Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Scoop 2/22/15

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for The SUNDAY SCOOP!

We missed four days of school last week due to the snow and frigid temps. We had a conference prep day scheduled on Friday, so even though school wasn't closed that day, we didn't have students at school. We have conferences coming up this week, so it gave me a LOT of time to finish up my report cards and grades. I also cut out a LOT of crafts and activities for all of my classes for the next few weeks. So while everyone (it seems) hated the winter weather this past week, it's been GREAT for me! I feel rested and rejuvenated. I got a lot of errands run last week. (The roads weren't too bad in the afternoons.) So with all that, it feels like we actually got a winter break, which is something we don't get at our school. I have to admit, I liked it a lot! On the other hand, my two-year old son has been home a lot more than he usually is and our house shows it!

I even finished two of my recent products for TPT if you want to check them out:
(Click on the pictures below)

Have a great week! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Snow Day and a Giveaway!

Well, it feels like our second snow day of the year, but it's actually our third. (The first one was waaaayyyy back in November!) My husband stayed home from work as well. The roads here were bad. We got about 10" in all. Plus it's COLD. We had fun yesterday, staying inside, napping, watching tv, and we even went outside and shoveled snow! It was fun! My two-year old son is obsessed with hockey, so he thought he was on a hockey rink in our driveway. Pretty funny!

With all of my free time these two days, I got to finish TWO of my latest products - my "Summarizing Activity Pack" and my "Feelin' Lucky" multiplication challenge task cards. I am so excited! I didn't think I'd be able to finish these until Wednesday or Thursday. Sooooooooo, that means that I can start my giveaway (my first!) tomorrow!
I am uploading the products to TPT as I write this! If you are teaching summarizing (or you plan on ever teaching it in the future), you might want to take a look at my "Summarizing Activity Pack"! Click on the image below to take you to this product!

My "Feelin' Lucky" task cards are a math challenge for (approximately) fourth and fifth graders. I am actually tutoring a student who is a little older, but working from a fifth grade textbook. Here is what I wrote in my description on the product page:

These task cards are a challenge set for fourth and fifth graders. I don’t normally teach math, but I was tutoring a student who was struggling with two-digit and three-digit multiplication. He could add and subtract easily, though. I wanted to make an activity for him to see the relationship between addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  At the same time, I wanted him to have repeated practice with multiplication.

First, your students need to read the word problems. They are all two- or three- digit multiplication problems. They need to solve the multiplication problem. Third, they need to solve the problems on letter choices A, B, C, and D. Only one of the choices matches the answer they got with the initial multiplication word problem.

For example, in number 1, the student would multiply 16 and 20. The answer is 320. Then they should subtract 50-6, multiply 10 x 55, add 215 + 105, and divide 160 ÷ 3. Students will need to either know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide all of the problems, or they can use a calculator, depending on their level and ability. Use your discretion. My tutoring student struggled with long division, so for our practice, I let him use a calculator on the division problems.

If this sounds like something you'd like to challenge your math students with, check out this product here. This is a St. Patrick's Day-themed activity, but it could be used at any time of the year.

Enter here to win either or both of these products:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 13, 2015

Five for Friday 2/13/15

It's Friday the 13th, Valentine's Day (early/at school), and I'm exhausted from this week. Thank you, Kacey, from Doodle Bugs Teaching for creating your Five for Friday linky!!

Here's what my past week looked like. (Really, I need a Fifty for Friday to cover it all, it's been that busy!)

We are reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, and I'm REALLY focusing on the theme of kindness. It's nice that we're reading this during Valentine's week, but we will continue with kindness activities, discussions, and acts after this week. 

We created "Be Kind Mobiles," thanks to More than Elementary. You can find those here for free! I will keep these up until we finish reading Stargirl, but they are a great (in your face, in a good way) reminder to be kind to one another all the time!

I am working on a great big Summarizing Activity pack. This is the skill I have been working on with my students for the past few weeks. Plus, this is something we're really focusing on with Stargirl!
Be on the lookout for my new activity pack. I will announce on Facebook before next Friday about a giveaway. You could win that pack for free! :)
This is a picture of some of our Stargirl chapter summaries!

I am also working on a new math product for TPT. It's a first for me. I don't teach math every day, but I am tutoring a student in math right now. We use Saxon textbooks and materials here at our school. Our students need a fundamental introduction to many skills in math, so this program is an incremental approach, but sometimes these kids just need a bit lot more practice on certain skills. I am making a multiplication word problem packet. But it is different. I wanted this student to know that we're working on multiplication (and X word problems), but I wanted to challenge him to think further and to see that there are different ways to get one answer. (He really struggles with that.) That is what my product will be. They are some fun task cards, if I may say so myself. He's having fun with them during our tutoring times! :)
I will also be giving some of these away next week. Be sure to check my Facebook page for more info!

