Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Easy Center Differentiation for Reading and Math Workshop

Hey, friends! I hope everyone enjoyed taking a peek into the classrooms of all the Georgia Peaches in September. You must keep checking back with us in October, we have some awesome things planned!

But I am here today from my blog A Primary Owl to show you how I differentiate during my Reading and Math Workshop time. Hopefully you can get a few ideas to help with your Reading and Math Workshop rotations.

I have one big rotation board on my metal cabinet that looks like this:
I move my groups up through the different stations. One thing I find that my students want is a choice to Read with a Partner OR Read to Self. So I put those two choices together. Then I make Word Work one choice. Then I have Writing and Listen to Reading together.

Notice, one BIG thing....I am no where in this rotation. I realized I needed more flexibility to work with the students I needed to meet with. One day, I may conference with individuals on CAFE goals, some days I meet with Literature Circles. Either way, I don't mess up their rotations and being able to go to every center.

I do the same thing with my Math Workshop Centers.

Now for the differentiation of my centers! So I differentiate all my activities by color, which really is not a new idea at all. The thing that makes my centers unique is STUDENT CHOICE. All of students know that the pink will be the "easier" activity, green will be the "average" (or we say medium to make it kid friendly) and the blue is the "challenge" activity. Often I might say I need everyone to complete the green activity before making another choice. After that they can make choices in their own learning. I change out my activities as our skills change.

I even have a Morning Work board called Jump Start. Students can choose a Jump Start activity after they finish their morning work and they are also color-coded in the same way.

Thanks for stopping by! 
Don't forget to come back often in'll be so glad you did! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tech Tuesday:SeeSaw-The Digital Learning Journal

Hello! I'm Jonna from The Primary Life. It's Tech Tuesday here at The Primary Peach and I am so excited to share one of my favorite tech tools with you!
The free Seesaw app has absolutely transformed my classroom! It is a digital learning journal that allows parents to view their child's work and leave written or audio comments. It has been instrumental in helping my kinders to become digital experts. They love exploring and discovering new ways to use this app.
So, what is so great about Seesaw? It's amazingly easy to use, even for children as young as 4 years old. It allows them to create and upload their work independently. Also, the support available from the Seesaw team is outstanding. They are always ready and eager to help with any questions.
I was searching for a way to extend our work beyond the four walls of our classroom. However, all of the blog-like options I came across required a login.  Then I found Seesaw and their QR code login was exactly what I needed for my students.  I was SOLD!  When you sign up for Seesaw, they automatically generate a QR code login poster for your class.  As you can see from the picture above, students can easily access the poster to login with minimal assistance. 
After logging in, students see this screen where they can easily find and select their name next to their avatar. There are a variety of avatars available, but you can also upload your own photo or drawing.
So what can students do in Seesaw? After finding their name, students see this screen.  They must choose what type of item they want to upload.  
The note option allows students to type in text and also add their voice. We haven't used this a lot in kindergarten, but it would be a great tool for older students.  They can also take a picture by simply choosing "camera" and selecting the green button.
The link option allows students and teachers to upload URL links. The drawing tool is a popular choice among my students, because they can not only draw but, add text and their voice. Once students have finished their work they follow the green check marks and it is uploaded to their journal.
I absolutely love the folder option in SeeSaw.  You can categorize by content, groups or even have students create a "BEST WORK" folder to share with their parents. 
When parents download the free Seesaw parent app, they receive email notifications. This tells them that their child has uploaded an item to their journal. The ability for parents to see and comment on their child's work is such a powerful tool.  It goes beyond "What did you do today?" and opens up a dialogue between parent and child. 
These are just a few examples of what your students could do in Seesaw.  It is amazing how quickly students become experts at using this app. 
 In this example, one of my students did a book review of the Grouchy Ladybug in Tellagami. Then we uploaded it into Seesaw. 
In the example above, we "grew" a plant in the Chromvillle app, exported it into Seesaw and added our voice.  VOILA! Super easy!
App Smashes may seem a little intimidating. However, THEY'RE NOT! They are super simple because Seesaw has made it so easy to use these apps along with theirs.
If you would like to know more about Seesaw, I would love to help!  Also, the Seesaw website listed above has a wealth of information-including lots of videos that are great for the Seesaw novice.
For even more ideas from The Primary Peach, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to catch all the latest news and updates!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Magic Die: An Engaging Trick to Teach Missing Addends

Hello!  This is Mandy from Mandy's Tips for Teachers! Today is Monday, so it is a...

