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Monday, September 7, 2015

LaborLess Blog Hop: What Can Your Students Do?


Main Graphic Laborless

Today I am linking up with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching.  We'll all be blogging about learning to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home.

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Take a look around your classroom. What are you doing that your students could be doing? There's not enough time in the day or the night to do everything you would like to do with your class. So work smarter by asking what can your students do? This year is my first year in fifth grade and coming from first grade,  I am constantly grateful for how much they can do. It's a little bit of a shock sometimes still. So here are a few of the things I am doing to work smarter.

1. No need to grade those timed math facts test myself. Why not let the students grade their own? Everyone times themselves, grades themselves and then a helper checks off who has taken the test each day. Smarter, not harder for me!
The Research Based Classroom

2. Why am I writing the weekly newsletter to the parents? It's much more fun to hear what the kids think about what's happening. To give my students enough time to get this done without missing too much instruction time, I'm having them do a bi-weekly newsletter. We select an editor and 4 reporters for each edition. I give them a couple of options for layout. They cut apart the squares so they are writing in exactly the size they need and then glue them back onto a new master. Then I just scan it on my phone with JotNot Pro which turns it into a pdf and email to my school email. Then I post it on our class website and send the link to the parents. But you could also just email the pdf directly to your parents.  I bet it took me 5 minutes to do all of that, maybe less.  Here is our first edition:
The Research Based Classroom

The Research Based Classroom


3. Think a class website sounds hard, think again. My district uses google, so I just used google sites to make a basic website. I thought this was going to be really hard, but once I set up the tabs it was just about adding on the files I want my students and parents to have access to.  Lost your spelling list? Look on the website. Wondering when we will celebrate your birthday? Look on the website.  Need a new reading log? On the website. Forgot the requirements for this term's book report? Also on the website. It's not a pretty website, but it's functional. And the time I spend putting documents on is small compared to the time I was spending making extra copies or searching for those extra copies I knew I had.

The Research Based Classroom


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Unwinding at home.....um....not so good at that one. But one thing that does help me is vacation planning. Since at my house we are both teachers of one sort or another, we both have summers off. Work hard and play hard is our motto. Every summer we spend at least 3 weeks on the beach or we are planning a big trip somewhere else. Summer 2016...Barcelona bound! And already planning the trip. Well, actually planning the beach trip and Barcelona.  Nothing is more rejuvenating than that. But during the school year it's a little harder so I try to spend some time each day reading. Not reading for school but just for pure pleasure.
Some of my recent favorites include: A Prayer for Owen Meany, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Gone Girl, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, and Middlesex.

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This year with the grade change I don't have any products that are making my life easier.  I am creating everything from scratch right now and thinking about how much easier next year will be. But if you are teaching K, 1, or 2, I do have a product for you! I am a huge believer in inquiry based math and I love, love, love using CGI (cognitively guided math) problems. For both my problem of the day and for my guided math groups I used my themed sets of CGI problems. They include 14 different problem types and each problem leaves the numbers blank for easy differentiation. I have made 14 different themed sets that each have 14 problems. This will get you through the entire year with no prep. Plus you know that you are giving your mathematicians experience with all the problem types. For problem of the day I just put the one page version under my document camera and wrote the numbers on the board (usually I give 2 or 3 sets of numbers and allow students to pick the set that's right for them).  For small group work, I would have them glue the problem into their math journal and solve. So easy. Each theme is sold separately or in this bundle. The bundle also includes task cards for numbers up to 10 and numbers up to 100 for use in math centers. Themes include: Apples, Spiders, In the Barnyard, Zoo Animals, At the Beach, Valentine's Day, Leprechauns, In Santa's Workshop, Cookies, Penguins, It's Snowing, Preparing for the Feast, Bunnies and Eggs, and Cooking It Up.
The Research Based Classroom

This is a sample from the apples themed problems.
Another sample from the snow themed set.
I know getting ready for a new school year is fun, but also hard work. Enter below to win some great prizes that will help you get your classroom ready.

A $100 gift card to Amazon


A $50 gift card to TpT

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2 $25 gift cards to TpT


1 $10 gift card to TpT
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Hope your year starts off as great as mine has. Enter below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Looking for more LaborLESS ideas to help you this school year?



7 comments:

  1. I moved from 1st to 3rd this year and so far (after the first week) I feel like I am on vacation! :) I can actually read with them during silent reading time and then share our progress afterwards. I miss my first graders and teaching reading, but I am loving 3rd grade!!

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    1. I have taught third before and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was my favorite grade, but now I'm wondering if 5th will win that distinction! Good luck this year.

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  2. I moved from 1st to 3rd this year and so far (after the first week) I feel like I am on vacation! :) I can actually read with them during silent reading time and then share our progress afterwards. I miss my first graders and teaching reading, but I am loving 3rd grade!!

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  3. I have the students correct the math facts tests too. I also have them graph their results to see their progress, It's a great way to make them accountable for their learning. I love the idea of having the students write their own newsletter. What a wonderful example of authentic writing.

    Kim

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    1. I hadn't thought of having them graph their results. I will have to give that a try.

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  4. I absolutely LOVE the newsletter being written by your students!! I am sure your parents love it too! What a perfect way to promote writing with a purpose and audience! Thanks for sharing that idea!!

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    1. I think it is so dang cute to see the class through their eyes. I figure I can always send a quick email with something I think is important too.

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