Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Year of Awesome - Week 12


A morning doctor's appointment confirmed that my hand WILL be okay, even if it isn't feeling so okay right now. I'm still a little swollen and very tender, but I'm managing. Being away in the morning meant a very short amount of time with my kiddos since I have planning at the end of every day. During our art block we got started on our door decorating for Bullying Awareness Week. We are going with a fish theme this year: "There's no room in our school for bullies." I found the idea on Pinterest but there was no link, only a picture. Here's our finished product. My photo is hard to read because I couldn't make the words any bigger and still fit in all our little fish. Each of them has a friendly message in the top bubble.  I think it is pretty awesome! ☺
Ladies and Gentlemen, we've fallen off the rails. 

Okay, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but these past couple of days have been tough! I'm sure that my nearly week-long absence has contributed - that's FOUR different guest teachers in one week. And did I mention we have snow? Yeah, that could be the culprit, too.

Whatever the reason, these past few days have been a real challenge. I've found myself repeating over and over, "Boys and girls, please watch your volume." I don't have the energy for this over, and over, and over, and.... yeah. 

Remembering a great little trick I once saw on Pinterest, I put this up on the board today:

Each time the volume creeps up beyond an acceptable level I simply walk over and remove a letter. I don't need to say a word. When three letters are lost and only "NO" remains there is no talking. BAM! Instant change! They are watching, they are reminding each other. Wow! Awesome!!
Although we've clearly been working on writing and word work for weeks now, I have finally introduced these as part of our Daily 5 time. The kids were even more excited for writing than word work (which surprised me, but more about that tomorrow!) and we'll soon be ready to get some choice in our rotations.

So... I dusted off last year's rotation board but found that the pieces had really taken a beating. They were all splitting (since I'd laminated them before cutting them out) and really do need to be replaced. To make the job a little easier, I invested in these great little punches from our local craft store. (You can see something similar to what I purchased HERE.) They didn't work so well once the pieces were laminated, but that may be because I chose the nice, heavy 3mm film and it is thick. At least I only have to cut the circles once! If you'd like to grab these for your classroom you can find them HERE.
Today we broke out the class journals. If you haven't heard of them, they are simply themed journals that the students share as a class. They can write an entry of their own during writing time, or choose to read them during independent reading. They are ALWAYS a hit - the kiddos in my class last year actually argued over them. What teacher doesn't love students who are eager to write? Awesome☺

I'm sharing these covers with you here as a thank-you for taking the time to stop by! Just click the photo above to grab yours. I'd love it if you left me a comment below!
Here in Ontario, the third week of November is designated Bullying Awareness Week. We celebrated with lots of activities throughout, including our door decorating that I've already written about, and today was one of our Pink Shirt Days. We came together as a school for an anti-bullying assembly full of stories and inspirational messages. Well, the very last thing that was shared as the students were exiting the gym was Will.i.am's What I Am, performed with the cast of Sesame Street.
If you've been with me since the beginning of this blog you know that this is a special song for me. When I began Mrs. Beattie's Classroom I was teaching fifth grade to a most special group of kids. This was our class theme song and we listened to it belted it out at the top of our lungs several times a day. The time I spent with those children sticks with me to this day.

When this song was displayed at the front of the gymnasium, these now seventh-graders became ten again. They all started waving at me across the gym, and when the song played they sang along. They high-fived me in the hall remembering with me. It nearly brought me to tears. In fact, later on in the evening, as I recounted the day to my husband, it DID bring me to tears. This was one of the most awesome teacher moments ever. Ever. ☺

One more thing... I hit a quarter of a million views of my blog today, and that is totally AWESOME, too! Have a great weekend!

Do you have an AWESOME story to share from your week in the classroom? Link up or leave a comment below! 

To link your blog: Grab the button below, add it to your blog post, link it back here, and then add your link at the bottom of this post!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations, Erin! You're the lucky winner of my Guided Math resources! I hope you enjoy using them in your classroom! Check your email!
Graphics by Whimsy Clips

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Oughta Know About iDoceo!

I am linking up with Jasmine at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her "You Oughta Know" Blog Hop. Several us are joining together to share some things we think you oughta know about to make your life in the classroom easier!

