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Editing Checklist

I have searched and searched for an editing checklist that might work for all of my students (2nd -5th graders). Nothing seemed to work so I finally decided to just make my own.  After I made one with a notebook paper background, I got inspiration for another one which I now LOVE (I guess I am a little biased). I posted them up on my Teachers Notebook store.   


Click on the picture to get your own!  

 I plan on printing them on card stock, laminating them, and storing them in a file folder attached to the wall like this, only stapled to the wall and editing checklists instead of blank paper: 

As with everything in my store, if you would like something customized for your classroom, email me and I'll see what I can do!  

Daily Objective Posters

At every staff meeting so far this year, we have heard "subtle" suggestions to post our lesson objectives in our rooms.  I finally got around to making them this week and I hung them up today.  Here is how it looks:

After laminating, I hot-glued the sheets to a ribbon and then I glued everything to the wall.  They hang right above the finished work basket, next to the students cubbies.  

Since I was making them anyways, I decided to make a few more and put them on my Teachers Notebook store.  I made 3 different patterns - dots, stripes, and chevron stripes (which isn't uploading right now, I'll try again tomorrow).  Here are some sample pics:  



Click on the picture to be taken to the items in the store.  If you would like different wording, just email me at and let me know.  I'd be happy to customize it for you.  Enjoy your Friday evening! 

Introduction to Problem Solving

My districts math focus this year is on problem solving.  Students who struggle with math typically REALLY struggle with problem solving.  I have just spent the first 3 weeks of my AIS math groups introducing problem solving.

To make it a little more fun, I created a problem solving bulletin board for my students to use.

Each work mat is a step in the problem solving process. 
I write word problems on sentence strips and students can use dry erase markers to solve the problem right on the laminated work mats.  Together, we solve a bunch of simple word problems on the bulletin board (1 problem a day for a week or 2) before I give them the graphic organizer.
I only change the numbers in the word problem for the students first time using the graphic organizer.  For example, the day before I introduce the organizer, I might give the students the following problem to solve on the bulletin board: 

There are 35 birds in a tree.  There are 7 birds on a roof.  How many birds are there altogether?

The next day, I would show the students the organizer and let them try it out using this problem (I just cover the old numbers with post it notes): 

There are 19 birds in a tree.  There are 12 birds on a roof.  How many birds are there altogether?

All of the work from the first problem is on the bulletin board.  Students only have to change the numbers in the addition problem.  This allows the kids to focus on using the problem solving organizer, rather than focusing on solving a problem AND the organizer.  Once students have internalized the problem solving process, they do not use the organizer for every problem because it is time consuming.  

I made 3 more sets of problem solving bulletin board work mats.  I am using the polka dot one at building #2.

There is something so cheerful about polka dots!  I have uploaded the polka dot mats as well as a striped and chevron striped sets to my Teachers Notebook store.  Don't forget to download the free graphic organizer while you're there! 

5 Minute Drills & a Freebie

The way the new New York State IEP's are, I have to probe (assess) my students progress frequently.  For my students who have a goal of solving # of basic facts in x minutes, I assess every 2 weeks.  Some of the students only need 40 addition facts, some need 100.  I don't want to have to make different probes for every student, especially when I have 37 now!  I figured the easiest thing to do was print 20 different 5 minute drills (100 problems).  Some of my students, however, are overwhelmed by seeing 100 problems at once.  I make a quick template for them that only shows one row of problems at a time.

Sorry, the pictures are not coming out well at all!  Download the free template from my Teachers Notebook store!

Phonics Comics

I recently found a series of comic books called Phonics Comics.  The books are grouped into 3 levels - 1, 2 and 3.  They are also Fountas and Pinnell leveled.  I ordered 16 books from Amazon (I think I got a little carried away).  The level 1 books I ordered are level F and G.  My level 2 books range from H to J and the level 3 books range from K to M.  Each book has 3 stories in it.  The books are designed to give students phonics and sight word practice.  There is a list of non-decodable or challenging words in the back of each book as well as a list of sight words used in the book.  You can learn more about these books here

 Level 3 Books
 Level 2 Books
 Level 1 Books
 Sorry for the sideways pictures - A picture of the inside of a level 1 book
Story words and Sight words page in a level 1 book

I can't wait to use these in my classroom.  My students who are reading at an F in 3rd grade really need books that don't look like "baby books".  


