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Saturday, August 12, 2017

3 easy ways to use data in your classroom

    Do you use data in the classroom? Do you have your students use data? Using data can really help drive your instruction and help your students take ownership of their learning. There are many different ways that you can use data in your classroom. Today I am going tell you about some different ways that I use data in my classroom.

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    There are three ways that I use data in my classroom. All of them are student centered seeing that the school I was working at the last two years was a student centered learning school. I loved seeing my students take ownership of their learning. It was awesome!


   The first thing that I do is goal folders. Each of the students get a goal folder at the beginning of the year. The folder has each standard that we are going to work on throughout the school year. It also has a place for the students to check off each of their POP’s (Proof of Proficiency). They need to have two POP’s for each standard before I will consider that standard mastered. The goal folders really help my students take ownership of their learning. They are able to look back and see what they still need to work on. So when we have POP time, which is just a time each day that the students work on standards that they have not mastered, they are deciding what they want to work on and it is not being mandated by me. My students have always really enjoyed using their goal folders. It works well for my students and it also works well for me.


    The next type of data that I use in my classroom are POP (Proof of Proficiency) charts. When my students have received two POP’s in their goal folder, they bring it up to me and I give them a sticker to put on the chart for the standard that they mastered. The POP charts are another great way for the students to know if they mastered a standard because they are able to check on the chart and see if they have mastered it yet. The POP charts work really well with the goal folders.


    The final way that I use data in my classroom is an expert wall. The expert wall and POP charts work together. When the students are working on a concept that they are having trouble with, they can go up to the expert wall and POP charts and see who has mastered that standard. They are able to then go and ask that student for help. In my classroom we call it coaching. They know they are coaching the other student and not just giving answers. My students have learned that we are all good at different things and we are all experts in different ways. They love getting to be the expert or teacher and help their classmates learn new things.

    Each of these different ways of using data has really helped my students take ownership and drive their own learning. I have loved seeing them grow and be excited about learning.

   If you would like to try using goal folders in your classroom, click on the image below and visit my store. Hope you enjoy using more data in your classroom and letting your students take the driver’s seat in their learning.

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Check out these other great posts as well!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Classroom Schedule!

Today I am linking up with Teacher by the beach to talk all about our daily schedule!

I think as a new teacher, your daily schedule is one of the hardest things to figure out. It took a lot of trial and error to finally master the best schedule for me and my students. Keep in mind that your schedule might need to be adjusted each year depending on the school you work at and the specials that you might have. I now have a general schedule that works really well for me and I can make little tweaks wherever they are needed.


   Here you can see the schedule that I used last year. This schedule worked out really well! For the most part, I have used this same schedule for the last few years. The only thing that has adjusted a little is our lunch time and specials. I try to keep all of the core subjects around the same times each year. I think that the morning is a great time to do ELA. The students are refreshed in the morning and they are not too tired. I like to do Math in the afternoon because there are lots of hands on games that we use and it energizes the students when they are tired after lunch.


   I love using a visual schedule for the students each day. I use these cards on our whiteboard at the front of the classroom. They work great to help keep our day on track. I also have the kids help mark off what subjects we have already done and what still needs to be done. This is also a great way to help your students who need structure. Having your schedule posted can help your students know what is happening throughout the day.

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   What does your schedule look like? Do you post it somewhere in your classroom? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, July 10, 2017

All About Centers!

  Today I am talking all about Centers! Do you use Centers in your classroom? I have done Centers in many different ways over the years. But there was a brief time when I did not use Centers at all. (What was I thinking?!) Centers are awesome and totally help students stay engaged.

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    Most recently I have been using a Weekly Passport System. This is great because the students work at their own pace and I am also able to differentiate the work for all of my students’ levels.

    Each week the students had different activities that they completed on their Passport. I would differentiate the activities so the students’ needs were being met. All of the students did similar activities at their own level. The students could also pick and choose the order they wanted to do the different activities, as long as the work was done by the end of the week.

