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Monday, August 24, 2015

Peek of the Week: A Peek into Ashley's Technology and Literacy Classroom

I was so thrilled to get Ashley's Peek of the Week submission because she teaches in such a unique situation!  Ashley is her school's 1st-8th Technology Teacher AND she teaches an 8th grade literacy class.  Ashley blogs at Teaching in the Net and has excellent ideas over on her blog!  Be sure to stop by after taking a peek into her classroom.

Here we go... welcome to Ashley's classroom!



Ashley wrote me detailed noted about her classroom, so you'll see those descriptions in quotes. :)

These first three shots are panoramic views of her classroom.  One end is her technology class and the other end is the literacy class.  Ashley cracked me up with her note about the fluorescent lighting being terrible. We feel you, Ashley.  We're all in the same boat! :)
THE GREEN BULLETIN BOARD IS MY TYPING SPEEDSTERS BB. WE FREQUENTLY TAKE TYPING TESTS TO MEASURE CURRENT TYPING SPEEDS AND STUDENTS MOVE UP (OR DOWN) LEVELS DEPENDING ON HOW FAST THEY TYPE.


"THIS IS THE FRONT OF MY TECH CLASS. I USE THE SMART BOARD AND PROJECTOR EVERY DAY. THE ORANGE BUCKET HAS CLIPBOARDS IN IT. MY STUDENTS COME IN AND SIT ON THE FLOOR AND WE DO ACTIVITIES TOGETHER. THE CLIPBOARDS MAKE IT EASIER SINCE WERE ON THE FLOOR.  OUR SCHOOL-WIDE LOG IN INFORMATION IS ON THE WALL ABOVE THE SMART BOARD. IT IS REFERRED TO BY STUDENTS OFTEN."


 "THIS IS MY TEACHER DESK/AREA ALONG WITH THE PRINTER THAT ALL STUDENTS USE. THE BIG POLE IS SORT OF THE SPLIT POINT BETWEEN THE TWO CLASSROOMS.

THE LETTER KEYS ON THE WALL ARE THE HOME ROW KEYS. I ALSO HAVE POSTERS THAT SHOW THE LEFT AND RIGHT HAND. I TEACH SPECIAL ED STUDENTS WHO NEED THAT VISUAL REMINDER OFTEN."


"THESE ARE THE COMPUTER LAB EXPECTATIONS. THANKS TO ASHLEY HUGHES FOR THE COMPUTER CLIPART.  These are keyboarding shortcut posters. They are tools for helping kids use the computer more effectively and quickly.

The menu on the right shows our process of saving documents. Its a long process, so I go through it verbally as well as pointing to each section with my kiddos often. I almost sing a song to help them remember the process."

"All of my tech classes have log in loops to help them with usernames and passwords for the TONS of websites we access each week."


"I MADE THESE CURTAINS A FEW YEARS AGO. THEY ARE HIDING ALL OF MY FILES, JUNK, RUBBERMAIDS, ETC. DONT YOU JUST LOVE HOW THERE ARE 2 CEILING HEIGHTS RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER?

YOU CAN ALSO SEE MY (LITERACY) DAILY SCHEDULE BOARD. MY STUDENTS NEED TO VISUALLY SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING EACH DAY. THEY ARE HIGHLY ROUTINE-ORIENTED AND THEY GET ANXIOUS IF THEY DONT KNOW WHATS COMING UP."


"THIS IS A HOMEMADE SHELF. I USED A LONG PIECE OF PLYWOOD, COVERED IT IN WHITE CONTACT PAPER AND SET IT ON TOP OF 3 CONCRETE BLOCKS. I NEEDED SOMETHING LOW BELOW MY WHITEBOARD AND STRONG ENOUGH TO HOLD DRAWERS, BOOKS, FILES, ETC. THIS IS MY QUICK GRAB TEACHER AREA."


