Thursday, November 27, 2014

Applied Learning Project and Capacity Matrix

This is my first year teaching 7th grade and I'm in a fabulous place where I can grow and learn as a teacher.  One of the things we are doing to engage our students is to have our students applying their learning.  I start with a capacity matrix and end with a project to apply students learning.  The first project that my team is doing is a film festival.  Students are learning about both science and social studies concepts and have to make a 10 minute film to show their learning.

I'm not sure if you've used capacity matrix but it's awesome and really allows the learners in my classroom to be independent and direct their learning.  It also allows students to each have a different learning path. This school has some example of capacity matrix.  In our classroom we are doing it a little different.

We have four columns: 1. Learning Target (this is what we want the students to be able to do). 2. Input Resources - these are what information the students needs to receive in order to understand a concept. These input resources can be a teacher lesson, a video, a prezi - anything where students are getting the information. 3. Evidence - this is an activity, worksheet or exercise which students are able to practice and improve their skills and show proficiency.  With the evidence there is a place for students to correct their work.  If students are stuck their should be an opportunity in this column for extra practice.  This is also where the teacher can check in and provide mini-lessons for students that are stuck.  4. The last column is the check in.  This is a mini "quiz" where students are showing that they have mastered the skill.  Students do this and then check in with the teacher.  If their check-in is correct they can move onto the next standard.

This is part of our capacity matrix for the standards we have in our applied learning project:
(I have taken some of the links off because they are attached to my school google drive for my students) So I would normally have all of these section filled in.  This particular matrix has six learning targets.
Use these to get information when you are working ahead or when you need to review a skill or concept.
Do these activities and practice exercises to improve your skills and show proficiency.
Do these to show you have mastered a skill.  These should be printed and then check in with a teacher.
7BE.2 I know the various resources which organisms compete for in different biomes.

7BE.2a I can name 7 major biomes and generally locate them on the map.
Biomes Map - make sure you read about the map too!

Biome MAPS - make sure you read about the map too! Click on a section to see where your specific biome is.

Must Do
Map - print and correct

More Practice
Map - print and correct

One of the activities I've created for students is a sorting activity to go with biomes.
Check it out here!

720 × 90
Hope you find this helpful and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Now Serving: Deli Number System

I am currently team teaching in a large classroom with doors that slide open.  My teammate and I have decided to leave our doors open all the time and teach teach the entire year!  I love it and are kids are amazing!  However there are some things about student management that needed some help.  Although there are two of us we still wanted to give every student a voice.  Another teacher in our building was using a number system with the dry erase board.  However that required going up to the board every time you needed to switch the number. I decided to have some fun with PVC pipes and create the system below:

I got the PVC pipe, along with pipe cutters at Lowes Home Improvement Store.  The guys at the store were pretty helpful to get the stuff we needed.  I had actually purchased the cutters for a project I had done previous.  The piping and joints were about 7 dollars for the whole project. I also purchased spray paint.
In order to create this project you will need the following PVC:
1/4 inch PVC pipe (make sure you have room to fit it in your car)
2 corner joints
4 T joints
and 4 end caps.
The basket, and the zip ties that attach the basket came from the dollar store. Then the O Rings were purchased at Walmart.
First Grade and Fabulous gives a tutorial for a larger version.

I have created the numbers for system, check them out on TpT.
Our students loved the system.  They take a number from the basket and when they see that the sign says their number they come up and put their ticket back and get the help they need.  Students have reported they like it because it give everyone a chance to get help from the teacher.  I am also seeing students that wouldn't normally raise their hands or come up to me to ask for help take a number.

Hope this help with management in your classroom!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Narrative Writing Diamond Freebie

I have been teaching my students to write narratives. Wow! They have some great imaginations. It just takes a little bit to shape their great ideas into stories. So far we've worked on Entertaining Beginnings and Elaborative Details.

I have two resources that I'm currently using to help me with this process:

1. The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever, By Barbara Mariconda. This book goes step by step through the writing diamond and has helped me to get great products out of my students.

2. Empowering Writers Website is an awesome resource too. Here they have a whole narrative writing program you can buy... it is pricey for just one teacher - if you're school is willing to purchase it, it might be worth looking into. However, there are many great resources at the website that you can use that you do not have to pay for.

Here is a link to my TpT store for a freebie. I have typed up the writing diamond so you can put it together on a poster board. Check out mine below:

Good luck putting yours together!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Check out these pillows I made! (Ignore my paint job- I have to do some touch up - before school starts!)
I recently (April) got a new cricut and haven't had the opportunity to use it!  I decided that I'd try it out and was inspired by two pins on pinterest:
 Disney Family Fun and Apartment Therapy

I used my cricut to cut out my letters and then appliqued them onto the fabric.  Then I turned those squares into pillows.  I'm not going to give you a step by step tutorial, but I do have few tips.

