Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Centers Organization Linky Party

One of my new years resolutions this year was to organize my centers so that they don't drive me crazy are more effective and easier for my students to put back when they are finished, so I thought that I would join in on Lesson Plan Diva's Center Organization Linky Party!

I am lucky enough to not only live in a city with a wonderful resource, like Crayons to Computers {a teacher free store for eligible schools in the Cincinnati tri-state area}, but my school is eligible for me to "shop" there once every 5 weeks. This place is AH.MA.ZING! Here is a picture of one of my recent finds there:
These are clear boxes that apparently stored Air Heads. These things are PERFECT for centers! So, here's what I have done with them.
I placed these numbered signs {I don't remember from where I got them on blog land - if they are yours, please let me know so I can give credit!} on 10 of the lids. I love this because I can simply switch the lids of the boxes when I need to change the center. {I then write the name of the center on the side of the non-numbered box and store it in my classroom closet. This way, I don't have to find new storage while the center materials are not being used. Does that make sense?}
This is what the boxes look like when they have a center in them.

In each box, I include the directions for the center and then all of the necessary materials inside of a ziploc baggie.
For the recording sheets, I have a folder with the numbers 1-10 written on them. I place the recording sheets for center #1 in folder #1, etc.
I write the words "completed" on the left side of the folder and "new" on the right side of the folder. My students know that when they choose their center, then they also grab their folder from the folder holder {see pic below}. They grab a new recording sheet from the "new" side and then place their completed work on the "completed" side of the folder. This new system has made my life sooooo much easier {especially when I have to check their center recording sheets}. Now they are all in one simple place!

Here are all of the folders in the folder holder and a picture of the centers where they sit on my bookshelf.
Welp, that's all I have for tonight!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Place Value Freebie!

Before I get to the place value freebie, let me explain where the inspiration came from. 

 Life has been a little crazy in my 2nd grade class since we came back from winter break three weeks ago. The administration at my school decided that it would be a *wonderful* idea to mix up our classes after the break. There are 2 first grades and 2 second grades at my school. Amongst the four classes, we {the teachers and admin} saw a HUGE gap between most of the students in our classes. Just to give an example, we had second grade students reading 0 and 2 words per minute. C R A Z Y! On the other hand, we had students in the same class that were performing on a 3rd grade level. THe same was happening in the 2 first grade classrooms. There were students that were performing well below grade level and students who were performing well above grade level.

To solve this problem and better serve our students, we all agreed that it would probably be a good idea to mix the classes up and have 4 different leveled classrooms. One class would be the low students (1st and 2nd graders performing below a 1st grade level), another class would be the medium-low (1st and 2nd graders who were performing on a 1st grade level), the third class would be the medium-highs (1st and 2nd graders performing at a 2nd grade level) and the high class (yes, there are 1st graders in there). Guess which one I got?
At first, I was totally pumped. You mean I could actually have students who could read their own directions on their morning work? What!?
However, I am now pulling my hair out.
After 3 weeks of being with my new students (which has basically been like starting the school year all over again with procedures, etc.), I have come to the realization that there should NOT be any 1st graders in my class. It is WAY too high for them. Not only are we moving at a really quick pace {per admin's direction}, but we are using a different curriculum that is not used in the first grade.
These poor babies! Most of them are lost already because they were not in 2nd grade for the first half of the year, thus missing all of the review for the first grade content. UGH.
I went ahead and gave our first math assessment to the class today. Let me just say, DISASTER! I feel like banging my head against the wall. These little guys don't even know their place value, let alone be able to just jump right in to addition with carrying to the thousands place.
I know it is my duty as an educator to meet these kids' needs. With that being said, this whole next week will be one GIANT review session. I took their tests and broke it down by the types of questions asked and figured out who needed help with what. I figured that place value would be the place to start since it is critical when reading a number, being able to do multiple digit addition, etc. So that is the place that we will begin at tomorrow. SIGH.
So, I made this a poster about place value that I will not only hang in the classroom, but I will also send home in my communication binder so that parents have it at home as well. Since you were so great and listened to all of that craziness, I have posted it in my TpT store for FREE! Click here to go directly to my store for the free download. I hope you enjoy! :o)

{Sorry about that little rant. I've been holding that one in for a little while.}