Exit Tickets

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since I posted. Sometimes life just gets in the way, if you know what I mean.

So I’ve been sitting here, getting ready for back to school in September. I know many of you have already gone back, but we go back to school the day after Labor Day. Although we go back later than most, our last day last year was June 28th! It is seriously torture!

So my summer project right now is EXIT TICKETS. I really have love/ hate relationship with exit tickets.

I love them because they give me a quick assessment. I can look quickly at my kids’ exit tickets and know within a minute who needs help and who doesn’t. Exit tickets also help me reflect on my own teaching. Sometimes, you think the class understood something…but they didn’t. The exit tickets will let me know if I need to stop and reteach the skill or the concept. I love how an exit ticket can be really simple, like write 2 words with the short a sound. Exit tickets can be pieces of paper, preprinted, or on post-its.

So, now that I told you why I love exit tickets…let me tell you why I do NOT love exit tickets.

I don’t know how exit tickets or assessments work in your school, but in my school they are expected for every lesson. We are expected to have a checklist for every lesson and an exit ticket for every lesson. Not only are we expected to have an exit ticket for every lesson or small group, the exit tickets can not be generic. They can be “Today I learned…) Our exit tickets have to assess the exact skill or strategy we are teaching. Again, while I definitely see the benefit of checklists and exit tickets sometimes it is not really needed for EVERY lesson.

I love these exit tickets from the Curriculum Corner. If you are looking for exit tickets that you can use with every lesson, then these are great! Unfortunately, these are not really a help to me. πŸ™

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Not only do we need to use exit tickets for every lesson. They have to be included in our small group instruction for each subject. Exit tickets during math, no problem. We typically work on a new concept or skill everyday. I was able to take my math curriculum, GoMath and create exit tickets for each lesson. So I made 4 different exit tickets for each lesson. This way my exit tickets are differentiated for all of my kids. So far, I am almost finished with the exit tickets for chapter 3. My husband comes home from work and thinks I’m crazy!
You can click on the pictures to check them out!

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Exit tickets during reading…works ok. Let’s be honest, teaching reading skills is not something that can always be assessed after every leading lesson. Think about teaching main idea. Can you imagine expecting your kids to get it after a lesson or two. So one day, I might teach identifying the who and the what of what they are reading (exit ticket 1.) The next day I might teach connecting the who and the what (exit ticket 2.) Then it’s looking for repeated key phrases and ideas (exit ticket 3.) While I have no problem developing exit tickets for each strategy, it is time consuming.

Exit tickets during Science and Social Studies too!! OH MY!
We all know that often times a Science or Social Studies lesson is not a one day lesson. For me it is very difficult to develop exit tickets to assess my kids when the lesson is not over yet. Sometimes I am left with about 20 minutes to teach Science and Social Studies and it is just not enough time!

Here is my biggest problem with exit tickets and maybe you can help me out. I am NOT organized at ALL! Every year I start out really organized. By November, all of my good plans on being organized are gone. I have no problem organizing my exit tickets after they are collected. I collect the exit tickets and read each ticket to see if the kids understood the concept. I use my checklist to record my observations from the exit tickets. I take the exit tickets and sort them into groups based on understanding. I staple the groups of exit tickets on paper and put then into a binder. Now my small groups or my individual conferences are ready! Easy as pie!

So here is where my disorganization comes into play…the collecting of exit tickets.
I have tried all different methods of collecting exit tickets and none of them have really worked for me. Last year, I had a small bin at each table that held the exit tickets and my students would place the competed exit tickets into the bin. I would then walk around and collect the exit tickets. The only problem with that method is often times, the kids mix up the blank exit tickets and the completed exit tickets.

This year I am going to try something new. I bought a pocket chart with 35 pockets because I have 32 second graders. I am going to hang the pocket chart up, maybe on the back of my door and have the kids put their completed exit ticket into their numbered pocket. This way I can see who has completed the exit ticket and who has not.

How do you collect exit tickets?

Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

Rachel

Explore Like a Pirate: Chapter 2

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Hi everyone!

Today we are continuing to read “Explore Like a Pirate”, by Michael Matera. Thanks to Rachael at Sweet Sweet Primary for putting this book linky together for us.

Today we explore chapter 2: Tall Tales: Dispelling the Myths of Gamification.

According to Michael Matera, before we can begin gamification in our classrooms, we must first dispel the myths. This will ensure that teachers, students, parents, and administration have a positive experience with gamification.

Myth 1: Games are just for play. There is no challenge or educational rigor.
-Michael Matera writes about how by playing games, students learn from their mistakes, practice short and long term planning , and develop informational literacy skills. It is our job to create games that are engaging and rigorous. When sitting down to create games, we must consider the 3 Cs (content, choice, and challenge.) We want to think outside the box when planning and creating games for our students. First, we must think of the content that is being taught or that needs to be taught. Choice is the open-ended game model that students love. We need to challenge the students, just like the twists and turns in video games.

Myth 2: If I give them a badge or points, my class will be gamified.
Many times, teachers play games in the classroom where the students earn points or badges as they play. We think that this is enough, my students are playing games and having fun. I have also been guilty of this. Giving points or badges is simply not enough. When planning a game, there must be a purpose, goals, micr-goals, risks, challenges, and of course socialization.

Myth 3:It’s easy for you. It won’t work for me because I teach ______________.
Let’s be honest. I hear this statement all of the time. This statement can be heard in all schools and for any topic. Whenever something new is introduced or admin wants teachers to implement a strategy, I hear teachers say, “It won’t work for me because…” Often times, frustration or being overwhelmed leads to this statement. Sometimes it is the simple fact of a teacher not having the appropriate training.
According to Michael Matera, saying that it won’t work for you because of a grade or subject you teach is untrue. Teachers should be asking themselves how to connect to their students, not can I connect to my students.

Myth 4: You need to be a gamer to gamify your class.
According to Michael Matera, you do not need to be a gamer to gamify your class. He says you should download some apps and start playing them. As you play the games, keep a notepad handy so you can write down the structure, goals, and challenges.

Myth 5: Students should want to learn; I shouldn’t have to dress it up!
I have heard many people say “Students should want to learn.” I have heard this said by teachers, parents, and by administrations. I’ve heard counselors and psychologists say that children should want to learn and shouldn’t need to be extrinsically motivated. Don’t we all wish that we had a full class of students who were instrinsically motivated. That all students showed up to school everyday ready to learn and wanting to learn. My son, who is 10 hates school. He constantly asks, “Can I stay home from school?” He hates school and completing work, but is reading on an 11th grade level. I wish that some of his teachers had read this book and at least attempted to gamifiy their classroom. I’m sure he would have been engaged and it would have made a big difference in his attitude towards school.

Myth 6: Gamification is just playing games…
Gamification is not just playing board games. When planning, you take the game elements like challenges and goals and layer them over your content and standards being taught.

Myth 7: Girls don’t game.
I don’t even think I need to address this myth. Many of my girls play video games and many adult women I know also play video games. Maybe if I played more video games I would be more relaxed, like my husband. πŸ™‚

Myth 8: My classroom doesn’t have enough technology to make this work.
I love how the author explains how you do not really need technology to gamify your classroom. Gaming is a lot of socialization, which is tech free and costs nothing. He mentions that you can have a bulletin board dedicated to the game.

Myth 9: Games in the classroom are too much about competition.
I agree with the author when he states that a little healthy competition is good. Children learn to work together and work towards a purpose or to achieve their goal. I think part of the problem with society now is “Everyone is a winner” mentality. Children feel that they should be given something for everything they do. They should automatically get a ribbon or an award just for participating. Schools don’t want a child to feel bad because they did not win. As a result, we have children who do not know how to cope with failure.

I can’t wait to share chapter 3 with you!

