Sunday, May 24, 2020

2 and 10 strategy

This year our behavior specialist taught the staff about a strategy called, 2 and 10.

You can read more about it herehere.

If you have been around a seven year old before, you know it is a tough time in development.  They go from silly and joyful six year olds to serious and moody seven year olds.  I recognized this as a teacher but with such mixed age ranges in classes, I had a hard time wondering why so many of my kids were so different.  I always noticed a lot of friendship troubles starting in January each year.  It wasn’t until I read the Yardsticks book that it all made sense.  Seven year olds like being alone, they like having one best friend even though it changes often, but they also have some low self-esteem.  
Next year, I plan to make time to have 3-5 students on a rotating 2 and 10 chat time.  Once they turn seven, I hope to put them on my list.  Set a timer for 2 minutes, and actively listen to a child talk about anything.  Write down some notes and bring the next child back.  Once a child has met for 10 days straight, I plan to put them on a weekly or every other week schedule to talk for 2 minutes.
I used this strategy with 4 different students this year and the results were magical.  This is definitely time that might be taken away from squeezing in one more enrichment lesson or sight word group but it will be worth it!  As a result of satisfying their belonging and safety needs, their effort improved for academics.  I guess Maslow was on to something.  😉
I worked with a young man last year that we first had to start with a scaffolded approach.  He had a notebook and I would ask these questions.  It was tough to get him to answer at first, but soon he was telling me his life story!  
This is an easy strategy to try BUT you have to be consistent with meeting for 10 days straight.  They really start to look forward to being heard.  I have listened to them in the hall before dropping them off to special on days that I couldn’t seem to find time.  I have sat down with them at lunch to listen etc.  it is important to NOT miss a day.  
Who is up for the challenge?


Soooo.... 5 years

Gosh, I did not realize that it had been 5 years since I posted!  So anyone reading this (hi mama Kathy!), I thank you!

I figured that I better give you the short version of the past five years...
-I am a mama now!  I have an almost 4 year old little girl and she is my everything!  That alone probably explains a bit of my absence!  🤣
-A month after my angel was born, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  2 months after my little lady was born, my dad was diagnosed with cancer!  When he told me, I thought that he was playing a sick joke.  Unfortunately, it was true.
-After my maternity leave, I went back to work for 2 months.  When hospice was called for my mom, I took FMLA leave to care for my mom.  After my mom passed away, I returned to work for a month.  
-The next year in the fall my favorite person in the world, my dad, lost his battle with cancer.  I believe God has things happen for a reason.  I wanted a child for a long time and I finally was blessed with one that was very needy.  If it were not for my sassy young lady and having to focus on getting up every day to be her mama- I would have struggled a lot more than I have.  I also am blessed with so many people like my in-laws, my husband, and my framily that have helped me heal and become more whole again.  

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, I am an open book but also the past five years has shaped me into who I am today.  I still love teaching and learning but my path has changed.  Instead of focusing on filling their sponge like brains with more information, I now focus more on social and emotional learning.  

As I embark on my 15th year of teaching first grade, I plan to implement learning activities that teach the whole child.  I have dabbled in many strategies such as having a “cozy corner” (I’ll post more about that later!), using a strategy called 2 and 10, teaching guidance counselor lessons, focused on explicitly teaching how to make a friend, empathy bracelets, better choice in read alouds, and more!

One book that has guided me and I STRONGLY encourage you to buy is the Yardsticksyardsticks book.  There are so many times in my career that I have said, “I don’t know why they are acting this way now!”  This book explains it all!  What children go through cognitively, socially, and emotionally.  Whenever I feel that way, I get out this book and usually have an A-HA moment.  I will be using this book to help guide me into creating a framework and lessons for next year.  Regardless if we are teaching remotely or in person, this should be beneficial.   

I am hoping that posting here will help keep me motivated to work but also it might inspire someone out there to try a few things.  

Thanks for reading and if you are feeling super brave, feel free to post below and tell me about yourself!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Google classroom ... For FIRST grade!

I love 4th quarter!  It is often referred as my "experimental" quarter.  I have taught most skills needed and just have remediation groups, and enrichment groups.  It is also the PERFECT time to try new things in the classroom.  They have already learned the minimum they need to learn in first grade-  so trying something new is WAY less scary. 

