Minute To Win It Birthday Party FUN!!!

28 July 2013
How had I not jumped on the Minute To Win It bandwagon before now?  SO.MUCH.FUN!!!  We celebrated my oldest daughter's 10th birthday with a Minute To Win It theme this weekend, and it was a blast!!!

In Face the Cookie, you have to move a cookie from your forehead to your mouth, without using your hands.  This was hilarious!  My two youngest daughters spent yesterday practicing this event ... in preparation for the party and competing against the "big kids".  

For Suck it Up, the girls transferred M&Ms from one plate to another, using a straw.  Extra bonus at the end?  You get to eat all the M&Ms ... what's not to love about that?

Pencil Backflip was a hit!  You place pencils on the backside of your hand, then flip them into the air and catch them with the same hand you flipped them with.  Start with one pencil and add an extra one each time you successfully catch them.  One of the girls (the birthday girl) got up to 9 pencils!

A Bit Dicey was a bit harder than it looks.  The girls had to stack 5 dice onto a popsicle stick held in their mouths, then balance them for 5 seconds.  Five for Five!

Card Ninja was a blast!  We had to keep moving the line forward so their cards would actually hit the watermelon (I'm pretty sure the wind outside wasn't helping).  Eventually, a few of them got the wrist flick trick, and one of the girls stuck about 8 cards into the watermelon! 

In Nose Dive, the girls had to transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another, with the help of a little vasoline on their noses.  A little messy - but when they were finished they went for a swim ... how perfect is that?

I had a few more games planned, but only had time for the ones I have pictured.  I guess we'll be having a few more minute to win it games at home tomorrow.  ;)

The whole time I was planning the party, I kept thinking about how much fun this would be in the class!  I totally want to do this as a special activity day - maybe right before Christmas?  I could keep it rigorous by having the students create posters advertising the activities they made up (media / visual arts), procedure writing for the activity, maybe even some graphing.  Can't wait!!!

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!


Differentiation in Writing - Goal-Setting Clip Chart

25 July 2013
I'm sorry I've been so M.I.A. lately.  A big reason for that (besides soaking up some quality time with my girls) is the summer course I've been taking.  I'm taking part 2 of my writing specialist right now (I took part 1 in the spring session).  It's been a lot of work (so glad I decided against taking 2 courses this summer), but it's been good work.  I've spent a lot of time reflecting on HOW I teach writing (which I LOVE), and I'm so excited to bring some of these ideas into the classroom in the Fall.

A large focus of my course has been on differentiating instruction in the writing classroom.  One of the ways I already do this is through the creation of personal writing goals for the students.  I really started my focus on this at the beginning of last year.  During my first writing conference with my students (after our first diagnostic), the student and I decide on a personal writing goal based on their needs (example:  organization, word choice, sentence structure, etc.).  During subsequent conferences, the student and I evaluate if they have met the goal, and move on to a new goal if they were successful.  Around January I decided I needed a more visual way of displaying their writing goals - hence the writing goal clip chart.  The one I was using last year was a good fit ... but it wasn't a perfect fit, so I knew I wanted to work on it over the summer.

So, my Personal Writing Goals Clip Chart was born.  I will use it in the classroom to help students track their personal goals.  They will use a clothespin to do this (do you see my beautiful washi tape clothespins - I made them in true multi-tasking style while watching my daughters' soccer practice).  I will write the students' names on the clips in sharpie (but I know some of you prefer to use numbers).  

After our first writing conference they will have their first goal, and place their pin on the matching goal strip - because these are personal goals, students will have different starting points on the chart.  Do you see that little pocket at the bottom?  That's my favourite part for student accountability.  Inside that pocket (just half a manila envelope with the title card glued on top) are the student reflection sheets.  When a student believes he or she has mastered the goal, they will fill in a goal reflection sheet proving that they have met the goal and explaining the strategies he or she used, and this reflection sheet will be stapled to their writing piece.  If the student was successful (determined in a student/teacher conference) we will discuss what goal to move on to.

