Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Real ABCs Because Sometimes They Call Me "Mom"

No less than 5 times a year I am called “mom” by a student. They always seemed embarrassed, but I give them a knowing smile and tell them that happens every year. Plus, I also tell them I am honored by the slip. Would I ever want or expect to take the place of their mom? No, never! However, they sometimes call me mom, and I call them my kids because for those 7 hours a day 5 days a week, I treat them as I would want my own children to be treated. Teaching kids their ABCs is not just limited to what they learn in a book. Each day in the classroom I may do all or any combination of the following ABCs:
Acknowledge of success
Bandage of boo-boo
Celebrate the loss of a tooth
Dissect a disagreement between two friends
Encourage taking a chance
Find a necklace, toy, lunchbox, paper, you name it...
Give a reassuring smile
Help cope with the loss of a pet
Instill a sense of security  
Judge a recess race
Keep a promise
Listen to stories of home
Make them feel special
Nod in understanding
Open a lunch container
Put their fears at ease
Quite with a look, and then a silent “Thank you”
Reminders of good manners
Save face if needed (accidents.......)
Talk to them about our families
Use different strategies to engage
Validate their feelings
Wish them good luck in their game that night  
eXplain a consequence
Yes, I would love to know what you did for dinner, or at your baseball game, or over the weekend
Zip a coat

That is my job and that is my joy. They are my kids and the school and teachers are my family. The ABCs of life are more than just a grade, a test, or a score. These children are more than just a number, a seat in the class, or a piece of data. They sometimes call me “mom,” and I am proud to call them my kids. It takes a village to raise a child, and I am glad to be a step along that path and a person in that village.
These are points that have been made before and will be made again, but one test score does not a good teacher make.
What would some of your "ABCs" be?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Virginia History Standards Changes

My colleagues know that Virginia history is my love! It is what I enjoy teaching most in the classroom. So, I was looking at and comparing the changes to the curriculum, and made some notes for myself. Mainly I was evaluating what I would need to change, add, or take out for my BIG Virginia history bundle. Although, I am thinking about leaving the old activities in, just in case a teacher wants to use them. Let me know in the comments whether you think I should take them out or leave them in the bundle. Most changes just seem like words added, replaced, or taken out to enhance the curriculum.  

Below I only documented the lines that are completely new and what they may have replaced. I didn't put the ones that changes the wording or added a few words. To see ALL the changes click here. Virginia history for fourth grade starts on page 121.

Essential Understanding and Essential Knowledge are still included. The column with Essential Questions has been taken out.

I like what they did here. It looks like they completely reworded this section, but the essential skills remain the same. The big difference is they included examples of the activities in a more specific manner for they teachers to recreate in their classroom. Some are similar to things in the bundle, and some of the ideas, I am going to work to recreate for the bundle.