My technology students have been working on hieroglyphic alphabets and secret messages these past few weeks. This week, they wrote a Valentine's message. We used Microsoft Word - we are working on multiple skills with this project: typing skills, cutting, pasting, columns, and formatting pictures. We used Computer Teacher Solutions' "Creating Hieroglyphic Alphabets--MS Word Activity for Grades 4-8." My students have LOVED working on these. They took a while, but they were really focused on them. They made the projects truly their own! Notice that some of them used cars while others used current pop culture icons! I didn't take a picture of all of them, but some used superheroes, some used animals, and some used candy! Each one was totally unique. 

I know the pictures are not the best quality. Sorry! :(

Last but not least, it's (pretty much) Valentine's Day at school. I don't have a homeroom, so I wanted to do something with my literacy class, but they are all 7th graders and older kids don't really want to have a Valentine's party. Soooo, I found some fun Valentine's Minute to Win It games on Pinterest this week. 
On Fridays, we buddy read with one of the 1st and 2nd grade classes. So we just played the games with them. I partnered up my big kids with one or two of the little kids and they were a team competing in the MTWI games. I found the games we played on "Featuring Your Sassy Sites." We played the Heart a Stack game, where you stack the conversation hearts, the Candy Corn Stick Up" game where you bite off the ends of the candy corns and stack them around a plate, and the Marshmallow Toss. They loved it! It was a simple Valentine's celebration!

That's all that I will report on for now! Happy Valentine's Day everyone! :) Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

March Madness

Looking for a "new" behavior incentive for March? I thought I'd share what I did last year.

 I had quite a few of my (small group) kiddos who were not consistently doing their homework, behaving as they should, and being somewhat rude/cruel to their classmates. I had mostly boys, and they were all on the basketball team here at school. They were obsessed with basketball, which isn't a stretch here in Kentucky. I think kids here are born with a basketball in their hands. Anyway, ...
I decided to implement a behavior management plan including classwork, homework, and behavior all in one. I called it....wait for it....Mrs. Lafleur's March Madness Challenge. I know, it was SOOO creative.

Well, I didn't necessarily need it to be creative. I just needed it to motivate my kids, and that it did. I'm not a huge proponent for having kids compete against each other, but I made this challenge work in everyone's favor by challenging each kid to do his/her best without them realizing my point system and how I was giving/not giving points.

Here is basically how I set it up. I checked homework each day. I gave students credit for completing each activity. I just gave them credit for completing it. (They weren't sneaky like my kiddos this year, just writing down an answer that is completely wrong or doesn't make sense just to have something written down and get credit for it.) I kept a tally chart each day. For those who completed homework, I gave each student 2 points. Sometimes I gave more than one assignment for homework. I gave them 2 points for each assignment they completed.

 I also gave them 2 points (2 tally marks on my tally sheet) for each assignment they turned in that was middle-school quality work. (I had 7th and 8th graders, so that was how I encouraged them to do quality work.)
I gave them 3 points (tallies) for scoring 80% or above on quizzes and tests. We had a lot at that time because we were reading a novel, so I gave them quick quizzes every other day on the chapters they read. Plus we had vocabulary quizzes a lot then too.

The biggest thing that I wanted them to be conscious of was being KIND to classmates. Each time they got "caught" being kind to one another, I gave them a Class Dojo point. (I think I had it weighted to give them 3 points, but I can't remember that exactly.)

I would add up the points each day and keep a running total from then until Friday. On Fridays, I looked at my tally chart. I then checked my Class Dojo reports and added all of my kindness points to the chart (on Friday's section). I then added up all the points. I then  wrote each team's total on a post-it note and stuck it on my Team Point chart.

Here was the fun part that REALLY motivated my boys (and girls too!)...For every point they earned each day, they got to shoot my foam basketball into my Nerf-like basketball net. (The one in the picture below is similar to mine. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Amazon, or most sports stores.) This was where my boys got very competitive. I even made a 2-point line and a 3-point line for them to stand on. They earned points for each basket they made - 2 and 3 points, respectively on each line. So this gave the team that had lower points a little chance to earn a few more points.
(Click on the picture to purchase this basketball goal/net and ball from Amazon!)

At the end of the month, I totaled up the entire month's points and declared a winner based on the totals from the past weeks. The winning team got a free dress pass (those are huge at our school because they are rarely given out), a no homework pass, and a few other little goodies/candies. I think I bought a few little rubber basketballs from Oriental Trading or something and threw that in their little goody bags. 

For teachers who have a large class, this would be a somewhat complicated system. You could put the entire challenge (system) on Class Dojo for the month. Just add the behaviors and weight them for what you want them to show. 

I just thought I'd share an idea that worked for me and my kiddos in case you are a planner and are looking forward to spring and March Madness!