I know Erin has shared a fun math activity for kids before. Today, I want to share a super simple math trick that will engage all kids- even big fifth graders.  The best part?  Even a first grader can do it!

Meet Magic Die! This can be turned into an entire lesson to introduce missing addends or just a simple trick during bus call to entertain kids!

one die

Set Up:
Explain to the students that you have x-ray vision.  You can see straight through the die, to see what number is on the bottom facing the table- even though you can't see it.

1.) Roll the die.
2.) Make sure students are aware of the number rolled, without picking up the die.
3.) To figure the missing number, simply find the sum of 7.  Whatever is rolled on top +  number on the bottom= 7.  The way the die is set up will make it so that the problems will always equal a combination of 7.
4.) You can create an anchor chart and see if students can solve the magic trick or just show them!
5.) Allow students time to practice so they can wow their friends!

Skills Learned:

  • Missing addends
  • Combinations of 7

Tips and Tricks:

  • Teach students how to roll a die first so dice aren't flying all over the room. My kids knew to cup their hands close, gently shake, and then drop close to the tabletop or floor.
  • You  can use a scrap of felt or the Dollar Store placemats to muffle the noise of dice bouncing so the room is quieter.
  • For a few dollars, you can purchase a die for each child from the Dollar Tree.  I think dice are $1 and there are 6 in a package. Once children master the "trick," send them a die home to teach others (and practice even more!).
I hope this added a new, short math trick to your bag!

For even more ideas from The Primary Peach, be sure to follow us on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook to catch all the latest news and updates!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sharing Sunday: October Edition!

We are so excited to kick off our first Sharing Sunday!!!

We have each written a blog post highlighting all kinds of resources, tips, and FREEBIES for the month of October!  Let us do all the hard work and planning for you!  Simply click through the links below to see all the goodies.  Make sure to come BACK to this post, so you can check out the next blog post in the link up below!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Confession - I Don't Use a Clip Chart!

Hey Friends! It's Theresa from True Life I'm a Teacher! Hopefully, you've seen some absolutely amazing classrooms this month! I know I was pinning ideas like crazy for next year! You can see my classroom tour here, and for other great ideas, check out our Pinterest board!

Today, I want to talk to you about my clip chart...or lack thereof. I don't use a clip chart. There, I said. In fact, I don't like clip charts - eek!

They work for some classrooms, but the one time I tried to use one, it didn't work, and I felt bad when a student had to "clip down." I mean, we all make mistakes, right?  (If you DO use a clip chart, I promise this isn't a clip chart bashing session, and there's no judgement from just didn't work for me!)
You're still reading! Yay! I didn't scare you off!

As I mentioned before, it's not that I have anything against clip charts, it just didn't work for me! I had a hard time deciding what constituted a "clip down" - what might be a clip down for one student, might not be for another student. Also, I felt bad having students take the "walk of shame" to the clip chart to clip down.

Yes, I realize that students can "clip up," but usually I was telling several students at a time they could clip up, and then there was a cluster of students waiting to clip up, where inevitably someone got impatient, would push, resulting in a clip down.

Fortunately for me, I didn't stick with a clip chart for long.

What did I use instead? Cash...well not real cash...Copeland Cash (my last name is Copeland).
Instead of trying to manage positive and negative behaviors (clip up/clip down), I focus on what I wanted to focus on...the great choices my students were making all along. 

When I see something that warrants Copeland Cash, I can hand out as much or as little as I want. I get to control when, how much, and what students can exchange their cash for. Hand out one of these babies, and suddenly I've got 20 something 7 and 8 year olds doing whatever it is I've asked.

This year, because I'm co-teaching, we're using the same concept as Copeland Cash, but it's just colored card stock cut into strips that we call "Sparklers." Which brings me to our class store, called the "Sparkler Store" previously just called our class store.
Basically we have a "menu" of items students can purchase by using their Sparklers/Cash/whatever. We chose things that were either free or inexpensive to place in our store (which doesn't actually take up any space in our room).

