Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GUEST POST: Getting Techy with Mrs. H: Link added!

Hi Readers! I’m Katie (Steis) Haberberger, a Third Grade Teacher in an awesome district in a suburb outside of Kansas City, MO. I met Courtney while Student Teaching back in the day at Mizzou in the wonderful year-long SYOSP program. We had a lot of fun, learned a heck of a lot, and have been friends ever since. Isn’t it awesome to have someone in the same stage of life that you can rely on to always know what you’re going through? That’s Courtney for me!

I currently serve as a Building and District Technology Mentor, and I am passionate about Instructional Technology which is the focus of today’s post. I also teach through PBL or Project Based Learning. That’s another post in itself. GET READY TO GET TECHY!

I hope I didn’t just scare y’all away!
While I LOVED the program at Mizzou, it left a lot to be desired in the area of Tech. Everything I’ve picked up has been from curiosity and a lot of what I call “failing forward.” Why did I get started in this whole Instructional Technology thing? A crazy diverse class... We’re talkin’ Gifted (EXTREMELY HIGH IQ) to low low low babies (DRA 4, can’t remember the days of the week, etc). Poor kiddo’s. After teaching to the “middle” with traditional whole group instruction, I realized no one way happy, and only about five kids were actually “getting” my lesson. WHAT? Change was needed. Enter Math Rotation/Math Workshop/ Math Stations, whatever you want to call them. I started pulling small groups and creating or finding blended lessons through websites to help reinforce concepts. SUCCESS! Students were pre-tested into groups and moved frequently. This strategy actually worked and allowed me to differentiate instruction at an optimal level. I figured this could work in every content area. I have 5 computers that are now constantly used throughout the entire day. They no longer sat in the corner collecting dust. Over the next year my classroom evolved to a Blended Learning Environment. I also dabble in Flipped Learning. Youtube it. It’s awesome.
Let me get a few things straight: I still have a mixed ability level class. My kiddo’s come from ALL different backgrounds, race, SES, etc. Not every student has access to technology at home, and some have their own devices, but we make it work. Remember my term, Fail forward? You’ll hear that a lot from me. We figure it out a we go.

I want to start off with a few points:
-Just because it’s what we have always done doesn’t mean it’s best for kids
-Twitter is hands down the BEST, most relevant Professional Development you can get. If you don’t have one, GET ONE! Then follow me @KBMrsHabsClass
-Technology is EASY, don’t be afraid of it!
-We are currently teaching to Generation Z. Technology is their thing. It’s how they tick. If you want to engage them, use technology.
-An evolution needs to occur to STUDENT CENTERED LEARNING. Let go of the idea that you need to be the center of the classroom. Teachers are the FACILITATOR.
-Technology doesn't isolate students. In fact, it increases collaboration like never before.
-Don’t recreate the wheel with Technology! Just be creative with how you use what’s already out there.
-Get rid of the worksheet...it’s a waste of trees and a thing of the past. You can do the same practice through websites that are Common Core based, and not made in 1989  (AND you’ll keep those kiddo’s engaged)
-Get out of the way and let the kids LEARN!

I hope that wasn’t too harsh. I always hear from hesitant teachers in my building things like, “my kids can’t do that” or “they can’t just get on the internet and go!” Guess what? They CAN. Give them the opportunity and watch them soar. Half the time, I give my kids a new App and tell them to try it out for 15 minutes. More often than not, they are the ones teaching ME things. Like I said...this is their “thing!”
I’m attaching a link to a presentation tool I gave last week to Third-Fifth Grade Teachers in my District. These apps/websites can be used K-12. Pick ONE and try it out.
I want to help you build a “Teacher Toolkit.” If you take one thing away from today I will be OH SO HAPPY!

- Katie Harberberger

Thanks so much Katie! Katie is an amazing teacher and I wish she didn't live 4 hours away. She is great friend and even when we go years without seeing each other things never change! I'm going to get her to write another post soon!! And I'm not the only person who thinks she is so lovely, Mrs. H was recently awarded Teacher of the Year in her district!!! Congrats girl!

Also feel free to comment with any amazing resources that you think should be added to the list!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Formative Assessment Binder...normal ramblings

I'm at work today because I'm obviously a huge loser.