Earlier this year, I {finally} became the proud owner of an iPad. I didn't really know what I was going to do with one, but knew I had to have it! ☺ If you follow my blog already you know that after polling my Facebook fans on their favorite apps I decided to purchase iDoceo.
It looked like an amazing way to manage my mark book and plan book in one place, but if you've read those earlier posts you know that I struggled to get it going. The tutorials all seem to be set up with high school teachers in mind, and I'm a primary teacher...

I've now been using the app for two months and love it more each day! I completed my progress reports last weekend and they may have been the simplest reports I've ever written because I had so much data at my fingertips!

Setting Up Subjects and Using the Planner

You can read all about how I set up my subjects in THIS blog post.

Go "Paperless"!

You can also read how I've been able to go "paperless" in THIS blog post.

Using the Mark Book

Now that I've been using it for some time I can share some features of the mark book with you! I use the mark book section of each subject to create checklists as well as record grades, document my observations and can even photograph or video the child's work. Each cell in the grade book is multi-layered, allowing you to record text, icons, resources and annotations.

To change column properties you press and hold the heading of the column. This menu will appear:
Tap Edit to change the column properties.
Here in the "Title" section is where you can change the title of the column as well as adjust the width & color. You can also indicate here whether you want the date to appear or not. Press "Editor" and the screen will change to this:
This is where you choose the type of data you'll be collecting. You'll see some examples of these if you keep reading! Finally, select "Grade Type".
There are many options here, as well as a custom category so you can create something that best suits your needs.

Sample Data and Annotations:

Using the sample class that is included with the app, I'll show you some of the different ways you can manage student data. Marks can be entered numerically:
And the app can even average a set of scores into a final grade:
Letter grades can be set, and through the column settings you can opt to have the date appear with the grade you've assigned:
See the speech bubble in the text box above? The one with the dots? That opens up annotations. You may want to add a comment about strengths and next steps or some other observations you made when marking... this is the place to do it. You'll know that you've added additional information when you see a darkened corner, and can read it with a single tap:

There is also a standard pop-up dialogue box that appears if you tap and hold any cell, allowing you to enter text, symbol OR annotation (or a combination of all three) to that child's data. This is also what to do if you needed to add to or change a comment or symbol within the cell. Each cell will hold up to 4 symbols plus additional text information.
You can also see that I have color-coded my students. You can change the student's entire row on the mark book page or just change individual cells if you wish.

If that's not information overload I don't know what is...! Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions about any of this. I'll help if I can!

After you hop around collecting fabulous ideas, be sure to return to this week's Year of Awesome linky! There is a special opportunity waiting for you! ☺

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Year of Awesome (With a Not-So-Awesome Twist) - Week 11

Unfortunately this is going to be a different sort of Week of Awesome. (Unfortunately for ME that is...)
Today started out really awesome! We were lucky to have Juno-nominee Craig Cardiff with us for a performance and some music workshops. I was thoroughly enjoying the music and watching the kids singing along, but then disaster struck. Yup, I went from this:
to THIS:
These photos doesn't do it justice. My hand is twice its normal size and I haven't been able to use it for anything (yup, I typed this one-handed), and the rest of me is covered in bruises. I tripped straight over one of the benches in the gym. I was concentrating on kids on the opposite side of the gym and didn't even see it. Soooo... I spent three hours in the emergency department and got seven x-rays to determine that nothing is broken (YAY!!) but I'll be home for a few days and am NOT feeling awesome whatsoever. 
Today was my first day back at school. I was slow-moving and sore, but it was great to see the kids. They missed me. :) Take a look at the book of letters I returned to...
That's awesome! ❤

To force a little more Awesome back into this week I've decided to give away my entire Guided Math series to-date!
Enter below and PLEASE link-up with an awesome story from your week! I'd love a little sunshine!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you have an AWESOME story to share from your week in the classroom? Link up or leave a comment below! 