"THIS IS MY LITERACY BULLETIN BOARD. IT IS FOR ANCHOR CHARTS AND POSTERS RELATING TO WHAT WE ARE LEARNING. IT ALSO HAS A POSTER WITH OUR LITERACY CLASS ROUTINES (WHAT STUDENTS SHOULD DO WHEN THEY COME INTO CLASS EACH DAY). THE SHELVES ARE FOR QUICK GRAB STUDENT SUPPLIES LIKE STAPLERS, TAPE, PENCILS, ETC. THE PICTURE FRAME HAS A PAGE THAT SAYS STUDENT SUPPLIES. I PUT STICKY TACK ON THE BOTTOM OF IT TO KEEP IT FROM FALLING EVERY TIME I OPEN ONE OF THE CLEAR/BLUE DRAWERS. I THINK I GOT THAT TIP FROM DIANE AT FIFTH IN THE MIDDLE. GENIUS!"




"THIS IS MY LITERACY STUDENT WORK BULLETIN BOARD. THERE ARE VOCABULARY WORDS WITH THEIR SYNONYMS WRITTEN ON THE WATCH BANDS (ITS HARD TO SEE IN THE PICTURE). THANKS TO FROM THE POND FOR THE WATCH (CLOCK) CRAFT. I ADDED THE STRIPS FOR THE WATCH BAND.

THE TABLE BELOW IT IS A MESS. ITS MY CATCH-ALL TABLE. I WANTED IT CLEAR ALL YEAR TO BE ABLE TO SET STUFF THAT IM USING IMMEDIATELY. SOME OF THOSE THINGS HAVE BEEN SITTING THERE SINCE CHRISTMAS."


"MY LIT STUDENTS KEEP THEIR LIT CLASS SUPPLIES IN A MAGAZINE FILE HOLDER (WITH TAPE ON THE BOTTOM FOR ADDED STRENGTH). AT OUR SCHOOL, ALL KIDS GO TO THEIR LEVELED MATH CLASS 1ST IN THE MORNING, THEN TO THEIR LEVELED LITERACY CLASS 2ND. SO MY LIT CLASS DOESNT KEEP LOCKERS OR ANYTHING IN MY CLASS. THEY HAVE TO HAUL THEIR MATH SUPPLIES WITH THEM, SO THATS USUALLY WHAT GOES IN THEIR DESKS."



 "THIS IS THE STUDENT (AND TEACHER!) SUPPLY SHELF. I TOOK A LOT OF TIME TO MAKE PICTURE LABELS FOR ALMOST EVERY BOX. I LABELED THE FRONT AND THE BACK OF EACH BOX SO WHEN STUDENTS PUT THEM BACK ON THE SHELF, WE CAN SEE THE LABELS ON EITHER SIDE. (I HAD ISSUES WITH THEM PUTTING THE BOXES ON THE SHELF WITH THE LABEL SIDE ON THE BACK. UGH.

(P.S. IT GETS REALLY HOT IN MY ROOM SINCE IT IS NOT AIR-CONDITIONED WELL AND THE COMPUTERS HEAT THE ROOM, SO YOULL NOTICE, I HAVE 3 FANS IN MY ROOM.)" 


Ashley, I so enjoyed taking a look into your very unique classroom!  Thank you for sharing and for giving us all such detailed descriptions.  Your students are so lucky to have you!

See more Peek of the Week Posts Here:


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back to School Teacher Care Packages

Twice last year, I sent out care packages to teachers around the country.  It is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and it dawned on me this morning, with so many teachers heading back to work tomorrow or within the last few weeks, that now is the perfect time to take that to a whole new level.

I'm going to make this brief, because I know your time is limited and your weekend is short.


My husband, my girls and I are excited to put together FIVE care packages to bring a little sunshine to five different teachers around the country.  We'll gather our favorite goodies for teachers, and without a doubt, there will be chocolate involved...but I need your help.  I want these care packages to be personal to YOU.

