Saturday, November 16, 2013

Language Arts TEKS Analysis

After my parent conferences, I realized that I really liked how I broke down the TEKS we were currently learning and showed whether the student had either developed that concept or was still working on it. It was easy to explain to the kids and the parents and it kept me on track while I was teaching. I liked it so much that I wanted to create that same format for everything. I've only done the language arts TEKS so far, but I'm excited about it and I'll start on the math TEKS later tonight. 

What I love about this document is that it's so versatile. I made each section its own table so that I can easily cut and paste the sections I need for whatever we are currently working on. I also broke the standards down a little bit into chunks that made it easier to explain to the kids and more accurate to diagnose exactly where the problem areas are. For example, TEK 4.C states "identify and use antonyms, synonyms, homographs, and homophones." In my document, I broke it down so that each item has its own line.

Right now we are diving into expository text, so I pulled the section for expository texts and attached it with Figure 19 to help keep my instruction focused during this unit. To do that, I just copied and pasted the tables I wanted and inserted them into a new document. Boom! Instant assessment form! I'll print one for each kid and keep track of how they are progressing through the objectives.

Because I want this document to be worthwhile and useful, I'm leaving it as a Word document. That way, it is fully editable and you can change it up to make it work perfectly for you!

 CLICK HERE  get your copy! If you would like to get a copy FREE, leave a comment below. I'll give away copies to the first three people to comment and express interest in having this!

This week we also worked in my Sailing Through Text Features Pack packet. The kids always enjoy when we get to bust out the scissors and glue!

It's simple and easy. I love pulling out the trusty Scholastic News because they are always rich with text features!

This next week I will also be using some of the things from my Harvesting Literacy Pack. It covers antonyms, nouns, prefixes and suffixes, expanding sentences, and homophones. My kiddos will really be focusing on expanding those boring sentences!

I'm really wanting to read and learn about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower, but in a way that is appropriate for third graders. I've been disappointed in what I have found so far.  Any suggestions??? I'm open to anything!

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Smart Classroom Management: A Goldmine of Helpful Information

Good morning and happy Sunday!

Today I want to share a resource that has been hugely helpful for me in the last several months. I can't remember who's blog I saw this site mentioned on before, but I am so thankful that I saw it! The site is called Smart Classroom Management: Simply Effective Tips and Strategies.

The author, Micheal Linsin, writes weekly posts addressing classroom management- everything from dealing with parents to managing misbehavior. His posts are insightful, to the point and force you to be very self-reflective.

We all know that even the best planned lesson can fail if a teacher's classroom management skills are lacking. It's very easy for me to get caught up in the stress of lesson planning that I forget to analyze my own behavior and tendencies and think about how I'm contributing to the overall feel of my classroom. Often times, when things aren't going quite like I want them to, I realize that I am part of the problem or maybe even the whole problem. Ugh. But as Micheal says, "The only classroom management-related problems that don’t have solutions are those we’re unaware of. Once illuminated, there is always a way to solve the problem or make it manageable."

I couldn't agree more!

You can sign up for his weekly e-mails and receive one every Saturday. I love that it
comes after the week has ended so I can read them with a semi-clear mind and refocus before starting a new week.

I have been extremely pleased with the articles and have found something useful in each and every one. I hope that you will, too!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Data Binders and Student-Led Parent Conferences

Happy Sunday! Did you remember to set your clocks back?? The sun - yes, the SUN!- woke me up at 6:30 this morning. Eesh. I'm going to have to get used to this! 

I wanted to pop in briefly and share what I did for my parent conferences this year because I absolutely loved it and it made the conferences a breeze!

I've been wanting to have student-led conferences for the past few years and this year I finally pulled it off!

Each student has a data binder that holds their important tests and assignments for math and reading and a section in the back for work that they are especially proud of.  I haven't used binders like this before, but I am loving them! The kids feel such pride looking through their binders at all of their hard work.

Based on their performance on the tests housed in the binder and other class assignments, each student and I filled out an assessment profile together that gave information about their strengths and weaknesses. These assessment profiles listed the TEKS we have covered so far this year and whether that objective was developed or if they were still developing. There was also a section for comments if any were needed. At the bottom was a section for goals. On the math page I also included a little section describing mathematical behaviors to provide information that may be pertinent to why they were making mistakes in math (sloppy handwriting, misaligned numbers, you get the picture!).

If you would like a copy of the assessment profiles, click the link below. One page is for math and one page is for reading. I'm leaving it as a PPT file so you can edit it as needed.

Here is the beautiful part- at the conference, the student led! They sat in my seat at our back kidney table while their family members and I sat on the other side. They led us through their binders starting with their assessment profiles and explained what their strengths and weaknesses were in each subject as well as what their goals were. I was so proud!!!

They also showed their parents each assignment in the binder and explained why they missed certain questions. After the student was done, I opened it up for questions from the family and had a few last comments.

This year I can honestly say I had the best conferences ever! It felt so good to see the kids be independent and aware of their academic performance. We will continue to add to the data binders all year long and I will definitely continue with student-led parent conferences!