Amazing Day!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately.  Life has been crazy to say the least.  Today was such a great day though that I had to share.  I finally got some of my assessments done...I made a few pocket games...Two of my students who really struggle with reading moved up a reading level today! And one student had a MAJOR light bulb moment.  After over a year, yes a YEAR, of working on subtraction with regrouping, he got it!  I've never been so happy for a student in my life! This little boy has autism and he really didn't understand my excitement.  His response to me was (in a matter of fact tone) "Well, you taught me how to do it."

It's 11:40 so this is going to be a short post but it was such a good day, I had to share.  I know I promised a literature circles rubric and possibly a mini-unit on Bunnicula and they are coming, I promise.  Grad school and work have been wearing me down so I'm a little...okay a lot behind!  Hopefully after this week I can post more regularly.


Teacher Shoes

I'm joining in on the teacher shoes linky party hosted by Cardigans and Curriculum!  This is a fantastic idea because who doesn't love shoes?!  I'm a flats girl...I love the idea of wearing heals but, let's face it, they are not practical for our profession.  Here are some of the shoes I wear at work:

JELLYPOP Women's Perfect Shoe
Hot Kiss Women's Hours Shoe
SO Ballet Flats

Classic Short
Flats for typical school days and Uggs during fall and winter dress down days. I can't wait to see what everyone else is wearing!


Literature Circles

As of right now, I have 35 students!  I have a group of fifth grade boys who need to work on comprehension so I immediately thought of doing literature circles.  I had no packets that were appropriate for them so I decided to make my own.  My rules and behavior chart are in a space theme so I made the packet in a space theme as well.

I chose roles that require students to write summaries, make predictions, infer character traits, determine important ideas, and ask open-ended questions.  The packet includes question starters to help students with questions and a list of character traits, two versions of the cover page, and role descriptions.  I have added the packet to my Teachers Notebook store.  If you want a literature circle in a different theme, please let me know and I'll do my best to make one!  

Enjoy your Friday night, 

PS - I'm working on a literature circle scoring rubric this weekend.

Closure, Assessments, and Management Oh My!

This year, my principals have made it clear that our lesson plans must have:
1. A clear objective
2. Details on how the students will reach that objective and
3. An assessment that matches the objective

When observing lessons they want to see:
1. A hook
2. Modeling
3. Guided Practice
4. Independent Practice
5. Closure
6. Assessment
and obviously, a caring learning environment with good classroom management. 

Personally, I don't think this is too much to ask for but with that being said I often do not have a closure to my lessons.  My "closure" sounds like "Okay, throw any finished work into the finished work bin, if you are still working put your work in your cubbie, put pencils away and quietly go back to your class - and please hurry because your late!"  There is never enough time to fit everything into a 30 minute block of time.  Add in fire drills, late students, and ADHD and we are down to about 20 minutes each day.  I also have NO time between groups (one leaves at 12:30, the next one starts at 12:30) which means groups of 4 - 5 chatty children get to walk the halls unsupervised to and from class.  This drives me nuts! 

Yesterday, I tried something new and I love it!  While students were cleaning up, I walked to the door.  Each student had to answer a different yet similar question about the lesson before he or she could go back to class.  It took 60 seconds and covered my closure, assessment, and the hallway management problem!  That is definitely going to become a tradition in my room. 

Feel free to share your closure & assessment tips with me!


PS. I love fall but not when it is 35 degrees in the morning!

Rounding & Teachers Notebook Store

My students were struggling with the concept of rounding last week.  I created a rounding roller coaster sheet to help the kids visualize the rounding process.  The roller coaster has spots for students to write their numbers on it to see if they are rounding up or down.  I liked the sheet so much, I ran to Target on Sunday and bought a laminator so I could use it today.  It was a huge success!  My students loved it.  After doing a few problems with the roller coaster, they "got it".  They all begged me for their own copies they can take home.  I just finished making a set of 5 so they can each use them during class.

I've been thinking about opening a Teachers Notebook or TPT store for a while now.  Before I started, I wanted to make sure I had all the proper permissions to use the graphics and fonts.  I do not want to sell (or give away) any items that I have not tried in my classroom (with success) first.  The rounding roller coaster was so successful in my room, I decided to open my store and use it as my first item!  You can visit my new Teachers Notebook store here!  I have never used paypal before so please let me know if there are any glitches or if you have suggestions.  It's been a long day so I'm off to relax before tomorrow!