Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dead Battery post.... yes folks, this one killed my battery

I feel like all I have time for lately is these itty bitty posts so tonight I will make up for it and then some. Let's just say that by the end of this post you will be sick of listening to me talk!! (Let's hope that's not the case ;)

First up, the FUN stuff! I grew up and teach in a little town outside of Portland called Gresham. Every year the city of Gresham puts on a darling little parade called the Teddy Bear parade. It is nothing fancy or extravagant but the kids love it. This year the hubs and I were brave enough to go with my sissy and her two little munchkins. She also had a friends little one (most adorable little red head I have ever seen). So total we had 4 kids under the age of 3. We felt pretty dang accomplished that not a single one was run over during the parade!!

This picture was actually from my G-mas 59th Birthday! It was too cutie pa-toot not to show ya. 

I personally thought it was amazing to see the KIA hamster there. A month back we created a song at Hollydale based on Party Rock! We called it Hollydale rock and it definitely rocked the house at our back to school assembly. 

Enjoying the parade with my main little man!

My amazing hubs got me the most beautiful fall flower. Love the Gresham farmers market. 

If you Oregon teacher haven't been to Playdate PDX yet you must go. It is so great to be able to let the kids play, drink your coffee and spend some adult time. We went after the parade and the kids loved it. 

Next up.... buddies and SPELLING! I still remember my first year of teaching when at back to school night a parent asked what I was doing for spelling. I came up with some generic answer but in reality I had not even thought about it yet. That year I toyed around with some different ideas but nothing that I loved. I can honestly say that I love what I am doing now. 

Okay, here we go!

I give a class spelling test at the beginning of the year. In 3rd grade we started at the second grade sight word list. The list below is the first 500 Fry sight words. 

This is the paper that they take their test on (pretest only). 

After the test I have a volunteer highlight any words on the list that were missed. These are the words that will later be the student's spelling words. If students missed several we will go back to the 1st grade list. If they missed very few we will go further in the list. 

The first 6 highlighted words are then written on a pink card (shown below) and a gray card. The pink card goes in the pocket of the folder shown above and is used during word work time. They gray card goes in the pocket of their OWL folder or take home folder so that they can practice their words at home. 

On Friday, our 4/5th grade buddies come and give us our spelling test. THIS WENT AMAZINGLY!! The buddy reads the word to the student and says it in a sentence. The student uses the paper shown below to write their words. After 1 attempt the buddy prompts the student to try again if they did not do it right the first time. After the second time the buddy spells it correctly for them and they move on to the next word. 

When finished, they place the card and test back in the folder. I or a parent volunteer will look over the test. Any words that were missed are given again. The next words come from the highlighted spelling list. Any word work for the week, the test and last week's card are stapled together and sent home. 

This system has worked so wonderfully. I did it in first grade last year and so far this year it is going even better. The key is making sure that you have a parent volunteer to assess kids frequently so that they will always have words highlighted on their list. There is no point in testing them on words that they already know how to spell. 

Two buddies working together!!

It takes around 5-7 min. for the buddies to complete the spelling test. After they finished they played a math game courtesy of the amazing Mrs. Snodgrass. She is pretty darn incredible and I was lucky enough to teach with her my first year as 1/2 time teacher. It is a simple game but I had never heard of it and the kids loved it. The game is called shoots. 

To start the kids make a T-chart on their paper. One side is Odd and the other is Even. One student writes their name on odd and the other on even. 

The kids count 1, 2, 3, shoot and they hold up from 1-5 fingers. They then add their fingers together. For example: 1,2, 3, shoot. Student A holds up 3 and Student B hold up 2. They add them together and get 5. They then decide if 5 is odd or even and make a tally on their sheet. At the end of the game whoever has the most tallies is the winner! Simple but perfect for practicing quick facts and identifying odd and even. 

It was interesting to see who understood odd and even. No 4 is not odd, 4 is even. 5 cannot be even if 4 is odd... yes, yes, good practice indeed. 

Finally... promise this post is almost over!

Earlier in the week I posted about Daily Math in my classroom. I added a few new borrowing and regrouping math centers and the kids are working super hard and for the most part are on task (at least when I am looking at them, right). 

I was at the dollar tree and they had mini cards and mini dominoes. Absolutely adorbs so I had to get em! Conner is holding up the cards. It was the only way I could think to show that they actually are miniature hehe. 

For regular sized cards I thought that this was the perfect container. In the past I have kept them in zip-loc bags but of course that doesn't last long before they are all jumbled together. This Feta Cheese container is perfect with the flip top lid. 

Dollar Tree also had Dominoes in mini size. I dunno if you know this but I have a teensy (big) bit of OCD. Hey, what teacher doesn't hmmmm?? We just bought all new matching tupperware and I had these tiny green IKEA tupperware containers in the garage ready to go to goodwill. Ummm hello, how could I think there wasn't a better use for them. They are perfect for holding these mini dominoes. 

Anywho magoos the point of this disgustingly long portion of the post. The center. I think their favorite it definitely the Power Towers but getting to use manipulatives like mini cards and dominoes has them on a roll. You can check out these three centers by clicking here or the pictures below!

Hope you found something in all this mumbo jumbo you could use!!!!

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