Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Writing Samples and a 100 Day Freebie!

I find inventive spelling so amusing! This week, in kindergarten, we finished up our Mitten and Hat unit. After completing a Venn diagram, comparing and contrasting both stories, my students were asked to write a sentence about one of the similarities between both stories. Here are some of them:

How cute are these?! I can read their writing all day long. Oh, wait! I do! LOL!

My first graders also did a unit on The Hat and The Mitten. One of their assessments was to write an opinion essay about which book was their favorite. They needed a thesis statement, 2-3 reasons why the story was their favorite, and, a conclusion. 

(the second page said "awesome.")

(The second page said "I ever heard!")

For the rest of this week, we'll be celebrating the 100th Day of  School. My students will be writing about what they'll look like when they are 100 years old. These always come out cute! This is the writing template they'll be using:

Click here to grab a copy of the writing template. Just save it for next year if it's too late!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five for Friday...with a freebie!

Today, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and posting 5 random pictures from this week. Since I teach 3 different grade levels, I thought I'd just post some random pictures of some of the stations my students did this week. 

1. My second graders played You've Been "Punct"! They had fun reading each card and deciding what type of punctuation was needed. This adorable girl was excited that she just won the lottery!

Even getting a You've been "punct!" card didn't upset this cutie! Click on any of the pictures to get more information about this game.

This game has been updated July 2016!

2. My first and second graders made mittens and used adjectives and a simile to describe them.

This is the first grade template.

This is the second grade template.
Just click on any of these two pictures to download the writing template.

3. My first and second graders had fun writing the room this week. Since I teach both grades (not at the same time!) I hung the first grade cards on top and the second grade cards on the bottom. My first graders found nouns and my second graders did some sentence editing. Here is a second grader reading a sentence.

These games have been updated May 2016!

I try to always have answer keys for my station work. Here is a second grader grading her sentences and putting a star on her perfect paper. This little boy is patiently waiting his turn to grade his paper. They use a pen to fix any errors so I can see how they did. For more information about these activities, just click on the picture below.

4. Here are two tasty menus made by some second graders. This is one of their "I'm done, what can I do now" activities. Just click on the picture to get more information.

5.  Last, here are some kindergarten cuties (yes, they are dressed in their pajamas!), decorating their mittens. They earned a pajama day because they raised a lot of money for the Boosterthon Fundraiser.

I hope you enjoyed my Five for Friday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Techy Teacher Tuesday

I am linking up with my buddies Katie, over at Queen of the First Grade Jungle, Fern, over at Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas, and Erica, over at Erica's Ed-Ventures. My post is for all of you creative teachers who make products and you want to make a quick and easy, but attractive preview in Powerpoint. Quite by accident, I discovered the "change picture" option, and, ever since, making previews and products got a little bit easier. Here is a picture tutorial on how to make  a new preview using an existing preview.

(Right click on each photo to enlarge them.)

First, open up a preview that you already made.

Then, click on one of the images in the preview and click on "format."

Next, click on "change picture."

Find the picture you want to use in your new preview and double click to insert.

Voila! There is your new image, placed in the exact same spot as where the old image used to be. And, as an added plus, the new image is formatted exactly the same as the old image. Correct size and drop shadow, included! Isn't that amazing. 

Here is a side by side shot of two different previews that I made using the change picture option.

You can use the change picture feature any time you want to change from one picture to another and you want to keep the same formatting. I also use this function when I have a colored image and I want to change it to black and white. I do this when I create a product that has colored and black and white activities. I also use this function to change borders and frames. I love how the formatting stays the same.

I hope I have given you some helpful tips today. I learn best by trial and error. Usually, more error than trial! I accidentally clicked on this helpful feature one day and I've used it happily ever since. Please let me know if you already use this option when creating or if you will use it now. And, if you have other uses for it, please let us all know! Thanks, and, happy creating!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teaching Grammar Part 5...Books to Read and a Linky Party!

Here we are! The last day of Grammar Week!
I love to read and here are some really great books that help teach grammar:


And, if you click on each picture, once you get to Amazon, scroll to the bottom of the page and they'll suggest even more great books!
I hope you have enjoyed Grammar Week! I love to peek inside other classrooms and see what they are doing. Let's all enjoy a virtual peek inside each other's classrooms. How do you teach grammar? How do you make it fun, exciting, and engaging? How do you check for mastery? Please link up a new or old blog post and let everyone learn from you. 

Here are my easy link-up rules:

1. You can link up a new or old blog post that tells about how you teach and assess grammar in your classroom.

2. You can include products that you've made and products that you've purchased that have helped your students learn.

3. You must grab my link-up button and insert it into your blog post. Please be sure the button includes a link back to THIS post.

4. When you join the linky below, please be sure to link up your grammar post and not just your blog.

Thanks so much for linking up! I am truly looking forward to reading and learning from all of you!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teaching Grammar Part 4...Assessments

Happy Hump Day, everyone! And, welcome to Part 4 of Grammar Week!
Today, I will discuss how I formally and informally assess whether or not my students have mastered the grammar skills I've taught them. During station time, I try to walk around and monitor how the game playing is going. I always ask the student in charge of the answer key to keep me posted. As I mentioned the other day, I also ask grammar related exit questions. Of course, checking their recording sheets helps me, too. I always remind my students to use the grammar skills taught in every writing assignment. I constantly praise those who remember to add strong verbs and who capitalize proper nouns, and, I gently remind those who forget, to go back and add them them in.

To assess my students formally, I use my Weekly Language Review Sheets for first graders.

There are 30 review sheets included and they cover the language common core standards. The review sheets cover the same information each week, however, as the weeks go on, they increase in difficulty, with the words and sentences becoming more challenging to read. The children are able to master the concepts because they are exposed to them every single week. The sheets are filled with countless high frequency words, consonant digraphs, inflectional endings, and irregularly spelled words. They can be used in whole groups, small groups, as assessments, or for homework. They really help me know who may need additional help with a specific skill. If you click on the image below and download the preview, you will see Lesson 29.

For my second graders, I use my these Grammar Review Sheets.

There are only 10 of them and I don't begin using them until February or March, or, once I'm done introducing all the skills. My students do one about every other week. The lessons start off easy and then gradually increase in difficulty. Like the first grade sheets I mentioned above, I find the children have a better chance of retaining all the skills introduced because they are doing these assessment sheets so often. I don't give them time to forget!

Another way I assess my students for mastery, is to add a grammar component to my writing rubrics. Earlier in the week, I showed you a story that one of my first graders wrote about Snowmen at Work. Here is the rubric I used to grade that assignment.

The top one is the one I used for first grade and the bottom one is the one I used for second grade. If you would like a copy for yourself, just click here to download one. Whenever I take a grade for writing, I always use that same assignment to get a grade for grammar. I just add whatever skills we've been working on to the writing rubric. Then, after I'm done grading, I quickly meet with each student to discuss why they earned the grade they did.

And, that's how I assess my students in grammar without having to give boring tests!

Tomorrow, I'll showcase some of the books I have on hand that help to teach grammar. And, you are all invited to link up a blog post that explains how you teach and assess grammar. I am really looking forward to learning some more great ideas! You can use this button in your post when you link-up.
See you tomorrow!

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