Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Data Notebook

 Okay, I have finally finished the data notebook that I've been working on forever.  I think this document contains the most information that I've ever put into a product.  If you're looking for an all inclusive data notebook to start your year, look no further.  This data notebook has just about everything that you could think of when it comes to academic data recording.  Not only do you get all of the data pages but you get directions on how to use them and some information about how I have had success with each of the academic areas.

My Data Notebook is a 79 page download containing a TON on printables for you to use to create a data notebook for each of your students.  It comes with a student data notebook cover and several different data pages to choose from.  Students will keep their own data by coloring in pictures or bar graphs to show their progress.  Click on any of the pictures below to download this document for your classroom.

Data Notebooks help keep students accountable for their own learning.  They write their own goals and are able to control the pace in which they learn.  Data Notebooks allow students to observe short term goals and it motivates them to reach their long term goals. 

There are six sections to the data notebook and each section contains several subsections for students to track their own data:

Section 1: Mission Statement-students create a class and self mission statement of a learning goal they would like to reach.

Section 2: Reading Goals-students work on increasing their reading level, oral fluency, fry word knowledge, reading stamina, and maze comprehension activities.  Each subsection contains a data sheet to choose from.
Section 3: Phonics Goals-students work on upper and lower case letter recognition, letter sounds, phoneme segmentation, and nonsense word fluency.  Each subsection contains a data sheet to choose from.

Section 4: Spelling Goals-students work on word family knowledge as they learn new spelling sound patterns each week, and they keep track of how many words they spell correctly on each spelling test.  The word family section contains all word families that your students will learn throughout the school year and a graph to track how many words they get correct on each spelling test.

 Section 5: Writing Goals-students work on using capital letters, spacing, correct spelling, punctuation, and handwriting in their writing.  They use the writing rubric that is included to make their writing perfect.
 Section 6: Math Goals-students work on counting on, counting back, addition and subtraction fluency, and they keep their own assessment data based on the test they take in the classroom (weekly or quarterly)
 The nice thing about this data notebook is that you can choose the data pages that you use in your own classroom.  I realize that different schools have different ways of doing things and I wanted to provide enough of a variety in the data pages for you to choose the best method for you and your students. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sparkle Words

I guess I'm making up for lost time since I didn't post much of anything at the beginning of the month.  The end of the school year will do that to a teacher.  Paperwork!Paperwork!Paperwork! Anyway, my summer has begun and I feel like I have been glued to the computer.  I swear I am a creating fool...I think I have a mild addiction...okay a huge one!  LOL!  Anyway, here is my newest creation.

I've actually been using this in my classroom for the past 6 years on this boring white paper backed on colored construction paper.

Have you ever had a student write a story and it seems like they use the same old boring words ALL.THE.TIME!!!??  Well, here is a solution to fix that writing issue! 

 Hang these Sparkle Word posters in your classroom and teach your students how to use them. 

Sparkle Words is a download containing posters for you to use on your classroom walls to help students jazz up their writing.  Instead of using those boring words like said, then, and funny, they can use sparkle words like exclaimed, suddenly, and hysterical.  These posters will be a main reference point while going through the writing process.  Students will start to remember that these sparkle words exist and they will try to use them all the time.

I have also included a blank poster for you to create your own sparkle words.
Click on any of the pictures above to download ALL 18 of the Sparkle Words posters.

I think I may become the laminating queen before school starts because my "Print Me" folder is piling up with stuff that needs printed and laminated.  Oh well, more work for me...or my assistant.  Enjoy the rest of your week!  :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Polka Dot Pirates

Here's a girly spin to the ever so boring colors that comes with a Pirate themed classroom.  I am in love with polka dots and I didn't want to give them up, so why not have both?  This new download is loaded with 121 pages of polka dots and pirates.  It will definitely brighten up any classroom!  Click on the picture below to go straight to my TpT store. 

Polka Dot Pirates contains 8 classroom displays in full color!!

Letter Labels
Use these labels for your word wall, guided reading book bins, or reading center bins.

Number Labels
Use these labels to display a number line around the top of your classroom walls.  (1-120)

Number Word Display Cards
Use these cards on your math wall to help guide students with number words.  (1-120)

Months of the Year Display Cards
Use these cards on your calendar display to show the month or for a birthday board.

Days of the Week Display Cards
Use these cards on your calendar display to help students remember the days of the week.

Calendar Cards
Use these cards on your calendar display.  Use the special cards throughout the year.

Supply Bin Labels
Use these labels on your supplies to make your classroom print and polka dot rich. 

