Thursday, September 26, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

ICivics.... Loved by all!

This week was a roller coaster week. Nothing was horrible but I spent a lot of time adjusting my lessons to create more engagement for student success. Some things worked out and others are yet to be seen. Mostly, I felt like a failure and success all in one week. Welcome to the wonderful world of teaching!!!!

Tuesday was Constitution Day and I thought it would be a perfect day to introduce the kids to iCivics and computer use in my classroom. I gave the kids the entire period to just play with all the offerings on iCivics. I instructed them to play at least one game for at least ten minutes and they had to write a review on that game.



Both my seventh and eighth graders looooooooved iCivics! I have never heard so much excitement over the games. Kids were yelling at the people on the screens and verbally getting excited to sell cupcakes at a bake sale.

They begged me to play it for the rest of the week and some kids even come in during lunch to play it now:). The overwhelming favorite was Counties Work. The kids had to manage local government and many kids wrote in their reviews that it was addicting.



For the rest of the week, my seventh graders finished up their Create a Place projects for the five themes of and they are coming out amazing. Wait till I get a picture of the island that has Bieber heads for coconuts.

I had to switch gears in eighth grade this week. We're doing a colonial review and instead of focusing on the individual assignments, I decided that I needed to abandon whole group instruction and activity for now. I took my activities (most of them are geared to the interactive notebooks and pretty hands on) and set up three stations. My team members (there are 6 of us) share a Mac cart, so I was able to grab a handful of computers and add a BrainPop Station. So far, I think it has been successful. I was looking to create more on task behavior and I think it has given me that. I'll let you know more next week.

I am very blessed to be working with an amazing team. Every time I felt like a failure this week, I had a fabulous group of professionals that offered advice and support. I love working on a small team and can't wait to see what we can accomplish this year.

I do need to throw a question out there. The ability groups in my class are many and widespread. I have a lot of kids that finish a task and have to wait quite awhile before we move on, even in a station situation. Does anyone have any ideas for "When You Are Done?" Tasks. I don't want to give them extra work but I do want to keep them engaged and challenge them. Right now I'm going to try giving them some primary source work from Read Like A Historian, but I would love some suggestions of things that have been successful!

Lastly, I put all my geography activities in a covenient and affordable mega bundle....


Click here to check it out!!!







Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lovin' It Interactive

I've completed week three and not only am I still alive, I'm loving what I'm doing.  I love being in a K - 8 school.  You can't be upset for too long when the littlest midgets swing by your room to show you the rainbow they just drew.  Not only am I teaching four periods of middle school social studies, I'm also teaching a small pull out ELA group.  I love getting back to working on literature.  Although social studies is my passion, I love teaching reading so this is a great opportunity.

Mostly, I loooooooove my interactive notebooks!  Right now I've been working on the Five Themes of Geography with my seventh graders and U.S. geography with my eighth graders and they are already loving the notebooks.











I love taking something s simple as a worksheet and making it creative and interactive.  If you are interested, you can purchase some interactive notebook units over at my TPT store, Engaging Them All.

My five themes unit is new and improved!  I've added PowerPoints for whole class instruction, a formative assessment and a final project tapping into that old "Create" category in Bloom's Taxonomy (my favorite!!)









Saturday, September 7, 2013

Finally breathing!

I'm back!  It has taken me about three weeks, and many glasses of wine, for me to finally catch my breath in my new district but I'm finally getting there!  My new school is totally different than my old school.... But I love it so much.  My kids aren't different.... Kids are kids and I love them so much.  One of my kiddos, the other day, stopped my riveting lesson on the 50 states to say,"Miss.... We know you didn't choose the thug life.  The thug life chose you."  I responded, "I'm so happy someone finally understands me!"  Needless to say, we love each other.

So.... What have I been up to?
1. Setting up my room
My classroom was an old music room and is huge and awkward.  It doesn't have any bulletin boards and horrible walls.  I used a trick I saw on Pinterest and covered some of the walls with plastic tablecloths.  My husband suggested edging them with decorative duct tape and .... Voila!



2. I really wanted to start my new year with a bang so I used the first day activity from the book Teach Like A Pirate. I had the kiddos tell me something about themselves through the sculpting of play doh.  I'm cheap, so first I found a simple recipe on Pinterest and spent a Sunday making play doh with my midgets.


My new students looooooved this activity and made some amazing things
Musical notes
Bacon

A crown because she's a princess:)
Asian noodle
Volleyball

3. I did some really fun getting to know you activities using Twitter rules.  I had so many teachers come in to look at themI got  to meet a whole bunch of the staff! #yolo!!!
What do you need in a teacher?

What is your opinion of school?

What type of learning environment is the best for you?

4.  I've started our interactive notebooks and the kids already love them.

I'll have some amazing student work to show you next week.  If you are interested in some of the geography units I made for the interactive notebook, go on over to Teachers Pay Teachers and take a gander.



Lastly, I am making a big ole Common Core push this year so we will be studying primary sources till our eyes bleed.  If you are doing the same thing, you may want to look at my TPT store.  I have made task cards for both documents and artwork as well as offering both as a mega bundle.





















Have a great week!