Monday, February 1, 2016

Simple Spirals

This month I'm not sharing anything new or earth shattering... just something that I have learned to appreciate as a busy, second grade teacher.



Each Back to School I purchase each of my students a spiral notebook.  They are usually very inexpensive and easy to find.  I buy a few of each color so that I can correct/ look through 4-5 at a time vs. the entire class at a time.  Red is handed in on Monday, Blue on Tuesday, Green on Wednesday, Yellow on Thursday and Purple on Friday.


 I buy one for myself also.  I usually complete part (if not all) of the assignment with the kiddos using the document camera so they can see the format etc.
However, that is about it for structure...
other than the date... we always date our work.


I love the spirals because we can just pull them out...
 turn to the next free page and get to work.
I don't need to plan ahead with a worksheet or graphic organizer... 
we can make our own.

We use them for spelling, reading,


math, grammar, science, quick jots, math scratch.... ANYTHING!


They are not fancy or decorated (I guess they could be though Mrs. Evans ;)
The students LOVE them.  
They are a slow progress and portfolio of their work throughout the year. 
 They love to show their parents at conference time.
 It is nice to have something ready to be shown and seen by parents...
especially when it doesn't require extra time and effort from me at that crazy time.


These are a few samples pages... 
truly it is endless what can and is in this little notebook.
I wish I would have felt more inclined or empowered to do more informal activities like these earlier in my teaching career.
It is not realistic to have everything perfectly formatted in cute font with darling clipart and bordered in adorable art for EVERYTHING we use in our classroom.
Let go... for yourself and the kids.
My suggestion ... try a simple SPIRAL... they work.



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Friday, January 29, 2016

Hang it and Display It! Bright Idea!!

It's been awhile since I participated in the BRIGHT ideas Blog Hop.
Now that a new year is here, I'm organizing a bit more time...


I wanted to share something very simple that 2 of my adorable teammates use in their classroom that I think is SO smart.  I hope to have one in my classroom very soon!!


Both these cute teachers use these displays to hang writing, art, anything really.
The kids love the recognition, it's easy to display (once you've done the original setup) and makes your room look oh, so cute!!   Thanks friends for the bright idea and inspiring me ;)



If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me
 on Facebook for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!  
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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Perfect Penguins


We did a little penguin study this past week (only a 3 day week).
We had a great time reading, writing and creating all about PENGUINS.
I turned to Pinterest to find a little art activity...
and... it was a hit.  So easy, so fun and each one was a bit different.
So grateful for artist friends :)

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Thank Goodness for the Little Cold Lady


It was a chilly Friday in Utah so we enjoyed a fun book and reviewed many skills during 8 different rotations. We were up and around the room measuring, adding, graphing, matching nouns and verbs and a whole lot more. We didn't have quite enough time to finish our craftivity so it will have to wait until Monday. 
 Happy Friday friends!!

February Writing


What a fun month of writing coming up....
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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Growing Bundle of Literacy Centers


I've never done a GROWING BUNDLE before...
I figured people want to buy what they receive at the time of purchase.
I am humbled and grateful for teacher friends that asked if I would do this.

It thrills me to know that I am trusted by teachers to create quality classroom products.  I promise to do just that as I continue on with this year round task.
My goal is to stay one month ahead... giving you time to preview, copy, and prepare your files and booklets.
January and February are posted...



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Candy Heart Math


 I hate to admit it but Valentine's Day is around the corner ;) 
This is always one of my favorite activities to do with my kiddos.
I actually give the candy hearts as my valentine to each child and then we do a bit of math with them...


This little activity started it's first year with a darling lion...


 then, a rugged robot...

And now thanks to Creative Clips... the newest version is a Valentine Monster.
I just adore him.
Good news... If you've purchased this file before... just go re-download it...
all 3 versions are included.

Any brand of candy hearts will work.
I included white and blue... knowing that students can use the number 0 to represent a color not used in the box or bag.
Hope your kiddos love it as much as my class.


