them. Discovery starts with a question about the world around them. :)


Weston's first Bark Box arrived!


 It was also his last box. The toy pig in the box was so loud that I tried hiding it from him one day. The blue ball was...weird. There was a ball inside the ball. ?? I must not be smarter than a dog..because I didn't understand the point. Those brown sticks? Lamb jerky. Yuck. The only thing he enjoyed were the dental Twistix and the healthy apple treats.  #fail 


My kids started to make their own wordless picture books this week! They are LOVING every minute I give them to work on it. As they work, I circulate the room and ask them to tell me, in complete sentences, what is happening on that page of their story. This is really developing my students' oral language skills and storytelling abilities.  They have to show a clear plot within their books. Next week, they will share their stories with the class by doing their very own read aloud sessions! :)

 Is anyone else besides me wondering if the picture below is supposed to be a human or an animal..? Or both...? :) :)




I started to work on this new pack last weekend. My kids have been attempting to use dialogue in their narratives, so I thought it was time to teach them about quotation marks within their writing.  I'm hoping to have this cute little pack posted by the end of the weekend. :)


We had a Punctuation Pasta Party after we learned where the quotation marks are located in a sentence with dialogue. They LOVED this!

Then, we did this really simple activity that they could not WAIT to do! (...I absolutely love my class this year. Even the simplest activities are exciting to them. They could not wait to make this little chick "talk" today!) They are doing such a good job at correctly writing dialogue! 

That was my week in pictures!  This weekend I am headed to Columbus to meet up with some fabulous blogging friends for a little shopping weekend. Yay!!! It is much needed.  I'll be back Sunday to share my new dialogue mini unit for reading and writing with you! :) 

I'm also joining in on the Spring Cleaning Fun with other bloggers and putting my entire store on sale for the weekend! :) Click the picture below to stock up on goodies for the rest of the year :)




I hope you have a wonderful weekend!! :)