Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winning Wednesdy! : ) (Day 46)

  Wednesday marked the end of our Drug Free week.  We had a wonderful week of activities which encouraged the students to “turn their backs on drugs,” not to “let drugs sneak up on them,” to “team up against drugs,” and to “shade out drugs” because Real Life is Drug Free!  I strongly endorsed this week because I had a personal connection with someone who lost his life because of drugs.  In this community, I have heard that drugs are easily obtained and I wanted students to understand the devastation that drugs can cause.  I also brought in my personal fifth grade D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) essay plaque because I wanted the students to see that if they stick to what they say when they are in fifth grade they can and will have a drug free life.  
                               ..........AND........DRUM ROLL PLEASE...............
We won! We won! Our door decor for the Drug Free Week won!  Our class gets a pizza party!  I have been so busy that I have forgotten to upload a wonderful picture of our new class door!  Here it is:
I got this wonderful idea from a post on pinterest!  I have spider webs, small spiders, and two large spiders from Wal*Mart for supporting decorations!  But I am absolutely in love with the saying!  It is funny, cute, and it ties in Halloween since it was such a close holiday!  (But it was not focused on a Halloween theme! Not everyone celebrates such a holiday!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tracker Tuesday (Day 45)

Grade Level Planning:  Data Tracker Tuesday.  
Each week the fifth grade team must post grades for Reading and Math.  Every other week the team must post grades for Science and Social Studies. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Magnificent Monday (Day 44)

Today, everything went as planned.  All of the lessons and transitions went smoothly, the students were always engaged, and they understood all of the material that was presented to them.  The only negative thing I have to say is about our lack of Social Studies instruction due to our free Salvation Army concert.   We didn't get to focus on Social Studies, so I had them to do it for homework.
     As far as the free concert was a little "iffy."  The concert was presented by a Christian rock band.  The students seemed to really enjoy it but the focus of their songs and their lyrics were heavily laden with Jesus references.  They even had crowd interaction with one of their "creator" songs.  Now, I am not trying to say that the concert was not enjoyable for the students but I do not think it was a smart idea to have this type of group perform at our school.  There are a lot of different beliefs at our school in regards to religion.   If a parent of a child who was of a different religion were to become upset by this concert it would not mean positive things for Gideons.
    I personally thought that the concert was going to be focused on a Drug Free theme because it was apart of our Drug Free Week festivities.  So, needless to say, I was quite surprised and taken aback by the presentation of a Christian band.  If our school was a Private Christian Academy then this concert would have posed no problem.  However, our school is not and I think that a different band should have been used for our school concert. I am just simply thinking of those parents who are of a different religion and chose to put their students into a pubic school versus a religious private school.  I do not think that the concert was negative in any way.  Yet, I understand how this could have a negative impact on the school.  I am a graduate of a school, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School, who thought nothing of putting up Christian based football signs and having prayers at games and received a negative spotlight because of it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday (Day 43)

Yesterday, I had a lot going on, so I thought that I would post about our Technology class and our planning meeting.  We had a visitor from the main Atlanta office that came to instruct us on how to efficiently use our Smart Boards.  She taught us some very useful tips and tricks and also gave us a few wonderful websites to use.  Some of the sites I have used before but she explored them with us and I even learned a few new things that I didn't know.  

Update:  I use Discovery Education ALL the time for Social Studies instruction!  I absolutely love the short 2-3min clips about the topics found in our book!  They are short enough to engage the students and long enough to have a lot of subject matter to begin a great class discussion! (The students love to see the old recordings and compare them to our technology today!)

Planning Meeting went as follows:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thrifty Thursday & Mega-Lab Day (Day 42)

Last night, I headed to the dollar tree to gather my final materials for my last supervisor visit.  I decided to do a Mega-Lab in the gym with ALL 75 of our fifth graders.   I needed materials for each individual center that I decided to create.  There were only three centers, but I had two supervisors at each one.  (One fifth grade teacher and their student teacher per center.)  I had to gather materials for all of the fifth grade students to be able to complete the lab successfully.

