Friday, October 25, 2013

Five for Friday-Hail to the Victors!

I love ending the week linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday!  



My class is responsible for the recycling program at my school, so every Tuesday afternoon we head outside to dump all the paper in the bin.  I've enjoyed these little excursions with the beautiful fall weather we have been having, but I'm dreading the bitterly cold days to come!


Everyone in Michigan is going to know there is no way this picture is from this week!  You caught me!  I started this Five For Friday last Thursday night, and I honestly don't even remember now why I didn't have time to finish it.  This week we have had below normal temperatures all week.  I even saw a couple of snowflakes land on my windshield yesterday after school!  Yikes!


Step one is to admit you have a problem, right?  Well, I admit it...I am a Charlie Brown junkie.  I love all that is Snoopy and Charlie Brown!  Who doesn't?  I have been decorating my room with these wonderful characters for years, and what's really fun is that for the past few years it seems that Charlie is becoming more popular with everyone, not just me.  So now Snoopy and Charlie are everywhere!  I was shopping at Kohl's about two weeks ago when I saw an enormous display of Snoopy and Charlie Brown stuffed toys near the check out.  They were so cute!  But I actually was able to resist and didn't let myself buy one.  I was surprised when one of my colleagues, Lisa, dropped by my room and brought me Charlie!  She saw him and thought of me.  Isn't that sweet?  Then a few days later one of my students brought in Snoopy.  Doubly sweet!  Aren't they adorable?



My good friend and teammate, Melissa, from Wild About Fifth Grade told me about a new online program she was using to promote make good choices in her classroom.  It's called Class Dojo.  I love trying out new ways of getting my kids to make good choices with their behavior, so I thought I would give it a try.  

You put in your class list, and then each student gets their own avatar which they can personalize at home if they wish.  You then give students positive or negative points for their behaviors.  I already have a system for behavior warnings, so I am trying it out just as a way to reward the positive behaviors. 

When I see a student making a good choice I touch their avatar on my ipad and choose the type of positive behavior they were exhibiting.  You can even make your own.  I added things like...quiet in line and reading when done with work.  Sometimes I set my ipad under the document camera or just bring up the website on my computer with the projector so students can see how many points they have.  This is what the screen looks like. 


At the end of the week, the students with the most points will get to choose one of my Behavior Reward Passes.  You can sign up for Class Dojo for free here.  If you would like to check out my Behavior Reward Passes you can find them at my TPT Store.



We finished reading Edward's Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan this week.  It's so sad!  I do love a good sad story when I'm in the right mood, but it's so hard to read a sad book out loud. My voice starts to get all wavery, and I have to work really hard to control the lump in my throat.  What I love about reading a sad story aloud is how quiet the students get, no one is moving all of sudden.  It's almost like they are all holding their breaths.  That's when you know they are really into the story.  


I have a packet that I created to go along with the free lesson plans by Oakland Schools. You can find the lesson plans here, and my packet and corresponding assessment are available at my TPT Store.


The most important day of the fall season is now 8 days away!  I've been thinking about it for the last year.  My heart pounds and my palms sweat even now...That's right, I'm talking about the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game, the game I both look forward to and dread all at the same time.  



It was ten years ago this fall that I had a great kid named Andy in my class.  He was truly a joy!  The only problem...he was a HUGE Michigan State fan, but even that turned out to be so much fun.  I created Michigan Wolverine warm ups for the class (but really just for him!) and loved the look on his face each morning as he was faced with the dismal task of answering questions about the Wolverines.  The A student that he was wouldn't allow him to answer a single question incorrectly, no matter how difficult for the Spartan inside of him.  

Thankfully, Michigan had a big win that year.  If I recall correctly, it was an overtime nail biter.  His mother later told me that the Monday after the game he went to her and said, "I just don't think I can face Mrs. Rye today."  His mom told him, "Honey, you put on your State sweatshirt and walk into that classroom with your head held high!". 

I revamped my warm ups this year, and you can find them at my TPT Store.  



Those are for you, Andy!  I'm hoping for another big win!  Paul Bunyan needs to spend another year in Ann Arbor.



No matter what, though, I'll put on my Michigan sweatshirt and keep my head held high too.  

Don't forget to head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday and have a great weekend!






Monday, October 14, 2013

Mrs. Rye's Recommended Reads

I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for another Monday Made It to talk about my new bulletin board Mrs. Rye's Recommended Reads.  Every year I have students who struggle to find books that they want to read.  In the past I have spent time with them in the reading area helping them to search for books they will enjoy.  I would just start grabbing books off the shelf that I loved until there was a nice big pile for them to look through.  

This year I decided to create an area where all of my students could go to find books that I recommend.  At the back of my reading area, I have a bulletin board and counter space.  I sectioned off part of the bulletin board for Mrs. Rye's Recommended Reads, and the counter is where all of my recommended reads are housed.



I bought the display stands when they were 50% off at Hobby Lobby and the other book stand was one of my summer projects and my first Monday Made It.  You can go back and see the before and after pictures here.

So, this is how Mrs. Rye's Recommended Reads works.  I pulled a bunch of my favorite all-time books out of my regular library to keep on a shelf behind my desk.  On the front of each book I put a sticker indicating it is one of my recommended reads.




