Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rock Your Conferences!

Hi all!  Fall is such a busy time of year getting to know your littles, getting into a routine (both school and home) and lots of time spent planning and preparing for what feels like a never-ending to do lists.

How many of you cringe at the thought of parent conferences?  Years ago, my hand would be up.  I was always SO nervous to meet with parents and discuss their children.  I never knew what to talk about.  You don't have a class on that in college!  Mix that with all those comments others tell non-mommy teachers about how their teaching will change once you have kids of your own.  I NEVER believed that...  bam.  10 years later-oh my word.  They were right.

I have a few tips to have a successful parent conference-no matter how many hours you will be putting in...  (I put in over 14 hours in 1 1/2 days....  well, not even a half.  My first day is about 13-13.5 hours... and I will have about 2 hours the following morning)

Tip 1:
Don't just stick with "scores" or data.  Trust me.  Eyes will glaze over.  As a teacher, if my children's teachers went over data, I'd be fine.  My husband on the other hand---no clue.  In fact, stay clear of acronyms too!  Parents just want to know how their child is doing.  Are they on target?  How can they help at home to get them to the target.  Chances are, 99.9% of parents know how their child is doing.... telling them how poorly their child is doing doesn't help the home front.  This also includes going over standards...  With all the negative press around standards (especially that Common Core one! ;) ), you don't want to find yourself in a heated conversation over those!  

{Numbers are important---but shouldn't be a central focus of your conference.  Try having student goals and teacher goals to talk about too!}

Tip 2:
Make sure you have enough positives to tell parents!  This comes from a mama who has "difficult" children at home.  Honestly speaking, most nights/days I feel like I'm a failure of a parent.  I know my kids are good at school, with no discipline problems... but at home, they are quite opposite, as most kids are.  Sitting in a conference with my children's teachers and hearing about things they are doing well, such as being a good friend, or helping out in the classroom... makes my heart melt and reassures me that maybe I am doing a good job at being that thing called a "mom."  ;)  The last thing I want to hear is how my child talks a lot, which I totally know he does.  He's cursed, like his mama, being a verbal learner... We need to talk to process things!  Did you know there was such a thing?!  I didn't learn about it till I was in grad school.... and finally all of my life fell into place.

Tip 3:
Include parents in the conversation!  Ask THEM questions.  Don't always send things home beforehand.  I like to interview them.  I have a few questions I ask, which also keeps the conversation going and in the right direction.

Tip 4:
Know something personal about each student.  Looking for this not only gets you to know your students better, but it also lets parents know you care.  I know when I sit in conferences, I want to know that the teacher is looking out for the best in my child.  I want to know a name or 2 of kids he plays with.  I want to know that he is OK in the social realm of things!  Now, knowing every little detail about each student is quite an impossible task.... so I usually ask the students a little bit about school and friends beforehand too.

Tip 5:
Be organized.  Spend a little time putting together information.  I put all of the above together on a recording sheet that I allow parents to keep after the conference.

 take the parents interview and take important notes on a special recording sheet that I created as well.  Click on the picture to check it out in my store!  I have included a "semi" editable file for you to type in student names and notes.  I hope it can help you rock your conferences like it has mine (and quite a few of my coworkers--who are excited about conferences because they could use the forms!) and has your parents leaving your room feeling a sense of pride of their child, no matter where they are in abilities and behavior.

 If you like my organizational tools, please check it out {HERE}!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Win an iPad!! {and a few other goodies!!}

Hi friends!  I'm so excited to tell you that I've been asked to blog over at iTeach Second!  You'll see me there a few times a month sharing some great stuff along with my other Second Grade buddies!

But, I have to tell you about this awesome give-a-way the girls are having!  You can win an iPad!  You can use it in the classroom with your kids, or use it for personal use.  It's a giveaway you can't miss!  {And, WHOOOOO wouldn't love that iPad cover?!  it's to DIE for!!!!  Right up my alley!!!}

To enter, you just need to pop over to iTeach Second and enter.  Super simple.  BUT-it ends SOON!!!!  So GO GO GO!

Don't forget to follow us over there!  I'm super excited to join this great team of teachers!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Questions~asking and answering

I'm so excited to share this with you today.  It's something I started back during the school year that I've finally got ready to share with the world!