Click on the picture below to go back to Sweet Sweet Primary’s blog and read what others have to say.
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Educents Giveaway!

teacher appreciation educents 2016

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation month, Educents, FreshGrade, S&S Worldwide, and the Sellers of Educents have partnered to give educators funding for their dream classrooms. The 7 educators with the most votes will win a combined $10,000! Any educator is eligible to win – teachers, homeschoolers, parents, and school administrators.

How to Win

Educators get pretty creative when it comes to raising money to cover expenses for classroom supplies. Many host bake sales, ask the community for second-hand supplies, or pay out of their own pockets. However, there’s a new way to get money for your classroom… and it doesn’t include raiding the aisles of your local dollar store.

It’s easy to enter to win the Educents Teacher Appreciation Giveaway, and it still requires a little creativity (see Step 3).

Step 1: Save up to $5,000 in products for your dream classroom in your Educents wishlist.

Step 2: Click β€œEnter to Win” on your wishlist page and create your voting profile.

Step 3: Share with your friends, family and community and ask them to vote for you every day until May 6. This is your opportunity to get creative – how will you share your wishlist, and how will you involve your community to vote for you??

Any educator is eligible to win – teachers, homeschoolers, and school administrators. Ready to get started?

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Here are a few other entries I love – vote for your favorite!

teacher appreciation vote

“Vote for me because I LOVE teaching. I have a wonderful class that is full of spirit and who loves to learn. I will be putting all my dream items to the end of the year lessons and summer school lessons.” -Diana R.

“I am a homeschooling mom of 4 children, and one baby on the way! We live on only my husband salary. I would love to create a dream classroom for them.” – Gina H.

enter-now

Back to School Survival Kit

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Today I am sharing my Back to School Survival Kit that I received from Jennifer. First of all, I want to say thanks for Jen for sharing this fabulous survival kit with me.

I was so excited to receive my survival kit in the mail. It’s the little things that put a smile on my face.

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Jen sent my a beautiful card with a lovely message inside. Not only did she include a great message, but she included a coupon for a free cup of coffee!
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Jen is from Indiana so she sent me a little piece of her home state. I am always looking for a cup. This is perfect to keep in my desk.
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Who doesn’t love post-its?
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EEEkkk!! Flair Pens! Need I say more?
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Jen also included some Twizzlers and chocolate in my survival kit. I love keeping something sweet in my desk that I can grab quickly!

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel


Learn Like a Pirate: Chapter 7

7. Twenty-First Century Skills

Welcome back to our book study on Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. Today we are talking about chapter 7. Chapter 7 talks about twenty first century skills in the classroom.

You might ask yourself, “What are twenty-first century skills?” According to Mr. Solarz, there are thirty-four skills in eleven categories which comprise twenty-first century skills. These are skills that our students need in order to become college ready, or productive citizens. These are skills that are students need in order to be successful, not only in school, but also in life.

According to Mr. Solarz, these skills include:
*Communication and Collaboration
*Creativity and Inovation
*Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
*Reflection and awareness
*Flexibility and Adaptability
*Initiative and Self-direction
*Social and Cross-cultural Skills
*Productivity and Accountability
*Leadership and Responsibility
*Information Literacy
*Media Literacy

Many people hear twenty-first century skills and automatically think technology. I’ve heard many principals and teachers state that they are a twenty-first century school. The principal of my old school (I call her the Evil Empress) loved to say we were a Twenty-first Century School and we taught twenty-first century skills. She spent thousands of dollars on technology. There was a computer lab (all up to date computers), a media center with enough computers for a class, lap top carts in the upper grades, smart tables in the lower grades, and smart boards in every room. She even bought a robot that would interact with the kids and read books. I have to admit I miss all of technology listed above but reflecting back, that’s all the principal really promoted. The kids reflected on their work but really didn’t care about the work or how to improve. Students collaborated with each other and asked questions but I don’t think as a school, we really taught many of the Twenty-first century skills.