I went online and found an image of each front cover and printed those off on the color printer.  The first two weeks of school, I talked about one recommended read each day to build up a decent selection of books.  I would take a couple minutes to tell them what genre it is and just enough about the book to pique their interest.  Then I would add the book cover to the bulletin board, and the book would be available to check out.


Once the first two weeks of school were over, I reduced it to adding one book a week.  I put it right in my lesson plan schedule so that I don't forget.  I have learned that if I don't make something a routine, it just won't happen!

If you would like to start your own "Recommended Reads" section in your library, I will create a personalized banner and book labels just for you!  You can find this product at my TPT Store.



Enjoy checking out all the other projects at Monday Made It!





Friday, October 11, 2013

Five For Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five For Friday!  



Raise your hand if you know what this picture means...  That's right, state testing time!  This week we started the MEAP, which means cover up anything on the walls that students might look at for help.  I wish they would look at all our anchor charts and posters on the walls more often when we aren't testing!




I realized a couple weeks back I never did do a full tour of my classroom, but I couldn't neglect to show my October calendar board.  I am a Snoopy fanatic, and I just love the combination of the fabric and the leaves!



Our school had a visit from Paws, the Detroit Tigers mascot, during an assembly to tell the students about a contest being sponsored by Subway and the Tigers to promote standing up against bullying.  We all signed a pledge not to be a bully and got our pictures taken with Paws!




Every week I give my students a timed basic facts test.  I start everyone off with multiplication.  The test has 100 problems, and I give them ten minutes.  I know it's a long time, but I want them to figure out the ones they don't know immediately by using different strategies.  When a student earns three perfect papers in a row, I buy them a candy bar of their choice!  Then I move them on to division.  After they get three perfect division tests, they move on to mixed facts.  I also have my students track their own progress on a bar graph.


My Basic Facts Bundle is available at my TPT Store.



I have been working on a bundle of Halloween activities this past week.  The other night, my husband and I were out for a walk, and I asked him if he had any suggestions for other activities I could put in the bundle.  He immediately said, "How about a Halloween Sudoku?  With Halloween pictures instead of numbers."  Brilliant!  So, I spent the last couple nights working on his great idea, and today I let my kids try one of them out.  They loved it!  Some of them were better at solving it than I was!


I added the cute pics and the cute name, Boodoku!  You can find my Boodoku set of four puzzles or my whole Halloween Activities Bundle (which also contains the Boodoku puzzles) at my TPT Store.



Be sure to check out Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Student Motivation-Get That Planner Signed!


I just love Saturday mornings in the fall!  I get to sleep in for a little bit, but if I get up early enough I can beat my son, Jake, to the computer.  If Friday night went as planned, my house is clean and the grocery shopping is done!  I know it doesn't sound like the best Friday night, but a Saturday and Sunday without cleaning or grocery shopping is worth it to me!  

The best thing about Saturdays in the fall is looking forward to a Michigan football game, hopefully a big win this time.  



I'm still not fully recovered from the last few nail-biters and no one else in my family ends up in the same room with me by the time the game is over. I'm afraid I have a tendency to yell a little bit at the t.v.  When we almost lost to Akron, I scared my dog, Emmitt, half to death!  He even ended up leaving the room, and normally he is at my feet 24/7.  

I'm also excited on this Saturday morning to link up with Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching to talk about student motivation.  




There are many things that I have tried over the years to motivate my students, some more successful than others.  

This morning I'm going to talk about motivating my students to get their planners signed every day.  The planner is an essential tool for communicating with parents and for teaching students to keep track of their own homework assignments.  But it won't be effective unless students fill it out and get their parents to sign it every day.  

To motivate students to do this I offer an individual and a class incentive.   If an individual student fills out his/her planner and gets it signed every day during the week, then he/she earns gum on Friday.  I keep a huge tub of Double Bubble behind my desk that I get at Sam's just for this.



The class reward that I offer is this:  if everyone in the class has their planners filled out and signed on a particular day, they earn a segment on our class caterpillar.


When the caterpillar reaches all the way across the white board, the class earns a movie and popcorn, a reward for the kids and me!  Every morning the students anxiously await the announcement about whether or not everyone got their planner signed.  Well, this year we were off to an extremely slow start.  In about twenty days of school, we had only earned it once.  :(  We had also started out a little bumpy in the behavior department, but lately things had begun to noticeably improve.  

On picture day, I had my students bring their chapter books with them so they could read quietly while waiting.  They were so well-behaved!  Three different adults commented on how nicely my class was behaving, so I decided to do something I have never done in twenty-three years, change the rules for the class caterpillar!  Gasp!  I told my kids that every time another adult in the building complimented us on our behavior, we would earn another segment on our caterpillar.  So, that's how we got to the four that we have now.

If you would like to try this incentive with your class, you can download my Caterpillar Incentive at my TPT Store for free!  




Your class will love seeing the caterpillar grow!  After they earn the reward the first time, start the incentive over, but this time remove a segment each time they show the desired behavior.  Good luck!

I'm also linking up with Charity for Manic Monday over at Classroom Freebies.  Check out all the free goodies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday