Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scholastic Dollar Days & Discount Code

If you don't know about Scholastic Dollar Days, they are having an AWESOME sale right now on teacher eBooks.  There's a TON of really good eBooks out there for $1 or less.  You can use the discount code LEARNINGJAN and get 30% off!!!   I think the sale ends today or tomorrow so you might want to be quick if you're interested.  Click on the link to go there:


Here's some of the stuff I bought today:

                   




        




      

I've also made a new Spring themed game for my students to practice their CVC words.  You can get more info by clicking on the picture.


I also made this game to help my students practice reading words with the diphthongs au & aw.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Math Progress Monitoring (freebie)

I have a small group of 3rd graders that I'm responsible for their math instruction and math grades.  We've had a huge push in our district to have ESE students (what we call special ed) receive the gen ed math instruction, curriculum and assessments.  Luckily, I'm also gen ed certified which means I can still pull my students into the resource room and teach the gen ed curriculum to them in a smaller group setting and at a better pacing for them.

My 3rd graders are getting the gen ed math curriculum with me; however, we're not going as fast as the gen ed classes.  We're 1-2 chapters behind everyone else.  I've also skipped some portions of each chapter to keep my kids going, so we can cover more between now and FCAT.  I also don't except my students to complete multi-step word problems independently.  These types of problems we do together, and I try to talk them through the steps.

For the most part, my students are learning the skills fairly well.  They all do really well on their chapter tests (same one that their peers take).  BUT I've noticed one area where they are really struggling and that is word problems.  When I give them their chapter tests, they usually score an A.  I realized they are doing so well, because they know that every problem is a division problem or whatever other operation we are covering.

Most of my math IEP goals state something like this:

When given a real world math problem, Student will choose the correct operation and solve (write) the problem correctly with 80% accuracy.

Their short term goals are typically skills they need to be able to solve these problems and usually look like this:

When given a 4-digit subtraction problem with and without regrouping, Student will solve the problem with 80% accuracy.

I realized that I needed someway to track how my students are progressing on their IEP goals and a way to see how they are doing solving word problems that don't involve the chapter tests where every problem is the same operation.

So I came up with this plan.  Once a week (usually) I give my students a 5 question "review quiz" that has different word problems requiring different operations to solve.  Now that we've learned division, I usually do a place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problem.  These quizzes look like this:


Not surprisingly, my students struggle with this review quiz.  I usually get a lot of 60's as a grade since my students keep thinking every problem should be solved with addition no matter how many times we've gone over different types of problems!  To help chart their progress and look for patterns, I made this chart for me and I quickly fill it in when I grade their quizzes.  Here's what a couple of mine look like:

This is the place value form.  My kids usually do ok on place value up to 4-digits.  Once we get to 5 & 6-digit numbers they get a little lost.

This is my subtraction form.  Oh my......my kids know how to subtract with regrouping.  It's not the skill of subtracting that causes them to do so poorly on the subtraction problems.  The problem is that they usually ADD instead of subtracting.  We keep going over key words, thinking about what the problem is asking, reviewing why it can't be an addition problem, but this continues to be a problem for them.  Any suggestions on how to help with this?


I don't know if these forms will help anyone else, but I've uploaded them as a freebie just in case.  Click on the picture to get your FREE copy!


I'm on spring break right now!!  Yeah!!!!!  Man, did I need a break!  I've spent today catching up on laundry and making a few things that I wanted to create for my classroom.  I've uploaded some new games to my TPT store.  Click on the pictures to check them out.

I'm really excited about this one.  My kids love Angry Birds and will LOVE this game to practice reading R-Controlled Vowels.


I know my Kindergarten & 1st grade  kiddos will love collecting these eggs as they practice their sight words.

Now I'm off to enjoy more of this spring break (and fold laundry).

Graphics by: KPM DoodlesScrappin DoodlesJW Illustrations, and Revi Devi

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Patty's Day Sale

From now until March 17th, my 2 St. Patty's Day games are on sale for 20% off!  Don't miss out!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Standardized Testing (Freebie)

Well, it's getting closer and closer to the dreaded state test. In Fl, my students will be taking the FCAT 2.0.  It's been revamped this year (hence the 2.0), so it will be even more rigorous than previous years.  Does anyone else hate the word rigorous?  Errrr....moving on.

My students are struggling readers.  Not only do they have trouble reading the passages on the standardized tests, they also struggle to read all the words in the questions.  Words like compare, italics, difference, and understand are really hard for my students to read.  Last year, I decided to treat these words like sight words and hope that my students could memorize some of them.  I made this vocabulary game last year, but I revamped it some now.  I hope that by practicing reading these words in isolation my students will be able to identify them on the test.  Click on the picture to download your own FREE copy!