    For Math, I did things a little differently at the start of the year. The students completed the various activities for each day of the week. This worked out well at the start of the year because the students were not always able to keep themselves organized to get all the work done. As you can see in the picture below, I set up the Math Passport by Day instead of by Activity on the ELA passport.


    As the year went on and the students got better with their organization, I gave the students more choice with how they accomplished things. They eventually got the hang of getting their work done, so I was able to give them more choice.


    One thing that I really liked about the Passports I used was the self reflection component. The students had to tell me how they thought they did for the week. They also had to tell me if they were able to finish everything and if they stayed on task during work time.
The students really enjoyed working on the Passports and getting to choose what they wanted to work on and when they wanted to work on it.

   It was also really great knowing what my students were working on each day and making sure they were getting through the Passport. I’d monitor their progress using a pocket chart and clothespins. I’d put all the different Centers that we were working on each week in the pocket chart, and then I had the students put a clothespin with their number next to their activity. This way not everyone was working on the same thing at one time and I was able to see what the students were working on. It also let me know if a student was spending too much time on one activity. (Which happened when they really liked one particular activity and did not like something else.)

    I used pocket charts like these. The ones you can find at the beginning of the year in the Dollar Spot at Target work great!

   What do you do for Centers? Share your ideas with me!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Using Cooperative Learning for Instant Engagement

   There are so many great ways to help our students learn the subject matter that is presented to them. One of the ways I like​ to use in my classroom is Cooperative Learning. This is an excellent way to get your students up and moving around the classroom. My students love to participate in Peer-Check-Review, a fun Cooperative Learning activity.


   Decide what you want your students to learn. It could be vocabulary from a story, a math concept, math facts, grammar skills; anything that you can think of can be plugged into a Cooperative Learning activity. Once you have a topic picked out, create questions and answers on index cards. Put the question on the front of the card, and the answer on the back of the card. Create one card for each student in your class.


   Now that you have the cards created, hand one card out to each student. The students will go around to their peers and check to see if they know the answer to that question. Each student reviews the question with their partner. After each student has answered the question, they give each other praise, switch cards, then find a new partner. Go through this process for several minutes. Give the students plenty of time to practice all of the different cards. It is ok if they get the same partner again because they will have different cards. I also tell my students it is ok if they get the same card with a different partner. It is all about practice.

    There are lots of different ways to use the cards that you create. You can use them as task cards, which allows a student to work on the cards independently. You can also use the cards to play Scoot. This is a great way to get the whole class moving around the room to check their understanding.

    If you don’t want to take the time to create your own cards, you can check out the ones that are in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Click here to see what’s there!


How do you help your students stay engaged and excited to learn?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

3 quick and easy steps to student ownership

It can be a challenge to get your students excited about learning! Today I am going to take through three easy steps to help your students gain ownership of their learning. 

1. The first thing on my list are POP's. These are Proofs of Proficiency. These are ways for students to show that they have mastered a standard. In our classroom, students choose what they want to work on and when they are ready to take a test. When the students are ready to take a test they complete it through our grading program Mastery Connect. By having my students take their quiz directly into the grading program it saves tons of time. The program instantly does all the grading for me. 

It is so exciting to see the students take the lead in their learning. POP's are one way that students are able to take that lead. 

2. The next item on the list is student data. When students are able to see how they have grown, they take a greater lead in their learning. In our classroom, we have data posted all over the classroom. The students even keep track of the data on their own. When they get a POP on one the standards, they add a sticker on the apple with that standard. They love to come up and add a sticker to the charts. It is amazing to see how students can grow when they are able to see their growth. 


Here you are able to see some different ways that we present data in our classroom. 

3. The third and final step to get your students to have ownership is to let them take the lead. In our classroom the students lead everything. They lead our morning and afternoon meetings. They lead our unpacking of standards. Anything that they are able to lead, they will lead. It is amazing what ownership they take in our classroom when they are taking the lead in all of the different aspects of the day. 

It is such an amazing sight to see your students become the teachers in class. I love to see how much they grow throughout the school year. 

If you try out these three simple steps to help your students take ownership, let me know how it goes! Have fun teaching your students how to take ownership of their learning!


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