Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ongoing Running Records

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If you do guided reading, you may know that an important component of tracking your students' progress is to conduct ongoing running records.  These records can be key to monitoring your students and knowing when they are ready for a new reading level.  Here are two versions of an ongoing running record for you.  One includes 50 boxes and one is blank to allow more room for your record taking.  I've been reading this book:  The Next Step in Guided Reading: Focused Assessments and Targeted Lessons for Helping Every Student Become a Better Reader  which contains a great lesson frame work for pre-readers.  I was able to demonstrate it in a Kindergarten classroom last week and LOVE it!  If you do guided reading in your classroom, or would like to, this is a great resource you should have.  The Next Step in Guided Reading: Focused Assessments and Targeted Lessons for Helping Every Student Become a Better Reader

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Holiday Craft Idea

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I realize this is a little last minute, but for those of you who might need a little something more to keep your students busy and learning these last few days before Christmas, this might be just what you need.  This is an idea from a Kindergarten classroom at one of the schools I work with.  Green paint hand prints form the tree and then a sponge star at the top.  The berries could be done with the eraser of a pencil and the trunks are just painted in.  The teacher displayed them so cutely in the hall as a large tree.  I've also included the poem they used for shared reading and inspiration for the craft.  The poem can be sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Tea Pot."  If you don't need a little something before the break, tuck this fun little idea away for next year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twofer Tuesday and Non-food Reward Ideas

Today I'm running a Buy One, Get One Tuesday...Twofer Tuesday.  Purchase any digital item from my TpT store or blog store by midnight Pacific Time, and receive any item of equal or lesser value FREE!  Just send an email to me at after your purchase letting me know the item you'd like for your freebie and I'll email the free item to you within 24 hours.  Hip, Hip Hooray!!

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And, here's a DIY idea for you.  I've been seeing the clip behavior charts all around and I think they're fantastic.  I love that students can move up for great behavior as well as down for poor behavior choices.  Sometimes, a mid-year change in your reward/consequence system is helpful.  I created this chart for a teacher.  I left it blank and laminated it so she could easily customize it with an erasable marker and could label the rewards and consequences for each spot.  The main green section is 1/2 of a standard 8.5x11 glitter card stock page and the other sections are 3 inches each, also glitter card stock   I had the paper hanging around from a discount sale, you can use whatever you have around, but I recommend you use some type of card stock   I turned them facing down and lined them up.  I ran some tape along each meeting line to hold them together and in order.  Then I laminated it.  This size doesn't take up much room and is perfect for those mini clothes pins you can find at any craft store or big box store.  Here's some choices I found on Amazon:

Write student names or numbers on each pin and start each day with them all clipped to the main section.  Then students are asked to move them up or down throughout the day based on behavior.  Write the rewards and consequences on each section so students know what they are.  You might also make a list of reasons student might move up and down with the class and also let them know the list isn't all encompassing and that students won't get moved up for every little good thing they do.  Otherwise, you may gave students pestering you to move them each time they feel they do something right.

Here are some ideas for some rewards that are non-food rewards.  A move to pink might have a reward as simple as a high five from the teacher and a move to blue in one day might be a point on a point card.  When a student receives 5 points, they can turn in the card for a prize box pick.  A move to yellow might be a warning, orange may be a reflection sheet and red a call home to parents.  The purple could also be a call home to parents to tell them how great their child is doing.  Just be sure whatever you choose, you're willing to follow through with it.  Here are some links for reward ideas: - Love the zero cost list on this site

These books are also great resources on classroom management. (Click the covers to see them on Amazon)

The last one is from fellow blogger Angela Watson of The Cornerstone.

Perhaps some of these ideas will be helpful to you as you return from your Winter Vacation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts of Sandy Hook Elementary

I have been constantly drawn to my television news stations and internet news reports throughout the weekend.  I wanted to write my thoughts as a way to come to grips with the feelings I have experienced in reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy that occurred last Friday.  No other school shooting or other public venue shooting has affected me as much as this one has.  I think this is true for several reasons.  

One, I am a mother of an 8 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old.  As I look at my own sweet 6 year old daughter, I can't help but think of those 20 children.  I thank God that I have my child and my heart bleeds for those who no longer have them to hold.  Second, I was most recently a teacher of 6 and 7 year old children.  Although we prepare for such incidents, the fact that these teachers were brave heroes and did all they could to protect and shelter their students in the face of the reality of the situation is astounding.  Third, I have been seeking positions as a school administrator and I feel a great burden of the responsibility to protect the school and children that I will lead at some point.  

No other incident has touched me so deeply and so personally and yet been so far from me.  As a Utahn and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I also feel a connection to the family of Emilie Parker.  Her family recently relocated to Connecticut from Utah and I have personally been touched by the family's strength and faith in God.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent his children, humankind, to the earth to assume bodies and to learn and grow in choice.  Each of those sweet, innocent children will have a special place in heaven made for them, as will their teachers.  

My reflection on this incident has made me more aware of the time I spend with my loved ones and the way I treat all that I come in contact with.  I pledge to "Try a little harder to be a little better." (Gordon B. Hinckley), especially when it comes to how I treat others.  I will be a little more understanding, a little more compassionate and a little less judgmental.  May each of us pledge to stand a little brighter for good and be a beacon of light to all those around us.  Let us perhaps remember the reason we celebrate Christmas is Christ.  Through his life gave us an exemplar of how to live our lives and in his death and resurrection he brought the possibility of life after death to each of us.  

God bless each of you as teachers and parents in the endeavors of educating our dear little ones.  

Image from Melonheadz Illustrating



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