The words in the standards were changed. In most standards they changed demonstrate knowledge to demonstrate an understanding.
VS.2c - Took out: George Washington explored and surveyed the Dismal Swamp
VS.2d - Added: American Indian identities have always been closely connected to the land. American Indians did not believe in land ownership.
VS.2e - Added to Essential Understanding: Many American Indians lived in towns situated along the rivers, which made for good farming, good fishing, and easy travel.
VS.2g - Changed almost completely. Is now: describing the lives of American Indians in Virginia today.
Took out the 11 different tribes and the regions they were from.
Added: -Virginia Indians live and work as modern Americans. They practice ancient traditions and crafts while incorporating new customs over time.
-The tribes maintain tribal museums and lands on which they hold public festivals called pow wows. -The pow wow is a way of teaching American Indians and visitors about their culture, past and present.
-The current state-recognized tribes are located in regions throughout Virginia.
-Today, Virginia Indians maintain their strong cultural heritage. Virginia Indian cultural heritage continues through drumming, singing, dance, art, jewelry, clothing, crafts, pottery, and storytelling.
-Virginia Indians contribute to American society as active citizens who vote, hold office, and work in communities.
VS.3b - Added: Natural resources from Jamestown included timber and iron.
VS.3c - Added: define the physical boundaries of the colony
VS.3f - Added: A drought at the time of settlement reduced the amount of food available to everyone in Virginia.
Added: The development of new settlements that spread away from the unhealthy environment of Jamestown
VS.4c - Took out: Moving the Capital to Richmond (moved to VS.5d)
Added: Williamsburg was an already established town.
VS.4d - Added: Essential Understanding: Because Virginia was agricultural, farmers could not pay for goods until their crops were harvested. This made credit important.
VS.5b -  Added: The Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman, volunteered his service to the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The king of France provided French troops, ships and money. The Marquis de Lafayette contributed to the victory at Yorktown.
VS.5c - Took out: Everything on Great Bridge and Jack Jouett (personally I am sad about Jack, I like this one and had a song and activity for it)
Added:While this victory did not end the war, it was the last significant military battle involving British forces and the Continental Army.
Added: The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
VS.5d - Added: Reasons why the capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond (Reasons are the same)
VS.6c - Added:The development of the cotton gin led to the opening of new lands in the south and attracted settlers from Virginia.
Added: The mechanical reaper allowed farmers to grow more wheat with fewer workers, which forced many Virginians to leave the state in search of jobs.
Added: Many enslaved African Americans were sold to people who lived in other southern states.
VS.7c - Added: Some free African Americans joined the Union Army and Union Navy.
VS.8a - Added: Businesses needed to be rebuilt.
VS.8b - Added: experiencing unfair poll taxes and voting tests that were established to keep them from voting
Added: Segregation and discrimination had an impact on: Housing, Employment, Health care, Political representation, Education
VS.8c - Tazewell County changed to Appalachian Plateau
VS.9a - Added: Mechanization (the tractor) and improvements in transportation changed farming.
Took out: Old systems of farming were no longer effective.
Took out: People have moved to Virginia from many other states and countries.
Added: Virginia’s population has become increasingly diverse as people have moved to Virginia from many other states and countries.
VS.9b - CHANGED COMPLETELY - Took out the two on Marshall and Wilson
Added: The U.S. Constitution was amended in 1920 to give women the right to vote. Maggie L. Walker was an African American leader from Virginia who supported equal rights for women.
Added: The Great Depression was a period of worldwide harsh economic conditions during the 1930s. Many Virginians lost their jobs, farms, homes, and businesses. The federal government established New Deal programs to provide employment and ease many hardships.
VS.9c - Added: Barbara Johns, a 16-year-old high school junior in Farmville, Virginia, led a student strike against segregation in 1951. The case, Davis v. Prince Edward, became of one of the five cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court when it declared segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.
VS.10b - CHANGED COMPLETELY -  Took out: ALL the products and industries related to a specific region.
Added: Selected examples of products and industries important to Virginia’s economy
Top products and services for Virginia include:
  • Architectural or engineering services
  • Banking and lending
  • Computer programming or systems design
  • Food products
  • Shipbuilding 
The service industry is important to Virginia’s economy. Virginians earn income through jobs in
  • Private health care, computer programming or systems design, and engineering. 
  • Government services including operation of public schools, hospitals and military bases.
Manufacturing (making goods on a large scale using machinery) is also a top industry. Top manufactured products in Virginia include:
  • Ships 
  • Tobacco products 
  • Beverages (such as soft drinks) 
  • Chemical goods 
  • Motor vehicle parts and trucks 
Fertile soil and a favorable climate make agriculture an important industry in Virginia. 
  • Chickens (broilers), beef, milk, turkeys, and hogs are Virginia’s leading livestock products.
  • Soybeans, corn, tobacco, tomatoes, apples, and peanuts are among Virginia’s leading cash crops. Tobacco, once the basis of Virginia’s economy, has been replaced by livestock and livestock products as the state’s most valuable source of agricultural income. 
Access to deep water ports and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean make shipbuilding, fishing, crabbing and oyster harvests possible. 
Historically, the success of Appalachian coalfields is due to the expansion of railroads that transport coal to piers in Tidewater for shipment to both domestic and international markets. Today, coal is less crucial to Virginia’s economy as businesses and individuals shift to other sources of energy.
VS.10c - Added: Virginia has increased trade relationships with other countries.

