Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow - Love It or Hate It?

I usually love snow, especially early in the season. Now I'm just over it. I made these when I was first messing around with papers and such. If you need a new banner for your classroom, print out on cardstock, cut, and laminate. I clip mine to a clothesline, but you could punch holes in the top corners and string them up or tie them together.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lucky Leprechaun St. Patrick's Day Decimal Multiplication Roll FREEBIE.

Good morning Fifth Grade Freebie Friends.  How many of you are enjoying winter break today?   We ended up with a Friday "cold day" to round this little winter break up to a four-day weekend and I'm loving every minute of it.  Reality is creeping back in though, so I'm spending a bit o' time planning for the week ahead.  Are your students working on decimals in math right now or anytime soon?  If so, this FREEBIE is for you! 

We're wrapping up our unit on multiplying and dividing decimals in math so I created this fun Lucky Leprechaun St. Patrick's Day Decimal Multiplication Roll FREEBIE.

It's a quick game that I'm planning to use on St. Patty's Day to review our decimal multiplication skills.  You can also play the game with just whole number multiplication as well.

All you need are recording sheets (included), dice and calculators. You can download, print and play in the same day!  It doesn't get much easier than that!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Behavior Management Idea & Freebie

It's that time of year with some groups where I really need to dig deep and come up with a new and creative idea to help with classroom management.  I have found that no one strategy or incentive works after an extended length of time, and you just have to switch things up to keep the kids on their toes.  At the beginning of the year I use Class Dojo which is a wonderful app, and then after Thanksgiving I use my Thanksgiving to Christmas Classroom Behavior Incentive which you can read about in a blog post here.  During the last marking period, I use a classroom economy which I mention in a post here, but third marking period is sometimes a tough one.  The kids (and myself) are antsy from the long winter months and spring seems nowhere in sight!  

A couple weeks ago I started thinking about how to incorporate some kind of mystery motivator into our day, and so far it is really working out well.  This is how it works...I bought some red and green beads, four small glass bowls, and found some clear and white beads left over from a Christmas ornament project.  

When individual students or groups are being good, following directions, are on task, etc., I put green beads in the class bowl.  If the entire class is doing what they are supposed to be doing, I put in several green ones and throw in a white or clear one.  If students are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, I put in a red bead.  At the end of the day, I draw out one bead.  If I draw a green, then the class gets to reveal one space of their mystery motivator.  If a white or clear bead is drawn, they get to reveal two spaces of the sentence.  If a red bead is drawn, no spaces will be revealed that day.  :(

I used a pocket chart to spell out our mystery motivator sentence.  I printed and cut out the letters and then glued scrapbook paper on the back so they couldn't see through.  It's fun to listen to the kids try to figure out what the words must be as they reveal a letter at a time.  Once all the spaces are revealed, the class earns whatever the sentence says.  So far it's working like a charm!

No matter what incentive program I use with my students, I continue to keep track of warnings that students earn using my Excel spreadsheets.  Each student has their own page with the consequences running along the top.  I usually print these out and send them home at progress report and report card time.  It makes the behavior indicators on the report card so much easier to do when I can look back and see all the warnings a students has gotten throughout the marking period.  I just jot the warnings down on sticky notes during the day and then type them into Excel at the end of the day.  

You can grab these spreadsheets for free at my TPT Store!  

They are fully editable and so easy to use!  

You can change the consequences along the top to those that you use in your classroom. On the bottom are the tabs that show the page for each student.  Simply right click where it says Student 1 and choose rename.  In this way, you can type in the names of your students.  I hope you find this useful!  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Conference Forms & Letters Freebie

For many teachers, it is conference time again! But whether you have fall conferences, winter conferences, spring conferences, or all three, you want your conferences to be a success.

The first challenge of conferences is getting all of your parents "in the know" about the dates that conferences are taking place. Then, you have to try to fit everyone in to your scheduled time, which rarely happens, so you make adjustments to your availability based on your parent needs. When everything is finally scheduled, then you have to decide what you will communicate about each child so that you use the time wisely. Striking a proper balance can be incredibly important. No one wants to attend their child's conference and hear nothing but negativity, and yet parents also don't want to hear you say, "Johnny is doing really great. I really don't have anything to add. He should just keep doing what he's doing." Your conference needs to be about sharing areas of strength, areas of weakness, and suggestions for growth, no matter how well the child is achieving. It can all be a tad overwhelming, so a few years ago, I created a conference pack to help make conferences a bit easier. The response to this freebie has been overwhelmingly awesome, with over 30,000 downloads since it was posted in 2012. It seems this freebie has been a bit of a teacher lifesaver, so I wanted to be sure to share it with all of our Fifth Grade Freebies followers because I know we're all grateful when we can save a little time and energy, especially when conference time arrives. 

My freebie includes a form to share with parents and a few different letters to send home with parents as you are preparing for & scheduling conferences. I hope that you will find this freebie to be a wonderful time-save for your next conference session!

Click on the image below to grab my Conference Forms and Letters Freebie and please don't forget to leave a little freebie feedback!

Mrs. O

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snow Globe Creative Writing and Craft

This snow globe writing and craft activity was a from a combination of sources. The gist is a five-paragraph creative writing activity about how they got in the snow globe and their attempts to get out. We got a few ideas from watching the {Knick Knack Pixar short}. The kids were pretty creative! They chose a scene to recreate a snow globe, which included a picture of them, fake snow, and a clear plastic plate. This wasn't as messy as glitter (which is forbidden in my room), but I underestimated the static electricity-ness. (I did the snow and gluing part. Since the plate had ridges, I had to make sure that snow wasn't going to leak out.)
If you want to pick up this activity, I put it as a freebie {here}.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Common Core Critical Verbs Vocabulary Instruction FREEBIE

As testing time is nearing for us in Michigan, I am spending a few intentional minutes each day reviewing those CRITICAL Common Core verbs like: analyze, articulate, cite, comprehend, convey, collaborate, etc.  My students cannot do well on "the test" if they do not know what the questions are asking them to accomplish.  Purposeful vocabulary instruction is a MUST for test success!  

I'd love to share with all of YOU a FREE week of the instruction packet I am using for this purpose. I hope you find it as useful as I have.

This FREE packet includes a daily practice sheet for four Common Core critical verbs.  I use these pages Monday through Thursday as a daily warm-up..  It also includes a weekly quiz over the words. We take the weekly quiz every Friday.  An answer key is contained as well for the weekly quiz.  

The intentional, purposeful instruction is helping my students to recognize, use and apply these words on a daily basis.  I even overheard a student last week say to her partner, "You need to articulate your answer more clearly, I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say."   I almost high fived her.  LOL  Enjoy!!!