Monday, 8 December 2014

Part 3 Report Writing

We are well underway on our Penguin Report.

Next, we took all of our sticky notes under Confirmed and New Information and sorted them into categories.
We noticed we had some gaps in our learning and needed more info under What Penguins Eat. We went back and looked on the internet to find more info.

I then took all the facts and wrote them out on big sheets of paper.

Criteria for Report Writing

* You must 2 facts to write from each topic.
* You need to write on a new page every time you go to a new topic.
* You must print neatly, with your letters the correct size.
* You must re-read your writing to make sure it makes sense.

(We will add in other criteria as we move to adding an intro sentence, title, etc)

Students were in charge of moving between the 5 stations, picking 2 facts at each and recording them on their report paper.


Next, is to take all of our report pages and put them into a book with a title, pictures, etc.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Report Writing Part 2

I am back to share our next steps in Report Writing. I mentioned in in my last blog post, that we are going to be doing Report Writing 4 times this year. This first one is a shared/guided Writing experience. We are working together to create 1 report as a class.

We left off with us writing down all the things we think we know about penguins.
Next class, we talked about how we need to know if our facts are true or not. Good reporters ask questions and research their information to make sure they are sharing correct and true facts.

We first decided what books could help us find real facts about penguins. We sorted Fiction and Non Fiction books.


I then read sections of the Non Fiction books and the students listened for facts we had already written down.

We talked about the words Misconception and Confirmed. If we heard our fact in the Non Fiction book and it was the same as what we wrote, we moved our sticky note under Confirmed. If we read our fact in the book but it was different from what we thought, we moved it under Misconception.


Example: We wrote that Penguins can swim. We read the same thing in our book, so it moved under Confirmed. We talked about how these are now true facts we could use in our report.

We also wrote that Penguins live in the Arctic. We read in the books that Penguins live in the Antarctic. We moved this sticky note under Misconception.


We also wrote new pieces of information that we found as we read as well. Since we are doing this whole group, I am reading the books and students are sharing when are where to move the facts.

We talked also how you can’t get everything you need from one book. If you want to be an expert, you might have to read a few books, go on the computer etc.
We also noted that you can’t move a sticky note, unless you have researched the fact. Also, that you may never find the answers to some of our thoughts and it is ok for sticky notes to stay under What I think I know.

When we go to write our report, we will use the facts under Confirmed and New Information.

Next Step is to use a graphic organizer to sort our facts to see if their are any gaps and we need to go back and do more research.

At the end of the year, my kids work on their own report. They have the same headings in a book format and they use sticky notes to record and sort their info.

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Report Writing

This year, part of my Professional Growth is focusing on writing. I have always gone about it in bits and pieces, but never set a scheduled time down in my day plan for it.

This year, I have work on writing during Daily 5 (every day), as well as 3 other Writers Workshop times planned in.

We have been doing journal writing in our writers notebooks during Daily 5 and we started looking at report writing during Writers Workshop time.

I have always done report writing closer to the end of grade one. This year, we are going to try and do it 3 times. This first time is shared writing with the teacher. 2nd time will be guided writing and 3rd time will be independent writing.

We looked at a report about Beavers and talked about what we noticed. We created a chart of the things reports have.

photo 2photo 1

We looked at fiction and non-fiction books in our reading corner and decided which would help us write a report. Reporters share facts and information. We might already know a lot about a topic that interests us, but we need to ask questions to make sure our facts are true and so we can become experts!

We decided that together as a class, we were interested in Arctic animals and knew quite a bit already about them. We picked Penguins as our animal to write a shared report on.

We started with writing down what we thought we knew about penguins. Our next step, is to do some research and decide if our facts are confirmed or misconceptions.

photo 3

Stay Tuned!

How do you teach report writing?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Plickers App: Amazing and Simple Assessment Tool

I am super excited to share with you a new app I stumbled upon. Its called Plickers

It’s a tool that allows teachers to collect real-time data without needing student devices!

Here’s how it works.

1. Download the free app and create a class with your students names in it. Have more than 1 class? No need to worry! You can create as many as you need!


2. Create a  question in the app. It can be true or false or multiple choice. You can have up to 4 answers to pick from. A, B, C, D.

3. Now comes the fun part! Go to the Plickers site and print out the special cards.

 Each student gets a certain card each time they answer. The cards have numbers and letters on them. They have enough for big classes as well (up to 63 kids!) I realize I might have cut mine too small as my kids had a hard time holding them without covering up the code. (note: don’t cut off the extra paper!)


For Example: When I create a class, each student I assigned to the class got a certain number. Joe is number 25. When I hand out the cards, I need to give Joe 25 so I know it is his answer.

The 4 letters are for the multiple choice answers. Joe needs to hold his card with the letter up that he thinks is the correct answer. The certain way he holds his card will give his card a special block figure and when I scan it, it will tell me if Joe is right!

Example: Joe is card number 25. I ask the question “ What is 4 + 2?”
A. 7
B. 5
C. 3
D. 6

Joe needs to hold his card with the letter D up, so he will get the question correct.

I recommend trying out some practice questions so kids get the hang of holding up their cards the correct way. So you know if they are answering the question incorrect or didn’t know how to hold their card.

4. I hand out the cards, making sure everyone gets the right number. I ask the question, give everyone a chance to think and hold up their cards the correct way.

(Picture from the website Plickers)

5. This is what I see on my ipad. I click on the camera below and take a photo of them all holding their cards up. (my students names were listed below the question)


What I love: As I scan the group….it tells me what cards it is reading and collecting the info from. After I take the photo, I can see if it missed anyone and if I need to go back and take another photo of the few I missed!

6. Take the photo and collect the real time data!

I see 19 kids got the answer correct. 2 did not. It tells me which 2 kids got it wrong by their numbers.

I can also see what numbers I missed. I missed 14 and 15, so I can go back and take a photo of the 2 of them and collect their data.


You can re use the cards again and again! Just keep writing new questions! You can also use them for multiple classes! You could have 5 kids assigned to number 1 from each different class.

What I love about Plickers:

Great for quick formative assessments. Can I move on? Do I need to reteach? Who do I need to reteach to?

Use for Exit Slips. No more collecting paper. Ask a question at the end of the day and have everyone show their cards and take a photo!

Everyone can engage and participate without being singled out!

Collect quick whole class data.

Re-use the cards.

I just found it yesterday, so I am sure there is more!

Download the app and check it out for yourself!

Monday, 3 November 2014


Holy Moly….I got super busy and this blog took a back seat. Since the last time I posted, I moved out of my condo, moved into a house, had parent teacher conferences, my student teacher started back, I started Zumba 2 nights a week and ringette started again!

Yikes it is!

I am here just to share some pics of how I am using my open concept room with a variety of learning environments Smile

It is tricky at times because of the different work spaces and seating. I don’t have seating for all my kids so times when I want to do whole group activities (not very often) I have to get creative!

We used the open floor in front of our room to work on some art projects this past week.

I also sat in front of them outside the room as I modelled the art directions.


Where do you do art?

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!
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