Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ School Time Fun!

 I am linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice today for my favorite blogging day...
It's Wordless Wednesday!

Anyone else let their students do this?  
It's shaving cream!  I do it every year on the last day of school!  It cleans the desks and is SUPER fun!  If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. :)

So what other crazy, off-the-wall things do you do with your students every year?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5 Reasons to Use Performance Tasks

An upcoming trend in the teaching world is using Performance Tasks.  Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium defines Performance Tasks as response items that "measure a student’s ability to integrate knowledge and skills across multiple standards—a key component of college and career readiness."  I am a firm believer in these Performance Tasks and I believe they should be implemented into classrooms worldwide when both practicing and testing skills.  I have also been doing a lot of research about the topic and have compiled my "5 Reasons to Use Performance Tasks" in the classroom.  
So let's begin...

1. Performance tasks provide real-world application of skills.  We have all heard the math problem involving cantaloupes...
This cartoon is hilarious to me because it is not true life.  There is a very slim chance that our students will someday have to buy 60 cantaloupes in the real-world; yet, as educators, we have all seen problems like these.  Performance tasks are essential in the classroom because they are authentic.  There is often more than one answer and they involve creativity.  Students actively participate in problem solving activities rather than just selecting A, B, C, or D.  Doing well on a multiple choice test does not mean the student can use this information in the real-world.  Performance tasks allow the students to hone in on application of their knowledge.  There is no more teaching to the test; there is teaching to the real-world.

2. Performance tasks engage the students.  When I started implementing performance tasks last year, I was unsure on how the students were going to react because, let's face it, they are challenging.  But I was a little surprised when my students did not seem to notice the difficulty because it was meaningful to them.  They were engaged with what they were doing and invested in completing the task.  When it was time to complete a new performance task, I actually got shout-out, "YESES!" and cheers!  I knew immediately, I was doing something right.  I had hooked the students and they were taking ownership of their learning.

3. Performance tasks target the Standards for Mathematical Practices.
Primarily, performance tasks have a heavy emphasis on application of math skills.  I know my students can not sit and listen to me all day.  They need to "DO."  Students must make sense of problems and persevere in solving them which enables the students to become better critical thinkers.  When students must "show their thinking," higher order thinking is involved.

4. Performance tasks integrate and make connections across curriculum.  Every performance task that I use in the classroom has more than just a math component.  Writing is always incorporated in some way and very frequently science and social studies topics are incorporated as well.  In this way, students must transfer knowledge of skills across the domains and see the relationships with what they are learning in the classroom.  This is a complex process that develops students skills.

5. Performance tasks inform the teacher.  I believe knowing whether a student knows it or not is not enough.  I want to know if the students can use what they know.  I want to know what my students have really internalized.  Using performance tasks allow me to do this because students must apply their learning.  I like that performance tasks can also facilitate student learning while assessing.

*******

I do believe that performance tasks are a key component of college and career readiness.  Obviously, I believe it is very necessary to implement performance tasks at the elementary level.  So, how do we do it?  Well, I have developed a set of performance tasks to use throughout the school year.  I encourage you to check them out.  It might be a great place to start.




If you are using performance tasks in the classroom or are thinking about it, I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Summer Shopping

I am linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday!

Today I bring you a pic from my latest summer shopping trip to Hobby Lobby...
I swear I can't not leave that store without buying something! #addicting
I always use the online coupon for 40% off though!
What is your "addicting" store?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It ~ Candy Birthday Card!

Linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It of the summer!
So excited to share with you today a clever gift for the "man or woman who has everything!"  I helped my sister put this together for my Dad for his birthday and I think it turned out so cute.  It is a candy birthday card!

Front of the card...

Inside the card...

To create this card, we went to the candy aisle at the grocery store and bought every candy bar that we thought we could incorporate into a sentence.  Then, we rearranged them in the order we wanted.  My sister wrote the card and taped in the candy bars in the appropriate spots.  

