Thursday, 9 October 2014

Showing our learning with the iPad

This week we worked on 2 activities on the iPad that allowed students to show their knowledge and learning of the concepts we have been discussing in class.

I love Apps that are not games or drills, but rather open ended learning tools which students can use in a variety of ways!

The apps we used this week are Educreations and Book Creator.

In Book Creator, students had to create a counting book up to 20. Each number was a different page and they had to have a picture which showed that many objects. While this may seem like a small/easy task, it showed a great deal of what the students could do independently.


Are students able to count with 1 to 1 correspondence?

Do they trust the count?

Are they able to count on or do they have to recount when they reach for more objects?

It also showed a great deal of partner skills, sharing, problem solving and cooperation.

One of the only rules was that they had to have a new object for each page!


Our second activity worked on creating, translating and describing patterns.

Students were tasked with creating an AB, ABC and ABB pattern with the pattern blocks.


They then had to translate their patterns into letters.


We then went into Educreations and they had to replicate their pattern, translate it with letters and then record their voice describing their pattern!


What I love about Educreations is that you can upload things from Dropbox to use!Before the activity, I created a folder in Dropbox with pattern block pictures. The kids simply had to go in and upload the pattern pieces to use to re-create their patterns.

Click on the video to listen to them describe their patterns!!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Data Collection

I feel like I haven’t written in forever!

October is going to fly by! We have Tri-Conferences coming up in 2 weeks, a few PD days off, Halloween and it’s over!

My school is big on Data and Data Collection and we are always trying out new ideas and methods for tracking it and making it useable.

Last year, my professional growth for the year centered around tracking data better as a teacher but also having my students track their own data.

I have shared how I have refined my own data collection practices (Evernote, Running Record Apps, etc) but I haven’t really shared my students are tracking data.

I thought it was important for my students to know how they were doing in grade one in order to become more accountable for their own learning and growth. 

They needed to personally set small, attainable goals to work towards.
In comes the Data Binder. Last year it was the “Data Folder” but that was a gigantic mistake. Every day, papers were falling out, papers were being crunched, things were ripping. UGH.

So I thought I would try a binder this year. And while this has also resulted in some tears and frustration (weak little hands CANNOT open the rings of the binder…oy), it has been TONS better.

Every year, I change new things, take stuff out, revamp it etc.

So here`s to the 2014 Version of the Data Binder!


It is a skinny binder and each student has their own.

They are tracking their own data in 6 areas:

Reading, Writing, Spelling, Sight Words, Math Facts and Behaviour


Each area has a tab and a Parent Info page at the front of each section. Students share their data with their parents at tri-conferences and I thought an info page would be helpful to show parents how to read the data.


Behind each Parent Info page, is a yellow chart where students track their data for that area. Some data is tracked monthly, others are tracked 4x a year.

This is an example of our reading chart. Students colour in their reading level for September. 


Here is another example of the Math Fact chart, where a student coloured in how many they got on their September Math Fact Assessment.


Behind each chart in the sections are goal pages. Students create personal attainable goals for each area after each assessment.

For example, a child who is reading a Level A book, might pick a goal of reading a level C book independently by December. The goals are created by the students.

Here is an example of a goal page. When a student meets their goals, they are allowed to pick a sticker for their goal page. Even though students might not be working at grade level, they are still all able to achieve the goals set by themselves and see growth and success.


I have also added some more ideas in tracking Data whole class. So while each child has their own Data Binder, we started this year tracking class data on the wall. I tracked class data for reading levels last year but didn`t really get to share with the students and get their input as to what they noticed from the Data.

Here is our class data wall.


We are tracking class data in Reading, Writing and Math Facts. Each child is a yellow dot. The dots have their class number on it. Adding `faces`` to the data. As of now, the kids know their own number and no one elses really. If it becomes an issue then I might leave the numbers off. In older grades, it might be more of an issue with kids seeing where others are on the target. Something to ponder.

Not sure if I like the targets either. I find them a bit busy and it`s hard to see which target the yellow circles are in. Oh Well…..another thing to change for next year!

Each target has numbers 1, 2, 3, 4. These correspond with our report card numbers. Students were given a number for each after beginning assessments.


Here is a close up of one of the targets. As a class, we talked about what we noticed in the data. Where do you see the most yellow circles? The least? What does this tell us? What should our goals be for December?


So how do you track data with your class?

I also have a few things I have yet to iron out from last year to this one and maybe you can help?

*How do you find the time to chart the data and create individual goals with each child?! AHHH! I find it is still taking forever and they cannot do any part of it whole group.
*How many pieces of data do you collect? I am choosing 6 areas. Maybe that’s too many?
* If you are doing parts of it whole group…how?!? I have to assess whole group…and then pull each kid over individually to chart and set goals.

Weigh in your thoughts and ideas!!!

Yikes! If you made it this far…thank you!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

How To: Create Notebooks, Notes and Templates in Evernote

I had posted last week about how I use Evernote for assessing my kids and keeping track of their data. I also use it for all of my day plans. Some people had a few more questions as to how I created the assessment notes or day plan templates, so I thought I would try and share as best I could!
Whenever I create new notebooks or notes, I use the Evernote Computer Application. I find it easier and it has more functions then creating on the ipad. If I am just writing a simple note however, I can do it on the iPad.

Create a Notebook Stack:
One thing I like about Evernote is that you can create a Notebook and then stack other notebooks within it. For Example I have a Big Notebook titled “2014 Daily Plans” and within that notebook, I have notebooks for every week of the year, which hold my notes for each day. You just create a notebook and then create other notebooks and drag them into the Notebook Stack.

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(I put letters in front of them because Evernote likes to sort the notebooks Alphabetically…which I don’t want for this)

Create a New Note:
Go into the notebook you want, and click on New Note.

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Your new note will be blank. Give it a title, you can add tags to find it easier later.
Here is a note I titled “Day 5”


Create your Template:
For more complicated notes, where I want a template that I can use again and again, (assessment, Day Plans, Conference notes, etc) I first make the table or template I want in Word and then copy/paste into Evernote.
Here is an example of a table I made for what my Day 5 looks like. I then go into the note each time Day 5 comes up and add in the notes and details about what I am doing on that day.


Here is what it looks like when I paste it into a new note in Evernote. I save it in a notebook titled “Templates”.


Copy a Note:
I then save the note in a templates folder. I copy the note into the weekly notebook whenever Day 5 comes up!

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Here is another example. I made a table for an assessment called Concepts of Print in Word. It is a blank assessment form for when I assess each kid. I then copied it and pasted it into a note in Evernote.


Here is what it looks like when I paste it into a new note in Evernote. I added check mark boxes in Evernote to help with the assessment.


I then copied this note into each child’s assessment notebook. So when I went to do this assessment, the note was already there and I just had to type in the form and click the boxes and add comments!
Hope this helped a bit!

Let me know if you got any use out of this!

You can find other posts about how I track assessment and Evernote under the Technology Topic on the side!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Assessment Tips on the Ipad

I have shared before about how I use my Ipad for most of my assessment on my kids. I wanted to share some extra tips and ideas for getting started.

Today in my division we had something called Strong Beginnings. There are no classes today and Monday and kids come for 1 hour appointments with their teacher. During those appointments we assess literacy and numeracy skills. I am assessing all their literacy skills on the ipad.

These are the skills I assessed today:

Concepts of Print
Hearing and Recording Sounds
Letter Identification
Word Reading
Writing Vocabulary
Burt Test (word reading)
Running Record (Fountas and Pinell)

I use Evernote for the bulk of my assessment on the Ipad.

Each child has their own assessment folder in Evernote.

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I made “Notes” in Evernote for each task (concepts of print, word reading etc) and saved them each as a template. I then copied each note into every child assessments folder so that I would be ready to record their data in them when they come. Here is what a students notebook looks like right now:

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Every assessment piece is a new note in her notebook.