I went to an educational tech conference 2 months ago and have been "itching" to try out a couple of things.  One of those has been Google Read and Write.  Google Read and Write is an extension that you can add on to chrome.  

My school is HUGE with Google.  We use gmail- live on Google Drive (which is the most amazing way to collaborate on things!) and even some teachers have "bit the bullet" and have "Google Classrooms."  I've been to many PD sessions about Google Classroom and thought- "oh- that would be great!  I HATE grading all of those tests and seem to ALWAYS be grading- during lunch, recess, home, walking down the hallway."  However-  I know that I still read the tests to my students and I don't want to read it 3 times.  We are EXTREMELY lucky and have 10 chrome books per classroom-  but with 27 kids and test taking online-  it wouldn't really help.  So I have "brushed" the idea of ever using Google classroom under the rug.  It just seemed like another PD that we attend that is not applicable to pk-1.  We are in our own little world in pk-1.  ...That is until I learned about Google Read and Write.  (I know it is Read and Write for Google- I just love writing it my way for some reason.)

Google Read and Write is the answer to my constant first grade teaching complaints. 
  • *"They can't do online research!"  
  • *"I found a great article on time 4 kids but only half of my class can read it!"  
  • *"I can't do a real PBL because I would have to do all of the research for them!  I don't have time for that!"  
  • *"I can't use Google Classroom because I would have to read them everything!"  
  • *"I just sometimes wish I taught second grade-  so in the first month of school they could come right in and read the morning message!"

Google Read and Write is not only making my kids more independent regardless of their reading level but also making me a better person.  I have WAY less complaints.  I didn't say I don't complain anymore-  just less.  ;-)

You might ask-  okay what is it and how much does it cost?

Google Read and Write can be added to any registered Google account on chrome in less than 5 minutes. Click here to see a 3 minute intro video.

 I am not the most techy person out there and I could easily figure it out.  Within 5 minutes a green rectangle will appear to the right in your search bar (I had to sign out and back in for it to appear.)

If you are online and want to read the webpage-  just click the green rectangle and a toolbar will pop up.  

Press the "play" button and the entire page will be highlighted and will be read to you.  There are many other options like taking away pictures so it is less distracting with just the text, changing voice type, voice speed, highlighting material and even a writing tool that has word suggestions pop up similar to my iPhone does when I'm typing plus much much more!  Reading items is just a small part of what this extension actually does.  

Now back to my Google Classroom complaint, "It isn't possible for first grade."  Boy-  was I ever wrong!  

All of my students have my classroom website bookmarked on their Google accounts.  All I did was add an easy to find clickable link to go to the Google classroom sign up page.  Students clicked the link.  Then clicked- "join classroom" and finally hit the plus sign at the top.  They entered in my class code- and were instantly enrolled into my Google classroom.  (My classroom took 5 minutes to set up on my end.)

On my teacher end I created a simple Google form with multiple choice answers that took 2 minutes to create.  I got the "link" for the form and entered it on my Google classroom page- (only taking 30 seconds.). I pressed "send" and it was sent out to my students.  (Well my one "guinea pig" student.)  This is similar to looking at a facebook wall.  There is a feed and if someone has a link-  it will appear under it.  (I HIGHLY recommend watching the Google Classroom overview that is located at the bottom of this blog post.)
With the Google Read and Write extension- all my students have to do is open up the test.  Then they click on the green rectangle to bring up the tool bar.  Then press play to have the test read to them.  They can pause it or go back and have it repeat sections.  My students can now take tests independently.  It doesn't have to be the same time and it even makes differentiating assessments faster.  I can just send specific tests to specific kids or create a test that advances you to a more difficult question if correct.  The possibilities are endless.  The best part-  with Flubaroo (a Google extension). It grades the assessment for you!!!!!  To communicate scores to parents- we just send home a quarter sheet paper where we circle their score or skill they need to work on.
Now  about the cost which is a HUGE factor!  There is good news and bad news.  The good news is that you get the reading feature for free to read Google Forms/ Docs.  The bad news is that the awesome web reading and other fun features are for the pay version.  You do however get the "premium" version free for a few days after signing up.  You can choose if that is something worth it for you.  I kinda want at least my teacher version to be premium (which you can get for free now) so kids can read their research for projects right on the computer.  
This week I am making a Google form version of our weekly Journeys comprehension assessment and going to try it out!  The Google classroom test form that we did last week worked so well!  I just need to make a quarter sheet pârent communication form to send home regarding the student test results.  
Hopefully if you have been on the edge of Google Classroom you have been inspired to give it a try thanks to Google Read and Write!  