Lesson Plan for the Mega-Lab:
Lesson Observation #4
Animal Classification Mega-Lab
Student Teacher Ms.Tiffany Hedrick
Subject: Life Science
Main Standard:
S5L1. Students will classify organisms into groups and relate how they determined the groups with how and why scientists use classification.
a. Demonstrate how animals are sorted into groups (vertebrate and invertebrate) and how vertebrates are sorted into groups (fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal).
b. Demonstrate how plants are sorted into groups.
Additional Standards:
Literacy Integration
CCGPS Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Standards
SL. 3. 1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly
SL. 3. 6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification
L. 3. 3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading or listening
Students will understand that…..
-living things are grouped based on similarities and differences
-vertebrates animals are sorted into groups –
-scientists use classification to -identify and study new species
Essential Questions:
            -Why do scientists classify living things?
            -How do scientists group organisms?
            Students will understand that living things are grouped based on similarities and differences vertebrates animals are sorted into groups scientists use classification to identify and study new species.
Technology Integration:
            -Online Timer
            -Flip Chart (Computer)
            -ActivExpressions- Experiment in Auditorium
            -7 classification posters
            -Reflection sheet for each student (75)
            -pencils for each student
            -Dry Erase Markers (at least 6 per center)
            -Variety of Candy (2-3 large bags)
            -Pipe Cleaners (one large bag)
            -Macaroni noodles (10 small bags)
            -Construction paper (75 sheets)
            -Scissors (12)
            Opening & Review (5-10min):
                        -Explore Review FlipChart with students.
                        -Ask review questions.  Students will respond with ActivExpressions.
                        -Introduce the centers.
            Work Period (45min):
                        Labs/Centers: 15 min per center
                                    Center #1:  Students will review the differences between vertebrate and invertebrate.  Students will create backbones using art materials.  Students will explore how the backbone can still move flexibly but still maintains a hard shape.
                                    Center #2:  Students will review how to classify and sort living things.  Students will practice sorting and classification by arranging various candy into smaller groups based on traits. 
                                    Center #3:  Students will review vocabulary associated with the classification of living things. Students will review the vocabulary as they complete a large, poster-sized word sort.
            Review (5min):
                        -Students will reflect on their lab experience with lab worksheets.
                        -When students return to class, the teacher will review their findings as a group.
            Each student will be assessed by their participation and completed lab reflection sheets.  The teachers will watch all students and will collaborate and discuss their observations of students after the lab is complete.  The teachers will note if there were any students who struggled with the ActivExpressions or with any of the center activities.  
Posters for the Activity:

Myself: Closing the Flip Chart presentation and transitioning to centers.
Here I am explaining the directions for our vertebrate and invertebrate lab/center.
Handing out our materials to the students.

 Ms. Thomas and her student teacher explaining their candy sorting lab that connects classification.
Mrs.Mitchell-Reed and her student teacher, Ms.Lemon, reviewing vocabulary words and providing directions for the word search activity.
I would not have been able to accomplish such a successful Mega-Lab without the help of my fellow Student Teachers and Certified Teachers. This lab was proof that successful collaboration is key to a successful and thriving learning environment.  This large lab was a megahit because all of the students were thoroughly engaged at each station and they were extremely excited about learning!  All seventy-five students were able to complete their lab sheets successfully and were able to clearly explain the standards and new knowledge gained from their experience.  This was the most challenging, thrilling, engaging, blockbuster lesson that I have ever created.  I intend on implementing many more Mega-Labs in my future!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday (Day 41)

Our classroom on Parent Night.  Mr.Mitchell presenting what we do with the students everyday and teaching the parents how to use the ActivExpressions.

Myself during Mr.Mitchell's presentation.  Ready to help out parents who need direction with the ActivExpressions.

A good view of our room and the parents from the door.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday (Day 40)

Here is our Agenda from this morning's team meeting.  (The date on it is incorrect.  It should say 10/23/2012.)  We talked about submitting our weekly assessments into our data tracker and began to plan for curriculum night.  The curriculum night planning took up a great deal of time during our meeting.  We had to plan what we were going to present to the parents and how we were going to set up the entire night.  We also had to meet with the fourth grade team because our curriculum night is for both the fourth and fifth grade team.

Also, today is the first day of our Drug Free Week!  It is filled with fun activities to promote drug awareness and resistance!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday (Day 38)

Our new Social Studies board.  It is focused on the growing nation, during and after the the Era of Reconstruction.  It has five sections, as shown on the board with the pictures backed with different colors.  All of the pictures were taken during this time and thus they are all in black and white.  (This unit also has four sets of vocabulary cards at the bottom of the board for students to take and study during their free time.)

Our new informational texts board.  Five small posters on this board are from the Teachers Pay Teachers Website.  They provide students with clues to Descriptive Words, Cause & Effect Words, Comparing & Contrasting Clues, Sequence Words, and Problem & Solution Cues.   The papers that are backed with Orange are examples of student summaries from our informational text on Getting Out the Vote.  At the bottom left, there is an informational text story and story questions for the students to interactively use.  At the bottom right, there are three examples of informational reading books.  All three of these books are available for the students to read because they are located on a table beneath the board.

