Sunday, March 3, 2013


I love holding my students accountable for their own goals and expectations in my classroom.  I have really enjoyed doing our "Data Notebooks" where they record and graph their weekly tests.  Then we can look over them to see what we need to improve on or what we didn't do well on. 

As a class, we graph our total number correct on both our reading test (broken down into comprehension and vocabulary) and our spelling tests.  Here is our graphs that I have on the board for the class to see.

There are 10 questions on our comprehension test and only 5 for our vocabulary test.  I add up the number of scores we earned as a class, so everyone is a part of our chart.  The black line is the 100% mark, because I had absences, so that line is just for the people that took the test.  They did a great job and had great scores!  They then track their own progress in their "Data Notebooks" and I give them their information and they graph it independently.  They love seeing their progress, and they do not want to do poorly.  Letting them see where they are really helps them want to do better next time.

This is an older picture, but we track our data every Monday, so tomorrow we will complete the next story.  They will keep adding to their graphs weekly so they can see where they need to improve.

We also graph our AR stories that we read and take a test on.  They LOVE doing this and they want to try so hard to fill in all the squares so they can get to 100%.  We try to have conferences about these weekly so I can see they are tracking their progress correctly and seeing where they are.  This is a great visual for me to just look and see they have only taken 2 tests this week or if they have taken a test a day.  All these stay in their "Data Notebooks" and they are kept on a shelf by my desk.  We do a daily number of tests taken too.  They always remind me that we have to graph our books!  They are really enjoying the benefits as well!

My last, but FAVORITE data graph we are doing is......
It has been so amazing for me to just walk over to the graph and fill in a box if someone interrupts or talks out.  It has helped my class so much with the tiny interruptions.  I LOVE it!  I know we are always working with partners and I ask them to say answers together, so overall, I am ruining my students because when it is time for me to speak, they think they just blurt out as well.  It isn't their fault... they aren't to blame, right?  Well, they still need to learn to be quiet and remember when we can talk out or when we just have to listen.  I have a few that just can't listen and have to tell a story or answer me every time I start teaching.  This has been the best for them.  We discuss what an interruption is and we made a chart of what interruptions look like.  I then made the graph.  The first few days we were OFF the chart!  Literally... Off the chart.  So every morning we talk about it and look at our graph and we discuss where we should be every day.  I then draw a line on the number of interruptions we might have.  If they stay under that line, we get to have a QUICK celebration at the end of the day.  It might be a quick dance party, or it might be a game of "Math Around the World," or it might just be 5 minutes extra reading time.  I don't bribe them, I just let them know they are doing what is expected.  But seriously... look at how the interruptions have gone down!  They are really becoming aware again!  Isn't that what we want to do, make them aware???  It is awesome!  Oh, I did forget... Interruptions are also things like people knocking on the door, or the announcements interrupting my teaching.  Anything that makes us stop learning is an interruption. 
So as you can tell... I love using data and graphs in my classroom.  If you would like to start using some things in your classroom, let me know!  I can share my charts or if you have something different that you can use, that is great!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Money, Matter, Data Walls, and More

Well, I haven't been keep up with my blog since I have figured out how to make my school website super cute and fancy. But I still want to keep trying to document my year through my blog, so I am going include a lot of items in this post. Sorry if it is long...

First things first... We have an AR Brain Beads wall where the students keep track of their AR (Accelerated Reader) points by putting one bead on their necklace for every point they earn. When they reach their 100% goal, they put on a gold star. It has been a great motivator for all the students to watch their points and make sure they make their goal. The only down side is the fact that it takes up my whole bulletin board... my only one that they can reach. I decided this nine weeks we are going to not do the necklaces, but we are going to have a Data Wall where we track our progress through that to help make the entire class responsible for meeting their goals. This is the before "Data Wall."
This is after the "Data Wall."
We are going to give this a try and I will be able to add to it and take stuff away once we all meet our classroom goals. This is coming from the Baldrige program where they incorporate the business aspects into the classroom. Each child also has a data notebook where they have individual goals and they are responsible for keeping track of their progress. It is great to see a child tell me why they weren't able to reach their goal for a specific lesson. This is a great program and I am excited to see how it works in my classroom.

