Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Accountable Talk {Student Guides}

I am HUGE on collaborative group work in my classroom!!  I previously taught at at Title I middle school for the past five years and we were given so much information and professional development courses on building academic vocabulary and holding students accountable within a group setting.  

In this past post, I discussed Marzano's steps for building academic vocabulary and discussed the importance of Tier II vocabulary words.  Look at me... I sound like an English teacher!!  BUT I'm not!  I am a math teacher and building vocabulary in ALL content areas is SUPER important :)

This year, I decided to give each students their own copy of accountable talk.  I have seen so many lists of sentence starters and awesome anchor posters created by other teachers, but I wanted all of these to be located in ONE place...AND I wanted to organize them into categories, so that students can find what they are looking for quickly!

Here is the first guide I made...A general Accountable Talk guide for students (and teachers!!).  This can be used in ANY content area, and really any grade level, too :)

Because I teach math, I wanted to have one similar, but geared toward math.  So, here is one geared toward math :)  Again, organized into categories!!

I am planning on having my 8th graders glue these into their Interactive Notebooks for quick reference :)  {Pics to follow shortly!}

I am planning on requiring students to have the accountable talk guides out in front of them for the first few weeks of school, just to get them into the habit of asking critical thinking questions and explaining their reasoning.  I also make sure students have their table tents out as well!

I also spoke about assigning job roles within a collaborative group.  In this post, I gave out wonderful FREEBIES... table tents (with assigned job roles) and a peer evaluation sheet.  I copy each different job role on a different sheet of bright colored paper, and have students display their tents any time they work in collaborative groups.  I do change the groups and jobs quite frequently!

Thanks for reading everyone :)  
And PLEASE if you download, make sure to leave feedback!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Classroom Safety First!

It is a taboo topic.  No one likes to talk about it.  Lockdowns.   The name alone is scary and it is scary when it is happening.  It is, however, something that needs to be discussed and practiced frequently.  

The school district I previously worked in installed a Lock Blok device over the summer one year.  We all thought it was pretty lame until we were actually put on lockdown one day.

There are so many lockdown devices out there that make it so that teachers and school staff do not have to find their set of keys, go in the hallway, and lock the door during an emergency situation.  After all, if a school is in an emergency situation, every single second counts!

I am not a sheriff, on any sort of safety committee, nor a lockdown guru, but I am a teacher and if you work in education, you know how important the lives of our students are to us.  After the events at Sandy Hook Elementary, all schools around our nation were on heightened alert and in search of lockdown devices.

I have compiled 6 lockdown devices that are super easy to use, yet very effective.  Some require hardware to install, some do not.  Some work on door handles only (not knobs), some work on all types, but all of them are super simple that a student could use it if an emergency occurred.  With that being said, if you do NOT have any sort of lockdown device, I HIGHLY recommend you invest in one and take some time talking to students about lockdown procedures, including showing them how to use the device, if need be.

Also, these devices are not in any way intended to replace a lock or door locking system in any way.

The Lock Blok is the device installed in all classrooms in my old classrooms.  It was so simple and easy to use.  All of the students knew how to use it.  The nest part is...it requires no hardware!  It comes with a super industrial strength adhesive that attaches to any door :)  In an emergency situation, simply slide the Lock Block and the door is locked!!  Note: this will not work on a door that opens inward!  I will be purchasing this for my new classroom and installing myself.  
The cost:  $11

Made by the same company as the Lock Blok, is the Door Blok.  This type can be used on handles and knobs.  The cost: $8.

What I LOVE most about the Lock Blok and Door Blok systems is that doors close so quietly because the door does not latch.  Both make it super quick and easy to lock the door quickly.

Using the Lock Blok or Door Blok, you would keep the door LOCKED at all times.  because these devices make it so that the door does not latch, guests are able to enter.

**I have used both the Door Blok and Lock Blok devices and would highly recommend both :)

Please note: I have never personally used the below devices.  I simply complied from searching :)

The Portable Affordable Lockdown System (PALS) requires one side of the cable to be permanently installed to one side of the wall.  The other end of the wire is hooked onto a door handle in an emergency situation.  To be honest with you, this one makes me a bit nervous.  It doesn't look like it can slip off of the handle, but I would be nervous about that.  I have never used this type of device, but this is simply my own visual opinion.
The cost: unknown

The School Safe Anti-Latching Device is a metal device that is installed onto the door itself.  The metal piece is kept open, keeping the door slightly ajar.  When the metal is closed, the door will fully close.
The cost: $10.95

The Jamblock is a metal device which can be slid under the door itself in an emergency situation.  Due to the strength of the metal, the door is unable to be opened from the outside, even with extreme force or pressure.
The cost: unknown

Well, here is a cutesy little device for you ladies {and gentlemen} out there!  This is the Lock Smock, made of a sturdy piece of fabric, complete with two elastic hooks on either end.  One elastic side is sewn together (this would go on the outside of the door) and the other has a removable clip, for quick removal.
The cost: $8

Please note: All of the above ideas are 100% my own.  I am NOT in any way affiliated with any of the above companies, businesses, organizations, programs, or products.  I was not compensated in any way for expressing my ideas or writing this post.