All of the fifth grade students go into the cafeteria for a writer's workshop every Friday.  They are practicing how to gather ideas, create rough drafts, and complete a great piece of writing that includes 'juicy' details.
(I am in the back right corner helping out a student.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday (Day 37)

Completed Math board.  With student work to the left of Marty the Math Detective board directions.  The file in front of Marty says 'Confidential' and, in the file, there are worksheets that have math problems that involve decimals.  Students are to multiply, add, and subtract the numbers is order to solve the mystery.  When they solve the problem, they lift up the flap on the matching window to reveal a letter.   There are spaces to record their letter and answer on the worksheet so they can find out who the suspect is.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday (Day 36)

     I completed my new Science board for the inside of the classroom today.  I used the activity they did at Stone Mountain to put on the board.  Yesterday, I also had the students come up with an acronym for Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.  I typed the one they created and put it on our new board.  They loved that I did that!

     I am currently working on our new Math board as well. It is going to be an interactive board with decimals that has a Halloween theme.  I hope the students will participate when the board is completed!  Here is the board so far:
                                                          Decimals are NOT spooky!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teacher of the Year Tuesday! (Day 35)

     This evening, I attended the Teacher of the Year Appreciation and Recognition Program for South Atlanta.  Since my Collaborating Teacher was Teacher of the Year, last year, I attended to support him.    It was a wonderful ceremony and I enjoyed meeting all of the Honorees at the reception.  
Mr. Mitchell (My Collaborating Teacher) and myself.
Left to right: Myself, Mr. Mitchell, and Ms.Harmon (the principal at Gideons ES)

Ms. Harmon and Mr. Mitchell

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Madness! (Day 34)

     This week we are preparing for a visit from our Superintendent and his cabinet.  Today was madness because we were all frantically trying to get our hallways and classroom ready while putting final grades in because mid-term report cards go out tomorrow!  But all is well because our hallways look wonderful and we are all ready for our visitors. Have a look:
This is our interactive Math board.  It is the first thing you see when you walk in the hallway.  It has student work and pictures of the students working on the interactive board.  It has several separate boards that students can work on.  (The board has addition problems with decimals on it.  Students are to solve the problem and circle the answer in the "crossword" block.)

              This is our interactive science board that focuses on Animal Classification.  Students are to take the pictures of animals and sort them into the correct categories.  At the top of each column there are short descriptions of what characteristics the animals of that category have.  To the left and right of the board, pictures of students on our Animal Classification field trip to Stone Mountain are hanging on the walls. 

     This is our interactive Genetics board.  On the left there are vocabulary words and on the right there are definitions.  The students take the plastic chains (to represent link like DNA chains) that are on the side of the vocabulary words and link them to their appropriate definitions. 

     This is our Civil War board.  We put up student work on the sides of the board.  On the board, there are vocabulary words and student written letters to Lincoln thanking him for his contributions to the Nation during and after the Civil War.

        This is a panoramic view of one side of our hallway.  (It looks like the hall bends but it really is completely straight.)  From right to left: Interactive Math board, Interactive Animal Classification board, Georgia Aquarium pictures with students, Interactive Genetics Board, and Civil War Board. 

     On the other side of the hallway, we have a few of our student made shoe box dioramas of the South during Reconstruction.  (This is to the right of my classroom door.)  Also, on this side of the hallway, we still have our lemonade stand letters and student work hanging up on display.

Hope that you enjoyed a peek into our wonderful interactive fifth grade hallway!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday (Day 32)

     All I kept thinking of today was how much my door didn't look like a scarecrow! So, I decided to put a hat on him today! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday (Day 31)

 Welcome back from the four day weekend!  I hope everyone had a wonderful break!
Monday~Student Holiday
Tuesday~Teacher Professional Learning Day
Today~ Junior Achievement Day!
     JROTC High School students from the surrounding area came to Gideons Elem. today to share their knowledge with our students.  Before they arrived, I worked with students on their Reconstruction dioramas and allowed them to present them in front of the class.  We also went over the morning Math warm-up for extra practice with adding and subtracting decimals.  When they arrived, we automatically had a fire drill!  Of all days!  I just couldn't believe it.....but I suppose it is always good for the students to be ready in any situation. 
     When we went back into the classroom, the JROTC students introduced STEM skills.  STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  They completed some game-like activities and held discussions with the students.  Check out their website and pictures from today at:

At the end of the day, I had my students write Thank You cards for those who visited our classroom.