I've been working on perfecting my formative assessment strategies lately...When we are evaluated the #1 "item" we are checked on is formative assessment and I'm starting to fall in love with it. I found that formative assessments only work when you find a way that best suits your needs. I have tried hundreds of things but the checklist is my #1 true love. Here is how it goes. When I students are working I roam like a buffalo around the room holding my handy dandy clipboard. During this time I can quickly check who is getting it and who needs retaught during our morning RTI time. Each day I write out the objectives on the top of the chart

I use + and - to determine student understanding
When I'm finished with the day I throw this beaut in a binder that is only for things of formative assessment.
This will only work if you use purse post-its...jealous??

I once again use these because they are free and wonderful.

One of my little ladies made me this bracelet a few weeks ago and I've been rocking it every since. It is so springy and fun. I love it.

And this is my favorite Snapchat that I got this week... from a teacher friend. Must have been a boring book??

and my favorite pin from this week... I really need this.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mmmmm you can find me in St. Louie.. just kidding, I'm at TST

Twenty-Something Teacher
Today you can find me being featured over at Twenty-Something Teacher. I'm blogging about SPRING FEVER! Make sure you follow her, you don't want to miss out on all of her goodies. If you read the title of this post and actually knew the song it came from then we would like each other:)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Show-Me Sentences

 Hey ya'll!!! I wanted to share a  lesson we did in writing last week that my students ate up! If you didn't know Missouri is the SHOW-ME state so I knew this writing lesson was meant to be...We are working on narrative stories and getting some 5th grade boys to write is straight pullin' teeth. After some Googleing (Is that a word?) and thinking, I came up  stole a great mini lesson over adding description to text. It turned out being a lot of fun! Enjoy!

We started off with our objective: We will add description to our text to
show our reader what is happening instead of just telling them by adding descriptive words that help create imagery. (run-on sentence....)
(Excuse my Smart Board drawings, I'm no artist)

To start I always go back to "the generic tree model"...What is the tree you ask?? I always remind my students that we want the tree in our writing to be the same tree our reader is seeing in their head when they are reading. Our trees have to match!! This brings us back to description and showing... NOT telling our reader what is happening in our story.

After I did that speech we went on and looked at an example: My room was messy. 

I asked them what their room looked like when it was messy and we made a list. I showed them how to turn all these ideas into a paragraph...we came up with this as our example:

I walked into my room and nearly tripped to the ground. My floor was completed covered in clothes, sports equipment, shoes, and trash. Looking into my closet I saw my dirty clothes hamper spilled over with laundry and there was a rotten apple on my desk under the window. “I really need to get it together,” I said to myself. “There is probably a rat living in here.” Embarrassed of myself I trudged through the mess like a turtle in mud. I made it to my bed and plopped down right on a melted ice cream cone. As my hand became covered in sour milk I whispered out loud. “I guess I deserved that.” I threw the soggy wrapper in the trash and started cleaning immediately. 

The next brainstormed was: I was excited.

I asked: If you are excited what does that look like?

These were our brainstorming ideas: 
hyper, big smile, screaming, gasping for air, running wild, parents mad, faint, moving quick, bouncing, shivers, big eyes, crying, laughing hard, bragging, frozen stiff, mouth open, run into the street

And here is what we came up with to show our readers:

As the door opened I saw the big check. I froze stiff with my mouth wide open. I didn't know rather to run into the street or bounce off the walls. I wanted to start running wild. I became so hyper I started to scream and began gasping for air. I thought I was going to faint when my eyes opened big and I started to cry. I laughed so hard when the man told me I won 100 billion dollars. My parents rushed in angry they were mad I was being so hyper. They didn't realize we just became Hannibal's new billionaires.

For the formative assessment I gave my students a sentence from the website: How to Teach Descriptive Writing with Show-me Sentences. This is where I originally borrowed this lovely and fun activity! Check them out for a list that you can print and cut to pass out to students. My students have a great time creating their short show-me sentences and loved sharing them. We even guessed what their sentence was and it put some smiles on some faces. As a writing teacher I'm always lookin' for quick mini-lessons that I can get in and done within 45 minutes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Multiplying & Dividing Fractions

We are doing some "flipping" of the classroom in 5th grade. My co-teacher does a lot in Science and I am trying to introduce more of it into Math. This week my students are watching two videos. They start out with multiplying fractions and after that is learned they move onto dividing! These are great videos to introduce both topics! Pin them, I know you will want to come back to them next year.