Take a Peek at The Learning Chambers


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Hey friends!  Today I’m really excited to be joining Katie from Pop Into Primary for her Take a Second to Peek into 2nd blog series.  Each month there will be a new featured blogger that you won’t want to miss.  Each blogger will be sharing a little about themselves and will also be putting one of their products on sale for two days.

I’m super excited because the first featured blogger is …. Stephanie from The Learning Chambers!


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One of Stephanie’s favorite products will be on sale September 25th and 26th only.  Her reading response flap journals are so much fun and a great way to have your students respond to the books that they are reading independently.

They are also differentiated because your students can use whatever book they are reading at the time.  They also include two different styles of writing lines.  You can click on the cover image to check them out in my store.
Thanks so much for reading all Stephanie from The Learning Chambers! Stop by next week to meet another featured 2nd grade blogging buddy!

Rachel

Oh Snap! It’s Almost October.

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Hi everyone! I can not believe that it is almost October already. We just started school last week and I am still getting to my know my kiddos.

One thing that I have learned about my kids so far is that they absolutely love math games. So today I am bringing you some spooky math games for only $1 for the next few days.

Ghostly Missing Addends

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Check out my other math games here to find more on sale for $1.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

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


Oh Snap! It’s Almost September

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Hi everyone! I can not believe it is almost September! Where did the summer go? As we are getting ready for the new school year, one thing I am always looking for and love are task cards. I love using task cards and so do my students!

I especially love using math task cards. They are so versatile! I got tired of scrounging around for supplemental material for math so I created some math task cards to go along with my curriculum. I use GoMath, but these task cards can be used with any math curriculum.

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I have put a few of math task cards on sale. You can check them out here.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

Back to School Sale

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Hi everyone! Are you ready to go back to school already? I kind of am, but I am SO NOT ready. At least the Back to School Sale from TpT will help me. The sale is August 3rd and 4th. Don’t forget to use the code BTS15 for 28% off!

Today I want to take some time and highlight two of my products for you. One of my best sellers is my Charlotte’s Web Interactive Notebook.
The Charlotte’s Web Interactive Notebook has 23 interactive notebook pages for students to complete. It covers setting, point of view, character analysis, sequence, and character’s reaction.

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One product that I am looking forward to using is my Number Sense and Place Value Task Cards Bundle. I am always scrounging around looking for supplemental math material. This task card bundle aligns to my math curriculum but can be used to supplement any math curriculum.

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Task Cards Included:
1. Even or odd Task Cards
2. Addition with Equal Groups Task Cards
3. Value of a Digit Task Cards
4. Expanded Form Task Cards
5. Ways to Write a Number Task Cards
6. Ways to Show Numbers (base-10 blocks) Task Cards
7. Counting by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s
8. Counting by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 100’s

What can’t you live without in the beginning of the school year.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel


What’s in Your Cart? Back to School Sale!

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Can you believe it??? Back to school?? Already? I have to be honest, as much as I love the summer…I really miss being in the classroom. The closer I get to back to school, the more anxious I feel. Please tell me I’m not the only one! I feel like I have so many things left to do. I can’t even get into my classroom until the first week of September to set up.

At least we have the Back to School Sale from TpT! Yes! Now I can grab some great deals on things that I have been looking at over the summer. Don’t forget to use the code BTS15 to snag 28% off.

Take a peek at some things in my store that are a must have. If you are teaching younger students (k-3) my math bundles are a must. I am always scrounging around looking for supplemental material for math. I could never find exactly what I needed so I made task cards to go along with my curriculum. But don’t worry, you can use these task cards no matter what curriculum you are using.

Numbers to 1,000 Bundle

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Number Sense and Place Value Bundle

Number Sense and Place Value Bundle

Get to know your students with 32 task cards.

Back to school Task Cards

Check out some things I plan on buying during the sale.
Geometrocity by Digital Divide and Conquer.
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Sight Word Sleuth Tab Its by Simply Skilled in Second.
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What’s in your cart?
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


Oh, Snap! It’s Almost August Linky

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Hi everyone! Welcome to our first link up on Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals. Can you believe that we are getting ready for August?

I am bringing you my Back to School Task Cards. What better way to get to know your new students than with task cards? You can give each student a set of task cards or set it up like a game of Scoot. I love using the Back to School Task Cards as Scoot. It gives the students a chance to move around on the first day of school and gives you the chance the get to know your students.

Back to school Task Cards

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I am also getting ready for back to school with my Number Sense and Place Value Task Card Bundle. I absolutely love task cards and so do my kiddos. This bundle includes 8 different task card sets with 32 cards in each set. I don’t know about you… but I love to use task cards to groups or to play Scoot. I have a tiny, I mean large class. I have to make sure that if I do scoot or other games that I have enough cards to each of my students as they move around the room. This is why I include 32 task cards. Now I don’t have to worry that I am a few cards short and one of my kids are sitting there bored.

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Both the Back to School Task Cards and the Number Sense and Place Value Task Cards Bundle will be on sale for the next few days.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi,

Rachel

You can check out some other great products below to help you get ready for August!

