Sunday, 18 June 2017

Visual Rubrics & Qualifiers

        A rubric is a scoring scale based on criteria established for a product, performance or process.  Success is determined based on a scale of 1 through 4.  These are known as levels.  Not all tasks require a rubric but when they do, visuals and qualifiers should be provided to ensure students understand the requirements of the assigned task.

        Involving students in the process of creating rubrics helps develop a clear picture of the criteria necessary to complete the assigned task.  Providing visual rubrics also assists students in understanding the different levels associated with assessment.  When developing rubrics with your students, brainstorm a list of criteria that would be considered quality work based on student samples.

        To support student thinking, you can also begin with a list of qualifiers to choose from.  For older students, words that range from exemplary, efficient, developing to limited may support their understanding of the various levels.  For other students, "student-friendly" terms such as "explaining with ease", "most of the time", "some of the time" and "with difficulty" may support student thinking.  

        Below is a sample visual rubric:

For the entire Visual Rubric Qualifier Resource, click on the image below:

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Summer Resources

My district has another month of school.  Here's a fun way to think about Summer with these fun resources:

This is a resource designed to assist students in writing their own Summer poems. You will find helpful vocabulary associated with summer terminology, templates for writing poetry, some samples to help students get started and task cards to add to your poetry station. Summer templates include the following poetry forms: ABC Poem, Acrostic, Cinquain, Concrete, Couplet, Diamante, Free Verse, Haiku and Quatrain Poetry. A student-friendly rubric is also included. 

This package includes summer letter writing paper and lined paper for emergent and established writers. Art work created includes an ant, sun, ice cream cone, fish, kite, pail & shovel. Bonus gift tags included.

Silly sentences have always been a fun way to explore sentence building and recognizing parts of speech. Students in grades 3 through 6 will have the opportunity to use subject, verb and complement cards to build and simplify silly sentences. Challenging verb cards are included with this unit as well as nouns associated with the Summer theme, a blank sentence building template, display and label cards and a synonym chart. This is a perfect activity to use in your Word Work Stations or as an extra project for early finishers. 

This Math Stations pack includes 5 games with a summer theme. Students from grades 3 to 6 will practice their addition, multiplication and place value facts. A description of each game is listed below:

1) SUMS & DOUBLE SCOOPS: Students will generate sums and then double them. The student who covers three answers in a row is declared the winner.2) SUMS THEN DOUBLE + 1: Students will generate sums, double them and then add 1. This game is in a bump game format.3) RACE TO THE SUN: Numbers will be added and then multiplied by 10. The first person to reach the sun is declared the winner.4) RACE TO THE FISHBOWL: Using a game board format, students will generate products based on cubes or cards numbered 1 through 10. How a student moves on the board depends on his or her product.5) ODD & EVEN PLACE VALUE RACE: This game is played using place value from 0 to 99. Players move on the game board depending on whether or not the number generated is odd or even. A variation may be played by dividing the number by 2.

Students will be prompted to tell or write story with a summer theme. This unit includes a story prompt sheet, graphic organizers, word lists (summer & transition words), rubric and specialty writing paper with full and half lined pages. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Father's Day Resource Round Up

Here are some fun ways to honor fathers on Father's Day.  Those who have worked tirelessly at fatherhood, created bonds or have been an influence on fathers in society can be celebrated with some fun quick writing activities:

Add a fun spin to a writing project for Father's Day with this specialty writing paper for emergent and established writers:

Here's a free printable for a Father's Day Card:

Monday, 22 May 2017

Planning Ahead for a Full Year of Writing

As the school year winds down, many teachers are caught between thinking about finishing the year off and then planning ahead for the next school year.  If you've been placed in a variety of different grades in the same school, the thought of taking on a whole new grade can be overwhelming.  My last placement had me in grades 4/5, 5, 5/6, 6 and then 3/4 within a five year stretch.  I stopped questioning why but starting asking myself "What can I do to make this grade change easier for myself?"  I began creating my own units for writing.  I knew I had to teach writing genres in each of those grades but I wanted to be able to move into different grades and combined grades knowing my students could still use the resources I developed.

In some cases, I taught students for two years in a row.  The one thing I knew was they had to comprehend the writing form but I could differentiate for them by allowing them some choice in their writing.  Here's a fun "snippet" of what my writing for the year program looks like:

If you're planning to a full year writing program, this sampler contains some ideas to get you started. This resource includes: a writing organizer with sample ideas, sample narrative writing task cards, a descriptive warm-up, transitions word list, procedural writing sample anchor chart and specialty writing paper. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The End of a School Year - Ideas to Keep Students Engaged

As the school year winds down, keeping students engaged can be a difficult task.  Here are some activities I have tried with students.  Some are cross-curricular while others involve gathering memories into a keepsake:

Think about all the Math strands you have taught.  If you live in a jurisdiction that has worked through standardized testing, you have most likely taught all the strands a lot sooner than year end.  This activity from grades 3 to 6 has worked.  Students love it, parents love it and I love it!

We often brainstorm how Math could be an person, place or thing.  Our title for our final display is "If Math Were.."  Most students like to keep the theme the same.  For example, we have written about Math being a sport, food, animal or person.

One year we did a range.  Students could choose whichever topic they wanted.  They were encouraged to think mathematically about their choice through three of the math strands.  Below is a sampling of "If Math were An Animal".

After writing about their topic mathematically, students were able to create a showcase of their topic. Many students chose to draw, sculpt, create dioramas or even act out their topics.  Creating a class book with the final products is a great way to keep students' work.  Taking a photo of the display and holding on to that will ensure students can take their artwork home.

If "Math Were a Sport" is a great one to use especially when the Olympics are taking place.  I love how students write very "visually" about their choices.  The geometry of a hockey rink, the dimensions of a basketball court or the 3-dimensional figures of a gymnastics studio.  Students become very creative and confident about writing when they are writing about something they are passionate about. 

"If Math were Food" was one of the first topics I explored with students.  These students were in Third Grade.  Their choices included pizza, lasagna, waffles and a myriad of desserts.  They wrote about sharing, fractions, cooking time, shape and size.  When students have real world connections, it is easier to write about them.

A fun way to create a memory book is to create an accordian booklet.  

Creating some "High 5" memories include making lists, writing about their year in review.  A fun autograph page is included plus covers for grades 3, 4, 5 and 6.  This little booklet has been a great way to create memories for combined grades.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Teacher Appreciation Sale

It's that time of year again - Teacher Appreciation Week.  I'm joining the side wide Teachers Pay Teachers Sale on May 10th and May 11th.

Don't forget to use the code THANKYOU17 to save even more:

Monday, 1 May 2017

It's Time for A Giveaway!

I've teamed up with Kelly Malloy from An Apple for the Teacher and many more teacher authors for a fantastic giveaway.  This one is big:

Here are the goodies + a $50.00 gift card:

Prize: 10 Teacher "Must Haves" prize pack including: Mr. Sketch Markers, Flair Markers, Personal Laminator, Dry Erase Pockets, Dry Erase Markers, Astrobrights Paper, Sharpies, Ticonderoga Pencils, a Wall Calendar, and a $50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 5/8/17 and is open worldwide.
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