Texas Teaching Fanatic

A look inside a 4th grade classroom

Monday Made It Specials Rotation Schedule (A little late)

I’m linking up again with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It–just a day late!

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My only Made It this time around is my Specials schedule. I’ve tried numerous ways of doing this, but I decided to try something new this year…and I must say this is by far the best one yet.

Our school has A Weeks and B Weeks for Specials rotations. I get tired of students asking what week it is and watching them try to figure out where they will be spending 50 minutes of their day, so I decided to use a cookie sheet and glue pictures for both weeks in order along the edge. I drew an arrow onto a painted clothespin that can be moved each day. This takes all the guesswork out of where we will go each day. The kids love it, and so do I!

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What sort of chart or nifty idea have you come up with? I’d love to hear from you! Happy Tuesday!

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A New Spin on Exit Tickets in the Classroom

Exit tickets can be “gold” to teachers who really use them correctly.  I always tell my students that I want need them to ask me questions so that I know what they are thinking and what is confusing them, but you know how that goes.  They are too embarrassed to ask in front of their friends.  No matter how much I praise them or invite them to ask about what they aren’t understanding, it never fails…MAYBE one person will ask a question, but usually I hear crickets instead.

I just HAVE to have a way to know what they don’t understand on a daily basis, so I cooked up a plan to get them talking.  Rather than students asking me a question, I now ask them at least one question that relates to the lesson and ask them to write down their answer for me.  I tell them to answer it to the best of their ability so that I really know what they are using and confusing.

I’ve cut apart countless pieces of notebook paper to hand out Exit Slips, and it always seems to take up more time and waste so many trees.  (I’m not a “tree hugger,” but I don’t like wasting those valuable resources)  I wanted something that the kids would like enjoy doing, so I thought about using a paper version of Twitter to make it more interesting.

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I covered the inside of my door with black paper and glued some blue border around it.  Then my student teacher (Thank God for her!!) made me some little squares with the altered Twitter bird and the students’ names.  Each student has his/her own laminated card on which to write answers to the questions I ask.  We velcroed them onto the door, and then spiced it up with a bigger (altered version) Twitter bird and the saying, “#ExitTweets.”  I think it turned out great!

I can’t wait for my students to see it on Monday.  I know they will love it!  My plan is to have them find and take down their Exit Slip as they come into the room.  They will use their dry-erase markers to write their responses at the end of the lesson, and then put them back on the door as they leave.  Hopefully they can remember where they put them each day!!

This whole system is fun and all, but there is more to it.  This allows me to see their responses as a group, and pick out the ones who are not comprehending the lesson.  Rather than taking home numerous tiny pieces of paper (and worrying about them getting lost), I can quickly take a look at the door to see who needs extra help.  That way I can pull them in small groups during our intervention time the following day.

What system do you use to collect data on a daily basis?  Any suggestions are welcomed!

Wish us luck!!

Monday Made ItFor more ideas, visit 4th Grade Frolics!

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2013 Classroom Reveal: Inside My 4th Grade Classroom!

I finally did it.  I cleaned up my room and snapped some quick pics before I left.  Warning: I make all of my anchor charts and rules and wall decor with my students, so the walls are very bare.  I’ve covered my bulletin boards, but there isn’t anything else on the walls.  You at least get the idea of what my “home away from home” looks like.  🙂

Here goes:

photo 1(8)This is a picture of the wall/bulletin board/shelf behind my desk.  I put pictures of my family at the top on the shelf, along with some keepsakes from past years.  I also put up all of my class pictures on the side of the bulletin board.  I have my own references and books on the shelves, and I figured you didn’t care about that stuff, so I cut it out of the pic.

photo 4(5)This is my whiteboard easel that holds the Writing Binders that my students will use to publish their writing, along with posters and chart paper.

photo 4(6)These are my classroom computers and my ELMO (document camera).  I have a Promethean board in my classroom and my projector is mounted in the ceiling.  You can see that from the whole classroom view.

photo 2(9)My mom made me some awesome curtains this year!  I love them very much!!  I used to have boring green ones, but luckily she was willing to help me give my room the facelift it needed.  This window is right by the door and looks out into the hallway.

photo 1(9)This is the sign-in area set up for Back to School Night and for parents to fill out on the first day of school (for those that missed B2SN).  I found that cute little whiteboard/chalkboard at Hobby Lobby for $5.99.  I just HAD to have it!!  🙂

photo 3(8)At the front of the room, underneath the Promethean board, I have just enough room to have a small shelf to hold materials that the students will be using on a regular basis.  I’m teaching math and writing this year, so it is a mixture of both.

photo 1(10)These are the table cubbies that I bought at Dollar Tree for $1.  Some of my students have already claimed their desks, so pardon the papers and names on them!

photo 4(7)Here is a closer look at my desk/teaching table.  I don’t have a “real” desk because all I do is junk it up!  😉  Instead, I just have a small table for my computer, a bucket of supplies underneath, and a small rolling cart with drawers to complete it.photo 1(12)A view from my teacher space.

photo 3(12)And last but not least, a look into my classroom from the door.

