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First with Franklin

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Student-Led Conferences

I have decided that this year I am taking a different approach to Parent/Teacher Conferences.  I have decided (if you didn't already guess from the post title) that I am going to facilitate student-led conferences this year.  Our school has adopted a new evaluation system this year (based on the Danielson model) and I believe that student-led conferences are the direction we should be heading.
I also believe that if parents hear goals and reflections from their child, they might take it to heart more than when I say it.  I hope this is true!

I decided that I wanted to make some forms to lead my students in their planning for our conferences.  They love our puppy dog clipart on our Daily 5 posters, so I decided to use the same clipart for our conference pack.  Since I used this, I do have to charge for the pack.  It's only $3 and I think it is well worth it!
Here is sneak peek:
It contains 11 pages of goodies to help with your planning.  As always, I'm happy to edit/add to the product for you.  Just send me a quick message with what you need changed.  Hope you like it.  I would like for two people to proofread it for me, so head over to Facebook and comment on my status if you're interested.  The first two people to comment will get the pack for free!  

Have you done student-led conferences before?  Have any great advice for a first-timer?  :)

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

What's better than a cute font? A FREE cute font (or 5!)

So, last time I posted I was saying how I was back from being MIA.  I lied.  Don't call the blog police on me... please!
This teaching two grades at once is kicking my behind.  Majorly.  Today, I spent 4 hours at school working and a couple more hours at home.  Just when I think I have the hang of it, I have to add something else to mix.  Ahhh!  Hopefully next year when I just teach one grade it will seem like a breeze.
Daily 5 is going really well for us so far- this is my first year implementing it.  We've made our Read to Self goal and we're almost to our Writing goal.  We're working on Read to Someone, but I haven't yet introduced Listening or Word Work.  I hope to add them in the next two weeks.  My kiddos are amazing me at what they are able to do so far!
Last week, I saw Rowdy is Room 300's post about iFontMaker for iPad.  I had been wanting to download this app forever, but I was hesitant because it was $7.  I'm cheap when it comes to apps, but since she gave it such a good review I decided I needed to check it out.
Here is what I have so far.  I've started another really fun one, but it's taking awhile.  I will post it when I'm finished.

You can click on the words under each picture to download them for free.  If you use it for anything, please link it back to me.  You can use it for free items, personal use, or commercial.  Hope you like them!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Free Mystery Pictures & Shabby Sale!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  It feels like a great time for a new, Freebie, don't you think?  I had a couple of these types of mystery pictures from my student teaching days (thanks, Becky!) and my students love to work on them.  It's a great way for them to practice number recognition, as well as other Common Core standards.  (Hello, adding ten and place value!)  Here is a peak at what the packet looks like:  Go here to download the entire thing for FREE!

I have included the basic set of directions, but I like to give the students other hints while we do these in class.  Here are some ways that I give hints.  
  • Color the number that comes after ____.
  • Color the number that is one less than ____.
  • Color the number that is 10 more/less than ____.
  • Color the number that is between ____ and ____.
  • ____+_____= the number you should color. (especially with facts we're working on at the time)
  • Color the number that has a ___ in the tens place, and ____ in the ones place.
I hope to make the packet bigger later on and include some of these ways of giving hints.  I always do these as a whole group activity and normally I pull up a blank 120 sheet and we color along on the SmartBoard.  This really helps the visual learners.  
I like to make the students fill out a blank 120 chart the day before we do this activity- it's a great way to kill two birds, so to speak.  Let me know if you enjoy them!  


Also, if you enjoy the Shabby Apple I have a great coupon code for you- 10% off any purchase!  Yay! If you haven't heard of them, you should check them out!  Just look at these adorable styles- I want them all.  
I especially love the beachcomber and the Harlem Moves necklace.  You can save with this code: favorite10.  

But hurry... it's only good until September 14.  Happy shopping.  If you purchase anything be sure to share pictures with me- I can't wait to get some stuff!  
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

ROCKSTAR of the Day & Currently

I have been MIA lately... sorry, it's been a long time since I've posted.  Life has been super, duper insane since school started and I just haven't had one extra ounce of energy or motivation to blog lately.  However, I think I'm back!  :)
We had a great weekend back in my husband's hometown this weekend I feel so relaxed and re-energized.  Bring on the week!  (Except that I haven't actually done my plans for this week yet... small detail, really).

