Saturday, April 19, 2014

Door Decorations

I'm always looking for new ideas on how to decorate my classroom door in September. The kiddos love to see what their new classroom is going to look like and the door is obviously their "first impression" of the class. I find some great pics on Pinterest, but where do those pics come from? Blogs! So I figured I'd share some pics of the doors that I've seen in my building and when visiting other schools =)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Question Mats

How do you make sure your students are asking and answering questions during your literacy lessons (as outlined in the Danielson Rubric for Teaching)? This is not an easy task. Of course I could get students to ask questions, but how to get them to ask GOOD questions is the hard part. Well, in order to do this - you have to start somewhere. So, my somewhere was with a question mat.

This worked great with the ReadyGEN program because after the first read of the lesson it asks students to answer "What Questions Do You Have?" I had students write their questions on a post-it note. When they came to the meeting area to have their Team Talk and Group Discussions they placed their post-its on the question mat. They discussed these questions after discussing the questions I had set forth for them. Next, I wrote out a "question stems" chart. This helped them to create their own questions. We also shared out some of our questions and discussed which questions were strong, and which ones needed further development. Next year I will embed this into our routines beginning in September.

Grab a FREE question mat HERE.

Having the question mats for each group made students feel accountable for participating in the discussions (because they came up with the question), it also made it evident to someone coming into the room - that all students were actively engaged and participating. My administrators were very impressed with the level of involvement and the types of questions students were asking.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tear Art

A cute, easy project I did with my kiddies was a "Tear Art" project for Earth Day. We discussed Recycling and how we could reuse material. First I had students draw or trace a picture (I had to be specific in stating that the picture should be large...smaller images are harder to work with). Next, they tore scraps of paper to "fill-in" their drawings. Depending on the drawing, some students added buttons, bottle caps, and newspaper, to their artwork.

Here are just a few...