Here's what the final card read with the candy bar names in all caps...
"Dear CHARLESTON CHEW, CHUCK, or dad,
Some people may call you an AIRHEAD or maybe even a NERDS!  They may even SNICKERS and call you CHUNKY!  

But we prefer to call you MR. GOODBAR because you are a LIFESAVER!  Whenever we have MOUNDS of trouble or are in a CRUNCH, you go the EXTRA mile to SATISFY our needs.  So Happy Birthday!  TAKE 5, give yourself a PAYDAY and enjoy this MENTOS."

Hope this can give you some ideas to make your own candy birthday card.  It could make a great teacher gift or parent thank you too!  Please share any other candy bar ideas that you may have.  I need to start planning next year's card!  

#mondaymadeit

Monday, July 14, 2014

Something EPIC Happened...TpT Meet Up 2014!

This past week has been a whirlwind full of great memories.  I met so many new people and got to actually SEE so many of my online friends.  It was a truly an EPIC week from the teacher-blogger meet up to the first TpT conference.  How do you sum up such a packed week?  Let me try with my favorite way...bring on the pics!
I absolutely adore Rachel Lynette from Minds in Bloom.  She is so funny and an inspiration.
 Recognize anyone?  I loved meeting Jennifer from Simply Kinder, Karen from TeachersPayTeachers, Emma from Clever Classroom, Christina from Sugar and Spice, Susan from The Fun Factory, Heather from 2 Brainy Apples, and Jen Bengel from Out of This World Literacy.  Also loved hanging out the whole time with my roomie Lisa from It's the Little Things Lisa.

 We wanted Amy to be everywhere with us because she is such a fabulous person inside and out.  Thanks for being such a great sport Amy.  My favorite picture from this week might have to be the Amy with Amy picture...
 Did you also spot Terry from Terry's Teaching Tidbits, Cyndie from Chalk One Up For the Teacher, and Jessica from First Grade Nest?

 In the pictures above, loved meeting Sketchy Guy and HoJo

Thank you TpT for the swag!

So inspirational...



It was even more than imagined.  (I even got a TpT tattoo!)  Thank you TpT for making this conference a reality and allowing me to be part of it!

If you want to see highlights from last year's meet up {click here}.

You can also read about other's adventures...

I can hardly wait for NEXT YEAR and I hope to see you there!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Meet Up ~ I am Thankful!

I love the theme of today's Monday Meet Up with The Teaching Tribune...3 things that you are thankful for!  
I was going to take the funny route, but it didn't seem right.  Laying my heart out there seemed too emotional.  So, in the end, I went with my top 3 sentimental and top 3 funny things I am thankful for! 

Let's start with the funny!
NOTE: These are SUMMER thankful items, during the school year, it would be much different!

Moving to the sentimental (insert happy tears)!

I would love to here about what you are thankful for!  Go link up with The Teaching Tribune by clicking here!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Homemade Spinners!

I use the simple "pencil and paperclip" to make a spinner in many of my classroom games and activities.  

I also use these simple items when creating many Teachers Pay Teachers products.  I recently received a question on my page on how to use a pencil and paperclip to make a spinner and quickly realized it my not be known by everyone.  It is so easy and useful addition to any classroom!  So without further hesitation, let me model the spinner using my latest freebie "Spin Up an Array."  

In this first picture, you can see that the pencil goes inside the paperclip.  Any size paperclip and any pencil (or pen) will work!

Next, while holding the pencil, simply flick the paperclip to spin it!

 You can see this spin landed on "2."

For this game, I fill in 2 for factor #1 on the recording sheet.

Then, I spin again!

Factor #2 landed on number 9.

So, back to the recording sheet and I fill in 9 for factor #2.

For this game, I also need to draw the array and write in the product before spinning again!

Now you can easily go make your own spinners!  If you want to try out this game, just click on the picture below:
 Or you can check out the complete multiplication activities and games packet called Cooking Up Arrays!