Monday, July 14, 2014

Chore Monster (an awesome parent tool)

During the school year I could not speak more highly of Class Dojo (read post here). My student's LOVED it, and even's FREE! About the last three weeks of school we even used it to have a competition in the room: Boys vs. Girls. It was so much fun!

So of course when I saw this advertisement (on one of the many many apps, websites, blogs, who knows!?!?) for Chore Monster...and it's also FREE...I had to check it out!
I must far WE love it! I had a really cute chore chart on my kitchen wall, but it had lost it's "luster" and I must admit was having difficulties keeping up with excuses seriously I only have one kid! 

The basics of chore monster are that you set up a parent account (there's an app), add your children (they will need separate log ins), choose different chores (you can even make your own, and choose pictures for your littles that aren't reading yet, you can also set different times for the chores to be completed), set up point values for the chores, then set rewards (can be extra TV time, date with mom or dad, you don't have to spend $$) that they can spend their points on! The child logs on, chooses the chore they completed, log it...then here is the awesome part...I get a notification on my phone to verify that she completed that chore before she is even given the points!!! 

This is a parenting technique I have shared during so many parent conferences...I just never came up with an app!!!! I always suggested setting up rewards at home when I was placing students on behavior checklists for the classroom, now I can just suggest an app or online source!

Right now my daughter LOVES it!!! She is working to earn a family night out at the fair. She has never been one to pick up after playing with one item, despite my desperate attempt to teach her to do so. She is more of a pull everything out, leave it out, play with something else, then whine and complain when it takes forever to clean it up at the end of the evening. She quickly realized that she would earn points every time she cleans up...I am toy clutter free at this moment! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Organizing My Professional Reading

I am making my way through a lot of professional reading this summer (if you can't tell by other posts). Fortunately, I didn't have to buy many of the books (some of them I wanted to), some were loaned to me. So, as I mentioned before I couldn't write in the books so I had to take notes. A lot of time people use notebooks, but I prefer sticky what to do with all those sticky notes?

BINDER! Have I ever told you how much I love binders? I do, I really do! Even my students had binders!

I prefer binders to files in a filing cabinet. I keep all my lessons and examples of organizers and such in binders arranged by subject (usually have to have two binders per subject), and then each binder is broken into topic then lessons within the topic.

I don't have pictures of my binders right now (seeing that I moved...again), but I saw this post by A Teeny Tiny Teacher (click here to read), and it's pretty similar to how I use binders to organize. I love being able to see everything and not guess which drawer and which file something is in.

So here is my Professional Reading binder!

These are my standard supplies for building my binders: a binder (clearview, and I always use black to keep everything the same, as well as the dark color hides the bumps and dirt that can occur), clear sheet protectors, and paper.

I then printed the book title of the book and author on regular, white sheets of paper. After that I began transferring my sticky note notes to the printed pages.

I could fit six on a page and then placed them front/back in the sheet protectors.

I was also given a bunch of magazines to read, and quickly realized that I can take the articles I like the most out of the magazines, make notes on them, and insert them in my binder as well.

For the binder cover and side I'll use my usual chevron template. I bought it on TpT and it's totally worth it! 

Do you binder stuff????

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Reading: Texts and Lessons...and My Journal

Professional development book number two complete. It was more of a resource book read then a professional development book, but may be something I could use when teaching professional development.

It is an AWESOME resource! AWESOME!

The book: Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading by Harvey "Smokey" Daniels and Nancy Steineke

The book says it is geared for Middle School and High School students, but I could totally see 4th and 5th grade students using these as well...even if you don't use the articles they provide the lessons for the strategies are WONDERFUL!

The first 17 or so pages are set up as a "why use this book" and "how to use this book" section. Short and sweet with plenty of real classroom examples! 

Right after you have the strategy lessons and articles. Each lesson contains: time allowed, group setting, materials needed, steps, variations, model, tips, and sometimes web ideas. Again AMAZING!!! It what is even better...they ENCOURAGE you to copy copy copy! The last portion of the book is Text Set Lessons...which use multiple strategies taught in the first section and have the students go deeper in their thinking and explaining.

As I gear up for Summer School (starting tomorrow)...yikes. I reviewed my brainstorm from the end of the school year regarding what I am going to attempt, I jotted down in my journal on one of those restless nights when you brain goes 100 mph.

Which brings me to my next topic of "journaling". Yep journaling...not even a word, but I'm using it!

My dearest friend sent me a beautiful journal to start writing my thoughts and ideas whenever they came about. People use journals for different things, but when I hear the word journal I have two immediate thoughts...1. What I teach my kids to do  2. I journal...I blog!

I mean yes, I also journal in my classroom, but more in the way of modeling...and not so personal.

Others use journaling as a healing process; a way to move forward, remember, clear the head, etc.

Whatever reason you choose to journal, I highly encourage it. Even if you blog the good 'ole fashion paper pencil/pen is almost therapeutic...even if it's just lists and doodles or a combination (like mine).

So do you journal?