Here are more great informational videos:
*About Google docs (this was BEFORE classroom!)
*This is about how to set-up Google Classroom and capabilities on teacher and student side (This is a fast version- there are plenty of long tutorials out there- I REALLY like this one!)
*This is about how to create a Google form (This is what I use to create assessments that I add to the Google Classroom.)
***If only they gave me some free premium versions for singing their praises!  If you have that power and are reading this.  I will gladly accept some premium versions for free.  :). ***
Anyone else "experiment" 4th quarter?  What are you doing?  I need more projects to try!  :)


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Read Across America Comprehension FREEBIE

We have a lot of fun things planned all week for Read Across America.  We will have literacy night with bedtime stories and fun activities all week.  

These are 2 organizers that we will be using this week with Dr. Seuss books.   

Click to go to my TPT to download these comprehension organizers.

Have a great week!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Math Headbands Review Game- pin it to win it

Do you know the Headbandz game that you buy in the board game aisle?  It is the game with vocabulary cards and blue plastic headbands.  This game brings back days sitting around with my siblings and grandparents playing "Indian Poker."  For the non-player- you seem like a group of fools with cards stuck on their head- however to those playing- it is a TON of fun!

My students LOVE playing this game!  As soon as the words, "Recess" are uttered out of my mouth- my students make a mad dash to get out the game and Legos.   If you have Legos in your classroom- you have to know that you can NEVER have enough Legos.  At least the Headband game gets an equal play from the stash of toys.

After I reread my FAVORITE book by Dave Burgess- I was inspired to try to make this game more first grade educational friendly.  I started making math cards for the game a few months ago.  I tried it out with my kiddos and they did great!  Well- some still try to play it charades style and give the person a hint.  Either way- they are still learning and showing their knowledge of the vocabulary word and are BEGGING to play.  "You know- I guess that we did have a great day today- maybe we can play a for a little bit."  lol- inside I am thinking, "Yes!  More math practice!"

If you have never played this game- this is what it is all about:
1.  All game players have a plastic headband (or you can make your own!)
2.  They insert a card without looking at it into their headband and start a sand timer.
3.  They are to ask questions to try to figure out what is inserted into their headband.  The other players can only answer, "yes" or "no."  Once they get an answer correct- they take it down and insert a new card- trying to get as many correct as they can before the time is up.  

To assist students with asking questions, there are helper cards.  They can flip through the cards and ask the question at the top.  If their peers answer, "yes"- they know they can ask the questions below. The headband card will be the same color as the helper card.  This can be used to give struggling students a hint.  

Since the FREE Pay it Forward math items end tonight- .
you can get this FREE if you pin it on Pinterest until next Sunday and come back and leave a comment with the link to the pin and your email.  :)

Have a great week!  :)


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Genius area

This is a new management piece incorporated this year.  The Weekly Genius'.  This seriously has helped with managing a large class, motivated hard work weekly, and rewarded students for excellent behavior.

As you can tell it is not very high tech and it took me about 10 minutes to set up the system.  I used an old graphing pocket chart, wrote out the different chunks of our day and placed it to the left.  Then wrote out each child's name on a little piece of card stock. Seriously 10 minutes and it has REALLY changed the classroom environment.

I learned about this first from a friend with the great idea (The same one who made the video at the bottom of this post.)  I tried it out by "interviewing" students for positions and they stayed the same each week.  It really didn't have the desired effect that I was going for... Then I discovered a teacher at my school who has 1 genius but changes them weekly.  She said it worked well.  I thought- "hey why not?"

We have been using this since after winter break and it has worked so well BEYOND what I even thought would be possible.