Here is what one of the notes look like when you open them up. This assessment was done on a whiteboard and then I took a photo of it. In Evernote, I can now annotate and mark right on the photo scoring it .

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Another great thing about using Evernote for assessment, is I can access it anywhere on anything! Nearing the end of the day today, my ipad only had 8% percent left and I still had 3 kids coming to assess! And I forgot my charger!! I quickly grabbed my class Ipad, signed into the Evernote App on there and was able to access all my notebooks and finish up!

Benefits of using the Ipad for assessment:
Saves paper
Have your data wherever, whenever(no lugging binders back and forth during report card time!)
You can email your data to other colleagues, parents, specialists, etc

Try it out!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Wordless Wednesday Daily 5 Freebies

Here are some new Daily 5 routines and strategies we have been working on!

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Click {HERE} to download the I Pick Poster

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Click {HERE} to download the Stamina Poster

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Click {HERE} to download the 3 ways to read a book Poster

We also started Writing Time today.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Read to Self, CAFE Titles, Turn and Talk Sharing

We began Read to Self on our 3rd day of school. This is my 6th year doing Daily 5 and CAFE and every year I change something or many things! This year I want to focus on daily mini lessons on CAFE and utilizing the board as much as I can. I had to move tons of furniture around and lost a bunch of storage and space. My CAFE board had to move as well, as it became too high up for me to reach! Here it is on the back of my reading corner shelf. It is now at kid level and more friendly for them to reach and refer to. I also changed my CAFE headers and papers to reflect a more calming presence.Click {HERE} to download the CAFE headers. 

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Here is our Read to Self Anchor Chart. I hope everyone’s anchor charts look like mine when they do them with the kids! The next day, I hang up the nice smaller one. We are also tracking our stamina on the bottom lol. (we are now at 8 minutes)

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I also created a poster to help when us when we turn and talk after mini lessons, sharing, etc. I got the idea from Mrs. Rios’s Blog and tweaked it to fit my kids.

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Click {HERE} to download the Turn and Talk Poster.

How is everybody else doing with starting up Daily 5 and CAFE?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Classroom Pictures 2014

AHH! I finally found some time to come on and blog and share! Last week, we had staggered entrance and I had half the kids Thursday and half the kids Friday. Yesterday was our first full day being all together and it went pretty well!

My room is not completely done as I still have a crazy long list of things to do!

Over the summer, the whole school received a new balanced learning environment in their classroom, so lots of rearranging was needed. (you will see the new furniture in the pictures)

The balanced learning environment works in 3 areas. Students can sit and work with peers (ex tables), students can work alone (ex desks) and students can stand and work (standing tables and standing desks). We also have a variety of chairs in our rooms. Some wobbly stools, some rocker chairs and some sturdy normal chairs.

Here’s some pictures of my room!

I teach in an open concept school as well, so you will see in the pics that I have no door and only 2 1/4 walls. lol You will be able to see into other classrooms!

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View from the hallway looking in

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Wobbly stool

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Alphabet posters (in my shop), word wall and Smartboard

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community supplies (markers)

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community supplies (whiteboard markers, whiteboard erasers:mittens and gluesticks)

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classroom view from another angle

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rocking chair

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chart area and community supplies

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carpet area

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small group area (guided reading and daily 5 math) I used to have crate seats but they put new big legs and wheels on my table :( and now I need big chairs

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classroom view (blue table is a standing table)

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job chart

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The Reading Corner

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community supplies (pencil crayons)

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whole classroom view

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Daily 5 bookbins

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community supply buckets (scissors, pencils, erasers and glue on the floor)

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Math Daily 5 Bins, also listen to reading and math tool bags

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Close up of 1 side of the reading corner

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Community supplies (crayons)

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Moose Bin (holds our black take home folders)

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Standing desk (you can see the hallway in front with the computers, our class opens up into the hallway!)

Hopefully I will be back on Friday or Saturday to share what we did this week!
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