1. If you are like me, and you've seen applique and kinda know how to do it (but not really), you can look it up on You Tube!  Search applique and watch a few videos, this will give you exactly what you need - even if you're not an expert!

2. Try out your zig-zag stitch with a few different sizes first.  This way you'll know exactly what you want before you start.

3. Stabilizer! I can always remember my mom sewing with adding tape under her projects - I always wondered why? Now I know!  If you put paper under the project it will hold the stitches so they don't pull your fabric, and it will look so much better.  Not to mention it's also easier to sew it.  The needle will poke so many holes in the paper you'll be able to pull the paper away afterward.  (For some reason I felt the need to keep with my color theme and use a sheet of green paper)

 4. Have fun!  I love the way these came out and I hope my kids will too!

Here is a sneak peek of my room so far.  As you can see I don't even have anything on my bulletin boards and nothing on my shelves... but I still have a few weeks!  Thank goodness!
Hope everyone is enjoying those last minutes of summer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Colorful 3D Bulletin Border

Here is coat #4 and finally it is looking like it should.  I also spray painted my baskets, which were many different colors.  This was a much cheaper way to get a new color scheme.  These are the eight that I have done.  I can't wait to start putting my books in them and put my shelf back where it belongs. 

Now onto the fun stuff! Over at Peace Love And First Grade I found the beautiful "scrunchy" border. Here is what Laura's looks like:

She used long strips of paper - you can find directions at the link above.
Our paper supply at school is out (not sure if they'll be replacing it) and I still wanted to do this. So I got crepe paper.  I started out using a single roll - but this didn't work out so well.  So I did two rolls side by side and it seemed to work out well! Here are my results:

This is the first side - you can see how I have the two rolls side by side.

This is the corner - the hardest part!

Then, here is my final result. Yeah, I'm so proud.  Thanks Laura for the great idea!!!

Here is another great idea I found from pinterest that helped me with my bulletin boards.
I used green colored staples with the green crepe paper and blue staples on the blue paper.  They are hidden so well, and so easy to make.  All you have to do is color them with a permanent marker.

What kind of fun, out of the box, borders or bulletin board have you created?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Two awards! Yeah!

Jen at teaching, life, and everything in between has awarded me two awards...

Thanks Jen!  These are my very first woo hoo!!

Here are the rules for the 'One Lovely Blog Award':
1. Follow the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3. Share the love! Pass the award onto 15 new bloggers!

Rules for "The Versatile Blogger" Award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

7 Random Facts about myself:
1.  My middle name is Wynter (yes with a y).
2. I love to dance when no one is looking!
3. I am originally from Maine.
4. I like to fold laundry.
5. My favorite color is blue - when I was a teen I even dyed my hair blue.
6. I have a pug named Milo.
7. I am right handed.

Here's the 15 blogs I'm nominating for both awards...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Painting... and Some Questions For You!

First of all... I know it has been forever since I've written on my blog. I am going to try to be more faithful to it, and hopefully when school start I will have a routine in order.

So... I have been in my classroom... painting. I had a nasty bookshelf that I wanted to bring to life. Here it is with the first coat. You can see the original blue color has dings and scratches and just needs a little life.

Sadly... painting is a whole lot harder than I imagined it to be.  I don't do it often enough, and every time I do it I think it's going to be this magical, fun event.  Yea.... no!  This book shelf needed like 3 coats of paint.  Here is the final last result.  I still have some more paint so I am going to do one more coat.

Like I said I think one more coat will make it look better.  The back panel is made from plywood so the paint does not get into all the groves very easily.  I'm not too worried about this because my book baskets will cover it up.  The next shelf was only $5 at the Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity).  I was so excited!  It was really gross and needed to be cleaned up.  I washed it down, took some of the hardware off and have plans to make a bench cushion for the top. (Like something I saw on Pinterest!)  I love the color, and will post pictures when it's all set up!

Okay, so here are my Questions for you!

1. I am currently reading the Daily 5 and I am trying to figure out how to incorporate it into a fifth grade classroom. I am looking for comments and resources from anyone who uses Daily 5/Cafe in the upper grades. 

2. In the Daily 5 book, it mentions getting away from having a desk. Has anyone gotten rid of their desk? I am seriously considering it.  I imagine all the space... and then I sit at my desk and look at all the little things on my desk. What do you do with all those things? Let me know if you've gotten rid of your desk, what do you use instead?