September 15, 2014

Sight Word Practice....With Technology! :)

Today was SUCH a GREAT day......today we began our MTSS (some of you may call it RTI) groups!  I just love getting into the swing of things.....and this year my building started swinging early!!  Whoop Whoop!! 

I am so proud of the staff in my building.... we completed our screener, analyzed our data...and rolled out our MTSS groups an entire two weeks earlier than last year!  YES!!  Go team!!

Anyway.....the first round of RTI/MTSS groups have a focus on fluency.  

I have a lovely little group of 8 amazing kiddos.....and today we did a fun warm up activity that I thought I would share.

These precious kids are still requiring a bit of work with sight words....so we used the website Cando's Helper Page.  This website has a plethora of sight word practice---you should check it out!!

Anyway..... from this website, I used the 2 syllable flashcards in conjunction with my Mimio.


I had one of the students be in charge of the mimo pen.  A word would flash on the screen.


All of the students in my small group would shout the word out, and the student with the pen would click "yes".....and a new word would pop up!


The students would then shout the second word.  The pen holder would click yes....then a third word...then more shouting....etc.  You get the idea.....  We did this until all 25 words were correctly read.


Now what made this activity so fun.....was that we had a team competition!!  I love me a good competition. 

I timed the students to see how long it took them to say the 25 words......then I timed them a second time to see if they could beat their initial time.

The kids loved it!!!



September 13, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Task Cards

Happy Saturday everyone!!  This Saturday has pretty much been the absolute best.....and I can basically attribute that to the GORGEOUS weather we are having in Kansas right now!

66 degrees.....slight breeze....sunny.....on September 13th?!?!

This is pretty much unheard of in Kansas for this time of year.  Typically it is still scorching hot....and every. single. person is ready for summer to be over......but not today...today is PERFECT!

Now that my beautiful weather rant is over.....the real point of this post is to link up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation Linky. She typically has the linky every Saturday....so if you are looking for fresh ways to motivate your students...hop on over and check out some of the posts!!


In my classroom.....one way I motivate my students is by using task cards.  The kids love that they are able to get up and move around the room....and I love that they are getting practice with various skills.  In the past, I have written posts on task cards and their powerful impact.... if you want you can read that here

Anyway, As you know (well some of you) my husband is a teacher too.....and I recently introduced him on to the idea of  task cards.  When he peaked an interest in this strategy......I barely could contain my excitement.  I mean...I LOVE task cards!

So he tried it out this week in his 6th grade math class......    



The kids loved it so much.....that they actually begged him for more task cards!!  AND.....my husband loved it so much....that he happily agreed!  

In fact his exact words to me in an email said:

"Those worked AWESOME!  The kids worked like crazy the whole time and were even talking about how fun it was!!"

So his sixth graders did task cards this week.....not once....but twice!!  

His kiddos are working on division and order of operations....so the used the task cards pictured below. 


     


The hubs used his task cards two ways.

For the first time he used the "Magic Number" way of using task cards:

  1. Give each student a specific starting number.  Example: Johnny started at 6, Baylee started at 9, etc.
  2. After the student completed a problem, they had to check their work with him or a para.  If they got it right they could move on, if they got it wrong they had to re-work the problem with his help.
  3. The kids worked and worked until the time was up.
  4. He picked a "magic number" and if the kids got that many questions correctly completed they got a jolly rancher.  Example: Mr. Orr picked 5 as the "magic number" so whoever got at least 5 correct...got candy.  He did not tell them the magic number until the end....this made them work harder!!!
For the second time he used the "Scoot" way of using task cards:
  1. Give each student a specific starting number.  Example: Johnny started at 6, Baylee started at 9, etc
  2. Students got 1 minute and 15 seconds to work each problem (or more or less time depending on the needs of your students)
  3. Timer goes off.....and students scoot to the next problem.
  4. Repeat until students have worked on all problems, or class time is over. 
Well that's that folks.......Task Cards Rock....and they are definitely a way to spark student motivation!!!  

September 7, 2014

A Furry Therapist?!?!

I did it!!

Today I sealed up and mailed off my very first grant application!!

You see.....my school district has this amazing group, called the Valley Center Education Foundation.  Each year the Foundation does a back to school presentation to encourage teachers to submit grant applications for anything they need (or want), yet can't afford, to enhance the education of their students.  The Foundation has funded countless projects over the years, including Ipads for the classroom, purchase of music equipment, field trips, etc.

For quite some time now, I have been itching to write a grant to submit to the Foundation.  However.....I didn't just want to write any ol' grant.......I wanted to author a grant with meaning.  Something that was my passion!!

Well........Over the summer a light bulb went off in my head.....and I knew, I just knew, what I wanted my very first grant request to be.

The title of my application is called VCIS Furry Therapist.


You see....a Furry Therapist is something I am EXTREMELY passionate about!  Having a therapy dog as a member of our school, is something that I know, wholeheartedly know, will positively impact the lives of students.

Pictured above is my precious chocolate lab named Rudy.  She is an awesome dog (although I may be a little biased), Ha! During summer break I get to spend lots of time with this adorable pup!! So, on one of those scorching days this summer it hit me.....like a ton of bricks.  I thought to myself, "Man....Rudy would be one AWESOME therapy dog for my school."  I mean, Rudy is amazingly calm, highly trained (she doesn't even bark....not one peep), great with strangers, great with kiddos.....she is just AWESOME!  I know she would be a perfect candidate for therapy dog!  I without a doubt, know kids will love her!!

So, I did it.....I submitted an grant application for funds to get Rudy trained to become a therapy dog.

So.....if you have time....say a little prayer for me, Rudy and the students at my school that my application gets picked!!  Now....even if my application doesn't get selected, I can't be too sad because....I know the Foundation will be paying for many other super opportunities for kids.....and there is always next year!

Oh....and if any of my bloggy buddies have a therapy dog in their school, or have a therapy dog of their own....I would love to hear tips or suggestions!