When I first went back to school after my maternity leave, I had my big clinical review 2 weeks after I started.  My students were struggling with answering questions in complete sentences---not to mention just answering the question correctly!  So this packet was born.

I mean, what kid is a master of answering questions anyway?
"What was the story about?"
"I went to Disney World last summer!!!"  sigh......

I whipped up these posters that helped the kiddos realize what we were looking for in the answer.  If we ask a "who" question, there better be a person or character in the answer.  If we ask a "why" question, then the word BECAUSE better be in their answer!

They helped dramatically!  I was so proud of their work.  When we would answer questions from stories/passages, I would have them highlight the question word before answering.  They were instructed to look at the poster to make sure they answered correctly.  If a paper came in without highlighting---it went right back out.  Another thing we did is I found passages that I could print out for my students, so that they could write right on their paper.  The needed to highlight WHERE they found their answer, or if it wasn't directly stated, WHAT they used to support their answer.  {Now, we do our Language Arts curriculum a little different... we don't have a big box company curriculum but rather we have "themes" that we need to find things on our own---or create them.  So much of what I found were already made in books that my coworkers had, because it was my first year in second grade----and being back half a year made things a bit stressful!  This year I plan on creating more passages of my own, which will most likely be added to this pack!}

{I had these up on my board for a few weeks while we got used to searching and answering questions better}

I've added to this pack to have more activities and I imagine it will end up growing more as I teach the entire year.  There are matching cards where students are matching an answer to what question word they believe was used to get that answer.  I plan on using that in small groups-but as a whole group activity.  (We will work in small groups to find the matches, and then discuss whole group what the matches were and what questions could have been asked)
{This is just part of the page for memory}

There are around the room activities, which, if you have been following me, it's something I LOVE to do with my littles.  Getting up and working with clipboards around the room just have a magical effect on engagement!

The first activity has a question asked at the top of the card with 2 possible answers below.  They need to walk around and read the question and decide if A or B is correct as the answer.  They will also write what question word is used in the question on their recording sheet.

 {These are on half sheets-to give you an idea of how big they are; copyright info is only on the pictures for my blog-not on your download}

The second activity has a photograph and a question below.  Students will look at the picture and read the question.  They will need to write a complete sentence to answer the question as best as they can.

{Copyright info on this picture is not there on your download}

The third activity has a photograph as well (same ones are used), but an ANSWER is under the photograph.  Students will have to work in REVERSE to figure out what QUESTION was asked and write that on their recording sheet!

{Copyright info on this picture is not there on your download}

I plan on using these during the beginning/first half of second grade to work on our question/answer skills, along with having students use text to find answers as well.

This is how my mini bulletin board ended up afterwards:

If this is something that you could use, you can check it out in my store!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Periscope for Teachers! #periscopeteachers

Well, if you haven't heard by now, you are probably having a wonderful summer, disconnected from the world.  I've jumped into the periscope world and am finding it really addicting.  I've even started to broadcast to some of you!

What it is:  It's a broadcasting social media app.  You can broadcast ideas and things to anyone in the world!  OR... if you aren't quite as adventurous... you can just comment and give love (AKA hearts) by tapping the screen while listening to a fellow teacher (or anyone).  It's a WONDERFUL way for teachers to connect around the world.  To collaborate and share ideas!  The best thing is that you DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A BLOG to participate!  I am in love with it, and am quite the introvert, until I'm comfortable around people... I had this app 1 day before I broadcasted out to the world!  I was even talking to about 100 people for one of them.  (not to mention the many people who watch replays!)  OH.MY.WORD!!!!!!

