Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer 2014 Book Studies

I'm so excited for this summer!  I'm excited for several reasons, a break from school, time with my family and vacations.  I'm also excited for this little blog.  I have lots on the to-do list in posting and creating and getting organized to continue the pattern throughout the school year.  The biggest thing going on this summer right here is Summer Professional Book Studies, bloggy style.  I'll be participating in several book studies this summer which means I'll be writing posts about my reactions and plans of implementation as I read along with many other great bloggers, including readers.  You can join the fun by creating your own posts if you have a blog, or commenting your thoughts on the blog posts.

The first one has already begun! 100 Minutes: Making Every Minute Count book study is up and going.  You can find all of the introductory information here.  And the first post on Chapter 1 here.  I'll be posting on Chapter 5 on June 9th.  I'm hoping I can also link up with some of the other chapter posts.  If you need a copy, click below to get yours on Amazon.

The majority of my summer will be spent with a WONDERFUL book, Notice and Note.  I've been wanting to learn more about close reading and make informed decision on how I best accomplish it with my students. This has been the perfect book to do that for me.  I'll be hosting this book study and linking up with each chapters leader as often as I can.  We'd love for you to join us!  You can get all the details and schedule here.  It all starts on June 3 and posts go live most every Tuesday and Thursday through mid-July.

The last two books are professional development on mathematics.  Guided Math Conferences is a new book from Laney Sammons of Guided Math fame.  This book is available on TpT.  It does take a bit of time to ship, so I recommend ordering it ASAP.  Remember you'll earn reward points for your purchase on TpT.  Amazon is not currently carrying it.  This study will start June 19 and will be hosted by Brenda of Primary Inspired. 

Good Question for Math Teaching comes in a K-6 version or 5-8 version.  I picked up the K-6 version and am really loving it.  It has really helped me re-frame my thinking and the types of questions I'm asking my students.  This one starts on June 10th and you can find a calendar and info here. 

If you cant tell by now, I'm a bit of a PD junkie.  I love learning best practices for teaching.  I recognize I can't do everything, but I can take the best and implement it into my own practices to improve upon what I'm already doing.  I hope you'll join us for one or all of these great book studies.  There are several others that will be going on around the blogosphere as well, so keep your eyes open and come join us!

If you plan to join a blog book study, I'd love to know which ones.  Please leave your plans in the comments below.  If you're hosting a book study, feel free to leave the information as well. 

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Easily Labeling and Organizing Classroom Books

My last Bright Ideas post was all about using labels in the classroom with a focus on using the clear, plastic coated labels for labeling your room.  Since they are plastic, they don't leave behind a sticky, papery mess when you remove them from your cupboards and shelves.  Today, I'm sharing how I use labels for organizing my classroom books.

I have a few different versions I use, pictured below, but basically I print out a few sheets of each and have them ready for when my book orders arrive.  I format the labels so that each label can be cut in half to get two book labels from each standard size mailing label.  Hopefully you can see how they are cut in the pictures.

For books going into my class library, the labels are just printed with my name.  I cut down the rows of labels, leaving the top in tact so they don't all fall apart.  When it's time to label a book, I simply remove a square, attach to the cover of the book and then refer to my library topic list.  I write in the category number that corresponds to the book genre.  For example, all of my realistic fiction books are numbered with 11.

For books going into my small group collections for guided reading and literature circles, I have labels that include my name, indication that it is a small group set, and then numbers stating that particular book number and how many are in the set.  I usually get 10 books of a title for my small group sets.  I have anywhere from 6-8 in these groups usually.  That leaves one that I designate as the teacher book for me to record my notes and write in and an extra for just in case.

Finally, I label my class set novels.  These are done in a similar fashion as my small group sets, just labled as a class set.  I like to have 35 for a class set.  My largest class size has been 33, this last year, so 35 gives everyone their own copy, ans extra and a teacher copy.  If, heaven forbid, I should have a class size larger than 34, some would just have to share.

With each book numbered for the small group and class sets of books, I can assign each student a book.  This helps with responsibility placed on the students to respect the books and helps me know who to charge or give a consequence to for damage to books.

I hope this will be helpful to you in organizing your own book collections.  I'd love to hear about how you organize your books or what other ideas this post may have spurred for you in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this idea, please consider following me on Twitter or Facebook or Bloglovin' to keep updated on the latest from Dilly Dabbles.

Be sure to check out the many other "Bright Ideas" from other participating bloggers by clicking on the linky images below:

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Booking Across the USA: Utah!

Booking Across the USA Trip 2 created by

Welcome to Utah!