This fits in perfectly to being a PBIS (positive behavior intervention and support, of which I'm not really a fan, but that's neither here nor there) and so we also have PBIS tickets that any adult in the school can give to students seen following rules and expectations.

We use these to our advantage too - 1 PBIS ticket = 5 Sparklers...that's right, our kiddos are beginning to learn the basics of counting money, counting by 5s, and fair exchanges.

We started the year storing Sparklers like this...hated it, and changed it so that every student has an envelope at their desk to keep Sparklers and PBIS tickets.
 Here's a look at the Sparkler Store Grand Opening! You can see some of our friends used their PBIS tickets (worth FIVE!!!)
 We chose what we wanted to have to manage as items to place in the Sparkler Store.
In the past, I've had lots more choices in the class store, but there were some things that I HATED managing, and some things that just weren't popular. You can see the differences below. That's the best part, only choose what you want to manage, or ask for student input!
Are you thinking of ditching the clip chart? Or maybe just looking for something different to use with your students? Get started with this FREEBIE "Class Cash" printable. 
Just print on colored paper! (We don't laminate or have students write their names on them...and are able to use them LOTS before they have to make their way to recycling.)
For even more ideas from The Primary Peach, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the latest news and updates!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Birthday Post and a Freebie!!!

Hello Hello Friends! It is Erin from The Elementary Darling and it is my BIRTHDAY! 
I wanted to show you how I celebrate birthdays in my classroom and leave you with a birthday gift!

First, I find out when each student's birthday is and we take group pictures for every month. I made this little board to put our monthly birthday pictures on but we haven't taken the pictures yet! It is on my to do list for tomorrow :)

Each student receives a birthday bag filled with these items. Each year varies, but generally I purchase the same things because the kids love them!

Pink and Blue Bags: Michaels
Birthday Certificates: Target
Birthday Bookmarks: Target
Birthday Straws: These are from Target but I also get them at the Dollar Tree
Sparkly Mechanical Pencils: Target
Mini Notepads: Michaels

I also give each student a birthday brag tag! I think this is their favorite part of their birthday! Here is my Brag Tag board.

Are you ready for your birthday present?!?! Here are my birthday Brag Tags for free in my TPT store! Go grab them while you can. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Workshop Wednesday: Finding Evidence with a {FREEBIE!}

Happy FALL, y'all! Jivey here!
Ideas by Jivey
It has been a hot minute since I blogged here at the Primary Peach!
I'm bringing you some Workshop Wednesday love... Primary Peach authors focus on reading and writing workshop on Wednesdays... but if you know me, you know I LOVE some content integration. If I can weave in some science or social studies too, I will! So I've got a reading/social studies lesson to share with you today!

4th grade teachers in Georgia, I know you are (or will be) teaching all about explorers. I've got a great freebie for you! And even if you are not a Fourth Grade Peach or don't teach about explorers, you might be talking about Christopher Columbus soon with his holiday coming up.
One thing students seem to struggle with is going back into the text to find evidence. Sometimes it's because we don't give them enough practice... and let's face it, sometimes it's because they are lazy. LOL! It is important to scaffold when teaching this skill until they really get the hang of it. (Do it with them, provide graphic organizers, etc.) In this Columbus activity, students will read about Christopher Columbus and then go back into the text to find evidence to show his years of exploration, reasons he explored, obstacles he encountered, accomplishments, and the country that sponsored his voyage.
(If you are wondering about the colorful notations, check this post out on my blog about interactive notetaking!)

Keep these tips in mind as you guide students to find evidence in a text!

1. Some of the evidence will come from multiple paragraphs, so showing them that they have to continually read and re-read and KEEP reading is important to help students find evidence!

2. Give students the reason or purpose they need to look back at the text (questions or graphic organizers).

3. Show students how to pay attention to key words, such as "difficult" when looking for obstacles.

4. Talk through it TOGETHER. Students need to understand the thinking process for when it's time to do it on their own.

5. Did I mention re-reading??

If you do teach about explorers, I have a whole pack with articles and graphic organizers just like this one, plus other activities! You can check that out here.

Thanks for visiting today! For even more ideas from The Primary Peach, be sure to follow us on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook to catch all the latest news and updates!