Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tried it Tuesday - Document Camera Read Aloud

Before I get started with this week's Tried it Tuesday, I want to say how heartsick I am over yesterday's events in Boston. It certainly makes me wonder about our world. And then I see a quote like this, and feel a bit better, especially when helping children understand tragedies.
I'm once again linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday. This week's "Tried it" isn't very exciting, but we're in the midst of state testing, so nothing is very exciting in our world right now. 
My kids have been working extraordinarily hard this week. They take 8 different state tests (2 science, 3 reading, and 3 math - about 260 questions), spread out over 4 days. This year has been fun, because it's a transition year for Common Core for the state, a full implementation year for Common Core in our district, and our state tests are still based on our previous standards. These kiddos have had so much put before them this year, the last thing I want to do is work them too much during this exhausting week. I want their brains fresh for each new morning, full of tests. (Can you tell I love testing?!) 

Our school has a tradition of rewarding students with perfect attendance during testing week (all grades - no tardies or absences allowed). On Friday of testing week, all kids get to have a free dress-down day (no uniforms - yippee!), a popcorn party, and watch a movie.

My neighbor and I decided to read and watch "How to Eat Fried Worms" with our kiddos. Nothing better than enjoying a book for fun after a stressful morning of tests, right? The catch? I only have one copy, and my kids this year are definitely visual learners. There are very few in the bunch that don't get distracted without the text actually in front of them. I relate, because I'm the same way.

AVerMedia document camera to the rescue! Oh my, how my students have been engaged as I've read to them so far this week. Not one is zoning out, and with the questions I've asked throughout, I'm pretty sure they're all keeping up with the story!
Source - not my actual class. My camera is broken. But you get the idea. :)
We have two more days of testing. I'm really proud of my kids - they're taking their time and doing their best. Well, most of them...

For those of you in the midst of testing or heading into testing season, remember:

Maybe next week I'll have the chance to try something a little more creative. 

If you haven't yet linked up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper, what are you waiting for? :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Color Printing and Laminating

This school year, I've purchased so many great resources on Teachers Pay Teachers! I know I'm not alone.

Some of my favorites are pictured here:
Task cards from Teaching with a Mountain View
Math Skills Scoot Bundle by Math Mojo
Assessment Posters & Forms by 3rd Grade Thoughts
Vocabulary Task Card Bundle by Rachel Lynette
I would love your input on the following. My student teacher has asked for advice, and I have shared what I do, but I don't experiment much. It made me wonder if other methods are better!

  • Do you print in color or grayscale?
  • At home, school, or even a copy store?
  • Inkjet or laser printer?
  • Do you laminate at home or school?
  • Do you cut materials apart before and/or after laminating?
  • Do you cut by hand, or do you have a favorite paper cutter or trimmer?

Please share your strategies and any specific products you use and love. We only have five weeks of school left, and I want to be sure to send her off with the best advice possible. :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Giveaway! K-3 Bundle and a 4th Grade Package

Go visit Antonia at Forkin 4th. She's having a great giveaway to celebrate her birthday AND 200 followers! One of my products is featured, and I couldn't be more excited!

From Antonia:

Join my B-day Bash and Giveaway Celebration in honor of 200 blog followers!  I'm celebrating my 26th birthday on 4/23 so I'm giving you until the 26th to WIN!!  2 prizes are up for grabs: a 4th grade bundle & a K-3 bundle catered to the primary teaching folk.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Huge Giveaway!

Nicole over at Mrs. Rios Teaches Second Grade is having a fantastic giveaway celebrating 1,000 followers for her Teachers Pay Teachers store! She has different prize packages for each grade from Kinder through Fourth - wow! The giveaway runs through Saturday, April 13.

I had fun entering this morning, and discovered several new bloggers and TpT stores that will help me as a 4th grade teacher.

Go and visit her site, and enter to win some fabulous prizes. Just be sure to enter the K-3 contests. I have my eye on the 4th grade package. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Anticipating April

I'm linking up with Jessica at Literacy Spark. The concept is simple: What do you anticipate in the month ahead?

Looking forward to... I am looking forward to my boyfriend returning home! He has been out of town for two weeks, and I miss him! Life is so much richer with him around.

Dreading... State testing. Enough said.

Hoping to accomplish... I would like to post at least 4 more task card sets into my TpT store, as well as a bundle of my fonts. It's so challenging to take my drafts and turn them into full, polished products - and I love it!

Go link up...it's a quick one!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tried it Tuesday - Task Cards

My new love this year is task cards. They're so versatile, and give students an opportunity to practice the skills they need.

In our classroom, we use task cards in so many different ways:

* to review before a unit test
* as a reward for completed work
* as a learning station
* as part of math rotations
* for extra practice at home or in class (Parents love when these come home - especially with answers provided! I usually shrink them down to save paper.)
* as part of various cooperative learning structures (Quiz-Quiz-Trade, Fan n Pick, Inside-Outside Circle, etc.)
* to play Scoot or variations of Scott
* for test prep
* to print out and have students use in math journals

The list goes on. You get the idea.

My first introduction to task cards this year was through awesome teacher blogs, and I purchased several sets on TpT. I found so many fabulous sellers! Some of my favorites are Teaching with a Mountain ViewMath MojoJennifer Findley, Kristin Kennedy, and Rachel Lynette. If you haven't visited any of them, you're in for a treat!

My kids love the variety, and I love that they're aligned to Common Core!

Once I became a seller on TpT, I decided to start making task card sets of my own. While I love each set I've purchased, I always find I need to tweak something here or there. I've posted two sets that meet all of my own class's needs:

- self-checking (answer on each card)
- Common Core aligned to a specific standard
- adaptable for a variety of uses
- various sizes, so I can send them home, and use them in quite a few different ways
- a wide variety of concepts within one standard (so I can give repeated, varied practice to students who need it)

I don't want this to be a commercial for my task card sets, so I'm not posting a link here. If you want to find them, you can visit my TpT store easily enough. :) Here are two pictures, just to give you a taste.


I have big plans for my summer - lots and lots of task cards sets to be made. I hope next year's kids love them as much as this year's kids (and I) do.

I can't wait to see what everyone else has tried this week! If you haven't done it yet, go link up!

April Currently

With the flip of a calendar page, it's already April! It's just past midnight on April 2, and I'm already well past the 300th person to join in on this month's currently linky. Wow! I'm going to follow the rule of 3 and check out at least 3 other folks' posts - but I'd love to read them all!

Here is mine. Be sure to go link up if you haven't yet.

Listening: These days I'm loving JT's new album. It's great music to keep me moving.

Loving: The school year is winding down! This year's group has been especially challenging, so I'm looking forward to some down time to recharge. We have some fun things planned for the last 6 weeks, so it will fly past!

Thinking: I should be sleeping! I got my second wind, and need to just put things away and go to sleep. The dangers of being home alone while the dear boyfriend is out of town...

Wanting: I love springtime. I don't love that springtime in Phoenix often means 90 degree temperatures. I want my 80s - at least for a few weeks. It's too soon for SPF and sweaty after-school duties!

Needing: I need some motivation to stay after school once or twice a week and start purging/organizing. I've somehow accumulated a lot of STUFF this year, and it needs to find a home. Preferably not all in my classroom...

Advice: Since I'm pretty new to selling/blogging/etc., I don't really have any advice. Instead, my advice is personal in nature. I think it speaks for itself.

I hope everyone has a great April! I know for many, April means testing season, and that is always stressful. May you find peace through this time of year. :)