Friday, July 20, 2012

Back To School To Do List in Pictures - Linky Party

I love lists! I make lists for everything! They help me think. So, you know I was all over this linky party from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies.

The first day of school of school for us isn't until September 4th.
We don't officially have to be back in the building until the week of August 20th.
We aren't allowed back into the building until the week of August 13th.
I have county reading training everyday the week of the August 13th.
Yes, this dilemma is causing stress and anxiety about my room being ready!

I know that I am stressing out for no reason and that my room will be more then ready by the time school starts, but I can't help it. Like I mentioned above, lists help! So in really random order, here is my list of things to do BEFORE entering the classroom:

1. Classroom Procedures Handbook for Parents

2. Compile Brain Books, Create Procedures for Book - I modeled my plan on an idea from Cooperative Learning 365. I plan on using them instead of agendas. I have never been a fan of agendas for my students because the pages are so cluttered and they don't have a lot of room to write. I plan on giving each child a 3 prong folder and having them write the "line-up" in their books every morning. This will include word of the day or math fact of the day, daily objectives, reminders, homework, a space to record their nightly reading, a place to record their behavior color, and a place for parent signature. I'm really excited about these so look out for a separate post on this later.

3. Compile my Teacher Organizer

4. Collect Paper Shopping Bags - I plan on putting these on each student's desk for Meet the Teacher Day as a place for them to dump all of their supplies that I will sort later. Read more about this at Clutter-Free Classroom.

5. Label Daily Keepers: Each year our school gets a lot of free poly tie-up pouches. I use these as "Daily Keepers". Basically everything that needs to go home, goes home in these; like agenda/Brain Book, library books, graded papers, homework, etc.) These are great and last ALL year! The ones we get tie up with a little string, but the one below with velcro might work better.

6. Meet The Teacher Day scavenger hunt

7. Compile Data Notebooks
8. Plan the first 2 weeks

9. Create WBT rule posters - I want to put each rule on the outside of a file folder, laminate it, and then hang it up on the wall. As I introduce and explain the rules, we will discuss examples and what the rule looks/sounds like to place on the inside of the folder. For example, on the inside of "Respect others, Respect yourself, Respect your school" we might put "Keep your hands and feet to yourself, Throw trash in the trashcan, Use walking feet, Don't call people names, etc." I feel like this will make the rules more tangible for the students and then they can just flip up the rule to check the inside if they need a reminder throughout the year.
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10. Summer Welcome Letter

11. Print the Teacher's Prayer from Technology Rocks Seriously

12. Lazy Susan for guided groups table? Seen at Coley's Corner.

13. Water bottles as Back to School gifts for students to avoid numerous water breaks? I saw the at Fluttering Through First Grade.

14. Make some sort of numbered magnets to use for lunch count and to see who is in or out of the room. The picture below, and some other great organization tips, can be found Controlling My Chaos.

15. Create some sort of template with music and transition songs like this one from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives.

16. Make a Kelso poster for students to use during conflict.
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I am enjoying reading your lists and getting more great ideas.

Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Data Journaling & Student Portfolios

Since my school is a "Balridge School", two of the things we are required to have are data walls and data notebooks. Last year, I definitely didn't keep up with this as much as I would have liked, so this year I've become proactive! I already created a data binder set that I used last year (TPT TN), but it was very basic. I also wasn't very good at keeping student work samples throughout the year to assemble a portfolio or keepsake for them at the end of the year. I know, I know, but it WAS my first year, so I get some kind of pass, right?

(My data wall is to the right, read more about what's on it in the link above.)

I've already decided that it will not fly next year, so I put myself to work and created a document that I think will keep me, and the students, on track. I decided to combine the data journal and portfolio in one binder in an effort to make it more practical for me to use. So, I sat down and started plugging away. 3 days and 90 pages later, I ended up with a document that I am VERY excited to use. Yes, I did say 90 pages. But, these are NOT 90 student pages. The reason it ended up being 90 pages was because I can be a bit indecisive. I created about 2 or 3 title pages for each section and then about 15 extra for anything that I, or anyone else, might want to add. For example, the data section has 3 title pages; "data tracking", "my data", and "my scores". I know this sounds a bit silly, but I like to be consistent with what I call things so the students always know what I'm talking about. I hate having to call something a title that I don't think fits just because it's printed on.

This pack includes:
-4 page user guide
-grade-level specific covers (K-6)
-table of contents
-quality student/teacher template and example
-handwriting monitoring by month (students write their name once a month and watch as handwriting  improves)
-data charts for tracking progress in percentages (both in increments of 5% and 10%, both labeled by subject and blank)
-monthly writing sample stationary and picture sheets
"-snapshot" page (about me sheet)
-blank "snapshot" page so you can add your own categories
-pages for pictures and autographs
-goal setting, tracking, and reflecting sheets
-behavior reflection sheets
-25 title pages for each of the sections mentioned above including my common core, my standards, my artwork, my memories, my data tracking, my reflections, my goals, my writing samples, my projects, my letters, my numbers, etc.

