Thursday, July 23, 2015

Student Accountability Checklist *Freebie*

Towards the end of the last school year I posted a picture on Instagram (@mrsmandylopez) of these simple checklists I made for accountability. I was frustrated because my students were no longer being responsible for keeping up with their homework or morning work. No, I did not assign spelling, math, and fluency homework each night, but I put all of our homework types, as well as a section for behavior on one sheet for ease of use. Each morning I would do a quick check of whatever homework was assigned, as well as whether my students chose to complete their morning work (or do who knows what instead!). When it came time for recess, each student whose name appeared on my list owed me 5 minutes for each time their name was listed. After about a week, the responsibility level in my classroom magically went back up! #meanteachersunite

 I had a few people ask for copies of these sheets, so I emailed them what I had at the time. Since it's summer and I have a little more free time, I turned this checklist into 3 documents for you to download (by clicking here or the picture above):

1. Print and go using the basic form, writing in your own student names
2. Type your student names in all of the boxes, for easy checking and then print
3. Type your student names in one box, but hand write them in the other, then print

If you'd like to edit these, you can use the font I used, which was KG The Last Time, or leave it to default. The choice is yours! 

As I said, I didn't use these sheets until the end of last school year. I fully plan on using these at the BEGINNING this year, to start the year off with high expectations. I print about 20 of these at a time, front to back, and keep them on my clipboard. This clipboard goes everywhere with me (especially the hallway where students forget all the rules), so students know I mean business. I have too much to teach to worry about unnecessary silliness and irresponsibility. Now that I feel like a mean teacher before the school year even begins, I hope you're enjoying your summer, friends. Feel free to pin the above image to save for later. ;)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2 for Tuesday--50% off Literacy Packs!

Is anyone else a little sad that it's the LAST day of June? How did that happen?! For me I pretty much have July off, and then it's back to the grind of setting up my room in August. I plan to enjoy this last month as much as possible, beginning with 2 for Tuesday!

For today ONLY my Literacy Stations for Bigger Kids and Homophone Practice Pack are both 50% off, meaning they're each only $2.25! These packs are both perfect for small groups or stations, and are much more than the typical worksheets! Click on the pictures below to check them out in my store. My kids have used both packs and LOVED them.

Don't forget to visit Chalk One Up for the Teacher to check out more awesome 2 for Tuesday deals!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Date to DREAM


Isn't dreaming something we do all the time? Sometimes I find myself doing more wishful thinking, and have to stop myself for a mental pep-talk. Hard work and dedication equal success, and so I know that eventually these dreams can become a reality. 

First up, I'd love financial freedom. To have all our bills paid off, except for those regular monthly bills, with a nice savings account. To be prepared for the unexpected, like our new fancy $8,000 AC unit we just had to purchase. I want those situations to be like, "Oh, no big deal! We saved for that!" instead of "Dear Sweet Jesus, we may not eat next month!" Not really, but ya know. 

Once all those said bills are paid off, I'd love to have a budget for the FUN things in life, like planned or even spontaneous vacations around the world. To surprise my husband with trips to Vegas (to therefore waste money ;)) just because I made enough that month on TpT. One day..

I love being that person in the Starbucks line who pays for someone else's coffee. The idea that the person behind you has no idea who you are, yet is blessed by your kindness, with no expectation of receiving anything in return... the idea excites me. #beablessing

And finally, we have one Montessori school in our area, and it happens to be a dual immersion school for Spanish. I would LOVE to send Lilly to that school, but of course it comes with a price. Plus, since I'd still be working, I'd need a nanny of sorts to take her and pick her up, because their hours are only ones we can dream of. 

One day, my friends, one day. Until then... date to DREAM!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2 for Tuesday: Task Cards & Reward Coupons!

Happy Tuesday, friends! In the summer Tuesday should now be associated with half-off deals, so SHOPPING! I'm linking up with some fabulous teacher-authors to give you some steals you won't want to miss out on--but only on Tuesdays!

First up is my task card bundle, a $15 value that is usually discounted to $10.50, is now on sale for $5.25 for today ONLY! Summer is the PERFECT time to get these prepped, by simply printing and laminating if you choose. They work well in stations for independent or partner practice, as well as in small groups with the teacher. However you choose to use them, they offer great skills practice!

What will you be receiving??

Next up, another awesome item to create in the summer are Classroom Coupons, discounted to only $2 today! They do WONDERS for classroom management! Included are 40 class coupons plus classroom money to use if you choose. 

Happy shopping, friends! Make sure to check out Chalk One Up for the Teacher's blog for other great deals and steals!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Makeover Madness!

Hey hey friends! I'm so very exited to be participating in this makeover madness with Teach Create Motivate and some other fabulous ladies! When I looked through my store to find a product to makeover, I found many, but had to start with one of my first product because, eww. Just yuck!

This product was so old and unloved that I had to create the entire product again. I didn't even have a saved PowerPoint file to edit it--so it's all brand new! If you'd like to check it out, you can do so here!

I hope you're enjoying your summer so far, friends. I believe I did one important task today so I can now feel accomplished. Now to relax again. :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Five for Friday!

Oh, friends. Let me just say how THANKFUL I am for summer break. How thankful I am to write a blog post for Five for Friday in peace. I am currently sitting at my kitchen table, watching Netflix, with nothing significant planned today. Yes, please.

1. Monday was our last official teacher workday, and Tuesday began my first PD of the summer. It's a 9 day face-to-face ESOL class that has gotten out early every day so far--praise sweet Jesus our teacher gets it! #teachertired I would rather just browse Pinterest all day and have that count, but that hasn't worked out for me yet. Do you have amazing boards on Pinterest? Please leave your link in the comments--I'd love to follow you! You can follow me here!

2. I have one excited little girl to see her daddy soon! When I woke her up this morning, before even opening her eyes she said, "Is my daddy home yet, mommy?" Sweetness. "Daddy can snuggle with us in our bed, mommy."

3. Week one of summer break and my creative juices have been flowing already. These citing text evidence posters and classroom materials are currently on sale for 50% off! You can check these out here!

4. I apologize in advance if you're trying to be healthy. I made this pie twice in the last month for 2 parties because it's just that easy to make, and quick. And when you eat it.. you'll thank me. :)

5. Despite my #4 (all the pie), I have consistently been doing this workout and LOVE it. Each day consists of a different muscle group to work, such as arms or legs, and this summer I plan to incorporate cardio each day, also. Oh, summer!

I hope you all are enjoying some sweet sunshine with no sides of lesson plans!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CC Opinion Writing Ideas & Freebies

I don't know about you, but I certainly feel like this school year has been kicked up a bit. Here in Florida we are implementing the Florida Standards, but these are very very similar to the Common Core Standards. I'm basically teaching all the same things as last year, I just think there's a lot more rigor happening, which is a good thing. A great thing. I'll be honest and say that writing is not my favorite subject to teach, especially when you throw around words like "thesis statements." I've definitely had to do my homework before teaching my kids anything writing-related. Teaching writing this year has been rigorous for me.

Our county followed a schedule this year of how to teach writing. First quarter we taught narratives, second quarter was informative writing, and third quarter we are (now) teaching opinion writing. The fourth quarter is sort of a review for any areas our kids need more practice in.

At the beginning of the third quarter we gave our students a baseline opinion writing task. This was to get an idea of where our students were without any teaching of opinion writing. I could tell my babies tried, but needed a great bit of instruction. After meeting with my amazing team and throwing ideas around, here's what we came up with.

The prompt we used (which I can't share--sorry!) asked students to read two texts and to give their opinion on which animal had the most remarkable migration. The first text talked about many animals and their migrations, while the second text was only about butterflies. What I found with my students was that they chose the animal they found to be the coolest, even if that super cool animal only had one tiny bit of information about them (as seen in yellow). With that being said, step number one was to go back in the text and highlight information about each animal in a different color. This allowed students to see which animal had the most information they could use in their papers. This was an eye-opener. 

The next step was to practice unpacking writing prompts. Several prompts ask students to answer more than one question, and students must first slow down and find all the steps to be successful. I created these practice prompts for students to use. It was a struggle with the first prompt, but gradually it became easier. If you'd like a copy of the prompts I used, just click here or on the picture to download these. :)

After my students could successfully unpack a prompt, we of course made sure we could unpack the prompt we used as a baseline. Then we looked at student writing samples that were typed up and practiced coding the text. We used yellow, pink, and green highlighters to code the different parts of our paper that should be present. It was quite funny at how easily they grade others' papers! Coding the text was an activity we did as teachers at a writing PD we had. We had to code student papers, which was an amazing thing to do, so I decided I'd let my students do the same with sample papers, and then their own papers. 

I loved the light bulb moments that happened when students coded their own papers!

Writing introductions is something my students are the weakest at. I came up with a quick "recipe" my students can use as a guide for writing an intro until they develop their own styles. We used these sample introduction paragraphs and coded them, and again, something about the colors makes it pop for the kids. If you'd like these, just click on the picture or click here.

The next steps for us are to practice writing more introductions together, and then eventually re-write our papers entirely. This writing "stuff" is definitely a learning process, for both the students and me!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Currently

I'm glad it's February. January was such a busy month filled with adjusting to 2 new grad classes, many parent conferences and then those {not so nice parents} at conferences. Yuck. That really is exhausting more than anything else. Totally unrelated to anything Currently, but I saw this link on Facebook yesterday and it completely explains my January.

On to February, with all things pink, red, white, and heart-filled. :)

Don't forget to get your shop on, friends! I know many of us are having sales in our TPT shops.