The first thing I want to tell you about is my most favorite back to school activity.  I totally screwed up and forgot to take a picture of it for y'all... so sorry!  I will try to be very descriptive for you though.
Here is a picture that I take of the Rockstar Student.  (This goes on the poster in the hall, as well as their take-home book.)
Right behind my little guy, you can see the cool chair covers that I got at the Target Dollar spot.  They say Star Student and have a little sleeve where the RS's name can be slid in on a sentence strip.  I think we'll use these all year. 
On the right side of the picture, you can see the orange pocket chart, right? I use this for two things during RockStar of the Day.  
1. It holds the names of all the potential RockStars.  I write each student's name on a sentence strip and then cut it up.  I paperclip all of the letters in each child's name and put it backwards in the chart so that the kiddos won't know who I am picking.  Then, each day I pick a name.  
I'm a little evil... I like to play with their little minds a little.. hehe
I will point to one and then say "This one is perfect today!" Then I act like a total nerd and pretend another catches my eye start to pick it up.  (They think this is hilarious and they are usually telling me which one to pick.)  When I finally do choose a name, I have everyone stand up.  
Then, I start by saying "This person has a *whatever random letter you choose* in his/her name.  Everyone with that letter in their name stays standing.. I keep giving clues until only one child is left standing and he/she becomes star of the day!
2.  Did you think I forgot to tell you the second use for the pocket chart?  I know, I was rambling a little.  The RockStar of the Day uses the pocket chart to put the letters in his/her name in the correct order.  
The next part is probably my students' favorite part.  We do a cheer for the RS's name.  The RS leads it and we yell back.  It's easy... 
RS: "Give me a J!"
Us: "J!"
RS: "Give me an "O"!
Us: "O!"
RS: "Give me a "H!"
Us: "H"
RS: "Give me a "N!"
Us: "N!"
RS: "What's that spell?"
Us: "John!"
RS: "Louder!"
Us: "JOHN!"
RS: "Louder!"
Us: "JOHN!!!!"
RS: "Whisper"
Us: "John"

They. Love. This.  I'm sure our superintendent right next door to us does not... haha

Then it is time for the interview portion.  I have several pre-made questions written out on some cute stars.  The RS chooses a friend to come up and ask him/her a question.  The friend comes up and pulls out a question and asks it.  Then, I use the response to model correct sentence writing techniques as we make a poster for the RS.  We do a total of three questions for each kid.  The posters turn out looking something like this:

The next thing we do is write the student's name together.  I model each letter and then students write the letter.  This is a great way to model proper handwriting techniques.  I used this page with my 1st graders this year:
I made my 2nd graders use this one (several of my 1st graders did choose to use this one instead and I loved that they challenged themselves.):
After we have written the student's name together I draw a masterpiece ;) of the student.  I try to incorporate things from their interview.  For example, if their favorite food is watermelon and their favorite animal is a cat, I draw a picture of the RS eating watermelon in the park with his cat.  (If in doubt of what to draw, add a rainbow... kids are amazed by them! ha)  These pictures are sometimes goofy because I have no artist ability, but my kiddos are always amazed by my drawing skills.  I love little kids.  :)
When I'm finished with my drawing I take it down so they can't copy it and they get started on their own drawing.  My 2nd graders have to write a sentence about the RS before they start with the drawing.  I take all of the pages and compile them into a book for the RS to take home.  On this page, I copy what is one the poster and use it for the first page of their book.  
These are covers that can be used for the front cover.  I copied them onto yellow construction paper this year and glued a photo of the RS onto it where the star is.  

If you would like to download a copy of any of this to use, just click here.  It's FREE!
I do one RockStar of the Day until everyone has a chance to be the RockStar.  This is one of my favorite activities all year- each kids feels so super-special on his/her day.  I LOVE it!  Plus, it makes a really cute display for Open House.  Ours is tomorrow and we had our last RS on Friday, so everyone will have a poster in the hallway- that doesn't always happen.  Yay!

Bless you, if you're still with me.  Here is a my September Currently.  A little lot late, but better late than never, right?

  • Listening to the Bears... and since they won I only heard a little bit of yelling from the hubs today... hehe
  • Loving- Our weather has been PERFECT this weekend.  Mid 70's and sunny... my favorite!  The hubs did a 25 bike race yesterday and then we did a 6 mile family ride and the weather made it even better!
  • Thinking- I actually got everything accomplished that I wanted to last week- and it was a 4-day week... go me! It does take a lot more planning and time spent outside of school, though.
  • Wanting- I have a new, 4-door, black Jeep Wrangler and I REALLY want black rims for it.  My birthday is in October, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
  • Needing- My toes look sad, very sad.
  • Loving- Roscato Rosso Dulce... wine, need I say more? lol
    • TOMS- I could wear these everyday- I own 5 pairs of them now, I might have a problem
    • I'm thinking of only buying dresses/long tunic shirts from now on so that I can wear leggings to school everyday
    • I always love my hubs, but I'm treasuring our time more now that I'm back to school and don't get to see him as much... :)

One last question for you guys.  Do you have a student of the day all year?  I've always done Student of the Day, but I'm really thinking about changing it to Student of the Week this year.  I'm trying to have students check in homework, do attendance and other things like that.  (We are following the Danielson evaluation model and I want to encourage student-initiated accountability.)
Which do you do?  Assign student jobs?  Student of the day?  Student of the Week?  or nothing?

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