Triangle Welcome Banner
Use this welcome banner at the beginning of the school year to welcome students to your room.  Grades k-5 are included.

  Each of the classroom displays included in this download come with blanks for you to customize as you wish.  Keep in mind that I will be adding some more Polka Dot Pirate items in the near future!  Most will be FREEBIES so check back often!  Enjoy your week! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Understanding by Design and Place Value FREEBIES

This past week I attended an Understanding by Design (UbD) professional development that my county provided and I feel like 4 days of training have really transformed me as a teacher.  It felt like I was back in college, taking that highly important course that provides so much information that it makes your brain hurt.  I know how important it is for my students to understand what they learn but now I feel like all of the things we do as teachers to help them with those enduring understandings really matters.  Posting those essential questions, providing meaningful learning experiences, and allowing students to evaluate their own learning are pertinent to the learning process.  

If you're interested in being inspired by the (UbD) process, you can check out "UbD in a Nutshell" by clicking on the picture below.  There are also a ton of resources out there that will help you plan each of your subjects in a way that your students will gain a deeper understanding of everything you teach.  See the template below to guide your units.  The UbD way of planning helps teachers to think about how you will assess your students at the end of the learning process and then plan your teaching from there.  It stresses the importance of informing your students of where their learning is going so they are reflective throughout the process and are held responsible for their own learning.  Students should be evaluating themselves each day by means of the essentials questions and again at the end of the unit as a culminating evaluation.  See below for an example of  an end of unit student self evaluation rubric.

My experience from this training helped me understand the importance of lesson design to help students walk away with an enduring understanding of what was taught.  We as teachers know that students learn best when we make their learning experience FUN and we also make sure to explain how they will use those skills in the future.  Students need to have a plan for their lives and it is our job to make sure they know how to get there.  Even first graders are capable of having a life plan!  Teachers need to go outside of the box and think about the things that we experience as adults.  We need to share some of those experiences with our students so they are aware of WHY they NEED to learn a particular skill.  In the UbD, this would be the Transfer Goal.  When you are beginning to plan for a unit, think about the skills that you're teaching and how those skills will transfer into other areas.  We did our UbD on Number Sense and Place Value so our Transfer Goal was that we wanted students to use their learning to utilize numbers in real world situations.  If students have a deep understanding of numbers and place value, then they will be able to transfer that learning to various situations as they encounter them in life.

So as we planned our first unit, with my amazing first grade colleagues from around the county, all of the pieces finally fell together.  We started with the enduring understandings: what we wanted students to walk away with.  Then the essential questions: what students would be asked throughout the unit.  Click on the picture below to access all of the essential question posters for FREE (the pictures look a lil funky but once you download them, they will look like this one).

 Once we had the foundation set for where we wanted to go, we then thought about all of the learning that we wanted to take place.  This is where the "design" part of UbD comes into play.  The purpose is to "begin with the end in mind"!  This was a recurring phrase throughout our training because if you don't have a "destination" then you may get "lost" along the way.  Think of it like taking a road trip...if you don't know where you're going, then you may not get to the place that you want.  It makes sense, right?  So here is the assessment that was created as we thought of all of the skills that we wanted students to be able to UNDERSTAND throughout our Number Sense and Place Value unit.  Click on the picture to access the entire test for FREE.
 Once we finished the test, we were able to lay out the learning plan.  This is where the lesson planning would go.  This way of planning units seems to make total sense to me.  I'm sure that a lot of us teachers use this method of planning anyway, but the UbD allowed us to team plan a unit that was well thought out so students can UNDERSTAND the content that we teach.

One more FREEBIE for you are the checklists that I like to use in my classroom to guide my teaching and it also helps me plan for my intervention groups.  Each day I use formal and informal observations to judge whether a student has mastered a specific skill.  I place a check under their name if they have mastered it.  If they have not mastered it, then I pull small groups to make sure they receive the learning that they need to master that skill.  Click on the picture below to download all of the checklists for Unit 1: Number Sense and Place Value.
These checklists also help me when it's time to fill out report cards.  Our county has began "Standards Based Grading and Reporting" for math and it's basically like a huge checklist style report card.  Instead of playing a guessing game each quarter, I take out the checklists that I have used throughout the quarter (along with other factors too) in order to complete my report cards.

Sorry for such a long post!  I guess I'm just really passionate about this part of teaching.  lol  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be sure to check back soon for a huge Data Notebook that I'm in the process of finishing.  

P.S.-If you'd like a copy of the entire number sense and place value unit plan, please leave me a comment and I'll be glad to send that to you.  Just leave me your email!  :-)