Now onto something I'm really excited about!  One of my 1st graders with autism is grumpy a lot.  He doesn't socialize a lot.  He's usually just kind of unhappy and reluctant to do things at school.  Well on Friday, he was wearing a Batman shirt and mentioned his shirt to me.  I asked him if he liked Batman and he said yes.  I told him that I could make him a Batman sight word game, and his face lit up!!  We talked about what the game would be like and what we could use for the Draw Again, Give Back 2 Cards, and Lose a Turn cards.  I told him I'd make the game and have it ready for him on Monday.  I can't wait to see if he likes the game or not.  I hope he's not disappointed and this peps up his mood some!  Click on the picture to check out the game at my TPT store.


I've also just added this other cute Cat at the Circus Sight Word Game.  



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fluency in my Classroom

I thought I would share how I assess, track and organize fluency in my classroom.  I'm by no means an expert, but this works for me.  Most of my students (especially the 3rd graders) have fluency as part of their IEP goals.  This has been the easiest way for me to monitor their fluency and get them doing repeated readings.

On Mondays, I have students read a fluency passage to me that "should" be on their reading level.  I've scoured the web looking for fluency passages.  I've used stuff from Reading A to Z and other sites that I've found here and there.  I do always retype the passages, because I like them in a certain format.

The first page looks like this:

This is their nightly homework for reading during the week.  I don't assign any other reading for them at home.  Reading The Book Whisperer this summer made me reflect on how I feel about reading logs.  I did it last year, and it really just became a huge stressor for me.  My students never read, and I wasted so much time nagging them everyday about it.  This short nightly reading works much better for me.  I rarely have a student who doesn't have it signed daily by some adult.  Every morning, I just put a quick check mark by the adult's signature and move on.  

I also make a page like this for my record keeping:


I keep these in a big 3-ring binder that is divided by student.  I make a copy on both sides of the paper, so I can record their reading on Monday and then again on Friday after they have practiced reading it all week.  

I've done this every week since the beginning of the year.  It does take a bit of time, but I make it work since I feel like this is important.  Here's the first passage my 3rd grade students read at the beginning of the year.


Here is the passage from this week that the same student did.  The underlined word is their goal they are trying to reach to make a 100.  The goal for a first grade passage is 82 wcpm and a second grade passage is 100 wcpm.


WOW, have we come a loooonnnng way this year!!!  I also have a graph for each student that I quickly fill in after I do the Monday reading.  I show the student and we talk about if they've gone up or down and the general trend.


This is the same student's graph.  I'm not going to lie......when I'm feeling really discouraged in my teaching, I come back to these graphs and try to remind myself where we started from.  We might not be on grade level but we're definitely making progress!

I do take grades on fluency since the gen ed students get graded on fluency.  I took the grading guidelines for 1st and 2nd grade students and broke it down into a grade depending upon how many words are read correctly.  I take a grade on the Monday cold read (20% of their grade) and then on the Friday cold read (5% of their grade).  We've been given very specific grading guidelines for special ed students, so I've had to play with it some to figure out how to weight them to make the grades average out like the district wants.  That's a whole other story though.  Here's the chart I use and it's hung up by my reading table so I can look at it quickly.


I don't keep my students all on the same passage.  If I see that a student is starting to get As or Bs on the Monday reading and doing it easily, I bump them up to a harder passage.  I have 2 levels right now (out of 7 students), but I have 1 who is probably ready to bump up to a beginning of the year 3rd grade passage (yeah!).  I'm going to see how he does next week and then make a decision if he needs to move up.

I also provide this info to my parents on weekly report that I send home on Fridays.  It looks like this:


That's the kind of reports I like to send home, but it doesn't always work out that way.  :/



How do you guys work on fluency in your room?  Have you found a good system for tracking it?  I realize this works for me, because I'm only doing it with 7 3rd graders.  I know there's no way I could do this with a gen ed class of 20 or more.  But I love hearing how other people do things in their rooms.

I've also been working on a couple more phonics games.  Click on the pictures to check them out in my TPT store.

I noticed my first grade students have been improving when reading CVC words.  But when the CVC words have the ending 's' added to the word (like nets or pots), they're really struggling.  I wanted to give them some extra word reading these types of words, so I made this cute Rain Forest Friends CVC game.


I also found these really cute baseball graphics and had to use them.  I needed another long A game, so I made Play Ball - A Long A game that uses the patterns a_e, ai, and ay.








Friday, March 9, 2012

Funny Moment Today

One of my students usually doesn't do well on weekly spelling tests but for the last 2 weeks he's gotten an A.  Yeah!!!  I'm super proud of him and call him over to tell him how great he did.

Me: Wow!  You've gotten an A last week and this week.  I'm impressed!  (High 5) What have you been doing differently to bring your grade up?

Student: I studied.

Me: WHAT?!?!?!?! Studied??? And that brought your grade UP.  Crrraaazzzyyy!!!