As teachers, it is our job to implement twenty-first century skills into our classrooms. It is not enough to just worry about how students can use technology. Yes, we live in a society where technology is very important, but its not the be all and end all.

We need to be sure that our students can collaborate and communicate effectively with others. Students need to be able to work together, listen to what others have to say, and see the value in the ideas of others. Students need to ensure that students get take responsibility for their learning and set goals to reach. Students need to be taught how to set a goal and the ways in which they can meet that goal.

According to Mr. Solarz, when teaching we need to give each student feedback using twenty-first century skills. As teachers we reflect back on our lessons. We ask ourselves, “What went well?” or “What do I need to change for my lesson to be more effective?” Just like we reflect, I have my students reflect on their behavior and on their work. Students complete a self reflection and write something that did well on (glow) and something they need to work on (grow.) My students also work together and give peer reflections. Students are then able to go back to their work and revise it based on the suggestions made by me or by their classmates.

I love the idea of giving the students a twenty-first century report card and that it is not based on grades. I feel that many of my parents and students are more concerned with a grade than they are with actually learning the content being presented. I think starting next school year I will begin to give out a twenty-first century report card. I’m wondering if the scale of 1-10 would work with my parents. I think they might still see it as a grade. Maybe just a minus,check minus, check, and check plus might work with my second grades, but I’m not sure.

How would you give scores on a twenty-first century report card without having the students or parents think about the score being a grade?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel


Learn Like a Pirate:Chapter 4

4. Improvement Focus vs. Grade Focus

Welcome back to Chapter 4 of Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. How many times a day do you hear your students ask, “Are you grading this?” Or “What’s my grade on this?” Not only do I hear that from my students, but also from my students’ parents. It seems that all that is really important in our society is testing and grading. Just look at the importance put on standardized testing. I think giving the kids a grade, or test score is beaten into us. It’s so bad, that our new evaluation system, I’m in New York City, is based on two different components. The first being standardized tests (50%) and the second component being observations.

So, I was excited to read chapter 4: Improvement Focus vs. Grade Focus. As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but scream in my head, “YES!! This is exactly how it should be!” I try so hard to do activities or projects during the year that do not get graded but the students and the parents have difficulty processing that the work is not being graded.

Mr. Solarz explains that we should really focus on improvement. YES, YES, Yes! We need to give students immediate feedback and let them know how to improve their work. This is how the students really learn. The student’s learning does not continue once they get a grade, instead the students just stop thinking about the content was graded.

Even though I have to grade my students, I try to still give my kiddos the opportunity to revise their work. In my school, we have to grade the students and give glows (strengths), grows (weaknesses), and next steps. I give my students the opportunity to revise their work and improve. Some of my students take the opportunity, but others do not.

Giving students constant feedback is very important. As the students work, I try to circulate and listen in to what is happening. If the students are lost, I try to coach into the activity and give thought provoking questions. We also work on learning how to give feedback to our peers.

In class, we work on many partner or group projects. One activity we work on is Math Exlemplars. Students are paired up based on the math strategy used. I know that this chapter is about not grading students, but I do give my students a rubric (with grades.) This is a 3 day process and gives the students time to reflect on their work, on the work of others, and to go back and revise their work. Students get feedback from me and the other students in the class. You can read about math exlemplars here

I also agreed with Mr. Solarz when he wrote about improving results and retention. In this part of the chapter, Mr. Solarz mentions rigor. We joke in my school about rigor being a curse word. It seems that rigor is the new buzz word, but no one (meaning my administration) can actually show us what rigor is. I love how Mr. Solarz talks about how he does NOT plan rigorous lessons. That he provides the opportunities to find rigor in everyday work. I think this is genious! πŸ™‚
I am always telling my students, “What’s hard for one person, might be easy for someone else.” I love the idea of students looking back and reflecting on portfolios to help improve their work and their retention. Reflecting is very important because it gives the students the chance to really think about their work and what their strengths and weaknesses are in that piece of work. Portfolios are also important because they show growth over time. By using a portfolio, students can see the progress they have made throughout the year.