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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Let's Write About Martin Luther King, Jr. and New Years



 

I updated WRITE ON Martin Luther King Jr. to include a small, easy bulletin board feature.  If you already own the file... be sure to go to your purchases and re-download it.
Happy New Year!!


Go Lory!!!


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Spicing Up Your Math Homework


Are you looking to freshen up your math homework...
get the kids more engaged in the standard you are covering...
include the parents a bit more?


I enjoy watching my students participate and chat about their mathematics.  I believe they teach each other as they discuss their new math skills and vocabulary.  I created this file with the intent of providing my students and parents with this particular opportunity.  Monday I will copy the game board and homework side back to back and send it home. Each night throughout the week, the students will choose and complete at least 1 square and then color the box in. Friday, the students will return the  page with a parent signature verifying the  completed work. My hope is to provide an opportunity to explore more math at home in a fun way.

Lory Evans

Each week is just ONE piece of paper...
copied back to back.
When I prepare the sheets, I usually do the entire term (9 weeks) at the same time. I copy each week a different color so we can easily refer to a specific week.

Because these come back to me on Friday...
I hold on to them in a basket... the week before SEP conferences,
I three hole punch them and hand them back to the students.
Once the kids have their past homework, they place them all into a 3 prong folder that I purchased at the Back to School sales.
Within 5 minutes they have a folder of math games of the math standards that we have covered so far in class.
(This is where the colors help... "I'm missing the green one.." "The blue one was my favorite."  "My red one is still on the refrigerator, I need to bring it back.")

At SEP Conferences, the kids earn a brag tag IF they brought back ALL 9 math homework pages.  This opens up a little discussion like...
"I didn't know he had to return these to class." (even though it says so on the paper ;)
"Honey, let's make sure we complete and return them all next term so you can earn your brag tag."

We continue this each term (4 times a year).
At the end of the school year... each student has 36 math games in their folder.
They are familiar with the standards and rules to the games.
The last week of school... I hand the folders back to the students with a small bag of dice (I purchase from the Dollar Tree)  and transparent chips (very inexpensive from the district warehouse).  That way the students can continue to play the games throughout the summer and keep the math skills up to snuff.

I'm always looking for ways to keep it fresh...
I'd love to hear your classroom ideas and secrets to keep them engaged.

.
Math Homework for the WHOLE year in 2nd grade has been accepted very well.
 THANK YOU!
I was so pleased to receive many requests for 1st grade...
that I made a similar set with 1st grade standards... it has been praised, too!!
I'm so happy to know that families are spending time together!!
Encourage your first graders to study, actively participate, master each Common Core math standard and enjoy math homework all year long...
 
Teachers enjoy less paper work, copying and spending our ever shrinking budget on paper!


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Friday, January 1, 2016

I Teach 2nd Linky - Task Cards


I continue to read and hear of many teachers who need to accommodate students that continually finish their classwork early. These teachers are looking for engagement other than... quiet reading with follow up activities or mentor other students.
As a 2nd grade teacher I have experienced the identical concern in my own classroom. My ultimate goal is to keep my students engaged and challenged throughout the day including when their initial work is completed. I must be honest here... my skin cringes when a student say, "Mrs. Evans, I'm done. What should I do now?"
I usually get this statement when I am reteaching or explaining a question to an individual student or small group... somedays I'd like to say ... "just go"... "Just go do anything quiet... just leave me alone"   I know! I know!  I can't... so I don't... but between teacher friends... somedays I REALLY want to!!!

This "concern" never seemed to disappear.  The situation continued to come up... maybe even more often than in the past as my classroom dynamics continued to become more 
black and white each year.  
High students and low students
 Independent workers and dependent workers.
Above grade level and below grade level.
The gray has become almost non-existent... 

I had to come up with an idea to solve the situation.
I wanted it to be motivating and engaging for the student 
but easy to set up and manage.

