Monday, September 21, 2015

Reading Survey Freebie!!!

Wahoo! Happy Monday Made It, friends!

One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is giving a reading survey. It's a simple confidence booster for the students, because there's no right or wrong answers- it's all their opinion. However, it provides me with SO much insight into what they know and how they view themselves as readers.

This survey also serves as a jumping off point for our discussion about what makes a good reader/writer. I usually make an anchor chart based off of our conversation about what good reading looks like & sounds like.

CLICK HERE to download this freebie to use in your upper elementary classroom :)

Looking for more beginning of the year resources? 
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XO Emily

Monday, September 14, 2015

Missing Homework Letter

Today, I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It, and I'm sharing some things that I made for my classroom this year that are going to save me from some major headaches!!

Few things drive me crazier than managing homework! I usually visually check in homework and mark in my grade book a check for completion and a zero if it's missing. When I first started teaching, I would have students eat lunch in student support and complete the homework. They were free to return to lunch or recess once they were finished with the work. 

However, I began to realize that the same students continue to miss homework and parents weren't aware that this was occurring and that it was affecting their child's grades. I knew I needed a system that held students accountable, gave them an opportunity to correct the mistake, and included parents in the process.

Enter, the missing homework letter.

This simple, half page letter has saved my sanity more than I can say! So how do I use it?

-If a student is missing their homework, they go over to the missing homework letter basket and grab one of these letters.
-As I check in homework, the student shows me that they took a letter, and I temporarily mark a O in my grade book.
-The student fills in the letter, addressing it to an adult at home.
-That night, the student must complete the missed homework and have a parent sign the form.
-If students bring the missed work & the signed note back to me tomorrow, I put a check in the O and the student receives credit for the assignment. If a student doesn't bring it back, they have to complete the assignment during lunch that day.

This little letter did so much for both me and my students! First, parents were now involved and made aware of any missing work. Students also had another chance to make up their work, which communicates to students that mistakes happen, but I will always provide second chances to succeed. 

The biggest benefit is that I got to see why students were missing their work, because students check off why they didn't have their work. This helps me assist students where they need it. Do they complete it but forget it at home? I'll organize their homework folder and touch base with their parents. Do students not have a calculator or colored pencils at home? I know to lend the necessary materials to students before they go home that day.

Interested in using this letter in your own classroom? 
Click here to download an editable version for free!

My team is departmentalized and this year I'm teaching writing. One of the most challenging things to manage is peer editing & revising. It's so difficult to structure this time to actually be productive! Last year I tried out specific rubrics for revising different aspects of writing and it worked fabulously. Those guides are majorly popular on my TPT, and I just bundled the written response, narrative & informational packs together for the new school year :)

 Click the photo (or here) to check it out!

How do you manage peer editing/missed homework in your classroom?
XO Emily

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Establishing a Behavior Policy

So many of my posts recently are behavior management based, but that just reminds me how important is it to establish clear expectations in the beginning of the year! 

My first year teaching, I definitely wasn't as clear as I should have been when it came to outlining the steps that would be taken to address misbehavior. My second year, I created a behavior contract that helped communicate my classroom's behavior policy to not only my students but to parents as well.

I established the steps that would be taken if misbehavior occurred, because those are non-negotiables. However, I work with the students on the first days of school, and together we identify what "not following school rules" looks like. It's actually kind of fun to brainstorm together because I usually phrase it "What types of things drive your teachers bonkers?!" The kiddos laugh at that, but it also gives them a chance to reflect on their past behavior and have an honest conversation about what those behaviors (and their consequences!) look like.

I love that the students and parents sign the contract- we're all on the same page and asking students to sign it makes it feel official and puts the responsibility on them.

Want to try this in your own class? Click the photo above or click here to download the editable file for free :) 

XO Emily

Monday, September 7, 2015

Best Behavior Bingo Guest Post

I am over the moon excited to share that I am guest blogging today over at Teach. Inspire. Change. Caitlin is an awesome teacher author & I've loved collaborating with her.

Best Behavior Bingo is a simple behavior management system that relies on positive reinforcement to make positive changes in your classroom! It's specific, it's simple, it's fun. Click the photo below to read my post on my absolute favorite behavior management tool!

You can also learn more about Best Behavior Bingo at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Happy Monday, friends!
XO Emily
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