Thanks for stopping by. I can’t wait to share chapter 5 with you next week.

Rachel


Your Curriculum is Just A Tool!!!

Hi everyone. Are you tired of hearing your admin say, “The reading curriculum is just a tool. Use the material anyway you want.”? Really, REALLY!!

How many of you have heard this phrase? Is it true? I’m not sure. We all change the lessons to meet the needs of our children. But what happens when you have to rewrite the whole damn curriculum? I’m sure many of you have done just that. The schools pay all of this money for a curriculum and we have to spend all of our time to create lessons that actually work.

You might be wondering which reading curriculum I am using. Well, I don’t know if you have heard of the awesome Pearson company (I almost feel like they are the Evil Empire!) In NYC, Pearson seems to be in charge of almost all of the curriculum, assessments, and State Exams.

So we are told to use ReadyGen as a tool. So everyday I rewrite the curriculum and teach the skills or lessons how I want to and in the style that will most benefit my kiddos.

I started to teach each lesson focusing on a 15 minute mini-lesson and then small group work (which is definitely not in the program. :() I incorporate the science or social studies text books or articles on the topics. I added in A LOT of writing because there only seems to be response to literature in ReadyGen’s writing component.

How else can I make this curriculum just a tool? I started to make interactive notebooks for the books that we have to use in our lessons. The only part of ReadyGen that is ok are SOME of the trade books used.

Last week we read A Chair for My Mother. I absolutely love this book, but if you follow the curriculum it is boring and basically kills any enjoyment of this wonderful book. So I introduced the interactive notebook for A Chair For My Mother and my kids loved it.

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Then I had my kids design their own comfortable chair. Just take a look at some of the chairs that my kiddos created! πŸ™‚

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Besides designing and building a comfortable chair to go along with the story, “A Chair for My Mother” students also had to write about how they created their chair and why they decided to create that chair.

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My students had so much fun with the interactive notebook, designing their comfortable chairs and their writing assignment.

My students loved using the interactive notebooks so much that I started to create them for the different trade books that we use as part of the 2nd grade ReadyGen curriculum. You can check them out by clicking here.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my rant. πŸ™‚
How do you use your curriculum as just a tool?

Rachel

A Frustrated Mother!! Help!!!

Hi everyone. Sorry I’ve been M.I.A lately. This school year has really been kicking my butt. I’m sitting on my couch on my second day off with Bronchitis and a Sinus Infection and going through emails from my son’s teacher.

Have you ever just wanted to scream?? This is in no way against his teachers. He is in a 4th grade ITC (60% gen ed/40% special ed) class, on the general ed side and I love both of his teachers. This is the first year that he actually likes school.

This is kind of a rant and things have been floating around in my head for a few days. Have you ever looked back and thought about your life and how you would have changed something? That’s how I am feeling right now.

I am in my 16th year of teaching and I am just now looking back and thinking as a mother and a wife, not a teacher. I switched schools three years ago and I think my point of view changed as well. In my old school, I was working every night until 11 pm on lessons or grading or collecting data. I know many of you can relate. I had many fights with my husband over the time spent on work. He couldn’t understand it!

Now thinking back, I see all of the time I missed with my family and how I put work in front of them. At least over the last three years I started to change that.

But I digress, like I said this is kind of a rant. So…back to my son. I think my son is a great kid (what mother doesn’t say that :)) but he frustrates me to no end. He is that kid in your class who is smart but gives up easily. He doesn’t really care and gives the bare minimum. It doesn’t seem to matter what I or my husband say to him. So as I sit looking through emails, I wonder what can I do?

He is an only child and has a very active imagination. For lack of a better term, he is QUIRKY. I wondered if he was on the spectrum but was told no. I never had to baby proof my house. He would sit for hours and play with one thing. But the temper tantrums…hours upon hours and started at 6 months old and went to about 4 years old. He never climbed because he said, “I could fall.”