How it works:

  • Each week I "watch" students during the work chunks and determine someone that is really good at following the directions, working hard, and problem solving issues.  I tell students that I am looking for a good leader to be the Genius for the following week.
  • Each Friday we make a GIANT production out of announcing the next weeks' Genius people. I really take the time to say, "This person is someone who I noticed...."  This way the allure of being chosen doesn't wear off.  My students get excited, cheer and congratulate their friends. 
  • I secretly keep a class list that I check off each time they have been a Genius.  I don't even mark what area they were- I just mark that they were a Genius.  This way I know to try to find a way to choose some students that haven't been a Genius much.  I still really choose students by who did well.  Some students have been a Genius 8 times, while some have only been twice.  I really do rely on these students to do their job so that I can do mine without interruptions.
  • My students know when to go to their Genius "job" without me telling them.  Their shift is anywhere between 15-30 minutes.  If students in the class have a question or need assistance- they go to the Genius.  The Genius assists them.  
  • The Genius is still responsible for doing their work as well.
  • Two weeks ago we added a "The Genius is on Break" sign.  Under it says, "Ask 3 other friends for help.  If they can't figure it out- then complete a quiet choice."  The Genius can put this up if there have been too many questions or they need to finish their work.
  • As an added bonus our Genius' have their own little office.  We share the office with some word study materials etc.  During their shift, they sit in the office.  Clipboards are hanging on the wall for their convenience.  

I HIGHLY recommend implementing this into your classroom.  It really takes little preparation for the HUGE amount of positives that come from it.  

Just a reminder as a PAY IT FORWARD- all (well I think at least 18) of my common core math items are free until tomorrow!  My entire store is also 20 percent off as well.  :)

A little off topic but wanted to share a really cool video my very talented friend made for our district: CLICK HERE.

Here is hoping that it inspires voters!  :)  LOVE my district!!!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Paying it Forward: Creating Graphs and Answering Questions

We are on cold day #2 in Ohio.  The first day I was REALLY lazy and watched movies and did laundry all day. Okay.... I was REALLY excited to do the laundry!  Our AMAZING friends that are living with us as they remodel their new house bought us a BRAND NEW washer and dryer!  :)  Last week our old set finally decided to give out.  My friend went shopping with me to pick out a new set.  As I was busy filling out the warranty information- apparently my friend was secretly paying for our new machines!  I feel so bad for the salesman.  I went from almost yelling at her, "Why did Mr. LaSota give you the card?  Wait- did you pay for that???"  To sobbing and saying, "Wow- thank you- that was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me!!!!"  So I REALLY didn't mind doing laundry since I was so excited to use the nice new and shiny machines.  ;)  Hopefully my husband doesn't catch on to how to get me to love doing chores.  :)

Today I figured that I better do some work!  I am out on Monday for a district meeting and I realized my math plans were not that great.  I figured- for me... I'd be ready to fly by the seat of my pants.  However I have a substitute who has never been in the first grade classrooms before.

So lo and behold- I have spent about 7 hours making some!

Here is a peak:

Simple whole group lessons and Monday sorting activity.

These may not be the MOST attractive things but they walk the student through creating a graph.  My goal was to make this as easy for a substitute to use as possible!  The students have the graph and questions as well as the booklet out for whole group on Monday and Tuesday.

These are the Wednesday and Thursday whole group items.  The "try math" sheet is really a midweek assessment.  The talk cards are asking students to have a discussion about a current skill and a review skill.

Students only have 2 days of Math on My Own since the other two days they are working with their whole group graph.  These independent work items are differentiated.

Finally there are 2 Friday exit slips.  One focuses more on first grade graphing skills.  The second one focuses on second grade graphing skills.  The students are taught more of 2nd grade graphing during whole group for the week.  This is the second time we have visited graphing.  They REALLY understood it the first time so I decided to teach my students more of the 2nd grade standard next  week.  

Want this for FREE????  

I want to PAY IT FORWARD from the VERY nice deed given to me this week and give this away!  This and all of my other common core math items are going to be FREE on my TPT store from Feb. 20th until Feb. 22nd.

Hopefully some of these items are useful to you and it inspires you to PAY IT FORWARD as well!  Enjoy your weekend!