     Many of the students took a great deal of time on their cards while others were finished in a jiffy.  Since this happened, I instructed those early finishers to begin on our pre-test/review quiz on Cells, Genes, and Classification that was scheduled for tomorrow.  I also told those students who weren't finished that they needed to complete the science activity for homework.

*Update: Tutorial begins next week!  However, some of the students stayed today to work with me on Math and Science.  We reviewed Science and focused on addition and subtraction of decimals.  When my CT arrived, he began to work with them on multiplying decimals. (To give them a "leg up.")

I FINALLY put up the student work wall that I wanted in the classroom!  I put clothespins on the wall with double faced tape and separated them enough so that all of our student's work could be displayed. I am so happy with how it turned out! :)  Have a look:


Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday (Day 30)

     -Spelling Test
     -3 worksheets (Quizes)
     Math Quiz
Social Studies:
     -Partner Work

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday (Day 29)

Today was a Wonderful Thursday!  I tried a new classroom management idea and it worked out perfectly!  Yesterday, I was on Pinterest and found an application called Bouncy Balls.  What is it?  It is an application that allows you to use the microphone on your computer so that it can monitor the noise level.  When the noise level begins to rise, the balls start to bounce!  I told my students that if it happens, then they would not be able to do group projects anymore.  (I used it to keep the noise level down while they completed their Social Studies projects.)  Here is the link to this wonderful resource:

Overview of the day:
          Spelling Test, Washington Monument Worksheet, Save that Penny Worksheet.
      Review and work Road Trip worksheet.
  Social Studies:
     Partner Work on Diorama
     Work on Debate paper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday (Day 28)

Grammar-Review of common, proper, plural, and singular nouns. 
     Review of sentence structure, verbs, and adverbs.

Reading- Continued to read The Terrarium

Writing-Students wrote an opinion piece that reflected their opinions about the events in The Terrarium.

Math- Review of adding decimals.
     Continuation of centers with the Road Trip Activity.

Social Studies- Vocabulary Review.
     Partner work with dioramas.

     Flip Chart on Genetics Vocabulary.
     Flip Chart on Genetics Reviewing terms with Venn Diagrams.
     Examples of opinions supporting learned behaviors and inherited traits.
     Students took time to begin writing on their Genetics Debate Essay.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday (Day 27)

*This morning was not a very positive one for me.  I did not realize that my class was out of control or that my CT was having to come in every few minutes and ask our students to be quiet.  I thought they were being alright but I did not realize they were bothering others who were in the hallway.  It has been really hard for my students because my CT and I are on two different classroom management levels and have two different styles.  But after I talked to him about the situation from this morning, I realized that I needed to work on morning class control and I needed to develop stronger classroom rules.*

     After specials, students were directed to work on verbs, nouns, and action words.  They also completed worksheets that made them practice on simple subjects, predicates, and irregular verbs.  For Math, students were split up into centers.  Three groups were review centers while one group focused on a road trip activity.  This particular group had to record the distance, in miles, from one destination to another. 
     For Social Studies, we read about the differences between the economies of the North and the South.  Then we began work on their dioramas.  Each group was directed to make 2 dioramas.  1 for the South after the Civil War ended and 1 for the South during Reconstruction.  Some groups were not happy to be paired together but I told them, "You get what you get and you don't pitch a fit."  They seemed to understand (and some even giggled) so they didn't ask to be changed again :)

 *Faculty Meeting*

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meh Monday...(Day 26)

     It was raining all day today!  The mood it put me in was just terrible.  I was "blah" all day and my response to mainly everything seemed to be simply "meh."  And to top it off......the grade level supervisor came in and saw me make a fool of myself.  :(  I had a really hard time explaining the math material to the students today because I wasn't prepared for the students to not fully understand the concept I was teaching.  They usually pick up topics that I explain pretty easily but....not today!

But at least I finished two of my wonderful boards today!  My Reading board, that is focused on Science Fiction, and my Social Studies board, that is focused on The Era of Reconstruction.  Here are pictures of them:
(I created a board game with vocabulary words on it because I modeled it after our short story Zathura.  At the bottom of the board, the students used post-its to respond to two science fiction related questions.)
(The green ribbon is used for our class timeline.  At the bottom of the board, there are pockets with vocabulary cards in them.  I created four sets so students can grab the cards and use to study with if they finish their work early.)

Reading Instruction:
     The Terrarium Story

     Worksheets on Sentence Structure
      Pre-writing and rough draft on their story prompt:   You are going on a space adventure.  Write about how you would dodge meteors, aliens, and robots.

     Rounding & Estimation-Fill in box sheets for hallway interactive boards
Social Studies:
     Wok on projects

     Review of Genetics terms
     Create vocabulary cards