Another great part - this visual will quickly help me see what students to pull for a quick guided writing lesson.  All students on the same goal strip can come together for a focused minilesson - discussing their goal in reference to the assignment they are working on.

The writing goal strips can also be used to build a set of success criteria for writing for the whole class.  You could start with one or two goal strips, adding a new strip to the chart each time a new goal is taught through a lesson, ending with the full chart by the end of the year.  The strips are held together with binder clips / book rings (LOVE the metallic rings I found at Staples), but in the past I have used ribbon to hold the strips together.  The binder clips make it easier to change the goal strips.

There are 2 sets of goals included in each resource - one has the common core standard written on each strip, and the other set does not have the standard listed (which I will use in my class).  I have sets for all grade levels - K-8.  You can preview any of them by clicking on the links:

Update:  As per request, I have also created sets of matching reading goal clip charts. Again, you can preview them by clicking on any of the links below:

Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8

Happy Thursday!!


Double Digits

18 July 2013
My oldest daughter turned 10 today - double digits!  Eeek!  I'm not sure why it's so scary for me - I teach this age level ... OK - maybe that's why it's scary.  I know what my students know, and I hear what my students say (especially when they don't want me to) ... and I'm having a hard time coming to the realization that my little girl is now that age.

Elizabeth is such a mommy's girl (even though she's the spitting image of her dad), and LOVES everything I LOVE.  So I gave her a little of that love tonight with two of her gifts:  an Erin Condren writing journal and a custom print from Melonheadz (is it wrong that I want one of these for myself?).  Watch out - I think we have a future teacher in our midst.

And because I'm still in the giving mood, I wanted to share that mood with you.  Elizabeth was the inspiration behind one of my resources in my TPT store.  I got the idea watching her one day, and ran with it.  Can you guess which resource?  Leave a comment with your email address below, and I'll send a copy to the first 10 people who guess right (10 because she's 10).  Need a hint???  It's on the first page of my TPT store. Happy Guessing!!!

Update:  And that's 10 - it was the comprehension cootie catchers - she came home with a cootie catcher one day and I thought ... there has to be a way to use these "for good" in the classroom.  ;)  I'll send them out shortly.  Thanks for playing my little party game!  :)

Monday Made-It ... on Tuesday

16 July 2013
Well, at the rate I've been going lately, just publishing a new blog post should qualify as a Monday Made-It (or Tuesday Made-It ... it's summer - we're not supposed to keep track of days, right?).

My last post was one month ago, and I titled it "Riding The Crazy Train".  I don't believe I've gotten off that crazy train.  But at least it's been a bit less stressful.  A bit.  And hotter.  Much hotter.  My girls and I have been enjoying every minute of summer so far - lots of outside fun, summer camps, soccer, and now some inside crafting ... because it's WAY too hot outside.

So, here it is ... my Monday (Tuesday) Made-It.  Four canvas boards, covered in fabric, with four sparkly inspirational words for my classroom.  I can't wait to bring these to school (and my husband probably can't wait, either, because right now they're currently occupying our dining room table).

1.  First, I measured the fabric (I used quilting fat squares) so that it would fit around the canvas (8 x 10).  I cut a notch out of each corner so I could fold it around the canvas at little more easily.

2.  I used a glue gun to attach the fabric to the back.  This pic is my oldest daughter making hers - we did some crafting together while my two youngest daughters were at dance camp.

3.  For the lettering, I printed the words out on the computer, cut them out, then glued them to the board.

4.  I "painted" each letter with mod podge, then added some sparkle.  I chose deep red because I have a deep red wall in my classroom, and I'm always looking for ways to tie that colour in so it doesn't look out of place.  I did two coats of the mod podge and glitter so there weren't any spots showing through.  I then went over the glitter with one more coat of mod podge to seal it all in.

And there you go ... some beautiful inspiration for my classroom, a fun craft out of the heat, and a blog post ... I think I'm happy.  :)

I'm linking up to Tara's fabulous Monday Made-It over at 4th Grade Frolics.  If you're looking for a little inspiration, I am POSITIVE you will find some there!

Happy Tuesday!!!