After the tantrums, started organizing things by size and some OCD tendencies. You couldn’t touch his head. If you did, he would touch his head three times after you. My brother in law thought this was hysterical, but I didn’t. One day after a year or two of this, my son turned around to me and said, “You know what, it’s kind of silly that I touch my head after someone else. I think I’ll stop.” He never did it again.

Then he went to school. He was in my school and a cryer. Oh boy! I could hear him cry down the hallway. He would refuse to do things, give up, and cry. He was in my school for 2 years with a fantastic teacher. During that time, he decided he didn’t want to have any friends. He would refuse to say the names of other children. He would say, “You know that kid, his name starts with D.” It would be like playing 20 questions with him. I wanted to put him in therapy but my husband refused. You know how men are…

One day in first grade my son came home from school and told my husband, “Dad, I think I need to go to the talking doctor.” How can you say no to a 6 year old who says he needs help. What 6 year old says that?? So, he was in therapy for two years. Between the therapy and maturing, I saw a big change in him.

He switched schools and wasn’t with me and I was worried about him. In hind sight, it was the best thing that happened to him. He made friends and got invited to birthday parties. His little friends call him on the phone. He seems to gravitate towards the trouble makers and to kids who are also Quirky. He is the kid who is friends with the child in the wheelchair and with the biggest trouble maker in the class. He is quick to cut off people. If he doesn’t like the way a friend is acting, he decides that he doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore. At 9 years old, he already knows what it took me years to discover… you only have 1 or 2 real friends.

Like I said, he is that kid that is smart but doesn’t like to be challenged. He was supposed to go into the gifted class but my husband and I were concerned that he would become too frustrated and would have to pull him out. He does not like reading or writing and it shows in his work. Don’t get me wrong, he is above grade level but doesn’t seem to care or want to show it.

Last year, the first day of the NYS ELA I asked my son about this test. His response, “I was the first one done. It was so easy!” Can you picture my cringe. We all know this usually means DOOM! What did he get on the State Tests in 3rd grade? A high 3 on the ELA and a 4 on the math without even really trying!

This year, his teachers are hard on him and contact me with issues that are going on in the classroom. I am glad about this. In previous years, I didn’t hear anything at all and during parent teacher conference we would be blindsided by his behavior.

I told you this was a rant! I just thought some background knowledge would help you to help me. I am so frustrated at this point. He is so smart but gets frustrated so easily. He doesn’t like to take risks or to try new things. He will not read aloud in the class. He just started reading in a small group. He doesn’t like to be told what to do. He wants an explanation for everything he has to do. Usually, as long as you have a reason, he will do it. He gets angry fast and will slam something. Doing homework with him can be a nightmare. If something is wrong, it’s like the end of the world! I don’t make it better because I have a short fuse with him, especially during homework.

I know being in the ITC class has helped him but we are debating about requesting that he be in a regular general ed class next year.
So what would you do? What advice would you give to his teacher?

Some Thanksgiving Fun!

Hi everyone. I can not believe that Thanksgiving is next week already. I am gearing up for some family time and some relaxation.

Last week, I shared an activity with you from Digital: Divide & Conquer. I used his Turn into a Turkey activity and it was such a big hit. You can read all about it here

Click below to check it out.
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After working on Turn into a Turkey. I read the book T’was the Night Before Thanksgiving and Turkey Trouble. The kids thought both books were hilarious! πŸ™‚

Easy Teaching Tools has such a cute craftivity!! Turkey Trouble: Craftivity and Writing Activity where the kids have to disguise their turkey and write about it. I could not believe how create my kiddos were with their stories about How Not To Become Thanksgiving Dinner and how they disguised their turkeys.
Take a look at some of the turkeys they created.

Just look at this Princess Turkey! My student was so proud of her disguise. She used a barbie dress to disguise her turkey as a princess.
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Next, is the Super Spy Turkey. This kiddo didn’t have any material to use at home so he just used markers and crayons. My kids loved this turkey and thought it was very creative. πŸ™‚

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Another student disguised her turkey as a cat. I love the tail and the whiskers! Don’t you?