If you have questions about any of the above devices, I would be happy to help :)

If you know of any other lockdown devices, I would love to hear about those, too!!

Happy {almost} back-to-school!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July Currently

It's July, my friends!!  Whoppee!!  I'm linking up with Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this fun currently linky partay :)  I haven't participated in a while...sorry!!  Life got the best of me...well mostly work did!!

OMG!!  This will be the shortest summer break for me yet!  This year, I decided to move school districts (eek!).  This means a lot of change...new teacher friends...new classroom...new training opportunities!  I am excited and nervous at the same time.  I needed 9 more units to move over on the salary schedule, so I enrolled in some online self-paced courses through University of San Diego.  I love that I can take upper division courses in my PJs!!  yay!!

I was hired to teach 8th grade math; two sections of Math 8 and one section of Integrated Math I.  I have never taught either of these, so I need to get on planning/looking over materials/finding additional resources...like STAT!!  I am working at a year round school (which is rare in California), so I start July 20!  I didn't even finish at my old school until June 22!!  Oh boy!!  Wish me lots of luck!  :)

*ALL STAR*  Something I am good at!?  Most people would say organization for sure.  I am pretty convinced I have OCD and am Type A to the MAX!!  I like the way things look when they are neat and organized.  One of my teacher friends always makes fun of me for organizing my binder clips into sizes (small, medium, large). Haha!!  I am super excited to organize my new classroom!!  Lots of set-up pics to come :)  :)  :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Currently

I don't know why, but I love the start of a new month!  It's like starting all over again...at least that's what I tell myself!  Yay for March!!  I'm sure of my teacher friends out there are super excited because of spring break in march, but ours is not until the first week of April!  February was the longest short month ever!!  I moved, which really took a lot out of me!!

Happy March everyone! xoxo

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Honoring Sandy Hook {2 Years Later}

Two years ago today, 20 first graders and six school employees lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.  This week, along with educators and students across the nation, we honor the victims with random acts of kindness.  One parent says, "Acts of kindness and efforts to promote just cause are the best way to keep the memory of victims of gun violence alive," Rousseau, clutching a photograph of his daughter.

Use #Love4SH to promote kinds and love on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout this week.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Currently December

Yayyyy!! December is nearly here!!  It's such a wonderful time of year!  I love looking at Christmas lights and love decorating for Christmas!!  And my favorite part is...I live in California, so I'm not freezing...whoopeeee!!  Happy December everyone!

I have had the past week off and it has been so wonderful!!  I have been watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel like crazy!  They are so cheesy and predictable, but I am obsessed!  

I also bought a new mattress and bedding with my spare time.  I can NOT wait for my new bedding to come in!!  I decided to go with all white bedding.  I aas kind of worried that all white would look too boring, but I am going to spruce it up with some fun accent pillows.  So excited!!  Look how pretty it is!

I ordered my bedding from West Elm.  It is an Organic cotton pintuck duvet cover.  I am never going to want to get out of my new bed!!

Happy December!!  3 weeks until 2 weeks off!  Let's do this!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Did You Know.....?? Bulletin Board

Let's talk about the ugly hallway for a moment.  I do not love the hallways at my school at all for one simple reason: they are ugly.  They are painted half brown and half white and scream 1970s!!  They seriously needed some color!!  Every year, I say I am going to decorate the hallway I walk through everyday.  I bought the brightest colors available: lime green, bright yellow, and hot pink.  When I started putting up the paper over the summer, the boy teachers in my hallway said, "Were those the only colors to choose from??"  I don't really care...we needed color!!!  

I rounded up some student work to put on two of the bulletin boards and decided to make a "Did You Know...??" bulletin board complete with my favorite random facts.  I looked up random facts and did you know stuff and compiled 30 posters to hang in the hallway.  Below are 9 sample posters.  

Let me just tell you...the kids LOVE these posters!!!  We are talking MIDDLE school students!!  Two months into the school year, and I still catch students staring at the hallway soaking up the random information.  And you know what...I really love it because it sparks conversation and curiosity! Ha! Double Whammy!!!

Here are what some of the posters look like...  You can have these posters for FREE!!