Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spark Student Motivation with Scratcher Stickers!

Happy Last Weekend in September! It FINALLY feels a tiny bit like Fall in San Diego.  It's only 75 instead of 95 likes it's been for the last few weeks. I love this time of the year when you can sleep with the window open and still be all cozy under the covers!

I'm linking up with Head Over Heels For Teaching  for her awesome Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky party! I have got some amazing ideas from this linky party and I look forward to it each week.

Last week I posted about using Talking Tokens to engage students in collaborative conversations.  I tried it out and worked!!! It was so fantastic.  Each student participated in the conversation, they shared an original idea, and talked with one another.  They didn't feel stressed that they had to share a lot of ideas, just two simple thoughts.  I had them take just two talking tokens to start with.  But later in the year, I might challenge them with 3 or 4 talking tokens.  I loved that the students were patient with each other and truly waited to talk until everyone turned their tokens over to yellow.  It you are interested to know more about Talking Tokens click here.

There are a bunch of new teachers at my school this year and we all get to go to special meetings together. You know, in all that free time new teachers have! The best part of the meetings is getting time to share ideas.  One of the the teachers brought these to the meeting a few weeks ago.

They are scratcher stickers! I instantly had a million ideas run through my head of how these could be used in the classroom.  She uses them in her classroom as incentives for the students.  She puts them on a little award, then students get to scratch the sticker to see what they've won.  I decided to use them in a similar way in my classroom.  

I work really hard all year to teach my students how to be SCHOLARS! We study famous scholars, we learn about the scholarly traits, and I call them scholars on a daily basis.  By the end of the year, my students walk around saying "I'm a scholar because I am curious." or "I am a scholar because I use multiple resources."  It's a great way to get students to be metacognitive learners and think about their own thinking.  I want to reward them when they are showing the scholarly traits so I have created "Ms. Foley's SCHOLAR Scratchers." 

I'm going to mix up the rewards such as pick from the prize box, homework pass, new pencil, etc. I'm so excited to start using these in my class this week! I can just see the students being really focused on scratching their award. You can find these scratchers all over the internet but here is the Amazon link.

I'm off to go shopping and get my nails done :) Enjoy your Saturday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sunday Scoop

I'm linking up with Juliet from Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

My Sundays always tend to be the same with running errands, lesson planning, and relaxing! I'm super excited about this linky party. It may or may not have something to do with the cute dog clipart :)

Enjoy your Sunday!!! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spark Student Motivation with Talking Tokens!

Happy Weekend!!! I feel the urge to wake up early on weekends just so my days at home, with no students, seem longer.  I may need a nap later. I'm linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!

I went to a PD meeting this week on Active Participation.  We learned about overt and covert student engagement strategies and how to constantly questions the students so that EVERYONE is participating MOST of the time! So many strategies were modeled and I immediately went back to class on Friday and used them! The best PD's are when you can implement what you learned the next day! LOVE IT :)

My favorite suggestion was using these red and white counters as "Talking Tokens." Each learning group gets a little cup of tokens to use when they are collaborating.  Before they discuss, students must take a designated amount of Talking Tokens.  Two tokens seems to be a reasonable amount to start with! Then the students turn the tokens to the white side while they are thinking about what they want to discuss. During thinking time,  the students can use sentence starters to help spark ideas. When the students are done thinking, they turn their talking tokens over to the red side so their group knows they are ready to share ideas. When a student shares an idea, they put the tokens back in the cup.  This is a great way to keep students actively engaged and to hold each student accountable when discussing in groups.

Photo Credit - Lakeshore Learning. Click for source.
It always cracks me up how little things, like different color foam circles, can motivate students to participate.  They add a new twist to what would be an ordinary conversation!  I will be picking up some of these tokens this weekend to use Monday! I can't wait to try this out.  Let's hope they spark some deep, meaningful conversations between the students :)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

I'm linking up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positive Thinking Thursday! I love the idea of this linky party.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the ungraded papers on your desk, negative/stressed out/overworked teachers, crazy parents, lazy students, etc. It's important to remind ourselves why we are doing what we do and the difference that we are making!  Staying positive is not always easy so this linky party is a nice weekly reminder to smile :)

After getting some not so happy assessment scores this week, I wanted to inspire my students and myself with some positive reading quotes!




Believe it or not, I HATED reading as a kid.  I was the kid that put my book below my desk so I could "secretly" play with my eraser instead of read.  I was never inspired by books, I was a slow reader, and reading = homework.  I work hard every day to inspire my students to read more so they don't have the same experience I did. 

Keep Calm and Read On!!! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Peek At My Week and a Freebie!

