Hey there!  I am so excited about something fun we have going on!  Three of my besties and I have teamed up to form a collaborative Periscope and YouTube Channel to talk all things teaching.  We have taught together for years, and we want to share the good, the bad, and the funny that has happened to us during our time teaching together.  We are now at different schools, except for Holly and I, but our friendship has only grown stronger!  We are here to chat, share, and just vent about all that goes on in our classrooms!

We have been periscoping for a little while now.  We try to scope every Friday, but as you can imagine, sometimes it's hard to get together with crazy schedules.  We are planning on scoping this Friday from Rayann's first grade classroom.  She is an AMAZING teacher, and I can't wait to see what she has to share!  Two weeks ago, we got to see Alysia's adorable library and last Friday we had a little snow day fun at a local coffee shop chatting all about Class Dojo.  You can subsribe to our Periscope so that you don't miss out on all the fun!  You can find us @teachertalk4.

We are super excited that Holly has launched our YouTube Channel, too!  Right now, we have three vidoes posted taking you through all the details of team teaching.  We get real about the ups and downs of it, as well as how it all comes together.  We have another video in the works of how we teach letter sounds to our kindergarteners.  Be sure to subscribe to our channel!  You don't want to miss this crazy effective strategy!  It blew me away!

You can find each of the videos below.  Excuse my raspy, southern voice.  I had a cold at the time.  ;) Our amazing Holly Harwood put these together!  

We hope you join us on our teaching journey!  We have more exciting things planned for you up our sleeves!  Be sure to chime in on Periscope and feel free to ask questions on our YouTube videos.  We will get back to you with anything you want to know.  Happy teaching!!!

Winter Break has come to an end.  We head back tomorrow, and I feel like it's always a chance to restart the year.  I use the first day back to go over rules and expectations, as well as to set goals for the upcoming semester.  It usually takes a little time for students to get back into the routine, so I have rounded up a couple of ideas to help you and your students ease back into the schedule.

I love Amy Lemons's New Year's Fun pack.  She has some cute craftivities, as well as this fun countdown.  It's used as a behavior incentive for the students.  Each hour, if students had great behavior, you open up a bag.  I picked these bags up from the Target Dollar Spot.  There were 8 in a pack for $3.

I definitely think you should hurry over and get this pack for this week!  It has always been a student favorite!

I like to pick up party hats on clearance each year for a little table competition.  Every thirty minutes I choose a table that exhibited the best behavior, manners, work ethic, etc.  That table gets to wear party hats for thirty minutes before I choose another one.  They're either paper or plastic so I don't worry about the spread of anything. ;)  They love wearing the hats!

These are my plans from last year in second grade.  You can read more about them HERE.

I incorporated clocks and time into our first week back.   The first day, I assigned each student a time during our day and had to illustrate and write a sentence explaining what we do at that time.  I turned it into a banner to hang with our other craftivities.

Students partnered up and played sparkling spinners together.

We also did some I Spy around the room, a flapbook, and a matching activity of analog and dialog clocks.


Another fun thing you can do with your class is to make a time capsule.  I picked this box up from the Sugar Paper line at Target.  

Students filled out the questionnaire, put it in the box, and we put it away until the end of the year.  It's fun for them to look at it the last week of school to see if their choices have changed.  

We also made these fun little craftivities to go along with our study.

This year, I am in kindergarten, so my plans are super different.  I am really depending a lot on Deanna and DeeDee's math and reading units.  They have been great for planning and instruction purposes! 

I am linking up with Mrs. Wills' Kindergarten this week.  Be sure to head on over to check out everyone else's plans, too!  Have a great week!

A couple of years ago, I took part in a STEM course at a local university.  While taking the course, I was introduced to this book, Mathematics Formative Assessment by Page Keeley and Cheryl Rose Tobey.  

The purpose of a formative assessment is to inform and provide feedback to students regarding their learning.  They should be purposeful, planned, and a variety of techniques should be used.  You can use the usual exit tickets for a quick formative assessment, but the new wears off quickly for students.  I love that this book provides 75 different strategies that are very easy to implement into your everyday instruction.  

I wanted to share one of the strategies used in the book that is perfect for these cold, winter months.  It's called Commit and Toss.  It's an anonymous technique that makes the students' thinking visible to the class.  

Students are given an assessment probe.  For example, you may be working on double-digit addition with regrouping in math.  You could show a problem for students to write down on a scrap piece of paper or actually give them the problem on a piece of paper.  Each student will solve the problem independently.

Now for the part where your students will look at you like you're crazy the first time you do this!  Have them crumple it up into a ball!  

When you give them the signal, have them throw the ball across the room.  I call it a snowball toss or fight.  This is hands down their favorite formative assessment!  

Afterwards, have them pick up one of the pieces of paper.  Students take the paper and share the answer.  The answers are anonymous and they do not present their own ideas.

My take-aways from this assessment and from the book:
-students have to commit to an answer that best matches their own thinking
-you can have students also provide an explanation for why they chose their answer
-students recognize during sharing that it's common for students to have different ideas
-it builds confidence
-it gives the teacher a quick read on ideas across the class

I highly recommend this book to help add some variety to your formative assessments.  I hope you can use commit and toss during your lessons.  It would be great for a formal observation, too!  My principal loved it.

I am linking up with some of my favorite second grade bloggers!  Grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and read the rest of these amazing blog posts!  Thanks for stopping by!