The downside to it is that the broadcasts only stay up for 24 hours for replays....  so you have to watch fast!  (there are ways to record, but I'm not going into details here... google it and you will find the easy ways) ;)

Come find me here:

{user name is @rulintheroost;  you can view this periscope for another 15 hours or so}

Now, I even worked with a few other teachers Third Grade from the Edge and Cooking Up Success and we started a Periscope Teacher Challenge, to get teachers to jump on board and get their feet wet with periscope.  If you haven't done one yet, I'm not challenging YOU to do it!  You can save the following image to your instagram account, if you have one---and then tag 3 teacher friends to do the same after you!  I never created a hashtag before, and now there are over 80 posts, 2 days into it!  (and many other who took the challenge but didn't post it on IG)

Since that took off, I didn't want it to end there.  Now we are going to have a monthly #periscopeteacherchallenge that we will also tag the phrase #teachertiptuesdayS and also tag it to our instagrams so that we know when to watch.  (don't forget to add that S at the end so we have these together!  Doesn't have to be a capital letter though)

Here are the detail for the rest of July.  You are challenged to periscope 2-3 tips about "rebooting" in the summer and getting ready for the next school year.  {I know there are only 2 tuesdays left in July, so it will be a quick on}  On any Tuesday (or any day really), periscope your tips.  Post the image on your IG account, if you have one, and just keep it brief to what you were talking about.  Make the people come watch you!  But, having the image will also help others remember what you talked about once your broadcast is gone.....

I thought about making it weekly, but let's face it... once school starts, I don't think it will be something you will want to be doing every day or even every week!  And by posting them Tuesdays, we'll know when to look for ideas!

 I hope that you'll be up for the challenge!  This is such a unique way for educators to come together for the better of our kids!  Here are some hashtags to look for:  #periscopeteachers #periscope4teachers #periscopechallenge #periscopeteacherchallenge

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rockin' Around the Clock... Teaching Time with Riddles?!

This past week the #tptsellerchallenge was to upload a masterpiece.  Thankfully, with my crazy, chaotic house this summer, this was something I had started already this past year, but hasn't been officially ready for TPT.  {A LOT of work goes into just getting it ready to share with you... since your brains aren't quite like mine to understand it!}  I want to thank the lovely Shana over at Mrs. Groom's Room for being my editor!

I am so excited to share this with you today.  I hate teaching time.  There.  I said it.  So, what I hate most about time---correcting it!  It takes me so much longer to correct time worksheets and practice than others because you have to pay close attention to details.  I started a few activities for other skills (that aren't uploaded yet, but will!) that made my life so much easier and students were so much more engaged and forced to practice!

I present you with Rockin' Around the Clock.

I created worksheets/recording sheets for students to practice telling time for each skill of hour/half hour, quarter hours and five minute intervals.  ( That sounds exciting doesn't it!?  :P  Here's the best part.  It's pretty much a self correcting practice!  Each activity has a riddle (about time, of course!).  Students write or draw hands on clock on their recording sheet.  Then they will get up and walk around the room to find the answers!  BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!  Each answer has a corresponding letter.  Students will write the letter they see at the place on their worksheet that has that time (or clock).  After they find all of their answers, they write the letters to make words at the bottom of their worksheet.  I quickly check it (basically looking at their letters at the bottom, since I'm also walking around making sure no one is just writing answers or copying---which I NEVER had.  We talked about how it's all a secret!).  Students then put it in their folders or cubbies FLIPPED over so no one can see their answers.  {This packet has SEVEN activities/riddles for kids to have fun completing!!!!!!}

Students will walk around the room to find these cards.  Their recording sheet will require them to draw the hands to match their digital time first---these cards will be what they search for to find the letter needed.  {and there are some that have students finding the digital time, but this one matches the picture I was able to take}

I cannot put in words how excited the kids were each day to do these activities.  They were really bummed when the unit was over.  I wish I could show you pictures of their cute faces doing the activities, but I'm not allowed.  You will have to take my word on it---I PROMISE you this packet will be a life saver and so much fun.

Keep an eye out for more activities like this.  I have some already started for other math skills and plan on adding more for the first half of the year, since I missed the first half last year!

-the rest of this packet has memory match game for each skill (hour/half hour;  quarter hours; and five minute intervals) and 2 extra practice worksheets for each skill, that you could use for homework, practice or even assessments.

Click {HERE} to see it in my TPT store!  If you'd like to win a copy here, leave me a comment telling me what you like to spend your TIME on during the summer!  I'll choose a winner by Sunday!  

Check out my FB page and Instagram for more chances to win it!

Do you want to try it before you buy it?!  Click here for one activity to try before you buy!  This riddle/activity practices students drawing of hands to match the phrases "quarter of/till; quarter after/past"

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