Last night I sat down and did some blog know how that goes!  I compiled a list of all the Linky parties that I could possible link-up with during the week. There are so many wonderful Linky parties it's hard to keep up!!! It's my new goal to be a part of at least a few of these a week.

Today I'm linking up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek At My Week! 

Last week was spent getting routines in place and constantly reminding the kids it's not okay to talk all day! We started our reading rotations and they were a bit shaky at first.  We were both learning what we can realistically achieve in 15 minutes.  No the kids can't finish an entire activity in 15 minutes and NO I can't read a whole chapter with my guided reading group in 15 minutes.  I've taught 4th grade before but I'm at a new school were the routines, schedules, hours, and students are very different than my previous experiences.  It's going to be a learning year!  By the end of the week, we were productive so this week it's time to dig into the deep stuff!

Anyone that truly knows me, knows that I'm a planner! If it was up to me I'd have October planned by now.  Unfortunately, teaching is just not that black and white and my plans change every day. I've also been blessed with a Fourth grade team this year so planning is a lot more fun! 

I always start my days off with Language Arts. My team is still working out the logistics of small groups so nothing is set in place yet.  We are going to have our first hour be whole class instruction and our second hour be reading rotations.  This week we are focusing on "Main Idea." Our team decided to use Nicole's Interactive Reading Notebook this year to give our reading time a solid foundation based on standards.  If you haven't checked out her product yet, you need to do that now...or after you read this whole post!  It's absolutely amazing and has helped me stay organized and standards based. We are going to read various short stories from our anthology and from our "short reads" series.

In my reading rotations groups, I will have students find the main idea of their weekly Scholastic News.  This graphic organizer will help them see the supporting details that back up the main idea.  I will keep these mini posters hanging on the board during rotations to help spark their memory!
Grab it here!

If time allows, I will squeeze in some mentor texts to support our learning goal of the week! I am definitely going to read Crow Boy by Taro Yashima.  It's a powerful book that sparks deep conversation with the students.  It also has a lot of supporting details that we can pick out as a class.  Other mentor texts I might use are Stellaluna by Janell Cannon and The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco.


In math, we will be continuing on with Place Value and Ordering Numbers.  I'm introducing rounding which is always a challenging task! I will be using videos from Learnzillion to help! I like to talk about rounding BIG NUMBERS with the mentor text Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone. It's filled with great images which always leads to those teachable moments!

We will use this little rounding poem to help us remember those tough rounding rules!

I am starting to put my math centers on TPT. Check out this week's Double Dice Addition for FREE!!! 

What does your week look like?? Happy Third Week of School Everyone! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

First Slantbox Reveal...ever!

Jameson over at Lessons With Coffee is 100% correct when she says there is nothing better than getting something in the mail.  This was my first time linking up with the SLANTbox exchange and I am so excited! It has been an absolute blast getting to know two amazing bloggers, teachers, and friends, Sandy over at ELA Everyday and Katie over at Erb Rhymes With Verb.

Diego approves of the package! He helped me open it :)

Sandy went above and beyond with her Texas themed Slantbox! I love these letter books! I can't wait to use this in my classroom :)

 You can never have too many Sharpies! I love love love the neon colors.  Diego says a big THANKS for the bones!! 

Perfect koozie to use after those loooooong days! The kiddos will love the sparkly Texas star pencils.

Oh hey there Texas!

Puppy notebooks...enough said! 

So has anyone actually tried freeze dried ice cream?? I might just have to dig into this!

Thank you Sandy for the most awesome, theme-tastic, exciting, colorful, and happy Slantbox ever!

Happy Weekend y'all (in true Texas spirit!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently!

Hey there fellow bloggers! I'm linking up today with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade! I can't believe that it's already September.  I realize I say that every month but this summer really did seem to fly by! It's been a big challenge balancing a new school, a new blog, and well ... life.

Listening: The boy and I are just cleaning and hanging out today! We have John Mayer live playing in the background.  He's incredibly full of himself but such an amazing artist!

Loving: It has been so nice having an extra weekend day.  I've been so productive this weekend with getting my house back together after all the mold construction this summer. I painted my bedroom, put up the new doggie door, and organized.  I can actually see the floor! WHOOWHOO winning.

Thinking: I'm dreading this week! I have tutoring after school tomorrow, and iPad training on Wednesday, making for 2 reallllly long days back to back!

Wanting: When they took my windows out to fix the mold, they just repainted with primer. It's be staring at me for weeks and needs to be painted!

Needing: You know those naps on the couch where you wake up and feel like a new person? I could really use one of those right now!

3 Trips: I only put two because I'm too poor to go on ANY trips! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Hawaii and am always dying to go there.  My dream is to sit on the beaches of Bora Bora with a Margarita in hand! Both places have amazing scuba diving too :)