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Learn Like a Pirate: Chapter 6

6. Active Learning

Hi everyone. Welcome back to our book study of Chapter 6 of Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. Chapter 6 is about active learning.

According to Mr. Solarz, When students actively learn, they are engaged and take on leadership roles.

There are different ways given to help promote active learning.
*Stimulate thinking with simulations (create experiences)
*Debates
*Getting fascinated with fairs
*Science fairs
*Project based learning
*Using technology
*Reader’s Theater

I like the idea of creating experiences instead of lessons. I can definitely see how the students get more out of an experience than just sitting through lessons. I think that I will really think about creating some experiences for my kiddos. I’m glad I have the summer to work on it!

I have to tell you, I love having debates in my classroom. Not only do I love having debates, so do my second graders. It is fascinating to watch the students gather together and discuss a topic. In the beginning, when I introduce debates, I really want to pull my hair out. It is a long process for my seven year olds to be able to debate a topic. We start off slow with a topic we have been studying. Many times I use the question “Would you rather live in a city, suburb, or rural area?” After the unit of study, my kids get together with groups of students who have the same opinion. We work on looking for facts that support their opinion. I spend a lot of time coaching the students and modeling. By mid year, my babies are doing it on their own and loving it! Throughout the year, my students then come up with ideas for debates around topics of study or books we read in class. It’s very surprising to listen to some of their thoughts and ideas and how they try to persuade others to change their opinion.

Mr. Solarz also brings out the importance of science fairs. I think Mr. Solarz, is 100% right about completing projects in class instead of at home. Often times Science fair projects are assigned for homework. The students see it as tedious and many times don’t really care. I also know many parents who will actually complete the project for his or her child. It would be better to have the student complete the project in school and have fun with it. I know many times we are crunched for time and don’t want to “waste” our time with a science fair project. Let’s be realistic, science and social studies have really gone to the side. I have 20 minutes for science and social studies in my classroom. Instead of skipping it, I work on projects in the classroom during reading and writing that incorporate the content areas.

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We work on a lot of projects in my classroom. I’m still working on project based learning and am no expert. As my kids work on their projects, I walk around and facilitate. I try not to get involved in their work and ask questions like, “What are you working on”?, “Where are you getting your information from?”, “Why did you decide to…?” I find that many of my students lack creativity. This is something that I want to work on come September. My students need to know that it is ok to be different, to think outside the box. I think that the schools are killing creativity and want all of the students to be the same.

Let me give you an example, I had my students work on group projects. We were studying heroes in class. I gave my students a list of people they could present on. I gave my students paper and told they could present their project any way they wanted (without technology because we have none.) All of the groups decided to write an essay and draw a picture. I walked around and asked the students what they were doing and why they decided to present the information in essay format.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

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Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull

So next year I plan to do more PBL and to incorporate Reader’s Theater into my classroom. What are some ways you will promote active learning in your classroom?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I’ll see you next week for Chapter 7.

Rachel


Learn Like a Pirate: Chapter 5

5. Responsibility

Hi everyone! Welcome back to our book study on Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz. Today we are looking at chapter 5.

Chapter 5 is about responsibility. You might be thinking… responsibility? I am already responsible for so much that happens in and outside of my classroom. I don’t know how much more I can take?! Every time we turn around, we have more heaped upon us and we become so overwhelmed with everything we have to do.

In Chapter 5 of Learn Like a Pirate, Paul Solarz reminds us how important it is for our students to be given responsibility in the classroom. Think about everything you do in the classroom… Now think about those things and which of them could become jobs of your students. One way to give your students more responsibilities is by assigning classroom jobs. I think most of us have a classroom job chart in our room. We have door monitors, light monitors, paper collectors, sweepers, and so on.

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According to Paul Solarz,While it is important for students to have jobs, we can not assign every single job needed to be done. It takes away from the responsibility sharing as a class. I agree with Mr. Solarz. If we assign every task, and something doesn’t get done the students tend to blame each other instead of helping out.

I love how Mr. Solarz talks about how there should be collaborative responsibility, in which all students are taught different roles so that each student can take an active role in the classroom. By having collaborative responsibility, the kids don’t blame others when a job is not done. We have to teach the students to take an active role and be responsible. When a job is not done, we have to remind the class of what needs to be done. Mr. Solarz tells us that he might do the job the first time, but then uses “Give me Five” and announces that it will be someone else’s turn next time.

In my class, if a student doesn’t do his or her job I often have a few students who will remind them to complete the job. If the job is still not done, many of my other students will take the responsibility and complete the job. I have to remember to spend more time in the beginning of the year focusing on being responsible and hopefully creating a classroom with collaborative responsibility.

I love the idea of giving my students more responsibility, but at the same time I am already asking myself, “Can I really do this? Can I really give up so much control?” Reading Mr. Solarz’s book, is giving me the confidence of creating a student led classroom.

What are some ways you will give your students more responsibility in the classroom?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Don’t forget to come back next week to read Chapter 6 of Learn Like a Pirate.

Rachel