To link your blog: Grab the button below, add it to your blog post, link it back here, and then add your link at the bottom of this post!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Milestone Giveaway Celebration

Reaching a personal milestone is an exciting event! I reached one back in September and remember just how thrilling it was, so I'm helping another Teachers Pay Teachers seller celebrate her own milestone! Congratulations to The Pioneer Teacher!
I have donated a product of the winner's choice to the 2nd & 3rd prize pack, but there are three prize bundles in total to be won! Enter the 2/3 giveaway below, then click the image above to head to The Pioneer Teacher's blog and enter the others today!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Year of Awesome - Week 10

Happy November! New month, new fun. Progress reports are written and at the office for proofing, and I have an extra hour of sleep under my belt! Awesome!

Swiper arrived today!! When my students entered the classroom they found two numbers missing on our hundreds chart. After a little puzzling on what could have happened, and noticing Swiper hanging out nearby, I let them in on a little "Mission-Impossible-style" message that had popped up on my computer that morning. (Not really, but don't tell them!) I told them that it basically said that if we wanted to see those numbers again, we needed to identify them and find their sum. Well, you'd have thought I'd offered them ten bucks to go solve some math! Were they ever eager! I can't wait to see what the reaction is tomorrow morning when they find two new numbers missing...! Hehe! Awesome!
I finally introduced our Writing Buddies today! I designed them to work together with our personal writing goals. I wrote about that HERE.

These little cards simply function as a reminder to my students of what they should be focusing on during their writing. Having these little buddies sitting right on the students' desks creates some accountability that the goal chart doesn't. When a student tells me their writing is finished I ask them to check in with their Writing Buddy before packing up. Did they remember to use capitals? punctuation? This is a great way to self-check!

They are simply printed on card stock, laminated and clipped on the bottom with a binder clip. When the metal grips of the binder clip are removed you're left with a perfect stand so the buddies don't get lost in a pile of papers! Awesome!
I would LOVE to give a set of Writing Buddies away this weekend! If you're interested in a copy, leave me a message below explaining how you would use them in your own classroom!

We recently began our first Social Studies unit - Global Communities for Grade 2 and Living and Working in Ontario in Grade 3. Living in a small rural community in eastern Ontario with non-existent cultural diversity means that my kiddos have a very small view of the world. So what better place to start than Me On The Map. The children need to understand where they are in relation to the rest of the world, and to give them an idea of this we are using this awesome resource from Erin Palleschi of Once Upon a Classroom.
The kids are having such fun with it and the finished product is going to make such a great hall display! Erin already has over 30 different provinces and states posted in her TpT store. You can find yours HERE. Thanks, Erin! These are Awesome!
Today my vice principal provided me with release time so that I could attend a meeting in the afternoon. She had my kids in the gym until my planning time began and the students went to French. We had a good laugh in the meeting when there was an abrupt knock on the office door and her head popped inside to say, "Mrs. Beattie, do you think you could share something about the Mystery Walker with me so we can go back to the classroom?!" (Each time we move through the school I choose a name to be the "Mystery Walker". I got the idea from THIS Pinterest pin.) My little people are such sticklers for routine that they couldn't possibly continue with the afternoon until they knew whether or not our Mystery Walker was successful through the hallways! Awesome!
Tough afternoon. One of my second grade girls made a poor choice this afternoon with a guest teacher and when my EA spoke with her about it she fell apart. I'm not talking tears, I'm talking epic meltdown. This was at the beginning of my planning time, as the class was heading to the French room. I thought this student was going to make a run for it when she bolted to the hall, but when I followed I found her right outside the classroom. I hadn't seen her quite this upset this year, and nothing I suggested seemed to be calming her down. Strangely, the first thing that popped into my head was GoNoodle. Odd, unless you have any experience with GoNoodle FLOW!
I casually mentioned that we could put this on to help her regroup and she agreed. (Yay!) I closed the door, turned off the lights, and chose one of the Emotion programs - Light As A Feather - and by the time it was finished, this little soul was calm and ready to join the rest of her classmates. If I wasn't already obsessed with the benefits of GoNoodle this would have sold me completely, but when I found myself sharing the story with coworkers at the end of the day I knew it was the "Awesome" moment I needed to write about today! You can learn more about Flow by clicking HERE or HERE.
Do you have an AWESOME story to share from your week in the classroom? Link up or leave a comment below! 

To link your blog: Grab the button below, add it to your blog post, link it back here, and then add your link at the bottom of this post!