I’m super tired from my first week back.  The students come on MONDAY!  Where has the summer gone?  I’m signing off to enjoy my weekend.  If you are already back at school, hopefully all is going smoothly.  For those of you receiving students on Monday like me, good luck!  And for those of you who start even later, I’m only a little jealous…  🙂

Done for today!!

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Back To School: Table Cubby Labels

Another FREEBIE for you today.  I’ve been working today on my labels for my table cubbies.  I haven’t ever used these types of labels, but after seeing so many of them on Pinterest and on other blogs, I had to make some for myself!  Here they are, in all their cuteness!

Table Cubbies

If you like black & white or zebra print, feel free to download the ones I made.  Click here –> Table Cubby Labels.

I will be posting a tutorial on how to make these bad boys, so be sure to check back soon!

What is the theme for your classroom this year?  I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below and tell us all how you are decorating your classroom this year!!

 

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Monday Made It: DIY In Under 5 Minutes

It’s Monday Made It time with 4th Grade Frolics!

Monday Made ItI chose two DIY projects that took me under 5 minutes to complete!

Made It #1

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Tired of endless Post-It notes?  Here’s your answer!  I found a picture frame that I liked, cut some scrapbook paper I had stacked in a tub, put it into the frame, and instantly had a Dry-Erase To Do List!  Easy peasy, right?

Made It #2

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Next up is a class set of dry-erase markers WITH ERASERS!  I found some pom-poms at Dollar Tree for only $1, pulled out my hot glue gun, and glued those puppies on the ends of the markers.  No more losing erasers!

My husband and I are going on vacation for a few days, so I’m in a rush to get this posted.  Need more ideas?  Head over to 4th Grade Frolics for lots of Monday Made It ideas!!

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Mission Organization: Supply Labels

Supply Labels Preview

Supply Labels Preview

Short post today.  I’ve been working diligently on getting everything ready for the beginning of the year.  These are the supply labels that I created, thanks to The 3AM Teacher.  I downloaded her border file from Teachers Pay Teachers (FREE, by the way) and created my labels with them.  There are 3 sheets…for pretty much everything.  Print them out and use them for yourself if you think they will be useful to you, too!  If I missed an important one that you would like for me to customize for you, just leave me a comment and I can send it to you.  Happy organizing!!

To download the labels click here –> School Supply Labels.

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Back To School Forms: Make Up Work & Corrections

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time keeping up with students who have missed assignments and those that need to make corrections.  In order to remedy that, I have created some forms for both the students and the teacher.

Make Up and Corrections

The student forms will be cut apart, hole punched, and put onto a ring to keep track of them before handing them to students.  You could just file them away somewhere, but I think the hole punch idea works better for me.  Click here to download Student Copy: Make Up Work and Corrections.

Teacher Corrections

Here is the Teacher copy for keeping up with students who need to make corrections on assignments.  At our school, we are allowed to work with students to help them make corrections to raise their grade to a 70.  (That’s why I put a conference date on the student copy.)  I will put the date of the Correction Conference underneath the student name in that column.  Click here to download Teacher Corrections Sheet.

Teacher Make Up

Last but not least, the teacher copy for keeping up with students who have been absent.  I will put both of these forms with my grade book to make tracking these kiddos easier.   Click here to download Teacher Make Up Work Sheet.

Hopefully these will help you organize your classroom, too!  🙂

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Parent Communication Log

Parent communicationI think the next few days I will be uploading more documents that I’ve been creating.  Today’s FREEBIE: Parent Communication Log.  It’s simple, but exactly what I need.  I have other documents that house phone numbers and important information, so I wanted this form to be skimpy and just focus on the communication rather than have too much on them.  I’ll print one for each student to put behind the parent survey.  I have the Word format, so I can always adjust it if I find that I left something off.  Do you use parent communication forms?  If so, what information do you put on yours?  I’d love to hear back!

Click here to download the Parent Communication Log.

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Parent Survey

I’ve been working on some documents for the beginning of the year.  I have created a BOY (Beginning Of Year) parent survey that can be used with any grade level.  Feel free to use it or change it for your needs.

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Is there something else that you would like to see on it?  If so, please leave me a comment and I will try to add it and repost.  At our school, the teachers are given cards with lots of other information, including address, special needs, comments from the previous teacher, and educational data, so I left some of those things off intentionally, but I can make one personalized for you if you want it.  Just let me know!  Click here to download the file –> Parent Survey.

This is part of TBA’s Linky Party!  Head over to their blog to find AMAZING blogs by AMAZING teachers!!

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Anchor Charts

I finally uploaded some of my anchor charts that I used with my kiddos last year. Head over to my Anchor Charts page and check ’em out! 😉

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