We have started working on money and with the new common core, it says to use the math book only as extra support, not the main way of teaching. So we mainly do hands on learning and work a lot with partners. We try to do the higher level of learning and a lot of those activities have many different ways you can solve problems. I love watching my students work together and really learn while working in groups. This class is amazing and I am so proud of their hard work! They make my job so easy! Look at them using words to discuss why they got the answer they did. I love to see their brains work! It is amazing! They had to choose 2 items and add them together to find the total and then choose the coins that equal that amount. This was a 4 step problem, so yes, we are rocking with common core!
I love the concentration they are using... My class is amazing if I haven't told you that yet!  They work so well in groups and always want to work with their partners!

I love the satisfaction when they figure out the right answer!  That is what teaching is all about!

Here we are using the textbook as a learning tool on the projector.  They love using it!

We have done fun things with our Matter unit, but they enjoyed learning about mass and volume.  They all predicted what was going to happen when we poured the water into a smaller cylinder.  Our hypothesis was that they would overflow.  But when we did it, both cylinders had the same volume and mass.  It was a great learning activity!

Let's not forget about GLOOP... I think that was their favorite!  It is both a solid and a liquid!

Oh yeah, we get down and dirty in second grade!!!
We also dissolved lemonade in water and came up with a Hypothesis on that as well. 
They are true scientists!

We are working on our States of Matter booklets now.  I will post pictures when they give their reports! 

Well, we also had our 100th day of school and celebrated with fruit loops and a 100th Day Choice Board!  My class loves their choice boards!  I'm sorry for the many pictures, but it has been awhile since I've posted, so I am trying to catch up.  Sorry for the over load! 

Rolling coins to get to 100

Taking 100 Fruit Loops and modeling particles from The States of Matter

Choice Boards

Rolling Dice to get to 100

 Math Problems that all have different ways to get to 100

We are Super Stars for sure!  I hope you enjoyed this and maybe found some ideas you can use.  I am still on overload as well, but we are more than half way done with school.  I am going to miss this class next year!  See you soon!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Hello 2013!  I am so glad you are finally here!!!

2012 was a year full of joy and tremendous sadness.  I lost my father to cancer after he fought it for almost 2 years.  That was on June 1, 2012.  That day will forever be etched into my mind.  I am so glad that I was there with him on his final days, though a day doesn't go by that I don't think about him and miss him.  Then another sadness came with the loss of my sweet Shi Tzu of 14 years, Tabitha.  She was hit by a car 20 days after my dad passed away.  June and July were not much fun for me, but with every day that passed, it did seem to get better.  Who knew that the loss of a pet is as traumatic as the loss of a family member.  It was not a good summer. 

I try to find the good in everything and there were many good things that happened this past year.  My mom finally got her permanent home with land for her horse.  That is something we've always dreamed about.  Then the school year started and I was able to get back on a routine and have been blessed with another group of amazing kids.  I swear, I am so blessed to have amazing kids come into my classroom every year.  I know I am the teacher, but they are the ones that teach me new things every day.  They take a piece of my heart with them every year when they go on to third grade.  I love my job and the older I get, the more I fall in love with my job... I am so thankful to have such a great job, but my co-workers help make that happen too.  I truly work with the best group of people ever.  They are the best at what they do and they truly care about their students.  We have a new principal this year and she has been a fantastic fit to our school.  I sure do miss our previous principal, but she needed to live her life that she forever dedicated to her teachers and students (42 wonderful years!)  I am glad that she can enjoy spending time with her grand babies and watch them grow up. 

My New Year's Resolution was to really work on my blog and get better at keeping it up.  This blog is a look back on the week before our break.. We had so much fun celebrating that last week and we studied trains and read the Polar Express and then we had hot chocolate and watched the movie.  We had a book exchange and the kids really loved getting new books.  I always ask the parents to NOT send in gifts for my parapro and myself.  I always hated opening presents in front of the kids and all I can ever afford are little treats.  I love the fact that they get to celebrate with each other and have a book to remember it by. 

I am wishing you all a wonderful new year in 2013.  May you be blessed with love, happiness, good health and good fortune.  Here are some pictures of my sweeties... I hope you enjoy!
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