Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to Accelerate Reading Levels in Your Classroom Quickly and EASILY

So many people have asked how I keep track of all of my students' different lists of Dolch words.  It really is EASY, but is really HARD to explain.  I decided I'd make you a video of me assessing a student (who also happens to be a friends' son-thanks Michelle for letting me videotape R to help teachers everywhere learn about this process!).
It is such a simple system that took me forever to finally get it all together to make it effective and easy and doable for my students, me AND their families. This video shows a student who is an average reader who is quickly accelerating into more of an advanced reader because of his motivation, his families work with him AND his word work with his own individualized list of Dolch words in the classroom.  When students start knowing these words that are continuously showing up in their reading, they can focus their efforts on other strategies rather than trying to figure out some really hard words.
Please watch this video (no judging, it's my first attempt at this, but I did it for YOU!) and ask ANY questions you may still have.  I am providing links after for more informational posts, as well as a freebie to help you see how you can get started!

Read more about this system here:
Grab the letter I send home to families to describe the importance of this system FREE if you already have your own system in place!
Or just grab the whole kit to help you easily implement this system tomorrow as well as start moving your students' reading levels rapidly!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Upcoming Conference Reminder Reminds Parents of Time and a GREAT Meeting

It's that time of cards are coming out, conferences are coming up...
My advice is to keep it as positive as and remember that you both have the best interest of the said child in mind...It isn't a bad idea to remind the parents that you feel that way to maybe thwart off some of the tension or nerves that come with the annual parent teacher conference.  I made this free reminder to let the parents put down some key points they'd like to discuss at the conference.  Click on the picture below if you'd like to grab it to use for your own classroom!

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Simple & Effective Classroom Managing With Class Dojo

 After the big clip chart debate this past year, I got wondering what other options there were out there. I loved my clip chart system, but was willing to try something new to compare my experiences with.  I had dabbled with Class Dojo in the past, but did TONS of reading and researching this summer to see if it was something I would want to try.  The more I read, the more I was convinced that I needed to at least give it a whirl.  Every reporting teacher's experience was nothing but positive and Class Dojo really makes it easy to set up and implement in your classroom.  FREE. Yes, FREE!

I think the final selling point for me was the clip art of each of the monsters they provide FREE at the web site.  I am all about bringing each student's avatar "alive" to personalize the program and get the kiddos excited......ideas went racing through my mind.  First off, I printed off 3 of each of the 30+ monsters available (if you are gasping at all the ink I used, don't worry- I have HP Instant Ink, I can print TONS now without worrying about the high cost of ink anymore!).  After I signed up my class, I pulled out and laminated the monsters that were assigned to each child for our Class Dojo Board.  I labeled them with their names and they chose where they wanted to put them. (Obviously- right? If I had done it myself, it would have been much more balanced out-but I'm all about giving kids choice, as hard as it is at times like this... :) ).

 The behaviors I am looking for throughout the day align with our school's ethical principles, along with our school and class goals.  For example, our school system has a percentage goal for attendance, so that is something my kiddos get a point for- just coming to school and being on time!  We have a quick chat every morning about how important it is to be at school, etc.  It is just so cool how you can personalize the program for YOUR class even giving some things more weight than others if you want!

I saw lots of reward coupons that teachers attached to the kiddos receiving points and it got very overwhelming to me.  I love the ideas and think it's great that teachers can coordinate that, but this girl is all about simple and easy.  So, here is the break down for the "reward" part of it:
  • If a child reaches 5 or more points in a day, they get to choose a sticky jewel to stick on and decorate their monster with.  You HAVE NO IDEA, they absolutely LOVE getting jewels. I buy a variety of jewels whenever I find them on sale and cheap.  Usually at craft stores, but you never know where you might see some jewels (even holiday themed ones!) so keep your eyes open. 
  • At 25, 50, 75 and 100 points, they get in the prize box.  Simple and they love pawing through that box of treasures!
  • Also, at 100 points, they get to retire their jewel-clad monster from our wall and take it home (but, now that I think about it, I wished I'd said we would put them in the Monster Hall of Fame--darn, there's always next year!) and CHOOSE THEIR OWN MONSTER....oooooh- do you know how excited they are about this?? I mean, its as simple as me opening the screen of all the monsters and them pointing to the one they want and VOILA, they've picked their own monster..maybe a twin of one of their friends' monsters or a new one that hasn't been revealed yet....

 I was super excited when I found a pack of 160 blank white round stickers at the Dollar Tree in the stationary section.  They are Polaroid brand. I knew exactly what I was going to do with them.  I made stickers with the Class Dojo monsters so the kiddos can have "personalized" stickers of their very own monster avatar.  They were in disbelief when I showed them I had stickers of "their" monsters.  "Where did you get those?" "I saw my monster!" I mean, really, for a $1.00 and some of my instant ink, how could I go wrong?  The template for the stickers is found at a web address and you can simply insert the monster pics that you've downloaded directly from the Class Dojo site under Teacher Resources!  Please, tell me your experiences and ideas with Class Dojo!  I have ZERO complaints thus far and absolutely love it.  I'll keep you posted as we move forward with this great classroom management program!

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