I decided to just post the text from my user guide since that worked so well and saved me A LOT of time with explaining how my Teacher Organizer was set-up.

Please read below for a list of the contents of the pack and ideas for use. Many sections have multiple title pages so you can choose the one that best describes the section for you and fits your needs.
-What should I use to hold the portfolios?
*Binders are great because they are sturdy and it is easy to add and edit contents.
*I prefer to use pronged folders because they are easy to store, yet still gives you the ability to add and edit contents. They are also the cheap option!
*Another way to compile a data portfolio is to bind the pages. My school is able to bind pages into student books for us, but this takes a lot of long term planning, since you will not to able to add or remove contents.
-Journal Covers: There is a journal cover for every grade from Kindergarten to 6th Grade. If you house your data notebook in a binder than this would be great to slide in the front cover. I use pronged folders, so I plan on using spray adhesive to attach this to the front of the folders. I’ve found that coloring in the cover makes a great “busy” activity while you are helping students get settled on the first day.
-Table of Contents: This is an optional feature that would be good for people using binders or folders to hold data, to accommodate for the addition of items. I’m not sure yet if I plan to use the table of contents, it seems like it might be tricky to keep up with during the year. I think I will have my students go back at the end of the year and record the table of contents and then just slip it in the front. 
-“Important Information” or “The Essentials”
*Mission/Vision: I have my students record this during the first week of school after we create it together.
*Quality Student: This is good for discussing rules at the beginning of the year (See example to learn how my class uses this sheet).
*Quality Teacher: This is helpful because it allows the teacher to see what the students consider to be a great teacher. We always share the “Quality People” after students create their own and add their thoughts to a bigger poster that will hang on our data wall all year long.
*Handwriting Practice: I included this is both print and cursive for you to choose, depending on your grade level. I have the students write their first and last year at the beginning of every month.
-Data Tracking: I usually only have my students track data from unit tests and benchmarks. We do a Mad Minute (math fact quiz) every Tuesday and Thursday, so my student record that in here as well. I also included a Spelling sheet because I know many teachers who track the results of weekly Spelling Tests. In this section you can find:
*Blank assessment tracking sheet in increments of 10
*Blank assessment tracking sheet in increments of 5
*Assessment tracking sheets labeled by subject (only for increments of 5)
-Monthly Writing Samples: Every month, my students pick one writing from their journal to take through the writing process. This self-selected piece gets recorded on the stationary included and then they draw a picture of their story to accompany it.
-My Memories: I included this section because I wanted students to be able to keep memories and data in one place. I have found that students can get bored with just data, especially if their data isn’t that hot, but incorporating a personal component really made it more meaningful.
*Snapshot of Me: Students complete this page on the first day of school, last week of school, and sometime in January or February. There is no way I can remember to do this monthly, although that would be super cute and the students would love it! Included is a blank template for you to create your own categories.
*Me and My Teacher: This is a place for a photo or drawing of just the two of you. Priceless!
*Picture Pages: My students glue any pictures from the year on these pages. They enjoy drawing and decorating the pages around the pictures. I included sheets that do and don’t have space for captions for you to choose from.
*Autographs: There are always students who can’t or don’t buy yearbooks. Giving them a page to get signed at the end of the year when everyone else is getting yearbooks signed means a lot. It is even cooler that it will be one of the last components to their year-long portfolio. 
-My Goals: This section has a couple sheets to choose from for goal setting and a sheet for goal reflection. I usually have my students set goals at the beginning of each quarter and reflect on them at the end of the quarter. I try to remember to have them check-in on their goals throughout the period. It is helpful to have certain students make short-term goals and conference with them about their progress.
-My Reflections: Included are two types of reflections for you to choose from. I like to have these handy for conferences because they really do have an impact. I try to have my students do this at least 4 times throughout the year.
-Title Pages: I realize every teacher, school, and district are different. I have included every type of title page I could think of that would fit in a data notebook or yearly portfolio. What you stick behind the title page is up to you, I just thought I would include them for convenience.
(**Please let me know if the formatting for the text above is off.**)

Below are just some of the pages from the layout. You can see more by downloading the preview or going to TPT or TN.


At my school, we are required to have some sort of data or self-smart notebook. I have found that parents really like knowing that you are on top of their child's progress. The reflection sheets, data charts, and portfolio as a whole come in really handy during conferences. This is especially true if you are having student-led conferences. Let me know if you use data notebooks or compile portfolios and what that looks like. Image Map