Utah is known as the "Beehive State" because the early settlers of my state worked tirelessly to build and farm so they would be able to survive in the desert mountain valley.  The settlers likened themselves to bees who work together for the greater good of the hive colony and are known for their perseverance and hard work. I was inspired for my beehive craft project by a blog post done by:

Apples & ABC's

The post about her bee themed craftivity can be found here. Here's the beehive I created: 

My thought was to add bees around the beehive and have each student write a way they can contribute to the class "hive" and post the bees around the hive.  I think this would be a great activity for the beginning of the school year in your discussions of class community.  At home, post ways children can contribute to the household.  I created some bee themed cards that would work perfectly for your students to write down their contribution commitments to add around a hive bulletin board.  You can grab your free copy of the cards here.

My own children brainstormed some ideas with me and here's a sampling of what you might do.  Sorry it's laid out on my counter. 

I'm so excited to be part of the Booking Across the USA blog event!  My fifth grade Social Studies Curriculum is all about the history and geography of the United States, so this project has been super fun and I'm looking forward to all the ideas from each blogger about his/her state.  Thanks so much to Blue Apple Books for providing books from the Travels with Charlie series to inspire and inform our posts.  I received Travels with Charlie: Way Out West and LOVE it!  I plan to purchase all the books in the set to have available in my classroom library.  You could just get the one that pertains to your state, or like me, want all 4.  In addition to Way Out West, there is Travels with Charlie: Across the Midwest , Travels with Charlie: Travelin' the Northeast and Travels with Charlie: Down South .  Each state has it's own page and some great information and facts about the state.  The state map on the opposing page is colorful and highlights the attractions mentioned in the book along with a few additional pieces of information. Each map also contains a hidden picture of Charlie so students can do a little hunting to find him on each map.

Be sure to visit the Booking Across the USA homepage to be directed to the information and ideas from bloggers in the other 49 states. Thanks to Jodie from Growing Book By Book for organizing this event!

Thanks to Blue Apple Books, you have an opportunity to win a set of all 4 books! Here are the guidelines and entry form:

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES To enter the giveaway you will need to complete the Rafflecopter section below.  That’s it!  You have from 5/14/14 at 12:00a.m. (EST) until 5/20/14 at 11:59p.m. (EST) to enter.  One entrant (must be 18 years or older) will be randomly drawn and sent an email (make sure to check your junk folder) on or about 5/21/14.  The winner has 48 hours to respond with a mailing address (US only).  If the information is not sent by the deadline, another entrant will be selected.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review Ordering and Operations with Decimals

We've been reviewing everything over the last few weeks.  We started testing writing in February, and it seems like we've been testing ever since.  That's made for a very long end of year...

I can't take credit for this idea, it comes from my teammate.  This is how it happened in my classroom though.   It's a super idea and my students were engaged and loved it.  To review decimal numbers, she made a tented cards with a decimal number on each; one for every student.  I strung a piece of yarn across the front of the room from a 3M command hook I have on the side of a shelf to the cart my document camera is on.  Here's how the lesson played out:

  1. I handed out a card to each student.  This worked really well as I could easily differentiate for each child as I passed them out.  I passed them out randomly to mix them up and as I did so, I could give more difficult numbers to students who better understand decimals and I gave the whole numbers to my students very below grade level in mathematics.  
  2. I called a table at a time to bring their cards to the front of the room and place the tent over the string in the general area they thought the card should go.  
  3. Only the table whose turn it was could adjust the tents.  That was very difficult for my high students who wanted to jump in and fix everything. 

  4. After every student had placed his/her card, I asked the students to examine the number line carefully and see if anything needed to be fixed.  We had 3 mistakes and they became very good discussion pieces to clarify misconceptions that a few students had.  
  5. Once our number line was in order, we did some decimal operations with the cards.  I would choose two cards and post them on the white board with magnets and write in an operation between the numbers.  Students then figured out the solution.  Students solved on their whiteboards (or desks as I let them write with Expo markers on their desks) or in their math notebooks.  I just wanted to see the work, wherever it was done.  I was surprised how engaged the students stayed with the challenge of just solving each problem.  I didn't have to incorporate any kind of competitive incentive at all.  After giving time for students to solve each problem, we did it together on the board.  Mostly I just quickly demonstrated the solution, but I had a few students show their solution as well.  We also had some good discussions during this time about where decimals should go moving decimals in division, etc. 
This was a great review of decimals with my students.  In incorporated so much, allowed us to discuss understanding and got the students moving.  

This idea of tented cards on a yarn string could certainly be adapted to many topics.  I'd love to hear what your ideas are on using this idea.  Please share in the comments section below this post.

Thanks to Meg of The Teacher Studio for hosting this linky!

Click the button above, or here, to see all the other great lessons that are linked up. 

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