Entering to win a care package is as simple as could be.  Go to my Teaching With a Mountain View Facebook Page and COMMENT on my giveaway post telling me what one school supply item you are short on, what your students could really use, what YOU as a teacher could really use.  Do you need printer ink to print student work? A case of paper? Dry Erase Markers? Mini Erasers for you class? Folders? Headphones? Jump Drives?  What is it that you need to make your year run a bit more smoothly?

Think of this as a Mini Donor's Choose project. 

I'll randomly select FIVE people who comment on the post to win the care package that we put together as well as that school supply item that you were longing for.  You deserve it.  All of you deserve it.


Contest Terms: No purchase or payment is necessary to enter to win. This giveaway is sponsored by Teaching With a Mountain View, Ltd.  Entries will be accepted by Facebook comment from 8/23/15 until 8/25/15.  Five winners will be selected through the use of a random number generator.  Winners will be notified via a reply to their original Facebook entry.  Content is open to residents of the contiguous U.S.

By participating in the contest, each entrant agrees to abide by these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, and understands that the results of the contest, as determined by Sponsor and its agents, are final in all respects. The contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited by law.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the promotion will be directed to Sponsor, not Facebook.  The spinor shall not be held liable for any direct or indirect results of entering or winning the prizes.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Peek of the Week: A Peek into Carly's 3rd Grade Classroom

It has been a few weeks since I've posted a classroom tour, but what better time to share some more classrooms than now!?  Most of you are headed back to school, full of energy and ready to go.... Right!? :)



I was instantly drawn to Carly's classroom library!  I love the colorful buckets and the stuffed animals on top.  She wrote that she put washi tape on each of the buckets, then on the books that belong on each bucket.  This helps the students learn where to return books when they are done reading them.



Here is Carly's classroom computer station.  She says that 6 of the 7 computers can't be unplugged.  Eek! :)  She also noted that the bookshelf and filing cabinet can't be moved because they are screwed into the walls.  She did a great job of making them work in the space, though!




I love looking at other teacher's boards like this and seeing what they have set up permanently.  The Pencil Challenge is a must! :)

If you look closely at the black and blue bulletin board, you can see Carly's student-created pledge that she loved so much she never took it down!  Love it!


Here is Carly's table/desk area.  She says it is always that clean because she can't stand clutter.  I don't blame her!  I loved peeking at her anchor charts, too.

I love these mailboxes that she got from Donor's Choose.  That site is such a blessing to teachers!


Here is a look behind Carly's table.  She keeps everything she needs handy here, or it goes in a closet.


Here's a view into Carly's classroom from the front door.  I have always wanted one of those rugs with a place for every child! 

Thanks for sharing your room with us, Carly!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Decimal Place Value Resources & Teaching Ideas

It's the beginning of the school year, and that means it's time to teach place value. Right!?  It seems that this is the time of year that every single teacher, no matter the grade, is doing some sort of place value review.  For the upper elementary grades, it's time to start introducing decimal place value.  Woo! It sure can be a doozy, and I can't believe I've never blogged about it.  I've blogged about Teaching Place Value, Adding & Subtracting Decimals, and Multiplying and Dividing Decimals, but never introducing decimals.  A lot of what I do for decimal place value is VERY similar to regular place value, with a few tweaks, so you might see some similarities crop up here! :)


Here is our introducing decimal place value anchor chart...  It's nearly identical to our place value chart, which in some ways helps the kids see that it's all very similar.  The most important part for me is the "Remember" section.  It's imperative that kids remember that the further LEFT of the decimal, the LARGER the value.  The further to the right of the decimal, the smaller the value of the digit


I have to admit that this way of writing numbers in expanded form is SUCH a hard concept for my kids to grasp each year.  I was sweating bullets the first year I introduced it, but using money as a comparison (1/10 of a dollar) helped most of them.  We do a lot of money comparisons throughout this unit!

As we usually do, we make an entry in our interactive notebook that is similar to the anchor chart.  The flaps on the place value chart lift up to show a number, and again, the key below the chart is imperative!  Under each triangle, we show the number written different ways and write notes about each type of writing.

Under the "Word Form" tab, I always make sure to have kids note that the "AND" goes where the decimal goes and the place of the last number to the right is the one that is written last.