I did a lot of research and gave a lot of thought to a new area of my classroom curriculum ... in a way adding to my classroom management... 
as this will be what will my high, independent, above grade level students will do after completing the required assignments?

The amazing Rachel Lynette of Minds in Bloom
 wrote an article about task cards.
 She said,
"Before you distribute yet another worksheet, ask yourself: Could I accomplish the same objective with task cardsTask cards are highly motivating and effective teaching tool that can be used across the curriculum. Here are just a few reasons you should consider utilizing this valuable tool:

Task cards are motivating for students because there is only one task per card. Imagine that you are a fourth grader struggling with summarizing. Receiving a packet of paragraphs to summarize will likely feel overwhelming. However, if those same paragraphs are placed on task cards, the student need only deal with one paragraph at a time. He or she feels that sense of accomplishment when one is completed before moving on to the next. 

Task cards can be made to target specific learning objectives. This is great news if your district has adopted the new Common Core Standards. If your students are weak in a specific area,  you can make or purchase a set of cards that focuses on the specific skill. This also makes task cards great for test prep!

Task cards make differentiation easy. Struggling students can just complete a few cards or complete cards with multiple choice answers. Another option is to allow some students to answer verbally. More able students will enjoy the challenge of open-ended cards and you can also require longer answers. In addition, you can create or purchase sets for different levels.

Task cards are versatile. A single set of task cards can be used in a variety of ways; at individually at centers or stations, in pairs or small groups, and even with the whole class.  They can be part used as part of your daily routine, as enrichment, with games, or even as homework. Further, they can be used with any age group from kindergarten to adult. 

I had my answer...
"Teacher, I'm Done Task Cards"

This will give students control and choice over their own learning, but it offers me the opportunity to choose activities to enrich and expand on what we are working on in class. It also gives me the ability to make sure the students are challenging themselves in various areas of the curriculum.



I created this peg board with 12 silver hanging pegs.
Each month the cards change (Back to School, Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving etc)... offering my top students a variety of skills to master.


Along with the cards, I created a simple student booklet for the kids that were going to be working on this challenge.  I actually invited this handful of students out into the hall and expressed my admiration for their hard work and academic achievements.  I also told them that I had a challenge to offer them... that is when I handed out the booklet, showed them the peg board (with cards) and gave the instructions.


The instructions are simple...
whenever they have completed their classroom requirements, they are invited to take out their booklet, take a set of task cards off the peg board, head back to their desk to complete the task and challenge their mind.


There are 12 sets of task cards each month...  6 Math and 6 ELA.
Each are designed to be complete independently without the student interrupting the teacher's schedule.  


The students have all the materials needed to complete the challenge on their own.
Sets do not have to be completed in a particular order... so if the one they were looking for is being used by another... no problem... they can grab another set.



To help them stay organized and recognize their progress...
each time they complete a set... they use a hole punch to punch the back of their booklet... when all the sets are punched, their booklets should be complete and all the task cards have been used and mastered.  
At this point they have accomplished their challenge!



They earn "extra credit", feel a sense of accomplishment, recognize their leadership and often times earned a treat from Mrs. Evans.

The cherry on top was the additional kids that worked hardER to get their hands on a task card booklet...
  They wanted the challenge also!
 They focused and completed more in the classroom, so they could participate.

It was a win, win for all of us.
I wasn't faced with the dreaded "Teacher, I'm Done!" phrase anymore...
my top students were excelling on their own...
and... overall each of my students tried harder in the classroom.

I was so happy with the first month...
I created additional sets for each month!!


JANUARY task cards  2nd grade, 1st grade (just posted)

The following year, 
I accepted the challenge (from teachers around the country)
 to create task card sets for 1st grade also.
I'm happy to say... I completed my challenge, too!

 I've posted a set of task cards FREE for you try out in your classroom. 
It is a FAIRY TALE theme so it can be used any month.
Just click the top picture below to visit my store and download your copy.








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