Saturday, October 26, 2013

Five For Friday Anchor Charts, Guided Math, and a Freebie

Happy Saturday!

Now that October is almost over, it finally feels like fall.  I have started needing to wear gloves on my walk to school, so my hands don't freeze off.  I'm not complaining though because the clear air is so refreshing, the leaves are gorgeous, and the sunsets have been amazing lately.

Although, I am late to the party, I am so happy to finally have time to link up with Doodle Bugs again for 5 for Friday.  This is the first Saturday in months that I do not have plans.  Well, let me revise that. I do have tons of plans to get various chores and errands done, but I do not have social plans.  The most social thing I plan to do is to dance with my mop as I clean my kitchen.  Hehehe.

Anyways, on the fun...


Class Dojo

This week, I was feeling like I needed to begin keeping better anecdotal notes about my students' behavior, so I began browsing Pinterest and other educational sites for a good form to use.  Although there are some good ones out there, nothing jumped out at me.  What's more, I just felt like I would not have had the time to fill out a form with much consistency.  So, what did I do?  

I turned to the app store of course!

I figured that someone out there had created something useful for keeping track of student behavior.  Thankfully, I was right.  My search resulted in the discovery of one of the COOLEST apps ever...Class Dojo!!!  

Class Dojo is a behavior managment app that allows you to track your students' positive and negative behaviors with the touch of a button.  You input your students' names and then the app turns them into super cute monster characters.  Then, all you have to do is open the app, click on the name of one or more students and then click on the positive or negative behavior being displayed.  The app gives green +1s for positive behavior and red -1s for negative behavior.  Then, it calculates the percentage of good vs. bad behavior for each student and the whole class!  How crazy awesome is that?

The icing on the cake is that you can even add your own positive and negative behavior descriptions, so if your class has a specific issue, you can keep track of that instead of just relying on the provided list of behaviors.

Basically, I am in love with this app.  I was not told to share it with you or to promote it any way.  I just can't keep it a secret cause it's that awesome!  Click the picture at the top of this section to check out the Class Dojo website.
Small Moments

We kicked off our Small Moments writing unit this week.  Because students have trouble understanding what a small moment is, I dig some PinResearch and found some great anchor chart ideas to help introduce the concept.

This chart was inspired by two charts; one from Colleen over at Totally Terrific in Texas and the other from Jade Morgan.

Small moments

I used my chart to introduce students to the idea of a big story being a watermelon and a small moment story being a seed.  I read, A Chair for My Mother to the class and modeled how to identify the small moment seeds inside the big story.  Once the students caught on, they helped me pick them out.  We wrote the seed moments on sticky notes and stuck them to the watermelon seeds.

The next day, I read Owl Moon and we talked about how Jane Yolen stretched a small moment into an entire story.

After that, we began brainstorming small moment ideas using Susan Jones's adorable and awesome Personal Narrative pack.

Then, we worked on narrowing down ideas from watermelons to slices to seeds.  Again, I had the students practice as a whole class using the anchor chart before releasing them to do their own Watermelon, Slice, Seed graphic organizers.  


Next week, the students will use the next pages in Susan's pack to brainstorm details and to draw out the sequence of their small moments.  Then, it will finally be time for them to write!  Hurray!


The kiddos began learning about nouns this week.  They loved going on a noun scavenger hunt.  I found a great one and some other awesome and FREE noun activities from Mrs. Lemons at Step Into Second Grade.

Properties of Objects
Original Pin from KC Kindergarten Times

In science, it was time to start learning about Properties of Objects, so we did a lot of activities with pattern blocks, sorted buttons, and wrote Wanted Posters for criminal stuffed animals.  The kids LOVED that last activity.  They each brought in a small stuffed animal, not knowing what they were going to use it for.  Then, on the day of the activity, I started talking in a crazy, western/southern accent.  I told all the kids that they were sheriffs and there were bandits on the loose!  Their stuffed animals had committed some serious crimes and needed to be caught and locked up for good!  Everyone squealed with laughter at this point.
Then, I modeled how to fill out the Wanted Poster and sent the kids off to work on theirs.  All of them were super creative coming up with criminal names and crazy crimes.  I wish I had remembered to take pictures of the bulletin board where I posted all of the finished signs.  I will try to remember to take one next week.

Anyways, here's a freebie for you.  Click the picture to download it.

Guided Math Launch

Last, but certainly not least for this busy week, I decided to jump off the diving board into the pool of Guided Math.  I have always loved the idea of guided math for the sake of differentiation and management etc.  However, as a single classroom teacher, I felt overwhelmed by the thought of organizing it all on my own.  This year though I realized I needed to go for it.  The way I was running math was not working super well and I felt like it was time to take a step to do something different.  Therefore, after doing some serious blog and Pinterest research, I decided to launch my own version of Guided Math.

My plan is to make it run similarly to the Daily 5, since that is working super well so far.  To start of, we will have a whole class mini-lesson to introduce/review concepts.  Then, three groups will rotate through the following stations: Math with Self, Math with Someone, and Math with Teacher.  During Math with Self, students will either use technology to practice math or they will be doing some kind of personal game or practice sheet.  For Math with Someone, they will play games with math partners.  Math with Teacher will be when they do their workbook pages, so I can monitor their progress and then provide remediation, extra practice, or enrichment games and activities as necessary.

So far, I have a really good feeling about how this will work.  Though we have just begun, students are already catching on to the routines because they are so used to the procedures of Read to Self and Read to Someone.  I hope things continue to go well as we really begin using the whole rotation next week.

Wow, that was a bigger post than I expected.  It was a big week though with lots of good learning moments.  I was glad to have time to share it with you.

One more quick thing before I go.  Starting today, Educents has a great deal on a ton of clipart.  The total value of the pack is $119.75, but it's available now for only $29.99!  Wow!

With that, I'm peacing out to go take a walk in the cool, but beautiful fall weather.  Have a great day everyone!


  1. I love your idea of Guided Math! I would love to her more about it as you continue through the year!

  2. I love this math grouping idea. Are kids grouped heterogeneous lay?
    Was it time consuming to create activities for groups?? You have inspired me. Judy Schaner