You can download my templates for free HERE.  In my templates, I included a picture form for those of you who want to show your students how to represent decimals on hundreds charts.  In the template, I also include a short "proof of learning" activity for the left side.  It's VERY basic, but it is a simple way for students to show their understanding.

Another practice element I use is my task cards.  I like to switch up how I use them, so I used them in their notebooks this time.  Each page of four cards covers the same topic, so I printed them four to a page so that they were small.  Each table group gets a page and each student at the group takes one for each topic and completes it.  Then they rotate around and check each other's.  That's kind of a complicated explanation of how they divvy up the cards, so here's a better picture. :)



I love using the task cards like this for homework, too.  You can send home a page a night for a week, which gives them 16 quick practice problems.  You can find the cards at my TpT Store HERE.

Another activity that I use for either homework, review, morning work, or assessment, is my FREE Decimal Place Value Review.  It covers all the common place value concepts such as rounding, comparing, standard form, expanded form, etc. with decimals.  



The very last thing we do with decimal place value is error analysis.  It's one of my favorite ways to assess student understanding because if they can find the errors in the problems, they get it!  Not only is it a challenge for them to find the errors, but then they have to articulate what the error is, write the correct answer, and create another similar problem to show what they know.  I have an error analysis set for almost all of my math units, and I'll be honest, half the class cheers and the other half groans when I pull these out... but their groans are in good fun, because they just LOVE the challenge of finding the errors!  


Not quite ready for Decimal Error Analysis? I have a regular place value version, too!

Are you still in search of more excellent ideas for solidifying decimal place value concepts?  Check out these blog posts from others!  Click on the name to read their full blog posts. They are fabulous.

I LOVE this money anchor chart from Mrs. Hall Fabulous in Fourth!

This Decimal Place Value poem from Classroom Magic is a great rhyme to help students!

I'm unsure of the original source of this one, but I LOVE it!  This decimal anchor chart helps students see the importance of a decimal point!


LOVE this easy to play decimal game from Games 4 Gains.  She has a free template to download, too.

Look at this awesome human number from Two Sisters Teach!  I adore the idea of using a ball as the decimal point.  On this page, they also have a link to place value battleship!  How fun.

Fourth Grad May-niacs has a great example of how to use hundreds charts to represent decimal place value.

And here's one more hands-on way to teach decimal place!  Again, the source is unknown.  If you know it, please share. :) 



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Best Anchor Chart Paper Ever & A Giveaway!

If you've read Teaching With a Mountain View for any amount of time, it's likely that you know how much I ADORE anchor charts for the classroom.  A couple months ago, Pacon contacted me about giving away some anchor chart paper and other goodies to make teacher anchor charts even more fabulous.  Now, since anchor charts are near and dear to my heart (After all, I have an entire page on my website devoted to them!), I knew this was an excellent opportunity.

Now, I was excited to get some new anchor chart making goodies, because what teacher wouldn't love that!?  When I opened my box, I was thrilled.  This anchor chart paper, you guys.  It's a game changer (and nobody is paying me to say this, I promise).  Pacon's Anchor Chart Paper is heavy duty, thick, it doesn't bleed through, it's sturdy, and it's such a crisp white that it makes my heart pitter patter every time I make an anchor chart on it.


I get emails and messages all the time asking for anchor chart paper recommendations, and I didn't really have one because I didn't LOVE any of the paper I had used.  Until now.  This is the kind of anchor chart paper you need when you are planning to leave your charts up in your classroom.  This is the kind of chart paper that was MADE for student interaction because it can stand up to lots of kids working on it.  Seriously, if you are in search of excellent anchor chart paper, Pacon's paper is the kind you need to get... and if you have any doubt, enter to win all the goodies and see for yourself!  Pacon was kind enough to offer to send one winner an identical set of goodies.  Check these out...