Ahhhhh.....sometimes I wonder exactly what I have been teaching the entire year.  :/

Is anyone else so thankful that it's Friday?  How much longer till spring break??

Monday, March 5, 2012

Little Literacy Learners' Birthday!

Little Literacy Learner is having a birthday in 2 days!  Come join her and some of her TBA friends as we celebrate her birthday.  She's hosting a GREAT giveaway that you don't want to miss.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Compare and Contrast (and a fun freebie!)

This past week, we worked on Compare and Contrast.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found this super cute Compare and Contrast anchor chart from Teaching in High Heel's blog.  She has some other great anchor charts posted there so make sure you check her out! *Ok for some reason, I can't get a link to work to her blog showing you the original chart.  Errrr.  But if you google her blog, it comes up right away.

I added a little more info to the anchor chart that I made.  Since my 3rd graders will be taking FCAT next month (oh my!), I want them to be exposed to the types of questions and words that will let them know that this is a comparing or contrasting question.  Here are the charts that I made for my classroom:



I also use this AMAZING, FREE resource to help plan my reading comprehension lessons: Read Works.  If you haven't checked out their site, you should go there NOW!  There are lesson plans for grades K-5 for a ton of different comprehension skills.  There are also comprehension passages that go along with the skill that you can download for free.  It's seriously amazing, and I use it almost every week.

Mrs. H's Resource Room posted this super cute poem for special ed teachers today.  I LOVED it.  I made it into a PDF file, so I could share with all my favorite ESE teachers (that's what we're called) at my school.  Click on the picture to download your FREE copy!


I've also been working on some more games for my students to play.  Click on the pictures to get more details about each game.

Forest Friends - A CVC Game
Monkeying Around - A Long E game (ee, ea, -ey, and -y patterns)


Shoot for the Moon - A Short U & Long U Game (CVCe and CVVC oo patterns)


If you're a special education teacher who blogs, make sure you check out this {post} to make sure your blog is listed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Infringing Upon Civil Liberties......

Yes, you read that title right.  We just had a new student with autism transfer to our school who is a stickler for his constitutional rights.  During the last week, we've heard some interesting things such as:

* Telling him to be quiet in the media center is interfering with his freedom of speech.
* Asking him to place his stickers only inside his folder is imposing upon his civil liberties.
* He couldn't be waving his napkin in someone's face because that would mean he would have to actually place the napkin inside the person's head.
*If you lined him up with 100 other kids his age, he would be smarter than 97 percent of them, because his doctor said his IQ was in the 97th percentile.

There's been many other interesting conversations with him, also.  He's very smart and I am probably not smarter than a 2nd grader!  He used his pattern blocks to create a Jewish star and wrote "In memory of Anne Frank and the other victims of the Holocaust."  Yes, we are testing him for gifted!

In the meantime, I'm trying to come up with some ways to get the behavior more conducive to a classroom setting.  Since he's such a stickler for rules, I made this Student Rights and Responsibility handout that you can download for free if you click on the picture.  There are 3 different versions.


Does anyone else have any suggestions for dealing with such a logical, by the book student?  I'm sure we'll be needing a lot of help with this student!

On another note, I've been trying to keep track of all the special ed bloggers that I come across in blogland.  We're in such a minority, and I want to know all of you that I can!

Drum roll please.......here are all the special ed bloggers that I know about.  If you're not on the list, please leave a comment, so I can add you!  Let's all support each other since there's so few of us!

Differentiation Station comes from Heather who is a Primary Resource teacher.


A Special Kind of Class comes from Amanda who has an elementary classroom for students with severe physical and/or speech disabilities.


Life in Special Education comes from Karla who has a K-5 self-contained classroom.



Class Full of "Special" Kinders comes from Jeannie who teaches a special education Kindergarten.


Ms. Rachel's Room comes (obviously) from Ms. Rachel who has a K-5 self-contained classroom.


Sped-Ventures comes from a self-contained classroom teacher of students ages 9 to 14.


Mrs. Gibson's Everday Classroom comes from Casey who is a special education teacher in Virginia.


The Resource(ful) Room is from Amy and I assume she is a resource room teacher!


Special Speckled Eggs comes from Claire who teaches exceptional students



Toad-ally Exceptional Learners comes from Mrs. Whiteley who teaches a K-6 resource room.  She doesn't have a blog button but can be checked out {here}.

We are ALL Special comes from Karlie who teaches has an elementary classroom for students with emotional behavior disorders.  You can visit her blog {here}.

Fun in ECSE comes from Kate who teaches early childhood special ed for students ages 2.5 - 5.


Mrs. H's Resource Room comes from Kim who teaches Grades 3 through 5 in a resource/co-teaching model.



Love Bug Learning comes from Sharima who teaches 3rd and 4th grade special education.


I hope I didn't leave anyone out.  If I did, please leave a comment with a link to your blog!

Graphics from Scrappin Doodles