Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Vocabulary Stories: Teaching Vocabulary through Drama and Fun!

Are you bored with vocabulary instruction?

Tired of filling in boxes and coming up with sentences?

Bored with doing the same thing over and over, and want students to take charge?

Have students who don't participate?

This year I was introduced to a new strategy for teaching vocabulary and it is highly engaging, interactive, and fun for the whole class!

The use of Vocabulary Stories helps students define, use, and apply vocabulary words which leads to better reading comprehension skills. 

Steps to Implementation: 

1. Choose 7-10 vocabulary words that are not content based.
2. Create a meaningful story that teaches a moral or a lesson using the vocabulary words in context.
3. Decide on motions to go along with each of the vocabulary words 
4. Introduce the story to your class - discuss the meaning of each vocabulary word and show students the motion you want them to use.
5. Practice daily to see improved vocabulary use - remember to do the motions every time: if there are parts that could require a specific actor, you may have individual students come up and perform that part (you can include dialogue
6. Perform your stories for other classes, your principal, or parents and see how impressed they are! 

Sample Vocabulary Story for Third Grade: 

Egregious: remarkably bad
Distraught: mentally confused, crazed
Duplicity: cunning, trickery
Acrimonious: bitter
Paucity: scarcity

Don’t worry be happy.  If you have ever made an egregious mistake because of someone else’s duplicity, don’t be distraught, or acrimonious. Turn the other cheek.  We can only be a better world with a paucity of negativity and a plethora of kindness.  Turn your frown upside down and smile!

Do you use vocabulary stories in your class? Share them here :) 

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Monthly Top Ten: Spring Break Edition!

I've been holding out on posting this month's Monthly Top Ten, well for a few reasons ... first, I didn't get around to making one because I couldn't think of anything clever, and second when I did think of something, I needed to wait until it was relevant to post ... so of course, it's all about spring break!

Woo!HOO! We made it! I don't know about you, but third quarter is always the most insane time for me. Every. Single. Year. Something. Bad. Happens.

This year, it was no different.

I definitely earned my TWO, count them, TWO, weeks off.

{I'm totally loving this extended school year schedule}

So, in honor of 18 days without having to set an alarm, here's this late edition of the monthly top ten?: Spring Break Edition!

So, how am I celebrating my 18 days off?

1. Of course, Netflix has been playing in the background, and of course today, I finally finished all the seasons of NCIS (I've been working on that one for almost a year!), and now I'm at a loss of what to watch to hold my interest ... any good ideas out there?

2. I'm working on painting my front door black to add a little curb appeal to the front of the house... however, the weather hasn't been appreciative of my desire to be productive - rain, hail and that weird grapple in between stuff?!?! has led to blue paint on the outside of my door for longer than expected.

3. Sleeping in, enough said!

4. Last weekend, I hosted a Nerdy 30 birthday party for a friend... complete with glasses and a nerdy dress!

5. Thrifting! I love a good thrift store find, and this time around, I scored! I bought some house hold decor from a cute new shop that I will be returning to (old books, a cute old sifter and recipe box for the kitchen and some cool old glass jars filled with vintage marbles, jacks and dice), a bread machine, a few sweaters, an adorable dress, and several other things ... gotta love thrift store shopping on a teacher's budget!
6. I had a good friend and her kids over the other day to see the house, it's coming along pretty amazingly ... but I desperately need to get some stuff down outside ... It was nice to see her and her kiddos and catch up!

7. I'm excited to see my family for the first time since starting college for Easter! I'll also get to celebrate my lil brother's 21st birthday! Love some good family time!

8. The boy and I went to run some errands today and I talked him into lunch at Kneaders ... so delicious! I'm hoping for one more outing to lunch for Hawaiian food next week ... keep your fingers crossed for me as he works nights and I'm interrupting prime sleep time by being home for two weeks!

9. I took my laptop to the local coffee shop earlier this week and got a lot of work done... I'm planning on doing it a few more times next week to get the class I've been taking wrapped up ... I hate having extra homework to do! (I started doing some tonight, but decided that this would be a better idea :))

10. RELAX and be ready to come back a happy, refreshed, healthy teacher.

How to Participate:

1. Save the Picture above and insert it into Powerpoint or Word, your choice of editing software
2. Insert the ten things you are most looking forward to over spring break - it can be random, or in order... just make sure you have ten :)
3. Write a blogpost and include a link back to this blog
4. Link up here:
5. Be nice! Leave a comment on at least two blog posts from the link up!
6. Have fun, and enjoy your spring break!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Student Led Conferences: How to Set Up Students For Success

This is my first year doing student-led conferences. As a school, we have student led conferences after first quarter and third quarter. This method of conferences seemed daunting at first, but this time around, I'm feeling confident and so much more at ease. After this last round of student led conferences, I will never go back! They teach real life skills and allow students to reflect on their learning. Check out this post for more information on how to set students up for success with student led conferences!

Check out the Reflections Here: 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Assessment: How does it fit with common core and a spiral based teaching model?

I am on an assessment team at my school. We are working to create a school based plan on assessment and tie it in with our belief that spiral review - especially in math, is important for learning. This week, a few of us have worked to create a presentation on how to track your assessment and why it is important. We will presenting this information on Monday to our elementary school team.

This is something that I've always been good at, but have gone through a lot of changes in my short five years of teaching. I know that a lot of people are stuck in the mindset that they have to grade and track everything - but with Common Core and Spiral based teaching, that doesn't have to be! Yes ... there is light at the end of the grading tunnel!

Mr. D on Grading

What do you do to keep records? Which records do you keep? Do you have your students keep any records? Hopefully this presentation can help you answer these questions and more! Let me know if you have questions or ideas!