Saturday, October 6, 2012

Posting Student Work - We're So Proud Board

I got this idea last year when we did a veteran teacher observation for BTSA.  I love it, the kids love it, and most teachers love it when they come into my room.

It's my We're So Proud Board:
The blurry parts are, of course, their names.
After many, many tries at fitting all 32 students' work here, this is the most space saving configuration boyfriend and I could come up with.

Every other Thursday, I make sure I (or our aide) has sorted all of their work (everything from homework to graded tests) in their mailboxes:

I know there aren't papers in their here, but it's the only pic I have of it!

They take their pile of papers to their desk and look through them.  It's the first time they've seen any of the grades, so they spend some time seeing what they got right and wrong and just generally reviewing their work.

Next, they choose one piece they are most proud of.  We have a list of reasons you might be proud that the kiddos came up with, including things like a good grade, doing better than normal in a subject, doing well on something that was really challenging, trying really hard, doing neater work than normal, etc.

Then, they fill out a "Smiley Slip" (that's those yellow papers you see in the corner of each).  They staple it to wherever they want on their paper and turn it in for me to put up.

I use the black and white version on yellow paper.
Click on either image for the google doc of both color and b/w!

Last, they return all of their papers to their mailbox to be filed later.  After our conferences in November, they will take most of this work home each time we do "We're So Proud" instead of putting it in their mailboxes, but I like to save everything until conferences!

How do you display student work?  How often do you change it out?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Currently and Writing Wednesday (err... Thursday with Freebies for you!)

First up, Currently:
Thanks, Farley, for hosting!
Okay, okay, so I know The Witches isn't really all that seasonal ... actually, no I don't know, as I still need to read it!  But, it is what I am most excited about right now.  One of my awesome teammates has a unit she does every year in October with The Witches.  My kiddos ordered enough Scholastic books with our last book order that I was able to get a class set of The Witches, so our two classes are going to read them at the same time this year and of course I'll be using her unit.  I am ridiculously excited!

And now, Writing Wednesday on a Thursday (don't you hate forgetting your camera at school?!?!?)

With our district narrative writing assessment window starting NEXT week and of course a million things trying to butt their way into our writing time, I'm having a hard time getting through all of the pieces of a narrative before testing them.  Never mind revising and publishing.  That's going to have to come after the district test!

So far this year, we had been brainstorming and writing "shots" (see post here and here, respectively) on whatever students felt like that day.  Many had worked on pieces of upwards of 10 stories!  But now that we want to be published in the next two and a half weeks, I wanted the kiddos to start focusing on one story.  We made this checklist of questions to help choose a great story for them to write:

After we had all chosen a story, we talked about what drafting actually is:

Next, we identified the problem and solution.  We talked A BUNCH about how problems don't have to be bad and how solutions don't always have to be happy and took some notes on that:

Each student brainstormed and wrote on a sticky note a solution to the problem of an alien landing in your campsite.  They LOVED it.  Many were not school appropriate (too violent), but some were super creative!

Then, we got back to work on our stories.  Once we figured out the problem and some possible endings, students worked together to choose a solution that fit the problem.
Click here for the worksheet!
And finally, we got to leads.  I "read" two leads - one from a Magic Treehouse book and one I said was from a rough draft of mine (I'm going to tell you about my airplane ride.  Great, right?).  Almost all of the kiddos seemed to get why the Magic Treehouse one was better.  Then, I gave them notes (it would have been WAY WAY WAY too much writing notes) and we glued them like so into our notebooks. We read over the notes, wrote an example for each, and outlawed some annoying  uninteresting "leads" (Hi, my name is _____ and I'm going to tell you about ____ is one of my biggest pet peeves!)  Last, the kiddos read the leads in their independent reading books and we talked about what made those interesting.

Click here for the notes. Fonts from

And finally, today, we wrote leads!

Happy October!