Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grading Papers Binder

This was a popular item when I maintained  I often feel like I'm drowning in papers to grade, so I came up with a binder that allows me to keep things organized. 

 I like to buy view binders and take a trip to Michael's scrapbook paper aisle. 

 I purchased these folders at Target for a little over $1.00 each.  There are 12 in the binder.

 I keep a quick class list on the inside and write in grades as I grade work. 
I use an online gradebook, but this gives me a quick glance to see who still owes me work. 

 One assignment goes in a folder and is placed at the front of the binder. 

 I created a page with laminated cardstock that says "Graded Papers".  When I finish grading something, I move the folder from the front and place it behind this page.  When I get to school, I can just pull out any folders behind this page to hand out or file.

I keep answer keys in the back of this binder for the marking period.  There is always a need to grade something later (from an absence or late assignment).  This way, they are all in one place. 

My binder isn't fool-proof, but I like that I can take the whole binder home, or just pull an assignment if I'm in a rush.  I can also grab a folder to take to meetings if we have downtime. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Word Study Activities

Here is a photo of my word study set-up:

I set up three of the same activity in a set of drawers.  Here is a photo "play-by-play" of setting up my "Bottle Cap" word study drawers:
(drawers from Target.  They are available in many other places as well.)
 Many months of saving up water bottle caps.  Consonants are labeled in black marker.  Vowels are labeled in red marker.

 (laminated directions hot-glued to the bottom of the drawer)

Here are direction sheets for the word work activities my upper elementary students did on a daily basis:

Daily 5 Continued

I started posting my "throwback" to my Daily 5 information here.  In my original post, I discussed my Daily 5 choice board. 

Here is a link to the cards I used: 

I have fancy cards in my TpT store that allow you to write in your own choices: 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily 5

Daily 5

A few years ago, I had a classroom website called  I used it for my students, their parents, and other teachers.  Most of all, I enjoyed sharing things I did with the Daily 5.  Since that year, I've moved to teaching middle school English and have modified things to work for my middle school students. 

This post is a throwback to those days, because I've got some things to share with you. 

My (former) students actively engaged in the Daily 5:

Congratulations to these students, who just graduated from the 8th grade and are on their way to high school!

To keep track of their choices, we used a bulletin board and students kept track of their choices in their book boxes.

On this bulletin board, they could make a choice if the card was available.  If it wasn't available, they had to choose something else.  They were required to do a certain number of items each week.  One of the cards said "Meet With Teacher", which I placed in the pocket chart before they entered for the day.  They knew that they weren't to make a choice for that round of time.  They had to read to self until I called them for a conference.  They made their choice as soon as they came in first thing in the morning.  I had two "passes" that I placed on random desks.  When they saw the pass at their desk, they knew they had permission to make their choices for Reading (which we had in the afternoon).  Once chosen, they passed the pass to someone at their table.  They could make a choice for a friend if they wanted to do Read to Someone.  They had to agree to this quietly and then the person with the pass would add a Read to Someone card in their friend's spot for them. 

Here is a the student form they kept in their book bins:     

My Sub Tub

My Sub Tub
I've seen this idea online a lot, but never did this myself. At the end of this year, I decided that I would have something completely prepared for next year. I had an extra file box at school and decided to make a "sub tub". It's pretty basic and will need class lists, a teacher/student schedule and a seating chart in September, but the "hard work" is done.

I thought long and hard about why I like to have separate substitute plans from my regular plans and the answer is pretty simple. It has nothing to do with the guest teacher in my room and whether or not I trust they will do a good job. It has EVERTYHING to do with the fact that there are many parts of my day that bother me if I miss them. If we are in the middle of a novel, it's very difficult for me to pick up where someone else left off. If I am about to introduce an oober-important skill, the anal-retentiveness perfectionist in me needs to be present to see who gets it/doesn't get it.

So, I decided I would use our district textbook that doesn't get a lot of wear from my students. I'm not against textbooks, but we all know that some stories are quite good but others should come with toothpicks to hold student eyes open. I chose my 7 favorite stories that were all connected to important reading and writing skills to use for my substitute plans. Since I do not have a schedule for next year, I prepared plans for the two grades I teach (6th & 7th) and broke down my 90 minute period into groups of smaller amounts of time. I printed up these plans and stapled them to the outside of a folder that houses all of the necessary photocopies for the whole day.

I photo copied graphic organizers, skill sheets, and vocabulary work activities as well as ONE extra assignment (in case there is extra time) for each class that I teach. I labeled each page with the grade level and if it was the extra assignment, I also wrote "extra" on a note. All work for all three classes for an entire day was placed inside the folder. I labeled each day's worth of plans with "Day 1, Day 2, etc." so if I do miss a day of school, I can easily leave directions to the bin and tell the substitute that he/she should follow Day 1 plans. I also put them in chronological order because one of my favorites is a two-part play that would take more than one day to read.

The folders *just* fit in the bin. The last folder is a copy of all of the originals. At the end of next year, I can photocopy and replace anything that was used in the current year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kid-Friendly Writing Rubrics

Upper Elementary / Middle School Writing Rubrics

A few years ago, I looked a the Pennsylvania State Writing Rubrics and wondered how my students could understand the terminology if I had trouble deciphering the material.  I decided to take the state rubrics and translate them in to kid-friendly language. 

Here are three rubrics used to grade specific types of prompted writing:

(can also be used for decriptive writing)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reader's Workshop Checklist

Reading Workshop Checklist!

Here is a link to a checklist from my original classroom website that is now defunct.  Keep a copy near your lesson plans so you can check off lessons you've done, and see what types of lessons you haven't done as often. 

Today, I finished my 7th year of teaching!