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One of my students shared his Cowboy Turkey! He read his story aloud and then shared how his turkey was in a rodeo. πŸ™‚

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Next, we have a Hula Turkey. This student went all out. His mom took apart a hula doll she had in their house. He story was fabulous about a turkey who disguised himself as a hula dancer because there was a party with dancers and the turkey was able to just dance right out of the house.

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Last, but not least is the Patriotic Turkey. My little girl was so cute when she shared her turkey. She said, “Of course we need a turkey disguised as the American Flag. Thanksgiving is an American holiday.” πŸ™‚

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I think the Hula Turkey and the Cowboy Turkey are my favorite! Which is your favorite?

Click below to check out the craftivity and writing.
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If you haven’t signed up for Educents yet, they are offering $10 towards your purchase for new members!
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That Kind of Week…and a Friend Saves the Day!

Have you ever had THAT kind of week?? This week has definitely been THAT kind of week and it is only Wednesday!!

Last week I was observed by our Superintendent and met with my Assistant Principal on Monday so she could let me know what went well and what I need to work on. I was then informed that people from outside of the building were coming this Friday to observe me yet again. WHAT?

Before we left school on Monday, we were reminding that it was open house for parents on Wednesday morning and to make sure we had a great activity planned.

Tuesday was no school for Veteran’s Day!! I had the whole day to plan (not relax) my activity for the parents and for my observation on Friday. Did I mention that Thursday is our Parent Teacher Conferences until 8:00 p.m. and that my observation in Friday morning at 8:45? WHAT??

So I spent most of my day planning for my Friday observation when I realized that I didn’t have an awesome activity for my parents. In case you don’t know, I am neurotic!! I can admit it. I stress over everything and over plan for everything. It must be part of my DNA. For Meet the Teacher Night, I had a 32 slide presentation. Please tell me that it is normal!!

So I started to stress when I reached out to one of my favorite groups on Facebook for help. My FB friends were so great and so creative and they gave me so many great ideas!! πŸ™‚

I finally started to relax, a little. I had a great activity to work on when my parents came today. My kids and parents LOVED it SO much that I just had to share it with you.

A GREAT BIG THANKS to Matt from Digital: Divide & Conquer for saving my neurotic life! I used his Turn into a Turkey activity and it was such a big hit.

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I put the T U R K E Y posters up on my Smartboard and the parents and I discussed each letter and how the letter applied to their own life.

Then my kiddos went back to their desks and began their writing activity. They talked about the letters in TURKEY and what each letter stood for with their partner and parent. Then, my kids started to write. They were so excited. I love to see my students excited about writing.

The best part… The activity was already differentiated! I didn’t have to break my head and think of how to differentiate the activity for my 2nd graders.
My struggling students were given the letters in turkey without lines. I had my students write around the letter about how that letter applied to them.

This student is obviously an artist. πŸ™‚
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For my other students, I gave them the letters that spelled out turkey with lines. Students wrote about how each letter applied to their life and gave examples.

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When it was time for the parents to leave and for us to stop the activity, I heard moans and groans. They didn’t want to stop. So I had to give more time for the students to finish. It made my heart happy! πŸ™‚

You can click here to check out Turn into a Turkey at Digital: Divide & Conquer’s blog. I promise, you won’t regret it!

Besides having an awesome activity to work on while the parents were in the classroom, I was also given a great craft and writing activity that I sent for homework.

Easy Teaching Tools has such a cute craftivity!! Turkey Trouble: Craftivity and Writing Activity where the kids have to disguise their turkey and write about it. I can not wait until my kiddos bring in their disguised turkeys and writing pieces. As my kids were leaving the room, one student who has been reading about the solar system whispered, “My turkey will be hiding out as an astronaut.”

Click below to check out the craftivity and writing. I can’t wait to share it with you next week!
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,
Rachel