Don't all those goodies just make you want to get creating? I got two sets of anchor chart paper (one with grid lines and one that was blank), a set of stencils, some self-adhesive letters, rainbow sticker letters, anchor chart markers, and more sticker letters.  Seriously... Anchor chart jackpot, my friends!

Would you like to enter to win all of this awesomeness, too?  Here's you chance...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I used these anchor chart supplies to create a couple of poetry anchor charts.  I used the stencils, the self adhesive letters, and the markers.  Here's how they came out:


If you want to see more anchor charts and bulletin boards made using Pacon supplies, check out their awesome Teacher Gallery!  You can post your own creations on the site, too!

I see many anchor charts in my future using this wonderful paper and these other supplies.  Be sure to  enter to win some for yourself, too!  It's worth the minute it will take you to enter. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A NEW Task Card Storage Idea and Early Finisher Activities

Sometimes, inspiration comes to us in the most unusual places.  For me, my latest task card storage inspiration was at an antique mall!  I was spending the afternoon perusing the booths with my favorite girls and kept seeing those beautiful library card catalog chests.  Oh, how I swoon over those!  Someday one will adorn my home office!  But another little goody I kept seeing were card holders!  At first, I was eyeing them for my girls' library.  I thought they would love putting board books and their little first readers in them.  But then it dawned on me: TASK CARDS!  So, I picked one up for $15 and it. is. perfect.  Like, you guys... I absolutely can't believe I have not done this sooner.


The half page task cards fit in perfect and so do the quarter page cards.  At first, I just thought it would be great to display the cards we were using for various units of study, but then I realized I had the perfect use for it... Early Finisher Task Cards!  With all the openings, it was a great place to put all my early finisher activities so that students could easily access them in one place and I could easily rotate them throughout the year.

I have blogged about my early finisher task cards before.  If you want to see my old system for using the cards, you can read about that HERE!

Now that I have this fancy card display, I'm thinking about doing things a bit differently.  I am going to get a 70 page notebook for each student.  You can get these VERY inexpensively at BTS time.  Less than .25 per notebook.  Then, I am going to have the students split up their notebook into different sections for each of the different early finisher task cards I have them use.

The first section will be for the Creative Thinking A to Z cards.  They will need one page for each letter.  There is one card per letter with four prompts on each card, so they can put all the activities for one card on a page.  They will need 13 pages to do all the cards.  Here is a sample title page:


Then, here is an example of how each page will look in their notebook.


I decided to leave about 20 pages for the Math Early Finisher Task Cards.  The prompts take a variety of space, but they can label the card on a page and use as much room as they need to.  I plan to have the kids try to do more than one task per page, if they can.


 You can't see it in the picture (oops!) but I cut the corner off of all twenty pages in the notebook for the math cards.  That way, it will be easy for kids to flip right to the math section and get started.

Behind the math pages will be a space for their Language Arts/Reading Early Finisher Task Cards and then another section for their Monthly Reading Skills Task Cards.  I have a lot of other early finisher/critical thinking task cards, too, so they will leave space for that in the back.  By the end of the year, they should have a really incredible journal full of all the creative things they have done when they have had a bit of spare time!

Here is how my display looks.  I love that there is quite a bit of space for different task cards.  Each student really only needs one card at a time, so there will be plenty to go around.  They aren't attached with rings so that they can just take one.

My card holder can display twelve (or more if you want to put more than one in each space) sets of cards for students to be working on.



Now, even though I'm planning to use the display for early finishers, you can use it for ANY task card sets!  Seriously, they fit in perfectly!  If you can't find one at an antique mart, you can buy them on Amazon for about $30.  BUT, check your antique stores first (who doesn't need a good reason to stop by an antique store?)!  I found TONS of them, and then had my husband spray paint it with pink spray paint! :)


If you are interested in my Early Finisher Task Cards, look no further!  They have been an absolute sanity saver for me as a teacher, and I'm looking forward to using them again this year, especially with this new set up!


^^This bundle includes my math, reading, and writing prompt early finisher task cards!^^


^^These are my Creative Thinking A-Z Task Cards.  They are always a favorite!^^