Looks like I have a lot of work to do this summer. 

Comment below: What do you think of the changes? I think that VS.10b will be the hardest to change, personally, I have taught it for 13 years one way, so I am going to have to think differently and not compartmentalize the products and industries by region.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Transition Words To Go.

Transition Words Index Card for the Students
At the beginning of the year, the students were struggling with the concept of transition words and paragraph formation. I had a poster and graphic organizers, but quite a few of them would benefit from having a list in front of them, so I made this index card (link below).

The index is patterned after the 5 paragraph, four-square model, which I find very user friendly for some types of writings.

GREEN MEANS GO! The GREEN square is a list of traditional transitions a writer would use to begin the writing. This is a basic list and the students are encouraged to expand it on the back.

YELLOW is the continuation of the writing and the middle main paragraphs. 

RED is the final paragraph where we stop, or bring the writing to a close.

As the students become more comfortable with the transitions, longer transitional phrases or connections (like the one used to start this paragraph) can be introduced to the writers to further enhance their writing pieces. The students are also challenged to use transitions other than first,next, then, second, and third. They are on the cards, but only as guides since they are often very comfortable with those particular ones, to show the students where in the writing it would go.

When they are not in  use, the cards go in the "tools" section of their folders for safe keeping. These bags have given them a sense of ownership of the items kept n there. I have noticed they are very organized this year and know where their things go.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! In Your Classroom!

Blue SnowflakeBlue SnowflakeBlue SnowflakeBlue SnowflakeBlue Snowflake
Have you ever had a snowball toss in your classroom?

If you have never used "snowballs" to build anticipation and excitement for a concept, you need to read on! My students beg to play this game regardless of the concept.  I, also,  love this type of review game! It gets the students up, moving, and actively engaged!

There is a link to a FREE snowball game for Addition and Multiplication Equality Equations at the end.
Directions for the game:
To Play:
Give each student a half or quarter piece of paper
Explain how to play the game (below). I play silently (because snow falls silently), but that is up to you. You could play “Let it Snow” in the background for added effect
The students then crumple the paper into a “snowball” 
On the count of three, they throw the “snowballs” in the air toward the middle of the area or room (this makes it easier to find them all)
Each student finds a snowball, opens it up, looks at it, solves t and holds it in front of them for others to see. Then, without talking, find the student with the other half or part of their paper.
When all are paired, repeat for as many cycles as you wish

Blue Snowflake

HAVE FUN!! I know the kids will!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

5 for 50% Off Celebration!

I am quickly approaching 500 followers on TPT! That has been one of my goals. In celebration, I will off ANY five items at 50% off regular price for 24 hours. To make it even better, YOU get to pick the products!

Click the picture or the text to vote. The survey below is a one question survey. All you have to do is type in the name of the product you have had your eye on that you want to be 50% off.

After you finish voting you will then seem the most current results. whether there are 5 votes or 500 (Who could happen!), the top five products voted for will be 50%.

Stay tuned for the date, it will be announced on my Facebook page, along with an easy way to search for the discounted products.

Thank you!
Vote Button

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is Virginia History ready for the 21st Century?

I have been looking at different ways to incorporate technology into each Virginia history standard, and I am excited to see where this takes the anticipation of the students. I will try and document the types of technology that I have used and the reaction by the children. Some of it will be student led and some will be teacher led.

The first type of technology I am using it PowToons in connection with YouTube. I created a short video about the VS.3e standard with some more recent audio to entice the students. It took awhile to make, but I think that is because it was my first one and there is a learning curve. Overall, though, it was fun to play with the features and customize the video.

I am hoping to expand on this and make more videos related to the Virginia history standards.

New Arrivals in Jamestown PowToon

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Math Tic-Tac-Toe Homework or Review Free Sample

This was a request made by someone. I started by doing the Tic-Tac-Toe boards for each individual standard. What do you think? I am also thinking about doing the mixed review boards like I did for the Virginia History Standards.

Let me know in the comments if I should continue this one, do a mixed review, or both!