Monday, April 4, 2016

Middle Grades TBR list!

It's finally spring break and I am thankful for the extra time to spend with my family, catch up on my TBR (to be read) list, sleep in and yes - even clean my house!

Today is the first official day of spring break, but I already finished the first book on my TBR list over the weekend - Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters.  I've wanted to read this series for years, but some especially persistent 5th graders finally convinced me to move it up on my list and I'm so glad I listened.  I love a good series and this one doesn't disappoint.  Click on the image to learn more about this book.  (This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.)

The rest of my TBR list includes these amazing titles.....................

1. The remainder of the Percy Jackson series - books 3-5. Click on the image to learn more about these books.  Harry Potter fans, you must read these!

2. The Key to Extraordinary - the book of the month in my Goodreads book club and written by the same author as Snicker of Magic which I loved. Click on the image below.

3.  Amulet #1 (My reluctant readers have devoured this graphic novel series this year and I HAVE to know what it's all about.) Click on the image if you LOVE graphic novels too!


4.  Booked - the newest release by Kwame Alexander - I'm not usually a fan of novels in verse - but if you've read The Crossover (last year's Newbery contender) and put it in the hands of your sports loving boy readers, you know why I HAVE to read this title.

5.  Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead - I don't know a lot about this new release but I enjoyed Liar & Spy - it had a fun twist and a good message.  I'm hoping for the same from this new title.  Click the image below to learn more.

6.  Hired Girl - I've heard great things about this one, set in the early twentieth century and focused on women's rights - and I'm a sucker for Historical Fiction. Click the picture to learn more.

7. The Honest Truth - A student reacommended this book to me because I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Everything, Everything. He knows I love tear jerkers!  Click the picture to read more about this title.

8. Nimona - my own son came home from 6th grade one day super excited about this graphic novel because of a student book recommendation he'd heard in class that day.  So of course, I HAVE to check it out.  My son doesn't get excited about many books. Click the image to learn more.

9.  Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics - have you read the first one?  I loved all of the allusions to my favorite books and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory feel to this mystery.  I can't wait to see if I enjoy the sequel just as much! Click the image below.

10.  Lastly, Seraphina and the Black Cloak - two girls in my class have raved about this book this year.  They showed us a book trailer that was creepy and suspenseful and hooked me on the spot.  I have to read this one fast, because there's already a list in my class for who gets it next when I'm finished. No pressure!!! LOL  Click the image to find out more.

Happy spring break teacher friends!  I hope you find time to spend with family, friends and a good book too!!  And maybe even a little time to clean house.  Or maybe not!!  :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Show & Tell Tuesday - Math Workshop Tips & Advice

It's show and tell time again!  This week I want to show you a quick peek into our math workshop centers.  

First off, I can't wait to show you this presentation I put together for a district PD session a few weeks ago.  I hope you find it useful if you're considering a math workshop instructional approach.

It's full of tips and ideas for implementing math workshop in your classroom.  For even more detailed advice, check out my How to Launch Math Workshop blog post HERE.

Secondly, here's a peek at a few of our math workshop centers.  I'm a firm believer in collaboration so we spend most of math class working with partners.  Below are a few pictures of groups of students completing problem solving tasks from the FREE online Georgia math curriculum materials. 
Two (or three) brains are better than one!

Digital centers are also a favorite of my students during math workshop.  The content of this center varies week to week. Sometimes students just need to watch a short video that connects to the daily learning target (like this cute A Cup Fills Up song found on you tube) and then write about their thinking/noticings.

Or sometimes they work on our SmartBoard, iPads or the HP computers to practice the learning target with specified math games, fact practice sites like Hooda Math or Moby Max.

Lastly, math games are always a hit with my students during workshop.  It's so much better to practice the day's learning target in a game format (and the competitiveness of games increases engagment) than from a text book.   My favorite games again come from the FREE online Georgia mathematics curriculum and our Investigations curriculum.  

I'm glad I got the chance to show and tell you just a bit about our weekly math workshop centers.  See more show and tell posts at my best bloggy buddy Stephanie Rye's page below. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Favorite Digital Tools in the classroom

A few weeks ago a coworker and I compiled a presentation of our favorite digital tools to use in the classroom. I'd love to share this presentation with you HERE.

These digital tools are best used in upper elementary and middle school classrooms.  Each page of the presentation gives the name of the digital tool, the link and a short list about why we love it so much.
I'd love to hear your favorite digital tools so we can add  more to the presentation.

Leave them in the comments below!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

This week in 5th Grade.......dojo, phones, baseball and more

How was your week?  We had a crazy week of assessments in Room 206 - being the end of the marking period and all!  But we made it!  I managed to throw a little fun in somehow. Here's a sneak peek - 

#growthmindset is a hot topic in the education world currently and Class Dojo has jumped on board by creating cute, engaging videos that tell kids "the brain is a muscle that needs to be worked out."

If you haven't shown these videos yet - put them in your plans for next week!!  They've released two videos so far (just a couple minutes long for each) and they have three more planned!

We typically do a gonoodle brain break each day before writing time, but we substituted with the videos twice this week instead!  Just go to your class dojo page and click on the 'big ideas' tab.  The videos will pop right up.

Since it's the end of the 2nd marking period for us this week - new semester means new partners!  If you use partners in your classroom a lot (two heads are better than one) than you need to download these phone partner templates from Young Teacher Love.   For years, I used a strategy similar to this one but with clocks - when I saw Kristine's phone templates a few years ago I HAD to replace our clocks with her phones - I mean it's the 21st century, right? Better get with the times!  

The concept is easy - each student gets a phone template and walks around the classroom searching for ten partners.  I laminate the phones when they're completed and we tape them to our desks. Whenever the students need to check over their work with a partner, discuss ideas or work together, etc., I spin a spinner and they find that number partner quickly.  Takes all of about 10 seconds to determine partners this way.  And we use partners several times daily so this is a HUGE timesaver in room 206!

End of the marking period also means LOTS of assessing!  To review for our math summative assessment this week we played one of my favorite review games - Math Baseball.  This idea was passed on to me from a former collegue and it's never gotten old!

Here's a quick run-down of how to play - separate the class into two teams.  Number each student 1-15 in team one, and 1-15 in team two. (numbes will vary depending on your number of students)   Draw two baseball diamonds on the board - or create reusable posters like I have.  Bring batter number ones up to the board, all of the remaining students are outfielders.  Give the students a review question to solve. The batters solve it on the board but keep their work covered up. The outfielders solve it at their desks.  Call a random outfielder number, check each outfielder's work.  If correct, the team moves a base.  Check the batter's work.  If correct, the team moves a base.  Play until all review questions are complete.  The team with the most runs is the winner!!  What I love most about this game is that ALL students are engaged the entire game!

We took a BIG writing test this week too over opinion essays.  What I've noticed over the past few years of teaching opinion writing is that my students are good at forming an opinion and good at backing it up with evidence and good with arguing their point (what kid isn't???), but they struggle with putting all that great thinking into the correct opinion essay structure.  So we created this anchor chart to help with remembering the format for an opinion essay!   I think it really helped!

Lastly, while we tested our little behinds off this week, we also celebrated the end of the marking period with a PBiS school wide movie.  Our gym was transformed into the Falcon Cinema for a showing of the movie 'Inside Out.'  The kids brought in blankets and pillows and we served cookies and hot chocolate.  A good time was had by all.  Our PBiS team rocks!!!!

Happy weekend teacher friends!  I'm off to grade all of those assessments we took this weekend!  Yikes!!!!

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