Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lunch Choice Board

Hey yall! Happy *almost* Friday!
Has it really been almost 2 weeks since I've posted? Yikes!
The time really does get away from me lately.
I meant to post about this last weekend for the Bright Ideas link-up, but I spent the weekend in Atlanta instead :)
Better late than never, right?
So every year, I try to do attendance in a way that is easy for me, but also a huge reminder that it needs to get done. Because sometimes a girl just forgets.
I've had pretty good success making it a classroom job, because those kiddos definitely won't forget to get it done! In the past, I used a transportation board to do attendance, but I didn't feel like that would be good for 3rd grade.
I mean, they know how they get home everyday, so they don't always need that reminder.
When I went into my new coworkers classroom at the beginning of the year, I found a simple, yet genius, way to do attendance PLUS lunch count at the same time.
She had some cheap little plastic plates glued to her cabinet, alongside a bucket of clothespins.
Each plate had a lunch choice written on it and the students just move their clip to their choice for the day.
Well, this may be something you've been doing for years and years, but it was new to me!
I ran to the dearest Dollar Tree and snagged some cheapo plates.
I put all the kiddos names on some clothespins, stuck 'em in a bucket, and threw in a dry erase marker and eraser. I also put the lunch menu above the plates, so that my helper can be responsible for writing the lunch choices each afternoon.
In the mornings, after everyone has made their choice, my lunch count helper tells me who is out for the day. This reminds me to plug in my attendance online and then its DONE!
Seriously, this system is super easy and completely run by the students. They are responsible for moving their clips, writing the lunch choices, and seeing who is absent for the day. That student also writes down the number of students for each choice and takes it to the lunchroom.
Student responsibility = happy teacher :)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

We Are Patriots

Hey yall! Happy Saturday!
I'm getting ready to get into football mode {go Dawgs!!!}, but I wanted to get in a quick post about how we remembered 9/11.
On Tuesday, I gave my students a homework assignment to interview an adult about their whereabouts on 9/11. We discussed how everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing the day the world stopped turning.
You can snag this simple assignment by clicking on the picture below.
My students brought these back to school on Thursday. I put them into small groups and let them share their interviews with their groups.
Then we watched the first couple minutes of the September 11th video on Brain Pop.
We very briefly discussed what happened, but didn't talk about why it happened. We only watched the first few minutes of the video, because I felt the last half was too much for my 3rd graders.
We have been studying about the Revolutionary War and Patriots, so this was a great tie in for Patriots Day.
We talked about how we could be Patriots and used this writing pack from Katharine Stewart.
Patriot Day Writing (9-11)
I took pictures of my kiddos holding an American flag, so we added those to the bottom of our writing. Then we created some American flags and added the Twin Towers.

I know 9/11 is a sensitive topic, so we really focused on the patriots and heroes from that day. I think it's important to discuss the day, though, because it's a part of our history that has really defined the true definition of a hero.
Now I'm off to show my patriotism in another way....some good ol' American football!
Go dawgs!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Plickers in the Classroom

Hey yall!
Can I get a quick AMEN that tomorrow is Friday?
These last few weeks have just been SO stinkin' busy!
All has been well-my kiddos are amazing, I'm loving my team, and our days typically go off without a hitch.
But man, I'll be happy when we can slow down just a bit!
I feel that I'm always 3 steps behind.
I know its like this every year, I think I just forget how truly BUSY the first few months of school are.
Anyways....on with the post!
Over the summer, I had attended a workshop with my new county where they told us all about Plickers. I thought they were so cool and couldn't wait to use them!
But then I know, BUSY!
So when one of my teammates mentioned that she started using them in her classroom, I just knew I had to get on board, too.
Have you heard of Plickers???
Here's the gist:
You give each student a numbered card that is assigned to them. Each card has a black something-or-other (I have no idea what you would call it!) on it with four sides: A, B, C, and D.
They look like this...

Image from Amazon

You can either order a set of laminated cards from Amazon (although they're currently out of stock!) or you can print them right out at home.
Then you add a series of multiple choice or true/false questions to the app on your phone or computer. You show these questions for the students to see and they have to hold their card with the correct answer facing up.
Now, here's the cool part!
You just stand in the middle of the room and scan all the cards with your phone!
You don't have to scan each individual card-it gets them all with one quick scan!
I tried to get some pictures of my kiddos doing this, but my phone was giving me some trouble.
Here is an image from their website so you can see what I'm talking about...
Your phone (or computer) will show you all the students answers, so you get instant feedback on how well your students have mastered the content!
And they think its the coolest thing since sliced bread (and so does their teacher!).
My kiddos were seriously SUPER into this when we did it the other day.
We have been working on subjects and predicates (BORING!), so I just gave them 10 quick multiple choice questions. They couldn't have been more excited!
Unfortunately, I realized that some reteaching will be happening this week on subjects and predicates.
But hey, that's what I love about this system! It took about 15 minutes and now I know which students need more practice and which students got it.
No paper or pencils needed.
Go check it out!
What are you waiting for?